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How do you know when it’s time to replace your tyres? The main indicator is your tyre tread depth. However; as your tyres wear, the tread may also start to display distinct patterns. By learning how to interpret these patterns, you’ll not only be able to determine when it’s time to replace your tyres, but you’ll also be able to recognise issues that may be affecting the performance of your vehicle and take proactive action to help maximise your tyre’s tread life.
Why is tyre tread important?
The tread on your tyres helps your vehicle maintain its grip on the road, especially in wet, icy or muddy conditions. A shallow tread depth can result in reduced grip, longer stopping distances, and an increased risk of aquaplaning. A worn tyre is also more susceptible to punctures.
For your vehicle to be roadworthy in Australia, your tyre’s tread depth must be at least 1.5mm.
How quickly do tyres wear?
This will vary from driver to driver, but on average, a tyre will last for about 40,000km. Depending on how you drive and how well you maintain your tyres, you should expect to replace them every two to three years.
The older your tyre, the more susceptible it is to punctures, cracks and other damage. That’s why it’s important to have your tyres inspected by a tyre professional every year if they’re more than five years old. Tyres older than 10 years should be replaced immediately.
What causes tyres to wear?
Tyre wear is normal, but uneven wear or tyres wearing out sooner than expected is not. The most common causes of early or uneven tread wear are:
Over or underinflation of your tyres
Correctly set inflation pressures are particularly important when it comes to prolonging the lifespan of your tyres. Overinflation or underinflation of your tyres can lead to uneven or faster than usual wear, impaired vehicle handling and reduced fuel efficiency. Tyre pressures should be set as per the vehicle’s tyre placard, the location of which can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual.
Out of balance tyres or wheels can result in accelerated wear and a vehicle or steering wheel vibration, especially at freeway speeds. Wheel balancing, which involves applying weights to the wheel to balance the tyre and wheel assembly, could help resolve these issues.
Misalignment of your wheels
Misaligned wheels will result in uneven tread wear, reducing the life of your tyres. Carrying out a wheel alignment helps ensure that all the tyres on your vehicle are pointing in the same direction.
How to read the patterns in your tyres
You can tell a lot about your tyres by checking the wear patterns on the tread. All tyres have small ridges, called tread wear indicators, spaced at regular intervals in the grooves of the tyre. As your tyres wear, these indicators get closer to the surface.
Here are the most common patterns and what they mean.
Worn down to tyre tread wear indicators
If your tyre tread wear indicators are sitting flush with your tread[TR1] it’s time to replace the tyre. If the tread depth is less than 1.5mm, your vehicle is not roadworthy.
Wear on both edges
Wear on both edges can indicate underinflation. Underinflated tyres wear unevenly and faster than correctly inflated tyres. It’s also harder for your vehicle to roll on the road, so it reduces fuel economy.
Wear in centre
Wear in the centre can indicate overinflation. Overinflated tyres put the majority of the vehicle’s load on the centre of your tyres causing this area to wear quickly, reducing the tyre lifespan.
Cups or dips
Out of round wear on a tyre’s shoulders is referred to as cupping or dipping. It may be a sign that your wheels are out of balance or suspension components are worn. The cause should be determined by your mechanic and rectified.
Sawtooth edges or smooth wear on one shoulder
Sawtooth or feathered patterns on the edge of your tyres, or one tyre shoulder wearing quickly can indicate that your tyres are misaligned. In this instance, your vehicle may benefit from a wheel alignment.
Our team of tyre experts is ready to assist you in finding the perfect tyres for your vehicle. Give us a call today at 13 23 81 to receive personalised guidance and recommendations.
Alternatively, you can visit our website to locate the nearest store and explore our wide range of tyres.