penny test

Having Your Tires Inspected at an Independent Auto Repair Shop

The condition of your tires is paramount to the safety of your vehicle. An independent auto repair shop can inspect your tires to ensure you’re safe on the road.

Tires are the only part of the vehicle that has direct contact with the road which means they have a significant impact on braking, safety, handling, and overall ride. To maximize performance, tires must show no signs of physical damage, be properly inflated and balanced, and maintain an adequate tread depth. An independent auto repair shop can help properly maintain them through regular rotation, periodic inspection, proper inflation, and wheel alignment.

Tire problems while driving

There are two primary tire issues to look for when while driving:

Pulling to One Side

While driving at a consistent speed, a pull of the steering wheel to one side could indicate a damaged or underinflated tire on the ‘pulling’ side of the vehicle. This issue could also be caused by a wheel alignment issue or brake system problem, all of which should be inspected by an auto repair shop.


Atypical vibrations or thumping sounds could be caused by an out-of-balance tire, one with a bald or flat spot in the tread. This issue is caused by locking the wheels in a panic stop or by a separated belt on a tire.

Tire problems during an inspection

An independent auto repair shop will look for the following tire problems during an inspection:


Bubbling on the sidewall or tread is indicative of an internal tire belt being separated from the others around it. A new tire is immediately required once discovered during a routine inspection.

Erratic tread wear

Caused by a wheel out of balance, alternating high and low spots across the tread (known as cupping) are often a sign of the need to replace worn suspension components or worn shock absorbers.


Filling your tires with too much air causes the outer edges to contact the road. This results in an increase in wear on the edges of the tire tread and less wear in the center, which is the area that was made for direct road contact.

Sidewall cuts

Impact with curbs and road debris can damage the tire’s sidewalls. Cosmetic damage, unless accompanied by a bubble, can sometimes be ignored. However, if the cords of the tire become exposed, bring the vehicle to an auto repair shop immediately to replace the tire.

Under inflation

The exact opposite of over-inflation can also cause tire issues. Underinflation will cause the outer edges of the tire to contact the road. Underinflation causes wear on both edges of the tire and less wear in the center.

Wearing along the edge

When you have worn suspension components or a wheel alignment issue you will see wear on the edges of the tire tread.

Tire Tread Depth

Enough tread depth is required for traction and to disperse water on slippery roads. You can simply measure tread depth using an inexpensive gauge at any independent auto repair shop. Also, the quarter or penny test is enough. Take a coin and insert it into a tread groove with the top of the president’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires are acceptable for use.

With any repair, try to always plan for vehicle serviced at an independent auto repair shop by finding a place with which you feel comfortable. With countless options, they can perform regular maintenance and repair to ensure you maximize the life expectancy of your tires.

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