5 Most Common Reasons for Uneven Tire Wear

Among all the parts of a car, tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle. It is crucial to check the tires regularly to determine how they are holding up, to find any issues and fix them if necessary. The unevenness in your tire tread can pose danger to your safety on the road. You need to substitute unevenly used tires with new ones. It is important to understand various patterns of tire wear for understanding what is going on with your car. Also, it is necessary to determine what aspects are causing the uneven tire wear and whether you need to replace your tires or not. This can help you in analyzing and preventing uneven tire wear, which also prevents you from any danger while driving.

Reasons for uneven tire wear

The main reasons why the tire wear becomes uneven are due to unbalanced wheels, bent or broken wheels (rims), improper inflation of the tire, and bad misalignment.

1. Unbalanced wheels:

This kind of uneven tire wear happens when your wheels are not properly balanced by the mechanic who replaces your tires. Any unbalance can cause vibrations at certain speeds. Unbalanced wheels may bounce all over or wobble from side to side as you turn. The solution to this problem is to have an expert statically and progressively balance your wheels in an accurate manner. Ignoring this problem can pose danger to your driving and most certainly cause uneven tire wear.

2. Damaged or bent wheels: 

The typical driving annoyances such as potholes and bad roads, in general, may twist the edge of the wheel that is made of steel or alloy. It may make break the structure in the wheel. This may cause vibrations as the wheels turn, bringing about unpredictable tire wear. The solution is that you need to get the wheel examined by a professional. This will let you know whether this is the reason for your sporadic wear on the tire or not. If you take a hard hit to the wheels, just have your wheels examined anyway, the uneven tire wear is the least of your worries.

3. Improper inflation/tire pressure:

Tires that are under-inflated or over-inflated can cause sporadic wear of tire tread over the width of the tire track. If your tires indicate that there is more wear in the center point of the tire this is a sign of over-inflation. If the tread is heavily worn at both sides of the tire, this is a clear sign of under-inflation. Underinflation of the tires also causes higher fuel consumption and over-inflation causes lesser road stability. This is a key skill every motorist should know, learn to check your tire pressure!

Appropriate inflation as per manufacturers’ suggestions will keep the sporadic tire wear from proceeding. You can discover the weight proposals of the tire in the user manual of the car or on a sticker located on the driver’s side door frame. The most ideal approach or solution is to check the pressures of all tires once every month.

4. Bad wheel alignment:

The wheels of your vehicle are appended by an intricate suspension framework with various interconnected parts making sure your ride is smooth and safe. Every kind of change that happens to the suspension requires a new optical wheel alignment. Even though this is an additional cost it might actually save you money in the long term. Proper optical alignment also insures your car drives the way it should drive, safely and precisely.

5. Worn out suspension:

Worn-out suspension can also cause an unusual tire wear pattern across the whole tread surface. This causes your car to “bounce” on every road bump which puts pressure on your tires. The “bouncing” causes your tires to wear in a specific pattern which you can see in the picture below.

tread wear infographic
A great infographic by Tirediscounters. Check them out here.

How to prevent uneven tire wear?

Preventing uneven tire wear is the key to making sure your tires serve you as long as they should. Keep in mind that fixing the above-listed causes for uneven tire wear is almost always cheaper than buying new tires. This is especially true for bigger or specific tire dimensions. As you might already realize, uneven tire wear is highly connected to your safety on the road. Improper tire pressures, bad wheel alignment, and unbalanced wheels all affect road stability.

By now you probably heard about “rotating your tires”. This idea is based on the fact that front tires tend to experience more wear because of steering and carrying more weight (especially if the weight of a car is not 50/50 distributed). So rotating your tires at every oil change or when you start noticing more wear on the front tires ensures your front and rear tires wear at the same pace. This is especially important if you are running all-season tires throughout the whole year.

If the damage on your tires is significant, you are going to need some new tires.

What to do if you’re tires are unevenly worn?

Depending on the state of your tires, there are several things you should do. We recommend you address this problem as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your tires and to ensure you are safe on the road.

1. Consult your mechanic

There is always a reason for uneven tire wear. Your mechanic should be able to spot any issues with your suspension or wheels. If the tires are somewhat already unevenly worn, have your mechanic spin and rotate your tires.

2. Check your tires regularly

It takes about 5 minutes per month to check the profile of your tires and the amount of pressure in your tires. Try to make this a monthly habit, and oh, check your engine oil while you are at it 🙂

3. Fix the underlying reason for uneven tire wear

Whether it is just a bad wheel alignment, an unbalanced wheel, an inflation issue, or a worn-out, suspension, fixing the underlying cause for uneven tire wear should be your priority. At the end of the day, it is about your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Check out other basic car skills like how to check your car’s fluids, here.

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