+38 067 329 26 26
Contact us
Write to us
  • UAH
  • EUR

How to determine tire wear? Signs of tire wear

Not all owners take into account the wear of car tires. Such inattention can turn into serious problems. It is very risky to save on tires, not only during their selection but also during use. Some imperfections in fresh tires, or the level of wear on old ones, can be compared to a slow-release bomb. It is noteworthy that individual critical flaws are not detected in any way during the ride. Still, at a specific moment, they can be the reason for a significant accident.

You should never forget that rubber is an everyday consumable with its own limited resource. Often, due to excessive loads and high wear and tear, it "dies" ahead of time, and the sooner you notice the signs of a fatal "disease", the better. So let's find out the tread pattern on the car, what affects the tire wear, and when urgent replacement of tires is required.

Why consider rubber wear?

It is essential to consider the wear of rubber, as it affects the safety of movement, the serviceability of the vehicle as a whole, and its individual components. There are several arguments:

  1. To find out about the malfunctions that appear due to tire wear. For example, rubber stains indicate that the wheels are out of balance.
  2. For a safe ride. The deeper the tread on the tires, the better and easier it is to control the vehicle. It also improves the removal of dirt and water, traction on the road surface. With wear, the braking distance increases several times.
  3. To avoid fines. According to traffic rules, you will have to pay a fine for worn-out tires.

Duration of use of rubber for cars

Car tires have their own lifespan. It depends on the type of tires, seasonality, used trucks, or cars.

It is worth remembering! Tires on trucks should be changed when worn by one mm, and on buses - when they are worn out by 2 mm of rubber.

Summer tires

For summer tires of passenger cars, wear of one and a half mm is allowed. With an indicator of 1.6 mm, replacement is already required.

The service life of car tires reaches 5 years. However, some manufacturers say that it is permissible to operate for 10 years.

Winter tires

Winter tires have a relief tread, the depth of abrasion is greater. When driving in the cold season, the allowable wear is 4 mm.

The duration of service should not exceed 5 years. Sometimes manufacturers give a warranty for a more extended period - up to 10 years.

Important! You shouldn't ride for more than 5 years. Whenever possible, the tires on the car should be changed regularly. After 5 years, it is recommended that a specialist check the rubber on the vehicle every six months.

What makes tires wear out faster

Some factors lead to faster tire wear. Among them are the following:

  1. Improper storage. It is unacceptable to keep the rubber in a dry and stuffy place, in direct sunlight, near hazardous chemicals, as well as metals that are too susceptible to corrosive processes. The position of the tires is also important: suspended for tires with rims and mounted on edge without rims.
  2. Incorrect cylinder pressure. The load on the tires will immediately be uneven, which will reduce the contact of the tread pattern with the particular road. Accordingly, the tread pattern of the tire will wear off much more actively.
  3. Aggressive driving. This includes driving at high speeds, sharp cornering, braking.
  4. The quality of the roads. If the road surface has bumps and pits, then there are frequent rubber blows, which leads to rapid abrasion of the tire tread pattern.
  5. Regular overloading of the machine. For example, an overfilled trunk (shifts the center of gravity), systemic transportation of heavy loads (disable shock absorbers).

How and why tires can wear out

Better to buy new tires. If you plan to buy used, you need to be guided not only by words but also take into account the wear of the car tires. It will be able to determine the condition of rubber from different manufacturers.


It is evidence of proper storage, correct operation of the machine without overloading.


We indicate that the tires have been inflated. In other words, the contact patch was precisely in the center, so the tread pattern was erased in that place. It is often observed on winter tires. The reason is the temperature difference.


Here the pressure in the rubber cylinders was below the required one. As a result, the tires rested on the outer ribs in contact with the road surface, and there the tread pattern was erased.


Usually, appear on rubber if the geometry of the axles was violated or deformed discs were used. Also, one-sided wear on the inside can be observed due to the negative camber and outside due to the positive camber.


Indicates improper wheel balancing. Sometimes the problem is more profound - in the faulty condition of the levers or shock absorbers.

One axle on each pair of tires differently

Mostly appear on rubber, where the cylinders are from different batches. You can check by the date of manufacture. Another reason is wheel alignment.


The reason for the appearance of the rubber is systematic driving on a poor-quality road tread. Usually seen on tires that have a block-type tread.

Herniated tires (bulging)

This is an indicator that a poor-quality cord is being used in the wheel. Because of this, under strong shock loads, the tire loses strength since the cord threads simply break.

Sidewall cracks

This could be caused by hitting a pothole or curb. The problem occurs when there is insufficient protection, for example, due to insufficient or excessive pressure. Large cracks indicate long-term operation with the wrong volume of pressure.

Dents in the rubber

The reason is a malfunction of the vehicle's suspension, as it does not cushion shocks. Accordingly, the tire takes them over.

A diagonal dent with tread wear signs

The problem occurs on the rear wheels, especially on a front-wheel-drive vehicle. The reason is incorrectly set camber, insufficient interval rotation, transportation of heavy loads.

Convex wear

It is important to check the health of the ball joints. Also, the problem may be with the wheel bearing.

Flat wear spots

They are an indicator of forced hard braking. They can also appear when skidding or trying to steer from a blow.

Wear on the leading edge of the tread

It is considered the most common type of tire wear - a front edge. It indicates insufficient wheel rotation. The solution to the problem is to check the performance and correctness of the car in the technical center.

Tire wear to indicator

It is considered a standard option. Wheel wear up to the indicator on the tread indicates the need to replace the tires with new ones.

