Basic Tire Maintenance Check: Rotation and tire depth

stack of tires

Aside from checking the tire pressure weekly, you can also check the wear and tear on the tires and rotate the tires. You can bring your car to a mechanic and have him check the wear on the tires. He will then take each tire out and replace them into a different place from the previous spot it used to be in (front tires may get replaced in the back tire wells or vice versa). This will ensure that the tires wear down at a fairly even and uniform rate. If you’re handy, you can do this yourself.

Some cars are front-wheel drive (both of the front tires are driven by the motor when you run the car while the back tires just roll along as they are pulled by the front tires). There are cars that are rear- wheel drive: both the back wheels drive the car while the front wheels roll along as they are pushed by the back tires.

SUVs are usually “4×4” meaning all the wheels are driven by the engine simultaneously; or they may be “2×4” meaning two wheels are driven by the engine simultaneously while the other two wheels roll along as they are pulled or pushed by the other tires. You can just imagine that the tires that “drive” the car are the ones that suffer more wear. Rotating your tires will ensure even wear on the tires. This will also ensure even handling as you brake.

How can you tell when your tires are worn?

Well, if you go to a tire store, you will notice that the new tires have small “hair-like” bits of rubber sticking out. You will also notice that there are deep grooves on the tires. The depth of the grooves signals that these are new tires. As you drive your car, the depth of the groves lessens as the road eats away more rubber from the surface of your tire. A tire that is smooth (it doesn’t have deep grooves on its surface) is “bald.”

An observant traffic cop will pull you over if you are driving around with “bald” tires. Bald tires mean that your car will have trouble stopping as there will be nothing that will maintain traction on the road. When the road is wet as when it has just rained, a car with tires that are “bald” or nearly “bald” will more likely skid and slip on the wet surface. You will lose control of your car when you apply your brakes. Yes, even the emergency “hand” brake will not keep the car from skidding out of control when your tires are “bald.” Bald may be beautiful, but this does not apply to car tires.