Car tires are not cheap, so when you get them, it’s important to make sure they last as long as possible. Learning how to read uneven tire wear can help you identify a rubber munching problem before it destroys a new tire. Here’s what you need to know about reading tire wear.
If your tires are under inflated for an extended period of time, the outer portion of the tire will come into more contact with the road than it is intended to — leading to premature wear. Under inflated tires will have greater wear on the outside of the tread.
An overinflated tire will show up as a worn down center. High pressure causes the center of the tire to bulge out further than the rest of the tire, hence the wear.
When the edge of each tread rib becomes slightly rounded on one side and edged on the other, this is known as feathering. This typically happens when there’s too much toe-in, which can be fixed through alignment. Worn suspension components can also be the problem in this case.
One-Sided Tire Wear
If you look at your tire and either the inner or outer tread is wearing faster, it’s almost always because there’s too much camber in the suspension. This problem is caused from misalignment due to worn ball-joints, or control arms, weak springs, or overloaded axles.
Cupping may also be called scalloping and it happens around the edges of the tread. It happens when the tire is wobbling on the rim or the wheel is wobbling on the axle. This is due to extremely worn shocks, springs, ball joints, control arm, and may also be from improper wheel balancing.
Pay close attention to your tires to catch these wear patterns early. It’s important not only for your tires, but you might have a much bigger problem in the suspension that needs to be addressed immediately.