Any experienced car owner knows how important it is to keep good tires at all times. Not only does it maintain the optimal performance of your vehicle, it also is required to give you maximum traction, keeping you in control of your vehicle. And with that you are not only able to drive smoothly but also safely. Driving with worn out bald tires even on an even, dry, well maintained road significantly increases chances of an accident.
Car enthusiasts would buy quality expensive tires but that doesn’t always ensure that they would be getting their money’s worth. Here are the many ways a driving habit can prematurely wear out tires way sooner than their intended lifespan:
(1) High-Speed Driving
Unless you’re a car racer driving at top speed is unnecessary. Not only is it an accident waiting to happen but it will also cause premature wear and tear to your tires. Tires are made with speed ratings set by manufacturers. It commonly mirrors the practical speed of everyday motorists with a safety buffer set on the top end. It serves as a guide to the tire’s maximum speed capability. It is however important to take note that it remains true given the fact that you’re driving under ideal conditions, which is not always the case. So it is important to not exceed or drive near those limits for a significant amount of time.
Driving at high speeds on a prolonged period increases friction between your tires and the road surface generating high heats that will eventually soften the rubber and overtime weaken the tires.
(2) Driving on heavy loads.
Another feature set by tire manufacturers is the maximum load rating, which can also be found printed on the sidewall of tires. This gives guidance as to the maximum weight a tire can carry. Although going beyond the limit does not cause your tires to instantly explode, it guarantees that your tire will weaken and become vulnerable to wear and tear way far from its lifespan. Like speed too much of the weight increases heat and pressure inside the tires. For this very reason, premium tires that can handle extra loads and trucks are made to haul heavy loads.
It is also important to note that more often than not cautious drivers are in the habit of carrying emergency items in car maintenance, such as tools to change tires, etc. While it makes a lot of sense to always be prepared one also has to keep in mind that each emergency equipment adds more weight for your car to carry around. It could also contribute to the unwanted stress your tires or your car as a whole has to manage.
A spare tire, tire jack, lug wrench, tire pressure gauge and jumper cables are just a few of tools one must always have in hand. Carefully consider any additional equipment worth adding weight for.
(3) Mindless Driving over bumps, road debris and potholes
In this imperfect world not all roads are made even and smooth. So avoiding every potholes and road debris is next to impossible. Even the major thoroughfares have their own share of these bumps. So it is best to avoid as many as these road debris and potholes as much as you can. Or at least slow down and drive carefully if you really have to drive over them to lessen the tendency of having those rough surface pierce or slice through your tires.
Driving haphazardly over them does not only cause an uncomfortable drive but also leads to premature tire wear and costly repairs.
And since the impact of every hit runs all the way from the tires to the body, your vehicle gradually depreciates with every bump. If in any way possible, it’s best to just totally avoid roads notoriously known to be in poor condition.
(4) Dry steering or playing with your steering wheel while car is completely stationary
One can easily get started fiddling around with the steering wheel while being stuck in a traffic or while being double parked outside waiting for a drive thru order. While it may appear harmless to some extent, getting into the habit of dry wheeling puts unnecessary stress to your tire treads. You are basically tearing the tires against the rough surface of the pavement as you turn the steering wheel left and right resulting in uneven tire wear and even bald spots.
Most cars built nowadays have steering components that are sturdy enough to handle dry steering without taking much damage, but it is still not recommended if you want longer wear and tear. For this purpose automatic parking systems are commonly designed not to dry steer, although their design could have been simpler if they used dry steering.
(5) Hitting the brakes suddenly and unnecessarily
This bad driving habit is not only unsafe and can lead to an accident but it’s also one of many ways a driver unknowingly wears out tires quickly. So if you would like to use your tires at its maximum capacity, make a conscious effort to do away with this avoidable bad driving habit. Instead set a guideline while driving and this should put you in a position where you slow down sooner giving enough time and plenty of distance before coming to a complete stop. Besides premature tire wear everything from brake pads to the fuel supply can be negatively affected by harsh breaks.
One way to avoid harsh brakes is maintaining a comfortable and correctly positioned car seat. If you’re not comfortably seated while driving this may distract you in your timing of when to hit the brakes. You should be able to put your wrists on top of your steering wheel as you shorten or extend the distance of your seat from the steering wheel. Once you are able to extend your arms straight from your body lock in that position as this is what’s ideal for your size.
(6) Putting the accelerator on too quickly
Just as bad as hitting the brakes suddenly is hitting that accelerator on too quickly. If you’re leaving behind a long black streak it means you’re burning the rubber of your tires every time you take off. Instead of the tire tread gripping the road to move your car forward, you are sacrificing your tires by having them spin against the road.
