Causes of Uneven Tire Wear

causes of tire wearLet me first thank you for your help. I sure don’t know what I should do. I have a Nissan Altima.  On the driver’s side, the inside tire is wearing down pretty good. It also has a bumping feeling. I know is not the tire because when I bought new ones it still did the same thing.

Any advice?
Thanks so much, Lori

Hello Lori,

Without looking at the tire myself, I can only assume you have an “out of alignment” issue.
If one tire is wearing unevenly or more so than the others, there is probably something out of  whack with the alignment of the vehicle.

If a tire has some raised bumps on it, called scallops (chopped or cupped), this is usually caused by lack of tire rotation and wheel balancing.

Take a minute to watch my video with better explanations.

If the driver side tire is not deemed a dangerous condition by your mechanic, you might be able to rotate and balance all four wheels, move the driver tire and wheel to the rear of the car, put the best two tires on the REAR of the car, and then check the alignment of the vehicle.

The tire manufacturers have determined that the best tires with the deeper tread should be placed on the rear of the vehicle control (prevent oversteer) while driving on wet and slippery conditions, which is surely an accident waiting to happen.

Don’t be swayed into buying shocks and struts as a remedy for this situation. These items are  commonly sold when abnormal tire wear is present.

In my opinion, they are sold more because the customer is familiar with the terms “shocks and struts”, and the slick advertising done by the strut companies and repair shops. In 90% of the tire wear cases I see, shocks and struts are not the culprit.

Rather, out of alignment, lack of tire rotation, and wheel balancing or the failure of some front end alignment part is the cause for your tire wear.

Here is my video on when to replace shocks and struts

Please share this with your friends,

Austin C. Davis

Posted in: Tires

9 Comments on "Causes of Uneven Tire Wear"

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  1. J Smith says:

    I have a 2008 Nissan Altima and I am have a tire problem. all 4 tires for the car were bought at the same time (Toyo Observe 215/60/R16 95T ) and they have approx. 15,000 miles on them.3 of the tires look like they did when they were brand new. The other tire we found out is completely bald (we found out when my husband went around a wet corner of road and ended up with the back of the car in a lake). why would just 1 tire out of 4 that are rotated and switched out when winter hits, look like the tread was literally shaved off of the tire and the other tires still look brand new

    • Austin Davis says:

      This is going to be an alignment issue most likely with the vehicle. I would get a 4 wheel alignment done to see what is going on, then replace the tire with the same tire as the others once things are ok. If the alignment is OK, I suppose there could have been a defect in the tire itself….but I am assuming its an alignment problem. Keep me posted will ya.

  2. Gail says:

    Looks like I will be getting a new set of tires on my car for my birthday yahoo to me 🙁

  3. Anonymous says:

    Everyone loves it when people come together and share ideas.
    Great website, keep it up!

  4. Sara says:

    I just purchased a used tire. When I arrived home, I noticed that one of the tires has underinflation wear on it and I can feel a grove when I run my finger across it. The business is now closed for the weekend. So, I couldn’t get intouch with anyone to exchange the tire. What problems comes along with a tire that has this type of wear?

    • Austin says:

      That tire might cause a pull to one side of the vehicle and might be a little noisy. I would put that tire on the passenger rear of possible to avoid a tire pull problem in the front end.

  5. J Shepherd says:

    How exactly dose lack of rotation cause chopped or scalloped tires? Ive seen many cars with one chopped tire on the vehichle and the others being perfectly round (and all 4 tires being purchased at the same time) Ive being working with tires ten years now and have been to Brigdestone and Goodyear training seminars, and none of them have ever said a chopped tire was due to lack of rotation. Now i can see that it could be possible if all 4 tires were chopped that it could be due to lack of rotation perhaps more so on all wheel drive vehichles. In twenty years of driving ive maybe rotated my tires 5 times in my life, and ive never have had chopped tires Alignment wear or other mechanical wear yes but not due to lack of rotation.

    • admin says:

      The biggest culprit of a chopped tire is a defect inside the tire itself…which the manufacturer will never admit to. Lots of tires are coming from overseas and the tires made here in the US are for the most part using cheaper materials than before. Prices of tires are pretty cheap these days and you get what you pay for. Rotating the tire helps the tread and belts inside the tire wear more evenly than if they were left in a single position for their lifetime.
      Tires on the front take more abuse and inherent wear than a rear tire that only travels in one direction. Moving the tires around will help wear patterns wear more evenly so you do not have a shimmy/wheel balance problem.

      Regular wheel balancing will also greatly help to keep the tire wearing evenly.

      Smaller cars with smaller tires tend to “chop” more easily than bigger/heavier vehicles.

      Cheap tires chop more easily

      Low profile tires chop more easily

      Aggressive off road tires chop more easily

      Alignment problems will cause inside and outside tread wear on the tire but not in top tread and not necessarily chopping.

      Under inflated tires will wear both outsides of the tire tread

      Over inflated tires will wear the inside the tire tread

      If possible buying a highway tread tire, with multiple “plys” from a brand name is my best advice…..and of course rotate and balance often.

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