Uneven tire tread can be a safety hazard if it is not corrected. There are many factors that can contribute to an uneven tire tread problem. Regular maintenance and tire rotation are the most important ways to prevent uneven tire tread. Other things to consider are installing the right type and size of tire on your vehicle, and checking alignment and tire pressure. Tire tread should be 2/32 inch or deeper in order to meet federal safety standards.
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Install tires that fit your vehicle. Make sure that you are purchasing the right size and type of tire for your specific vehicle. Cars typically need 15- to 17-inch tires, while SUVs and crossovers use 17- to 20-inch tires. If you live in a state with snow or wet weather, all weather or all terrain tires may be your best choice.
Use a tread depth gauge or coins such as a penny or quarter to check the tread wear on your tires. This will help you diagnose the problem or determine why your tread is uneven. To use coins, simply place a penny in the tread. If part of Lincoln's head is covered, the tread is 2/32 inch. Alternately, you can put a quarter in the tread and if it touches Washington's head, the tread is 4/32 inch (which is a good amount of tread). Test the tread in several places in order to get an accurate measurement.
Check the tire belts to make sure they are working properly, and then oil or replace them if you suspect that they are the culprits causing uneven tread on your tires.
Rotate your tires and move the tires with the tread wear to the back of the vehicle. Most of the time the front tires are more worn than the back. By rotating the tires to the back, you will help to even out the tread (and hopefully prolong the life of the tires).
Buff or shave the tires if the tread is worn too much on one side. However, this procedure should be a last resort, performed only by a tire professional using a tire truing machine. Consumers should be aware that shaving tires reduces the remaining service life of the tire.
Tips and warnings
- Incorrect tire pressure can cause uneven tire tread. Be sure to check your tire pressure often to prevent this problem.
- Damaged components on your car such as broken mountings, worn out ball joints and damaged rods can cause uneven tire tread. Address these problems quickly.
- Incorrect tire alignment is a common cause of uneven tread. Make sure your tires are aligned properly in order to prevent uneven tread wear on your tires.
- Aggressive driving can cause uneven tire tread. Driving over uneven terrain and rough surfaces can beat up your tires and be dangerous.
- If your tread is worn too much, you will need to replace your tires.
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