(7) Aggressive Cornering
Like all driving habits that tears away the tread of your tires, aggressive cornering makes your wheels work harder to keep you on the road. The faster you swerve the more unnecessary force that warps your tires.
(8) Driving with misaligned wheels and without checking tire pressure
One important characteristic of a good car owner is the ability to look closely. Cars like any functioning body need regular upkeep. Driving without the required maintenance requirements can prematurely wear out your tires even with careful driving. Once you feel your car or steering wheel swerve to one side while you’re driving this could be a sign that you’re running on insufficiently inflated tires or on misaligned wheels.
Driving regardless of poorly inflated tires and misaligned wheels adds stress for you because of the number of steering corrections you’ll have to make causing additional tread wear on tires.
Car manufacturers set an ideal inflation pressure for your tires for good reason. Inflated sufficiently and correctly tires are able to handle the vehicle's weight, braking, acceleration and cornering. If the tire pressure is too high or too low the contact patch of the tire tread won't be maximized for those tasks. So it is very important to check your tire pressure regularly.
So how often should you check? It is highly recommended to do it at least once a month and whenever you’re planning to go for a trip or when there is a significant change in temperature. It is important to realize that in a tire and rim assembly the tire is actually more of a net than a physical encasement so it is inevitable that gas filling it could permeate the net and escape. It is also a given fact that there are imperfections around the sealing surfaces where the tire and its rim meet. The valve stem itself has trace amounts of gas that can escape.
With large temperature fluctuations gas decreases by 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit it has cooled compared to when it was last checked and conversely increases by 1 psi for every 10 degrees it warmed compared to when it was last checked. Even a “perfectly” sealed tire can lose 1–2 psi per month through gas escaping which in cooler weather can compound the loss of pressure.
It is important to stay in check of your tire pressure since a tire is already considered to be critically under inflated when only filled at 80% of the recommended cold inflation pressure.
Finally a misaligned wheel is inevitable making tire alignment a regular part of car damage preventive measures. If wheels aren't aligned it follows that your tires are making contact with the road at odd angles, which results in uneven wear.
9) Driving without rotating your tires regularly.
Tire rotation involves the removal of each tire from your vehicle and moving it to a different position to make sure that all tires wear evenly and to increase their lifespan. It is recommended for car owners to rotate tires every 5, 000 miles or as advised by the vehicle manufacturer. For many car owners that also means every six months or whenever you get your vehicle’s oil changed.
Regularly rotating car tires gives opportunity to thoroughly inspect them for any damage and to check air pressure and tread depth and then have them rebalanced in case of any vibration observed.
IMPORTANCE OF TIRE ROTATION
Tire rotation is important to maximize tread life. Needless to say, each individual position of tires on your car requires a different give. Like for instance, the tires located at the front of a front-wheel drive vehicle will take a bigger proportion of the torque and friction needed for accelerating, turning and braking, which can lead to uneven wear on the tire.
In simple terms it is a fact that tires don't bear equal weight at all times, so some will naturally wear out faster than others if not rotated regularly. Changing their positions every now and then ensures that their wear is evenly distributed. Neglecting to do so means you will have to replace your tires sooner and more often causing an unhappy wallet.
It is especially important to remember to rotate new tires by 5,000 miles because fresh and deep tire tread is more susceptible to uneven wear.
An even tread wear also keeps the tread depth on all four tires uniform, which is important to keep traction and handling the same across all four tires. This in turn improves the cornering and braking performance for driving safely. If a vehicle has all-wheel-drive, balanced worn tires lower the stresses placed on the drivetrain, reducing the wear on expensive drive components.
There are tire rotation patterns and what’s best for your car depends on the type of tire you’re using, whether your tires are directional or non-directional, whether your vehicle is front, rear, all, or four-wheel drive, whether or not your tires are the same size on the front and rear of your vehicle, and lastly whether you have a full-size spare that can be rotated as well.
10) Driving despite problems with your suspension.
Problems with suspension is something drivers often take for granted. Some even mistake suspension as mainly about having a smooth drive when in fact it affects your ability to control the vehicle, especially when stopping or turning.
When you feel the vehicle body lurching forward and downward nose-first when applying the brakes firmly it could be that the shocks are worn out. It could greatly affect your ability to stop the car. If the suspension is no longer holding the car evenly it puts uneven amounts of pressure on the tires resulting in scalloped dips forming along your tires.