Signs of Bad Tires
Sometimes you can spot a faulty tire before a problem occurs. The best way to take care of problems is to prevent them in the first place. Here are just a few signs you can read that indicate potential tire trouble (or worse) ahead.
Vehicle vibration, even minor vibration, can be a sign that your tires are either out of alignment or defective. Once you feel your car vibrating, check your tires for tread wear and take it in for a front end alignment. If it is not the alignment, it may be a defect in the tire tread caused by a slight separation of the bands inside the tire, resulting in the tire feeling out of balance. Unfortunately, this cannot be repaired and you will need to replace the tire.
Different noises can indicate various issues with your tires. Squealing on sharp corners is a sign of poor alignment. Additionally, a constant humming that varies depending on your speed indicates a chopped tread. This may be due to a lack of proper rotation or a problem with a suspension part. Finally, a thumping sound is the sign of a flat spot. These develop either from a defect in the tire or a locking of the brakes. You will need to replace the tires.
Wobbling is an easy sign to spot because it is so pronounced. At low speeds, the car will physically bounce up and down due to a separation of the internal belts. This separation causes the air to press down on the rubber tread, creating a bubble on the tire. This bubble creates the wobbling effect.
Loss of traction in wet weather is a sign of worn tread on your tires. The grooves in the tread whisk the water away and create the friction needed to maintain steady traction between the tires and the road. When the tread wears down, the water can’t be channeled away and the car begins to slide (also known as hydroplaning). When this happens, you will need to replace the tires.
A good way to pinpoint trouble perhaps even before you notice a problem is checking the tread. A low tread is an indication that the tire needs to be replaced (or re-tread). Low tread can lead to loss of traction (and hydroplaning) and can also indicate other problem areas with the tires or vehicle. The wear on the tread can show you if the tires need to be aligned or rotated, or if they are not properly pressurized. Checking tire pressure and tread wear regularly will help you diagnose and fix problems often before they manifest themselves.