Tire Wear problems & how to reduce the chances. Tire wear patterns, such as scuffing, cupping & outside shoulder wear, often indicates a larger problem with the vehicle's chassis components says Terry Hawkins, alignment specialist.
The 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's chassis components, reports Terry Hawkins, alignment specialist and senior instructor with Moog Automotive.
"The cause of uneven tire wear can be as simple as under inflation or over inflation," says Hawkins, "but it also can
result from loose parts such as shocks, struts, ball joints, steering linkage or from weak springs."
As a precaution against tire failure -- the No. 1 cause of highway breakdowns -- Hawkins recommends checking tires
regularly for the following conditions:
Can be caused by under-inflation or hard cornering. 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.
Center tread wear:
Usually indicates over-inflation. Over inflation results when a vehicle owner tries to compensate for a slow leak by over
inflating the tire to make it stay up longer.
Can be caused by an unbalanced tire condition, faulty wheel bearings, loose parts, fatigued springs or weak shock
Check the condition of the shock by forcefully bouncing the front end of the car several times and releasing it on the
down stroke. Failure of the vehicle to settle after two strokes suggests worn shocks or struts.
Camber or toe wear:
Indicates misalignment due to loose, worn or bent steering linkage components. Many camber and toe wear problems can be
traced to spring fatigue, which causes the vehicle's frame to ride closer to the road.
Once the vehicle is below the manufacturer's height specifications, it is not possible to achieve the correct camber
change designed into the suspension without replacing the springs.
The vehicle also experiences excessive toe change as the suspension travels through jounce and rebound, again causing
abnormal tire wear.
Diagonal scuffing and cupping:
Across the face on rear tires signals problems with toe. Diagonal tread wear or cupping on rear tires is caused when the
direction the vehicle's wheels are heading is not in line with the geometric center line of the vehicle.
When this condition occurs, front-wheel steering can be affected and lead to tire slip or loss of traction or control.
Note: The wear pattern that develops on rear tires from improper toe will vary depending on tread design. Wear patterns
from rear-wheel misalignment may resemble cupping on tires with highway tread design and diagonal scuffing on tires with
an all season tread pattern.