In recent posts, we’ve talked a fair bit about how to check your tyre pressures and whether it’s worth it to spend extra money on tyres. The simple truth to the matter is, no matter what tyre you use or how often you check the pressure, there are some simple things that will always cause your tyres to wear out faster.
Modern cars are incredibly complex pieces of equipment, with lots of adjustment and room for error and this can have a major effect on your tyres.
One of the most well-known ways tyres wear out early is due to these adjustments in the suspension and steering, this is called a wheel alignment.
In this photo, the wear on the tyre is extremely bad on one side. This can often happen when pieces of the suspension and steering are out of adjustment. Tyre wear can actually happen very quickly, and this is one of the leading reasons tyre’s need to be replaced early, even though can usually be prevented by spending around $75 to have your wheel alignment adjusted or checked every 6 months.
That may seem extra cost, but in reality, a good wheel alignment and checking your tyre pressures can actually make tyres last over 2x the time they would normally, with many modern 4WD’s travelling up to 80,000km on a set of tyres.
How can you tell if the wheel alignment is out though?
It’s actually quite easy to check yourself by doing 2 small tests.
1. When parked, turn the steering all the way to one side and look at the tyres. Much like tyre pressures, you will be able to see the signs of a bad wheel alignment as on side of the tyre will have far less tread than the other, or a choppy texture like in the photo to the right. You can actually run your hand forward, backwards and side to side across the tyre to feel the texture.
2. When driving, find a straight flat road (as flat as possible) and loosely hold the steering wheel or let the steering wheel move freely in your hands. By doing this, you’ll be able to see if the steering wheel is straight and if the car tries to pull in any direction, which are both signs that the alignment is out.
If any of these are happening to your car, it’s likely that your wheel alignment is out which may be worth having looked into by a trusted mechanic or tyre shop.