How to Repair Tire Wear Problems

A vehicle tire wear pattern is subject to the condition of the suspension, air pressure, alignment, balance of the tire and the ability of the shocks or struts to hold the tire steady when the tire is in motion.

Tire Maintenance Helps

There are two aspects to the tire which help the performance and life expectancy which are, balance and inflation. Once a new tire has been run for a while signs of irregular wear can begin to show up such as flat spots, cupping or extreme wear on one or both sides of the tire. It is the responsibility of the vehicle operator to inspect tire conditions such as punctures, cuts and embedded sharp objects like screws, nails, broken glass and metal. The depth of the tread should be inspected at each service interval and be replaced once the wear bars have been exposed.

Tire Pressure

Tires are designed to run on a specific amount of air pressure according to the manufacturers recommendations which is motioned on the tire sidewall. Using a tire air pressure gauge with compressed air to increase pressure, or allow air to escape to decrease pressure, correct air pressure is essential for proper vehicle operation and will improve mileage (range) and help performance as well.

Tire Rotation

Due to the nature of the vehicle the front tires will wear differently than the rear, for this a tire rotation is recommended every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. Rotation patterns have varied in the past but traditionally front to rear is best while keeping the tire on the same side of the vehicle, never changing the direction a tire rotates, this can cause it to come apart and have integrity issues.

What Are Tire Wear Patterns Telling You?

If a tire is run under inflated, it will cause the sidewall to overwork itself resulting in tire failure, under inflation can also cause the outside portion of the tread to wear prematurely and hurt gas mileage by increasing the vehicle's rolling resistance.
under inflated tire

Tire alignment does more then keep your vehicle from pulling to the left or right, it helps the tire track correctly while holding the weight of the vehicle. When a tire alignment is out of specification, or the vehicle has a worn steering component such a tie rod end, or a failed suspension part such as an upper control arm, it can cause the tire to wear out prematurely due to the scuffing or feathering action as in the example below.
tire scuffing

When a tire has been run over inflated, the center of the tread will wear out prematurely and the vehicle will have a more rigid feel to the ride, this is a less offensive problem but still requires the tire to be replaced.
tire over inflated

Tire cupping is caused by a tire being out of balance, or a worn strut or shock which allows the tire to bounce which produces this uneven tread pattern. Before the tires are replaced this issue should be addressed by replacing the struts or shocks and ensuring correct tire balance.


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