In general, all this indicates that sometimes even a visual assessment of the condition of the tires is sufficient to obtain valuable information about the correct operation of your vehicle. Additionally, you can conduct a deeper analysis. Thanks to this, it will be possible to avoid unpleasant situations on the road, restore the regular and full-fledged operation of the car, and figure out and remember when to change tires for safety while driving.

Methods for detecting rubber wear

Five critical criteria indicate when rubber is worn out. If there are at least two, it is worth replacing the wheels.

Tire development

The most common event that actively exploited rubber is exposed to is tread wear. Following the road rules, the minimum height on summer tires of passenger cars must be at least 1.6 mm. It should be noted that initially, this parameter is 7.5 - 8.5 mm. In fresh winter tires, the tread depth ranges from 9 to 15 mm, and the minimum acceptable value is 4 mm.

It is also worth taking into account that tires are often subject to uneven wear, therefore, measuring the tread height is required along the entire length of the pattern, and this must be done by specialists using special devices. When your rubber has the above indicators less than the standard, then we recommend getting rid of it as soon as possible.

Naked cord

It should be noted that a breaker is placed between the tread of the tire and its base, which consists of a multilayer cord. When it becomes noticeable through the wear on an old tire, this indicates the maximum level of rubber production, which means it is time to change it. On a new version, a cord from some severe damage can also appear. In both situations, further use of the tire is hazardous because a defective belt will provoke deformation and slow delamination of the entire tread.


Any damage to the base of the splint from the inside can cause a hernia. As a rule, it begins to form from powerful impacts of wheels on potholes, bumps, and curbs. However, sometimes this happens due to industrial defects, under the influence of which the destruction of the frame began. At the same time, the presence of a hernia indicates a gradual transition of air from the inner part to the tire carcass, which can always result in instantaneous rupture.


As a rule, such defects appear on worn-out tires when driving over potholes and bumps. Even when they are small and not very deep, this is the first bell for replacing the rubber. Under the influence of various circumstances, they gradually increase and get to the cord. As a result, rust acts on the breaker layer, and subsequent delamination occurs. Therefore, every crack indicates the need for an immediate tire replacement.

Production rate

Increasingly, tire manufacturers equip their own products with a unique wear indicator. It comes in various forms. Most often, the conversation is about a small transverse rubber strip, which has a height of 1.5 mm and is located in the groove of the tread itself. After the tread depth is one level with it, you should immediately change the tire. In most cases, the presence of the indicator is marked on the side of the tire using the TWI letter symbols, a triangle sign, or using a different logo.

Hmin is the maximum permissible height, which differs depending on the type of tire - summer or winter:

  • for summer, the value does not exceed 1.6-2 mm;
  • And for winter - 4 mm.

The actual minimum height will be within these limits.

Tire wear indicator

It can be located at the bottom of the grooves, on the sidewalls, on the tread blocks. Given the location of the indicator, how tires wear can be shown in different ways. Also, the indicator can be of different types:

  • colored marks - can be erased (if disappears, wear is maximum), buried (appears at maximum wear);
  • tubercle - it can be found in the depth of the groove (for summer tires, it reaches 1.6 mm in height, for winter tires - along with the size of the studs), and when the tubercle is compared with it, a tire replacement is needed;
  • Digital markers - the principle of operation is similar to the colored ones, but the operation of figures showing how much tread depth remains (suitable for those who often travel long distances to determine the time to change the rubber between the axles).

The easiest way to determine the mark's location is by the triangle, which is located on the sidewall. It clearly demonstrates where to look for an indicator on the tread.

Recommendations for self-measuring tread

There is nothing complicated in measuring the tread. It is necessary to determine the value from one axis using a ruler with a depth gauge or a vernier caliper. If there are no such instruments, an ordinary coin will do, but then the measurements will not be accurate.

The tread height or depth should be measured at 6 different points as a minimum. Ideally, measurements are taken at 12 or at least 9 points along the entire circumference of the rubber. Although with proper operation, the values should be the same everywhere, the opposite indicates uneven wear.

Keep in mind that measurements must be taken on both tires at once. For further calculations, it is the minimum that is applied for the main one.

The formula for calculating wear

When figuring out how to determine tire wear, you should use the formula:

To determine the balance as a percentage, subtract Z from 100. This is an optional step in the calculation. However, it is required for convenience and an easier understanding of how much more you can ride on a unique rubber.

It is not always clear where to look for the tread height of a new tire. Therefore, it is better to stick to the values of the averaged form from the notable series Hn:

  • nine mm for winter tires with an asymmetric or classic pattern;
  • ten mm for winter tires, complemented by a Scandinavian type pattern
  • seven mm for winter tires, whose tread resembles summer tires (they are called high-speed tires)
  • eight mm for summer tires with increased resistance to moisture and slip (rain models), and the pattern of the classic type
  • Seven mm for summer tires, also called speed tires.

Based on the results of calculations, we find that with a balance of 58%, it is already recommended to perform a replacement. But if there is 16% left, then this is a critical value. It says that driving is categorically unacceptable and new tires are required. Remember that wiping rubber to 0% is life-threatening. In practice, this practice fails, but it is better to exclude all attempts to achieve this and adhere to the rules of traffic rules, as well as take care of your own and the safety of passengers when driving a car.


Remember that wear and tear will occur much faster if you misuse your tires, which means you will spend more money on regular tire changes. Consider what affects tire wear, look for reasons, find a way to prevent this, and bring everything back to normal. Or just give preference to vehicle rental. In this case, a company specializing in car rental will take care of everything. It is offered to rent a car on favorable terms, and the trip will be as comfortable as possible. You can go on a trip to Ukraine, use the vehicle for work or for other personal purposes.

Ask questions in InstagramAsk questions in TelegramAsk questions in Viber