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Victoria Car & Vehicle Maintenance - Tires & Wheels - Causes of Tire Wear Problems



Tire wear patterns, such as scuffing, cupping and outside shoulder wear, often are an indication of a larger problem with a vehicle. Often, the uneven tire wear is simply due to tire under-inflation or over-inflation. Sometimes, though, it can be the result from loose parts such as shocks, struts, ball joints, steering linkage or from weak springs. Many shredded rubber tires seen along highways are the result of either under inflated tires, running too long and too hot, or from severe misalignment.

You should heck your tires regularly for any of the following:

  • Shoulder wear, at the edges of the tires, often caused by under-inflation or hard cornering.

  • Center tread wear, generally indicates tire over-inflation. Often a vehicle owner tries to compensate for a slow leak by over-inflating the tire to increase time between re-inflations.

  • Cupping or Scalloping indicates uneven wear around the tire, typically from the car bouncing excessively on the road (washboards on highways are the counterpart that happens to the roadway). It is typically caused by an unbalanced tire condition, faulty wheel bearings, loose parts, fatigued springs or weak shock absorbers. See shock absorbers.

  • Camber or toe wear, where one side of the "lugs" in the tread (the front or back of the lug) wears more than the other. Often caused by misalignment due to loose, worn or bent steering linkage components, or spring fatigue, this causes the vehicle's frame to ride closer to the road.

  • Diagonal scuffing and cupping across the face on rear tires signals real wheel alignment problems, because the direction the vehicle's wheels are heading is not parallel to the car's path.

      Photos of these tire wear conditions (KAL tire)

      Once a particular wear pattern develops, it will continue for the life of the tire, and the replacements.unless the cause of the problem is not repaired.

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