We know engine checks, driver safety and on-board software diagnostics have to be explored to keep your vehicles in shape. But what about tyres?
If you’ve ever wondered how to check tyre wear and what the warning signs mean, then keep reading. Our Allstar guide to tyre surfaces will get you straight on the facts about when they need to be changed.
Let’s begin with a common condition that points to bad suspension – the ‘cupping’ mark, where bald spots form on a section of the tyre. 90% of the time, this means you have a faulty swing axel, trailing arm or multi-link suspension system. The same effects may stem from two imbalanced wheels, but the cupping isn’t as pronounced. When you see this, assume that your shock absorber is falling short of efficiency.
Many of the fears we have about tyres fall back on a lack of air. To allay them, drivers can pump too much in, causing the middle of the tread to sink. All that concentrated pressure makes an overinflated tyre easy to spot: the centre-point is flat, while the rest is pristine by comparison. Alternatively, an under-inflated tyre shows the opposite – a protruding centre flanked by worn treads at each side.
Ever considered how to check tyre wear, and looked at it on a flat surface? Notice a decreased in thickness from one end to another? That’s the effect of camber wear – basically the ‘squeezed’ appearance of a tyre that hasn’t been fastened to a proper, road-worthy angle on the side of the car or van. Again, bad wheel alignment is the culprit here, as your tyre pulls to one side while your drivers go about their day.
This refers to a change in the textural qualities of the tyre. On one side, it feels quite low and smooth, while the other has ragged, jutting protuberances, like small feathers on the tread line. Sometimes the sharper edge can be felt before you can see it. In any case, re-set the toe-in (how straight the wheel is set on the body of the vehicle) so the tyres curl in slightly. Remember that a tweak in camber angles will force the toe angle to switch as well.
Unless you have radial tyres, the second-rib affliction won’t apply to you. But the properties of radial manufacture make them unique, as the overlapping steel belts beneath the rubber can cause marks if they’re overstressed. You might see a lot of wear and tear, which suggests the tyre is too big for the wheel. A few treads could be flattened altogether.
Take this knowledge with you, and stay vigilant. We want you to be comfortable in checking and maintaining your tyre wear because it’s a common oversight that can really destabilise your fleet’s integrity. If the worst does happen, though, then make use of our ServicePoint feature for Allstar members. It’ll grant you up to 30% off thousands of UK repair centres, limiting the cost for a new set of tyres or related parts.