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As I noted elsewhere, I made my annual pilgrimage to Spring Mountain last week. Prior to the trip, I checked my front tires for wear. I had replaced the rears last March after some non-repairable punctures. Let me start by saying that I do not often make mistakes, but I do sometimes have the opportunity to look back and observe sub-optimal judgement on my part.

First less-than-best decision: I still have not purchased a low-profile jack, so I cannot lift my Grand Sport and get a complete look at my tires. What I was able to do was to reach in with my digital calipers and measure the tread depth of the center groove. At 5/32", I judged this to be sufficient for my road trip.

Second less-than-best decision: So, OK, now I have a really good idea of how much negative camber is baked into to my stock alignment setup. The inside edges were worn well past that level.

Third decision that on reflection, I might have chosen differently: Starting out from Pahrump, NV after the last day of classes, I thought that with some effort, I could make it as far as Winslow, AZ for my first stop coming home. No real problem there, except that 5 1/2 hour drive, starting late in the afternoon, had me driving till 10pm.

So, as I am driving East on I-40 well after sundown, by myself, and at this point 32k miles on my original 30k mile tires, I heard a whooshing sound, which continued as I changed lanes, so it wasn't wind noise. I also heard some particles hitting the underside of my car, sort of like when you pass a road construction zone and some loose pieces of gravel get thrown up as you run over them. Odd.

When I was about 20 miles from my hotel, I got a dashboard message that my right front tire had less than 20psi pressure. In fact, as I continued on, it got down to 4psi when I reached my hotel.

Checked into the hotel and got my overnight things from the car. Felt around the exposed tread and looked with my cell phone flashlight for damage. Everything looked fine. In my room, I located the closest Discount Tire store. In Flagstaff, 60 miles West of my location. Searched for the closest Chevy dealership, and found one about an hour South of Flagstaff. Went to bed wondering what the next day held for me.

As it turned out, everything worked out fine. Drove to Flagstaff, kinda afraid to exceed 60mph with no air pressure in the right front. (Speed limit is 75 there. After the semis went by, I was passed by the Class A motor homes towing pickup trucks.) At the Discount Tire store, they found that they had one tire in my 285/30-R19 size, a Pirelli P-Zero. Further, they confirmed that the other Discount Tire store in Flagstaff, 5 miles away, also had a Pirelli. So, I waited in line at each store and drove away with new front tires, which got me home with no problems. These were not zero-pressure tires, so not what I was really wanting, but I was glad to get back on the road with just a few hours' delay.

The Monday after I got home, I went to my local Discount Tire store and told them I wanted to exchange the Pirellis for Michelin Pilot Super Sports. They said no problem, and charged me the difference in price ($62) plus $21 for mounting and balancing. Gave me full price back on the Pirellis. Really hard to beat the service that Discount Tire offers.

My advice is to not start out on a long road trip close to the end of life for your tires. That seems self-evident now that I say it, but I came really close to having a less adventurous trip than I did. Good to know that the steel belts are long wearing, even after the rubber has shed itself from the carcass. 馃榾
 

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You had me literally laughing out loud! Great write up. And I understand as I drive 50 miles watching my psi go from 35 to 0 for the last ten miles into brown wood Texas after the 2018 big bend race.

Glad you made it home ok.
 

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Thanks for sharing the back story and outcome white_out! That really was excellent customer service from Discount Tire.
 

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Well, you squeezed every mile out of that one...
 

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Yikes johnu o_O That is truly pushing your luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There was "skin" on it when I left the house! The winding roads north of Phoenix ground it off! ;)
That's really the issue, isn't it? There is no reliable way to determine how much rubber is left on those inside edges until you begin to see the cords. Maybe a weak magnet, like a refrigerator magnet would be of use.
 

