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Identifying Uneven Tyre Wear & Damage

January 01, 2019
Identifying Uneven Tyre Wear & Damage

Our tyres are the only points of contact our vehicle will have to the road, therefore keeping them in prime condition will:

  • Maintain our vehicle’s handling capabilities

  • Grip the road surface better in poor weather conditions

  • Maximise tyre life

  • Improve overall fuel economy

Therefore, it’s important to be able to identify and fix signs of uneven wear and damage before they compromise your vehicle’s safety.

Most cars today are much harder on your tyres, while the tyres are also much softer to provide the best grip available for safety. If you don't maintain them, they will wear out a lot quicker than people are used to, which can be quite a shock when advised their tyres need replacing.

Adam Cheers – Franchisee, Moorabbin


How Does Uneven Tread Wear Occur?

As tyres are made up of many components, the causes for premature tyre wear can be due to many different reasons. Identifying the type of uneven wear will enable you to remedy the issue before it’s too late.


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Centre Wear

In the case of uneven centre wear, there is too much air in the centre third of the tyre, making it wear faster than the outside sections. This is caused by:

  • Over inflation

  • Incorrect tyre fitment for wheel

  • Tyre has been inflated for a loaded vehicle on a vehicle with no load

The fix: Deflate your tyres to the recommended PSI found in the owner’s manual, driver’s side door jamb, glove box or on the tyres themselves.

If this has occurred on a vehicle that is normally used to carry heavy loads (such as vans, Utes and other work vehicles), deflate your tyres while you’re not carrying anything, then re-inflate before you load up next time.


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Shoulder Wear

When the edges of your tyres are making more contact with the road compared to the centre, it causes uneven wear on both the shoulders.

This is caused by:

  • Under inflation

  • Hard driving on winding and curved roads

The fix: Inflate your tyres to the correct pressures found in the owner’s manual, driver’s side door jamb, glove box or on the tyres themselves.

If it’s caused by hard driving, rotating your tyres is recommended.


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One-Sided Wear

When a tyre is leaning towards or away from your vehicle, the side that is in contact with the road the most will wear prematurely.

This is caused by:

  • Damaged or defective suspension parts

  • Wheel Alignment is incorrect

The fix: A wheel alignment is typically all that is needed to stop one-sided wear. However, if your local Bob Jane T-Marts identifies that it is a bigger suspension issue, you will need to get it fixed by your preferred mechanic.


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Flat Spots

Flat Spots are characterised by a section of the tyre not being perfectly round and instead, having a small to large horizontal strip across the tread.

This is caused by:

  • Rapid starting or sudden braking when driving

  • Harsh braking that results in a slide with total brake lockup

  • Faulty brake system or new brakes (drum brakes only)

  • Wheel weight imbalanced

The fix: Unfortunately, safest way to fix a major tyre flat spot is to replace the tyre with a new one. Depending on how new your set of tyres are, you may need to replace all four.

That being said, if it’s only a minor flat spot, your local Bob Jane T-Marts will be able to ‘shave’ the tyre down to reduce or remove the flat spot entirely.


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Diagonal Wear

When a tyre isn’t tracking straight, the tyre will wear diagonally.

This is caused by:

  • Under inflation

  • Defective Suspension or rotating parts (such as wheel bearings)

  • Tyre rotations not properly completed

  • Defective Wheel Alignment

The fix: Take your vehicle to your local Bob Jane T-Marts so they can assess the issue that has caused the diagonal wear. Depending on the cause, it could be fixed by the team or it may require further repair by your preferred mechanic.



Identifying Tyre Damage

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Tread Damage

As the rubber compounds deteriorate, cracks in a tyre’s tread can occur. If not fixed, your tyre’s will lose significant handling capabilities, while continued use will further increase the cracking.

This is caused by:

  • Fatigue from weather

  • High Torque

  • Incorrect Air Pressure

  • Overloading

  • Age

The fix: The only real solution to a tread cracking is to replace the tyre. That being said, age is the most common cause of it, so if you’re tyres are cracking it means that are often due for a change anyway.


tyre-damage_sidewall_damage_bob_jane_t-marts-png

Sidewall Damage

Sidewall damage can be caused by a number of factors. It's very hard to identify, however generally it's the result of impact damage or a faulty tyre. In most cases if it's not clearly impact damage, the tyre will need to be cut open to determine the cause.

Common sidewall damage includes:

  • Cuts

  • Tears

  • Bubbles

  • Scrapes and abrasions

This type of damage usually occurs when a tyre encounters a road hazard. This could include anything from a hitting curb to accidental road debris damage. Sharp objects or very concentrated stresses usually cause cuts and tears, while bubbles and scrapes occur due to impact damage or prolonged abrasion.

The fix: Unless your tyre is losing pressure, can see the sidewall plies from the damage or the damaged area is bulging, the sidewall damage is purely cosmetic and doesn’t require the tyre to be changed.

If you’re unsure about any sidewall damage, get your local Bob Jane T-Marts to inspect your tyres for you!


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Tyre Separations

A tyre separation is when the tread lifts off the casing of the tyre. A separated tyre can greatly increase the risk of a crash due to loss of control from a tyre blowout.

Tyre separations can be identified by bulges in the tyre, localised wear above the separated region or seeing a groove worn along the shoulder. Tyre separations can occur on the bead, on the centre belt or on the outside shoulder.

This can be caused by:

  • Abnormal heat-up from high-speed driving, overloaded or uninflated tyre conditions

  • Cuts to the tyre casing from road hazard which allows water or other debris to enter the casing

  • Hitting potholes or speed bumps at an excessive speed stresses the tyre casing

  • Incorrect flat tyre repair when the area is not properly prepared for the patch

The fix: The only fix to a separated tyre is to replace it. Continuing to drive on a separated tyre increases the chances of an accident-inducing blowout.



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Tyre Bead Issues

The bead of a tyre is the rubber seal on the edge of a tyre that allows the tyre to sit on a wheel. When a tyre is properly inflated, the tyre keeps the bead in the wheel’s groove.

Tyre bead problems appear as a broken bead, chafing of the rubber around the bead or deformation of the bead area. A broken bead can lead water to enter the bead wire, which when rusted and cause the tyre to fail.

This can be caused by:

  • A tyre being mounted on an improper rim

  • Careless mounting or dismounting techniques which damage the bead

  • A tyre might be under or over inflated

The fix: Depending on the severity of the damage to the bead, your local Bob Jane T-Marts will be able to repair it. Otherwise, if deemed irreparable, the tyre will need to be replaced.



Safety First

If you have come across any of these symptoms of uneven tyre wear or damage, our staff are always more than willing to assist you in locating the cause of your problem and rectifying the matter. Simply call 13 26 25 to find your local Bob Jane T-Marts or contact us online for more information.

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