Checking your tyre tread regularly is one of the key principles to road safety. A tyre with worn tread could cause a fatal accident, especially in wet weather, as the tread does not disperse the water evenly, resulting in the tyres losing its grip on the road causing aquaplaning and skidding. One of the ways of good tyre maintenance is to have your tyres swopped around, balanced and aligned every 10 000 km.
All passenger, light truck, and medium commercial tyres have tread wear indicator bars molded into the tread. These bars are located at the bottoms of the tread grooves in several locations around the tyre. The minimum legal limit for tread in South Africa may not be less that 1.5mm above tread indicator bars. When the tyre is worn to the point where any of them become visibly flush with the adjacent tread ribs, it is time to replace the tyre.
Below, we list some of the most common patterns of uneven tread wear and the problems that cause them:
When a tyre is over-inflated, the centre of the tread bears most of the load and wears out faster than the outside edges.
If your tyre is worn on both edges it could mean that they are under-inflated. Under-inflation reduces tread life through increased tread wear on the outside edges (or shoulders) of the tyre. It also generates excessive heat, which reduces tyre durability. Finally, it affects fuel economy through increased rolling resistance (soft tyres makes your vehicle work harder).
Cupping (also called dipping or scalloping) is most common on the front tyres, though your rear tyres can cup as well. It may be a sign that your wheels are out of balance, or that your car’s suspension or steering system parts are worn out.
Do the edges of the tread have a saw-tooth or feathered appearance? This is caused by erratic scrubbing against the road. The solution is toe-in or toe-out alignment correction. Proper tread depth is essential for proper tyre performance. If you notice a loss or change in wet traction, you may not have enough tread left on your tyres.
This tyre safety information was brought to you by BestDrive Stellenbosch