Common Causes and Indicators of Tire Tread Wear

Dodge Cummins diesel trucks are among the most favored by the workforce in Alberta, and that includes a great deal of our customers in the Red Deer and Central Alberta area. These drivers clock a lot of miles on the roads over the course of a day, and that is why it is so important to keep an eye on the tire tread – particularly for anyone making frequent trips of over 50 km. A decent set of all-season tires (under normal use) should last about 100,000 kms (with a proper rotation routine) and in order to make sure they do, it is a good idea to keep an eye on your tread wear for any signs of problems. We have put together a short list of common wear indicators and causes for you, so you know what to look for the next time you check your treads.

Centered Tread Wear

If you see that your tires are worn in the center and not really anywhere else, it is an indication that your tires are most likely over-inflated. Too much pressure causes a tire’s contact patch to shrink, which means that the center of the tire is carrying the entire load. This is easy enough to correct, if you catch it early enough, by bleeding pressure from your tires until they are the right pressure. If you are uncertain of what the pressure number is, you can check your Dodge’s owner manual.

Wear On the Edges

When tires have wear patterns on both edges, it means that they are underinflated. This is just as problematic as over-inflated tires as the contact patch expands and the load is carried by the edges of the tires. Again, this is a relatively simple fix – all you need to do is add air until your tires are at the recommended pressure.

Heel/Toe Tread Wear

This kind of tread wear is caused by an out-of-spec tire alignment and results in a circumferential wear pattern on one side of the tread blocks. If you run your hand over the tread blocks, they will feel similar to saw teeth. This type of wear usually occurs by too much positive or negative toe. The solution: bring your Dodge in to have a technician align the wheels properly.

Feathered Wear on the Edges

You can tell if there is feathered wear if one side of the tire treads are worn lower on one side and higher on the other. This wear pattern is also caused by an improper alignment, usually involving too much caster or toe. As with any alignment problem, the best fix is to bring your Dodge in for a wheel alignment.

Shoulder Wear on One Side

If either outside shoulder rib of your tires is worn down far more than any other tread rib, it is an indication of an improper camber alignment. This puts a strain on the inside or outside edge of your tire and should be rectified as soon as possible by a qualified technician.

Pay Attention to Tread Wear Patterns

If you are one of those drivers who relies on their Dodge day in and day out to get the job done, it is crucial that you take the time every now and then to check the state of your tires. A quick examination of the tread wear can tell you if everything is normal, whether you need to add/decrease tire pressure, or whether you need to book an appointment and bring your truck in for an alignment. Tire wear does not mean your vehicle is ready for a cash for used cars trade-in, but you want to stay on top of this before you end up in a dangerous driving situation. Below is a picture of a front tire with the steel cords showing. This was caused by worn ball joints and steering linkage that needed replaced. You want to catch an issue like this way before it gets to this point.
Keeping an eye on your tread wear can save you an expensive fix if you catch a problem early, and also save unnecessary wear on your tires so they will last as long as they should. If you are unsure, bring your vehicle in to XL Mechanical and we can look at them for you.

Tom Zelinka has been an Alberta Journeyman Automotive Mechanic and Interprovincial Red Seal since 1978. In 1981 he then received his Alberta Journeyman Heavy Duty Mechanic Certificate and Interprovincial Red Seal. He has received Certificates for:  Cummins engine certification on N855/N14/M11 Engines, Cummins B/C/ ISB Series Engines, Cummins B/C/ISB Series Engine Fuel Systems, and Cummins B/C/ISB Series Electronic Engine Controls.

Interprovincial CFC/HCFC/HFC certification, Alberta Liquid Petroleum Gas Certification, Alberta Certified Advanced Mobile Hydraulics, Alberta Certified Diesel Engine Control Systems.

As the technology and models change, Tom continues to stay on top of the industry to be sure that you are receiving superior service for your Dodge Cummins diesel truck.

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