Common Tire Mistakes

by Rachel Bowes

Common Tire Mistakes Everyone Makes

Tires are one of the most vital parts of your rig. Sure, you need the engine to give them power, but if your engine breaks you pretty much just stop moving. If your tire breaks, though, stopping is the best case scenario.

“People bring in their tires to be replaced and you can see down to the wire, or they have bubbles on the side, just waiting to blow,” says Fernando Hernandez, assistant manager of 4 Wheel Parts Compton.

Aside from the dreaded blow outs, worn tires have little traction, increasing your chances of losing control of your vehicle – and a flat tire on the trail can ruin a day of wheeling. Despite how important your tires are, 4 Wheel Parts and other aftermarket retailers sell ridiculous numbers of replacement tires to people who aren’t caring for their truck and Jeep tires properly.

Not only is improperly caring for your tires expensive, it’s dangerous. So, here are some of the most common tire mistakes we see, so you may avoid them.

Over and Under Inflation

This is often a result of “eyeballing” tire pressure as opposed to using a gauge, or not airing back up after airing down for a trail run. Running on tires which are over or under-inflated prematurely wears down the treads and can reduce traction.

Keeping your tires within the proper psi range will increase their life span by insuring they wear in the right places.

Improper Maintenance

When was the last time you got a tire rotation? What about an alignment?

Frequent rotation of your tires in accordance with your owner’s manual insures they wear evenly, increasing their life span. Even if your rig is perfectly aligned, the front tires still take more of a beating than the rear because they hold much of the weight of the engine. The front tires also take the brunt of the friction damage from turning and steering angles.

Alignments are neglected even more often than tire rotations. Misaligned tires result in uneven wear in places your treads were not designed to be worn (different parts of the tire are made from
different material to make them tougher or softer for traction and durability).

Alignments should be done at least every 30,000 miles. If you’re an off-roader, you should have an alignment done every single time you repair or modify your suspension. Added a lift? Get it aligned. Put in new spring leaf shocks? Get it aligned. Got larger tires? Get it aligned.

It may seem like a lot of time and expense to care for the rubber that keep you rolling, but the smoother ride and added life span on your tires makes it worth it.

Bent or Worn Suspensions

There are a lot of bits and pieces in your suspension system: bushings, ball joints, control arms and etc. Each of those parts can wear down or become bent and when they do, the result can be misaligned tires. If you keep a close eye on the way your treads wear, you can often tell if there is something wrong with your suspension.

For instance, if there is outer wear on your tires and you know they’ve been consistently properly inflated, there’s probably a suspension issue.

Not taking proper care of your suspension by replacing worn or bent parts can mean you are not only eventually forking over funds for new suspension parts, but you will also need to replace your lopsided tires.

Little Wheels, Big Tires

Let’s say you just upgraded to a sweet set of 40” Super Swampers, because you live in the Northeast and mud is inevitable on the trail. A little while down the road, you have odd wear and your tires aren’t giving you the traction they used to. Most likely, this is because you did not get the right width wheels when you upsized to new tires.

Fitting the appropriate width wheels to large tires is vital to keeping them trail-ready. They are the backbone of your tires.

Of course, eventually, you will need new tires. If you avoid these mistakes, though, you can get the most out of the tires you have and keep them running healthy for many trails and trips to work to come.

Rachel Bowes is a copywriter with 4 Wheel Parts

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