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That's really the issue, isn't it? There is no reliable way to determine how much rubber is left on those inside edges until you begin to see the cords. Maybe a weak magnet, like a refrigerator magnet would be of use.
Personal preference, but from a safety/handling point of view, I would not want to drive with my tire tread getting that thin.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Personal preference, but from a safety/handling point of view, I would not want to drive with my tire tread getting that thin.
I understand, but there is no way to accurately measure the tread along those inside edges, is there?
 

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I understand, but there is no way to accurately measure the tread along those inside edges, is there?
I would think if your turned the wheels so they were rotated for example, a hard left turn, you should be able to see how the tire treads are wearing. Fortunately RedHot wears uniformly across the tread surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would think if your turned the wheels so they were rotated for example, a hard left turn, you should be able to see how the tire treads are wearing. Fortunately RedHot wears uniformly across the tread surface.
You make a good point there, and I think I will add it to my list of things I might have done differently before my trip. :D

I certainly could have gotten a better look at the general wear pattern. However, there is still no way to measure the thickness of the remaining tread with wear patterns that johnu and I have experienced. I will start looking more closely around 30k miles from now, in any case. Also, I will make every effort to take turns really hard, to balance out the wear on the outside edges. Another option is to have the tires flipped on the rims after 15 to 20k miles, since they are non-directional.
 

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You make a good point there, and I think I will add it to my list of things I might have done differently before my trip. :D

I certainly could have gotten a better look at the general wear pattern. However, there is still no way to measure the thickness of the remaining tread with wear patterns that johnu and I have experienced. I will start looking more closely around 30k miles from now, in any case. Also, I will make every effort to take turns really hard, to balance out the wear on the outside edges. Another option is to have the tires flipped on the rims after 15 to 20k miles, since they are non-directional.
Non-directional means a tire can be installed either on the right or left sides of the car.

However, that does not mean the tire can be flipped on the rims.

In fact, I am quite sure that the tread pattern does not have a plane of symmetry. As such, those tires have a clearly defined "outside" and "inside" if I remember correctly. Therefore, they should not be flipped on the rims.

Take care,

-Rodney
 

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Oh, for what it is worth, I get my wife to drive our vehicles in a parking lot making turns so I can see the inside edges of each of the front tires. For the rear tires, I have her to drive forward slowly while I bend over behind the car and watch as the wheels travel out at least one complete revolution. Also, once a year when a vehicle is up in the air anyway for an oil change, I inspect the hard-to-see parts of each tire.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Non-directional means a tire can be installed either on the right or left sides of the car.

However, that does not mean the tire can be flipped on the rims.

In fact, I am quite sure that the tread pattern does not have a plane of symmetry. As such, those tires have a clearly defined "outside" and "inside" if I remember correctly. Therefore, they should not be flipped on the rims.

Take care,

-Rodney
You are absolutely right about that, Rodney. I don't know what I was thinking there, if at all. :unsure:
 

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Would a tire measure gauge not work to see tread depth across the pattern? I measure inside and outside tread depth every few months.
 

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I have 2017 Z06 7MT.
At 21,000 miles, my front passenger side tire lost all pressure.
The outside tread looked fine, but when I peeked under the car, the inside edge of both front tires were shredded!
Cords exposed.
Didn鈥檛 consider the negative camber would keep the outside tread looking fine, and destroy the inside edge...


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Didn鈥檛 consider the negative camber would keep the outside tread looking fine, and destroy the inside edge...


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Exactly, The published GM alignment specs at the time were track numbers not street numbers.
My car was heading into 6 months storage the next day the cords exposed themselves, so I waited to mount new rubber after it's slumber ended. I also had an alignment done with less camber.
 

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Exactly, The published GM alignment specs at the time were track numbers not street numbers.
My car was heading into 6 months storage the next day the cords exposed themselves, so I waited to mount new rubber after it's slumber ended. I also had an alignment done with less camber.
When I had the new tires mounted, the service advisor at the dealer said they could only realign the front to manufacturer specs.
Where did you go to change the alignment?


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