Can you read tire tread damage?

Deciphering the harm can help prevent avoidable conditions


Flat spot -- This is localized wear of the size of the ground patch. It is caused by excessively sharp braking and by locking up of the brakes, which can result from incorrect brake adjustment or defective brakes.

To stop flat spotting, brakes and braking systems should be checked for proper operation and corrected where necessary. Drivers should be advised to avoid unnecessary harsh braking.

Tread break up -- Breaks in the casing are caused by sudden sharp deformation of the tire, usually by driving over an angular object at a high speed. This condition is exacerbated by overinflation and overloading.

The way to prevent break up of the tread is to advise drivers to avoid sharp obstacles, and if they can’t be avoided, to be passed over slowly. As always, tire pressure should be adjusted to the load situation.

For the longest tire life and performance, it is critical to regularly check tire inflation and conduct external inspections of all tires. Understanding what tire damage signifies and how it can be corrected goes a long way to maintaining vehicle performance and uptime.

Continental Tire the Americas (CTA) develops and manufactures tires for the automotive industry, as well as pneumatic, solid and multi-purpose industrial tires. Formerly known as Continental Tire North America, the Fort Mill, SC-based company serves original equipment and replacement tire markets. A number of its truck tires have been certified by the U.S. EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership as verified fuel-savings technologies. Continental also participates in the SmartWay Transport Partnership as a shipper partner, committing to reduce its environmental impacts from ground freight transportation. CTA is the North American subsidiary of Germany-based tire and component manufacturer Continental AG, which makes rubber products and tires for cars, light and heavy duty trucks, motorhomes, commercial vehicles, SUVs and industrial vehicles (such as forklifts, small wheel loaders and airport ground support equipment). Tire brand names include Continental, General, AmeriSteel, Uniroyal, Semperit and Barum. Its automotive division also manufactures parts for chassis and safety, powertrain, interior, telematics, instrumentation and sensors.

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