Indicators that Help Identify Damage in Car Tires

Indicators that Help Identify Damage in Car Tires
February 10, 2021 Comments Off on Indicators that Help Identify Damage in Car Tires Blog Betty Davis

The tyres of a vehicle are an essential component as they are responsible for maintaining its balance on the road ensuring secure transportation. Damage to tyres can cause various problems including performance, stability, and safety. Therefore, car owners must be aware of the indications of damage to the vehicle’s tyres so that they can take necessary measures to avoid inconvenience.

Here is everything that you need to know to identify if there is any damage in the car tyres.

Wear and Tear of the Tyre Tread

The purpose of the treads of a tyre is to divert water that may be underneath the tyres to avoid hydroplaning on wet terrains. Tyre treads contribute towards giving the tyres better traction and performance. Since the treads also undergoes wear and tear with time and usage, the car owners must keep an eye on possible damage. One indication is the appearance of tread marks on the tyre, but they are still safe to use till they reach a certain depth. To check the accurate depth of the treads, it is better to use a tread depth gauge that is relatively small and can be stored in the glove compartment.

Tread Depth

A tread depth indicator can also be used to measure the tread depth by placing the probe of the indicator in the center of the tyre grooves and towards the outskirts of the tread. After this, remove the gauge by the barrel making sure that it does not touch the probe. Lastly, note the tread depth and carry this process at different locations of the tyre grooves (around the center) but they must be at least 15 inches apart. After noting the readings at various spots, calculate the average of the reading. Carry out this process for the inner and outer circumferential grooves as well.

Many car tyres have tread bars that are small bridges between the treads and lower depth. If the tyre is flushed with tread bars, then it is time to replace the tyres. To ascertain that the tread depth gauge is operational push it against a flat surface and notice if it hits zero when it fully compresses.

Recommended Tread Depth

The purpose of checking the tread depth is to ensure that the tyre is within the recommended tread depth. If it is beyond that limit, it is a clear indication that the tyre is no longer safe and needs to be replaced immediately. If the depth of the tyre treads goes beyond 0.16 cm (1.6mm) the tyre is worn out and not suitable for use. It is also declared illegal to use a car tyre with tread beyond this limit in some countries including the UK and the US.

The Age of the Tyres

Tyre Age

The performance of a tyre is impacted as the tyre wears out, as well as the age of the tyre. Car owners must know how to determine the age of the tyre by just observing it. The tyre’s manufacturing information is mentioned right next to the letters DOT that can be found on the sidewall of the tyre. The digits mentioned indicate the week and year of production for example if the number is 1019, then it means that the tyres were made in the 10th week of 2019. It is recommended that the car owners avoid investing or keep using tyres that are older than five to six years. This time frame must be followed regardless of the tread condition of the tyres. Some car tyres wear faster owing to factors like weather and rough terrains, in contrast to others. But the life of a tyre is a maximum of six years after which it must be replaced regardless of the condition.

Irregular Wear of the Car Tyres

The wear of tyre can be irregular varying from one-sided wear, heel-to-toe wear, and center wear. The heel to toe wear occurs due to normal usage and the suspension settings. The wear is noticeable and audible with distortions occurring on the tread.

Irregular Wear of the Car Tyres

Centre wear usually occurs on the wheels of highly motorized cars, which can produce a high level of torque and degree of slip. The tyres begin to wear more due to increased acceleration and stop-start urban commute.

One-sided wear occurs due to axle geometry, like lowering the height of a car along with low-profile tyres can affect the alignment. Modified suspension arms also impact the alignment of tyres causing irregular tread wear. A misaligned vehicle must be corrected by a professional by re-aligning the car tyres.

Damage Due to Impact Break or Bulge

Damage Due to impact break or bulge

If there is damage inflicted on the casing (carcass) of the tyre, then this is called an impact break. A bulge on the sidewall of the tyre is an indicator of damaged cords inside the casing of the tyre. This usually occurs after hitting certain obstacles like pavement, curbs, or speed bumps while driving at excessive speed. The extent of damage to the carcass depends on the angle and speed of the impact and the size of the obstacle it hits. In case of impact break, it must not be ignored as this can risk tyre failure by either disintegration of the sidewall or delamination of the tread and plies. Unless an unexpected obstacle results in impact, the chances of the bulge are less if the drivers are careful while driving.


If car owners continue using the car despite excessive wear of car tyres, it can result in severe damages including tyre failures, overheats, disbalances, or an accident. It is advisable to check the tyres regularly and take the necessary measure in case the tyres incur damages. Some damages may be repairable, whereas for some it is best to replace the wheel altogether. The above-mentioned indicators can help car owners review the condition of the car wheels and maintain them accordingly.

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