Tire Health and Tread Guide

May 19th, 2022 by

Your tires are one of the most critical parts of your Hyundai. Tires provide traction over various surfaces and in weather conditions to steer, propel, and stop your car. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t pay enough attention to the health of their tires. So we had our experts at Spokane Hyundai put together this post to help educate our customers on good tire health. We’ll discuss the role of tires, how to maintain them, and the signs that indicate it’s time for a change.

Do I Have to Change My Tires?

Tires on a blue car from Spokane Hyundai

Image via Flickr by theKCB licensed by CC BY 2.0

Yes, eventually, your tires wear out from all that steering, accelerating, and braking. This friction slowly wears down the rubber, and your tires lose their ability to grip the road once the tread pattern wears too low. As such, replacing your tires is a matter of safety as much as it is a matter of functionality.

Replacing your old tires with new ones will improve all these performance dynamics. In addition, you’ll enjoy better fuel economy, saving you money in the long run.

How to Inspect Your Tires

It doesn’t take advanced knowledge to inspect your tires. On the contrary, a simple visual inspection will suffice. Inspecting your tires will help you spot early or uneven wear. We suggest you check your tires whenever you fill the gas tank. Let the fuel pump run while you walk around your vehicle.

If you see uneven wear patterns, you may need new tires. Uneven wear could present as one side wearing more than the other. Several things could lead to uneven wear, such as low air pressure, which you can quickly fix since you’re at a filling station with an air pump. Or it could be you have something more serious wrong with your suspension.

You want the tires to wear evenly, but you don’t want too much wear overall. That reduces your tire’s effective grip on the road, resulting in potentially dangerous driving conditions. If you suspect you have uneven or excessive tread wear, bring your car into our tire center and have our technicians inspect them right away.

We recommend keeping a tire pressure gauge in your glove box or center console. These gauges cost a few dollars and are simple to operate. As you inspect your tire tread, check the air pressure and add air if necessary.

In addition to low air causing uneven tread wear, it can also result in reduced control when cornering and weakened stability if you have to steer hard in an emergency. Too little air can cause your tire to go completely flat. A flat occurs when the car’s weight pinches the rubber and breaks the seal into the rim. A flat tire at high speeds can be dangerous.

On the other hand, having too much air in your tires can also be harmful. Over-inflation presents a raised middle, which wears the middle tread out faster than the edges. Over time, your tires lose their effectiveness.

As you inspect your tires, watch out for zigzag wear patterns. Zigzag patterns, or irregular wear, often indicate a problem with your suspension or an improperly balanced tire. We can balance your tire for a low price. However, if something compromises your suspension, you’ll need a professional diagnostic workup performed. If you see a zigzag wear pattern, have our technicians check it out before it gets more serious.

How to Spot a Bad Tire

Drivers develop a “feel” for their vehicles. The intuitive knowledge you develop tells you when something changes, whether it’s a vibrating sensation, a ticking sound, or a funny smell. Bring your vehicle to our service center right away if your car suddenly starts performing differently, such as pulling to one side while driving straight or making a thumping noise as you turn.

Any unusual thumping, whining, vibration, or humming may indicate you have a problem with your tires. A flat spot in the tread can produce these noises and sensations. Flat spots can result from hard emergency braking. Other causes might be a foreign object like a nail has lodged between the treads.

Any drifting when you try to drive straight might mean you have a problem with your tires, like low air pressure. However, it could mean you have a bad alignment or a problem with your braking or steering systems. These problems could also result in uneven tread wear.

Benefits of Rotating Tires

Rotating your car tires helps in several ways. Your front and rear axles operate under different loads and have various functions. Separate loads and processes create unequal wear from front to back. By rotating your tires, you spread the wear out evenly. Over time, you’ll extend the life of your tires, which improves performance and saves you money. We recommend you rotate your tires every other oil change.

Do I Need to Balance My Tires?

Yes. We balance your tires by attaching small weights to the sides of your wheels. These weights reduce the vibrational force created naturally as the wheels turn. Proper balancing keeps the wear even and improves traction and control.

An out-of-balance tire can wear quickly and unevenly and perform below expectations. Balancing a tire is typically inexpensive, but replacing your tire because it was unbalanced and worn out will cost you much more, so it pays to be attentive to your tires in order to extend their lives.

What About Wheel Alignments?

Aligning your wheels is a simple procedure, yet it requires specialized equipment. Hyundai, like all manufacturers, built their vehicles with precision, including where your tires should sit inside the steering and suspension systems. If your wheels become misaligned, performance drops.

Every time you put a new tire on a wheel, you should have it balanced and perform an alignment. Misalignment can happen from striking a small pothole, a raised curb, or a collision with an object or vehicle. It’s a good idea to have your wheels aligned at least once a year.

Schedule a Tire Health Check-Up Today

For your safety and your vehicle’s longevity, never ignore your tires or the symptoms they present. At Spokane Hyundai, we’re here to answer questions and investigate any issues you encounter. We are conveniently located on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley. You can schedule service online or stop by our service department. One of our friendly, knowledgeable technicians will inspect your tires and recommend service if necessary.

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