Tyre Issues & their Solutions

One of the most important things that most drivers want to deal with is unanticipated vehicle problems which involves frequent issues with the tyres. The tyre is an important invention of all the time, which requires some external driving force to move. If while driving the vehicle, the steering wheel vibrates it must be a small problem but it can lead to bigger issues. A vibration in some part simply means that some things are out of balance. There is a possibility that the vibration in steering wheel may be felt due to an issue in the other part of vehicle. Hence in order to inspect the vehicle or suggest the best solution, it is better to let a professional do it. The tyre of a vehicle is one of the most important part and most steering wheel shaking issues are connected to tyre problems.

Causes and Types of Tyre Damage

A tyre can be damaged for a variety of reasons which can even happen without the driver being instantly aware of the problem. The most common types of damage are cuts, punctures, impacts, bulges, cracks and wear & tear. We will let you know the signs and symptoms of these problems with some useful tips to prevent them.

1) Wear & Tear Issues - There are various types of wear & tear issues but the most common being one-sided wear, heel and toe wear and central wear.

a) Heel and Toe wear - This pattern is often caused by suspension settings and normal usage. In this type of damage, an outwardly manifestation is visible of various distortional forces on the tread. Treads are essential to ensure safety on wet and flooded roads. A higher percentage of tread void is important to displace the water and improve protection. Cross groves of water drainage can take the form of freestanding blocks in shoulder area. As a result of rolling movement, these shoulder blocks can lead to heel and toe wear.

As the tyre rolls, the deformation of freestanding blocks can be seen as these blocks get closer to contact patch of the wheel. After the blocks lose road contact, they bounce back to their original shape. A small amount of heel and toe wear is reasonable and has no major impact on driving comfort. But in case the wear is substantial, more specific issues could come out including improper inflation, low-wear applications, toe-in etc.


b) Central Wear - This type of damage is seen usually in high power vehicles. The high torque levels that are generated during strong acceleration, when accelerating away from traffic lights leads to a quick increase in the wear of tread at the center of the tyre. This situation nowadays also arises in mid-range vehicles that have modern engines capable of generating high levels of torque and high degrees of slip.

c) One-sided Wear -
This type of damage most commonly occurs due to improper alignment of axle. Deviations from standard specification can occur with time leading to this type of damage. Another reason for this damage is lowering of height of vehicle with low profile wheels which impacts wheel alignment. During driving, the suspension arms that are modified causes the alignment of tyre to deviate from standard position. This error can still go unspotted as the values of wheel alignment can still be found within tolerance limits when measured in static position. The result maybe an increase in tread wear as the manufacturer's data may not apply to customized cars. A qualified specialist can realign the wheels if misaligned.

2) Impact Break or Bulge - A bulge is a damage that is inflicted on the casing of the wheel after it comes in contact with an obstacle. This damage indicates the destroyed cords inside the casing. Damages like these are usually caused by driving over objects like speed bumps at an excessive speed which leads to overstressing the casing. The extent of damage depends on the speed, angle of impact and size of obstacle. Ignoring such damages leads to an increase in the risk of tyre failure in future in terms of disintegration of tyre sidewall.

3) Indentation on sidewall - A sidewall is not always perfectly even, sometimes there are indentations that may require a more detailed inspection to determine their cause. These indentations are harmless and are not detrimental to driving or safety. Indentations can be best illustrated by imagining a string tied around an inflated balloon and being pulled gently tighter. In case of tyre the string is the casing cords which are fixed by rubber. These cords help in providing stability, strength and help in the event of braking.


4) A Cut - Cuts are the result of external sources like pathetic road conditions or sharp foreign objects such as glass or stones. While the smaller cuts may be harmless to a large extent but it may be dangerous to repair them depending on the location of the cut on the tyre. If there are any nylon cords visible then the internal structure could be damaged which means that the tyre cannot be repaired. Larger cords can be extremely dangerous hence if the tyre suffers this type of damage then replace them immediately.

5) Punctures - Punctures usually happen due to road debris like a nail, screw or broken glass pieces penetrating through the concealed air chamber resulting in loss of pressure from within the tyre. This type of damage occurs very often as unfortunately foreign particles are found on the road which are not visible while driving. This sort of damage is rarely the fault of the driver. The forms of punctures which may not be related to a tyre are corrosion, leaking valve, cracked wheel rim and old tyres.


6) Tyre Pressure - Inflation is one of the most common issues. Over pressurized or Under pressurized can become cracked. More heat is developed while driving in case of under pressurized tyres as more of the surface of the tyre gets exposed to the road thereby creating more friction. Extra stress to the tyre wall and bulging can result due to over pressurized tyres. An incorrect tyre pressure can also lead to a decrease in fuel economy hence such tyres should be replaced at the earliest.

7) Flat Spot - This type of damage is where a particular section of the tread has been worn flat. The most frequent reasons for such damages are instant braking or applying hand brakes while the vehicle is in motion. This can lead to an instant wearing of tyre as the tyre stops rotating which causes excessive friction leading to tyre wear on the part that rubs the ground. Vehicles which are integrated with "Anti-Locking Braking System" do not face this issue as ABS braking system makes sure that the tyres don't lock in place.


8) Misalignment-

It is not an easy task to detect misalignment of wheels of a vehicle. However, some key signs of misalignment are -

* Tyres that suffer misalignment often show signs of excessive wear on either the inside or outside casing of the tyre. It is not always easy for the wear to be visible, however, by carefully running the hands over the tyres it is possible to detect the wear on the rubber. This must be done with excess care.

* While driving a misaligned car along the flat road, there might be a moment where the vehicle needs to be compensated with the help of steering wheel to keep the car running straight as the car drifts to one side of the road.

* Crooked steering wheel often helps the driver know whether there is misalignment of tyres even when the car is running straight.

When to replace tyres

* Replacing of tyres should be done if the tread depth falls below 1.5 - 1.6 mm. Safe driving is often affected by tread depth, the designing of pattern and the rubber composition especially in wet and snowy weather conditions.

* Braking performance declines in wet and snowy weather conditions with lower tread depths. On wetter roads, the risk of aquaplaning is increased with reduced depths. Therefore, regular inspection of tyres and reduction in speed on wet and snow-covered roads is required.

* Tyres that are more than 10 years old including spare tyres must be removed and replaced with new tyres.

* If in case the vehicle is driven in harsh road conditions including driving on bumpy roads, potholes-based roads, extreme weather conditions or icy surface then the tyres need to be inspected and replaced often.

* Damage can be caused by improper use of vehicles which will lead to replacement of tyres. Some factors such as incompatible rim and wheel sizes, re-inflating a punctured tyre, mixing of tyre types and improper usage of tyres based on weather conditions.

By - Shivang Jitendra Khare

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