tire tread wear

Rough Road and Treadwear

When you are faced with a difficult task, it’s not uncommon that someone might say you have a “rough road ahead.” Because whatever it may be, it will have an effect on you. When you are driving, signs exist on the sides of roads everywhere to let you know to be cautious, since the road may end up affecting your car and how it functions. And if not your car, the road might negatively impact your tires and their tread.

Though there have been massive improvements in the construction of tires, they still have to go up against a worthy opponent every day from drive to park. One thing that affects the way a tire’s tread wears down is how the contact patch reacts to the road it meets. All that really means is that when the rubber hits the road, the road hits back.

I could go into the coefficients of friction, but I won’t because this isn’t some boring freshman physics class where you fall asleep while reading. Also because I’m not smart enough. The truth is, traveling on rocky, gravelly, or rough pavement can work your tires like a cheese grater. Driving on rough roads will inevitably wear down your tread faster than driving on smooth pavement. And it’s not just the pavement, necessarily — grades and inclines and twists and turns can also be rough on your rubber, since they require your tires to ride on their edges a bit.

But, let’s not forget that rough pavement isn’t the primary reason for premature tire wear. Many factors contribute to treadwear, including improper rotation, low air pressure, neglected wheel alignment, and exposure to the elements.

Your driving habits are completely different from those of another person. And because of that, how you drive can dictate how long your tires will last. That’s why tire manufacturers do research to produce the best all-season tires possible. As the seasons change, so does your tire pressure. And low tire pressure is one of the major reasons that tires wear quickly or unevenly. The right tire pressure can help make your tread last longer. Proper inflation optimizes acceleration and speed, braking and stopping, and the distribution of vehicle load.

To help make your tread last as long as possible, you should know what the best all-season tire is for your vehicle, pay attention to your driving habits and the terrain you drive on, and take proper care of your tires (pressure, rotation, alignment, etc.). And when you see “Rough Road Ahead” signs, you can feel good that you’re going to be just fine when the rough times soon come to an end.