Tire maintenance for motor vehicles is imperative by several factors. The chief cause of tire failure is friction from moving contact with road surfaces, causing the tread on the outer perimeter of tires to eventually wear away. When the tire tread becomes too shallow, the tire is worn out and should be replaced. The same wheels can usually be used throughout the lifetime of the car. Other problems encountered in tire maintenance include:

  • Uneven or accelerated tire wear: can be caused by under-inflation, overload or bad wheel alignment.
  • Increased wear on a tire facing the outside or the inside of a car: often a sign of bad wheel alignment.
  • Tread worn away completely: especially when the wear on the outer rubber exposes the reinforcing threads within, the tire is said to be bald and should be replaced as soon as possible.

This tire has been punctured by a screw. Sometimes a pneumatic tire gets a hole or a leak through which the air inside leaks out resulting in a flat tire, a condition which must be fixed before the car can be driven safely.

Spare tires

Vehicles typically carry a spare tire, already mounted on a rim, to be used in the event of flat tire or blowout. For that reason, it is really important to keep your vehicle’s spare tire in good condition. Many spare tires (sometimes called "doughnuts") for modern cars are smaller than normal tires (to save on trunk space, gas mileage, weight and cost) and should not be driven very far before replacement with a full-size tire. A few modern vehicle models may use conventional spare tires. Some modern cars and trucks are equipped with run flat tires that may be driven with a puncture over a distance of 80 km to 100 km. This eliminates the need for an immediate stop, and the associated expensive tow service or tire change.

Rotation

Front tires, especially on front wheel drive vehicles, have a tendency to wear out more quickly than rear tires. Routine maintenance including tire rotation (exchanging the front and rear tires with each other) is often done periodically to facilitate uniform tire wear.  For a good and long tire life it is also necessary to check the measurement of tire inflation pressure which should be made at least once a month. The proper inflation pressure is located in the owner's manual and on the Tire Placard. Because of slow leaks or changes in weather or other conditions, tire pressure may occasionally have to be corrected, usually via the valve stem with compressed air.

Under-inflation of tires can also cause premature tire wear. Many modern vehicles have tire pressure monitoring systems; older cars are typically equipped with indirect monitoring systems while later cars are typically equipped with direct tire pressure monitoring systems.

What is TPMS?

A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is an electronic system designed to monitor the air pressure inside the pneumatic tires on various types of vehicles. TPMS report real-time tire-pressure information to the driver of the vehicle, either via a gauge, a pictogram display, or a simple low-pressure warning light. TPMS can be divided into two different types: direct (dTPMS) and indirect (iTPMS). TPMS are provided both at an OEM (factory) level as well as an aftermarket solution.


Wheel alignment
sometimes referred to as tracking, is part of standard automobile maintenance that consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are set to the car maker's specification. The purpose of these adjustments is to reduce tire wear, and to ensure that vehicle travel is straight and true (without "pulling" to one side). Alignment angles can also be altered beyond the maker's specifications to obtain a specific handling characteristic. Motorsport and off-road applications may call for angles to be adjusted well beyond "normal" for a variety of reasons.

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