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Series Land Rover - Tyre Problem Diagnosis (Part 2)

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The Dec/Jan 2015/16 home page looked at correct inflation, under-inflation, over-inflation, toe-in, mechanical problems and tread wear patterns. It was mainly concerned with problems associated with the front wheels. This month we are looking at additional issues that can play a significant role in tyre wear on all four wheels, not just those that are steered..

Driving Styles
Strong braking and acceleration can remove rubber from the tyre treads until a bare flat patch is produced. Rapid acceleration is not a built-in feature of Series Land Rovers, but if you have fitted a powerful V8 then this could become a concern.

Excessive speed
This problem is usually seen in vehicles that do a lot of motorway driving. But for any Series Land Rover which has the original specification engine fitted, speeding will not be a problem! If however, a more powerful engine has been fitted, then motorway driving at speed, over time, may cause cracking of the tread pattern.
It is worth noting that tyres can wear upto 3 times faster at 70mph then at 30mph. It should be emphasised though, that although wear increases with higher speeds, motorway cruising results in less wear to tyres than journeys involving more braking and acceleration.

Fast cornering
Hardly likely to be a problem for an original specification Series Land Rover. But, if it should be possible, then the tyre will roll as well as skid across the road. Much of the vehicle's weight is then transferred to the outside wheels. This results in a diagonal type of wear on the tyre tread that rounds the outside tyre shoulder; similar to the effect of incorrect wheel alignment or wrong camber angle. Even a small increase in cornering speed can raise tread wear significantly.

Environment
Poor road surfaces increase the rate of tyre wear, so does the weather. Tyres wear quicker in extremes of heat or cold. However, wet roads will cool the tyres and reduce friction between the tread and the road, so wear is also reduced.
Offroad driving of course greatly increases the stress on tyres and it is a wiser and safer driver who drives with tyre care in mind. Afterall, you are unlikely to get to where you want to go (and back!) without a full set of tyres.

Suspension
If heavy shoulder wear is seen on the tyres, together with scooped out patches in the tread, then the shock absorbers may need replacing; they are allowing the wheels to flutter on the road surface as they roll forwards. The heavy duty leaf springs on Series Land Rovers prevent the testing of shock absorbers by the wing bouncing test used on cars. The shock absorbers need to be removed and tested by stretching and compressing them manually.

Unbalanced wheels
These can cause unnecessary tyre wear - witnessed by irregular worn patches. Unbalanced wheels can also affect the steering and suspension. Some tyre specialists will balance wheels automatically after repairing a puncture. Make sure that wheels are balanced after a tyre has been removed or a new one fitted.

Wheel bearings
Worn wheel bearings will cause the wheels to rock slightly from side to side throughout their rotation. This can lead to an irregular pattern of tread wear across the tyre.

Unbalanced brakes
If the brakes are unbalanced to the extent that one wheel can lock under heavy braking, then flat areas on the tread may result from the tread being dragged along the road.
It is also possible that under repeated excessive braking the brake drum can distort. This can then cause flat areas on opposite sides of the same tyre due to a high spot on each side of the drum catching on the brake shoes and causing the tyre to be periodically dragged on the road.

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