Hello Austin, thanks for your answer in advance 🙂 I have a Honda Accord and the front 2 tires are worn funny, I was told they are cupped. What does that mean and how can I reverse or prevent that type of excessive tire wear. Are there certain patterns that I can look for?
Well, hello there Denise
Hope you are well today! There are a few things that can cause excessive tire wear patterns that you can help identify and hopefully stop before the tire is completely worn out.
Lack of proper tire inflation – if a tire is UNDER inflated it will wear out the outside edges of the tire on both sides.
If the tire is OVER inflated it will wear out the inside of the tire, down the middle of the tire and the outside of the tire tread will be much less worn looking.
Lack of tire rotation – not rotating your tires (every 3 oil changes or 12,000 miles is my recommendation) will cause the front tires to wear more than the rear, since the fronts are constantly making turns and the rears just are moving in a single forward direction with no real wear on the outer edges.
Lack of rotation can also cause the “cupping” pattern you see or have been told you have. The tire start to form high and low spots across the tread surface. This wear will cause a “roaring” type of noise, like that of a bad wheel bearing. This is because of those high spots coming in contact with the road surface.
Lack of Tire Balancing – can also cause a cupping pattern on the tire as the tire is wearing normally with regular wear and tear but as the tire wears down it becomes less balanced and can actually bounce around or skip on the road surface. Balance your tires every 25,000 miles to get the best life and wear out of them.
An alignment issue – usually with an alignment problem you will see wear say on the outside of BOTH front tires or just one tire on one side. Usually you do not see a tire that is worn both on outside and inside tread having an alignment issue, that is a lack of air pressure problem.
If you let go of the steering wheel at freeway speeds and the vehicle pulls to one side, could be alignment, or low air pressure on 1 tire, or the tire itself could have a radial pull. A radial pull is pretty common, especially on smaller cars with small tires. The steel belts inside the tire have moved somewhat and are causing the tire to pull to one side.
There is a rear alignment as well, so if one tire has tire wear on one side (inside or outside tread) you could have an alignment issue with the rear of the vehicle. This is rare, unless there was an impact due to a wreck or large pot hole.
I advise my customers to get an alignment with the purchase of new tires, and at the 40,000 mile interval just to make sure your tires get the maximum life span. You CAN be out of alignment and not know it, if the pull is to the inside of the vehicle.
Car accidents – a big cause for tire wear. If your vehicle was in an accident that did enough damage as to where you could not drive the vehicle. I would demand your insurance company pay for an alignment. Most insurance companies do this anyway, but make sure it gets done.
There is not much of a steel frame to cars these days, and things move around during an accident which can cause alignment and tire wear problems.
Worn out shocks – this can be a myth, but it sells a lot of shocks! If the shock is worn out the tire won’t keep constant contact with the road surface…or so the story goes anyway. My argument is what about the 1 ton of weight of the vehicle, surely that will keep the tire on the ground not some small weight shock. 🙂
I have seen bent shocks cause alignment problems, due to accidents etc. And in some VERY rare cases (maybe 1 case) I saw a shock that was sooooo worn out that the car actually bounced up and down for a few seconds after going over a bump….Ok ok ok, that is a shock that needs to be replaced.
I made a video talking about tire wear in more detail, you should watch it now.