Chords showing and rock damage on worn tire.

Uneven tire wear and what it could mean

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Sometime in the past or perhaps recently, you may have needed to replace your car tires.

Maybe you had an unrepairable tire due to a puncture, or the tire tread was low.

You might have also been told that the tires were wearing unevenly. These wearing patterns – depending on the location – can indicate certain problems.

Uneven tire wear problems include:

  • Choppy wear throughout tire
  • Too much tire wearing on the inside or outside
  • Middle of tire becoming worn
  • Wear on the inner and outer edges

Uneven tire wear problems and causes

Wave wear pattern across tire: If you see you have chopping through the tread, it could be a sign of alignment wear. It might also mean that a shock or strut isn’t doing its job, causing an irregular wear pattern. Horizontally, it may look OK, but vertically a little wave can be seen when you look at it from the side. 

To avoid this problem, make sure you stay up-to-date on tire services, such as wheel alignments, and that suspension parts are replaced when they break or become worn.

Jeep Cherokee tire worn on edges.

Excessive inner or outer tire wear: Too much wear on one side of the tire can be a symptom of a bad car alignment. If you notice the inside or outside is wearing more quickly than the rest of the tire, that can be a toe alignment problem or an excessive camber issue.

Preventing premature tire wear is one of the benefits of regular tire alignments. We recommend them once a year or every 15,000 miles, when suspension parts are replaced, and after new tires are installed.

Tire worn in the middle: A tire wearing more in the center than other parts of the tire might indicate that it’s overinflated. 

Details about the correct tire pressure are provided on the tire sidewall or the driver’s side door jam. Depending on the vehicle, tire pressure can be anywhere from 32 to 36 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Wearing on the tire’s outer edges: Both the inside and outside of the tire experiencing premature wear may be the result of low tire pressure. 

You should regularly check the air in your tires. You might have a flat tire if one tire is lower than the rest. All four tires having less air than they should can be caused by drastic decreases in outside temperatures during colder months.

Why even tread wear is important

Tires play a significant role in the safety of drivers and passengers. Having good tire patch contact with the road gives you the best ability to maintain control, stop and go.

Blown out tire.

If you’re not paying attention to the tread at all and you’re having a lot of inside tire wear, then you could get down to the chords or steel belts of the tire. This could lead to a tire blowing out and you losing control of the vehicle. 

In extreme driving situations, a wavy pattern could have indicated that shock and strut replacement was needed for you to maintain control of the car.

When you go in for oil changes or any other type of car maintenance, make sure your auto repair shop checks the tread and informs you of any abnormal tire wear.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.