If you are looking to find out what the tire wear on your vehicle signifies, we have broken down all the different types of tire wear and what they mean.
Is it important to have your vehicle serviced each year to catch any issues before they become serious. Catching a specific tire wear pattern early will allow you to rectify the cause as well as rotate your tires which will prolong their life and save you money.
Knowing what all these different tire wear patterns mean for your vehicle will allow you to rectify the issue before they become a bigger problem and require you to purchase new tires unnecessarily. Read on to learn more.
Tires are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle as they are the only part of the vehicle that is in contact with the road. Therefore it is paramount to ensure the good condition of your tires and to be able to spot if they are wearing unevenly.We have broken down each type of tire wear below.
Even Tire Wear
The tire wear patterns you hope to see on your tires are a completely even tire wear all around your tire. This means that the tire has been inflated correctly and that there are no issues with your vehicles wheel alignment or with your vehicles suspension.
5 Must Knows on Vehicle Tires
5 Must Knows on Vehicle Tires
If you have also been rotating your tires then you can be happy knowing that you have gotten the maximum mileage out of your tires (assuming that your driving style hasn’t worn away your tires prematurely!)
Once a tire reaches 1.2mm in tread depth and the tread markers are reached, it is time to replace your tires. Make sure to check our offers for the best prices on tire, only available for our readers.
Center wear of your tires occurs when tires are over inflated. This causes them to ride along the center of your tires and wear down at a faster rate than the rest of your tire. Always make sure that your tires are inflated to the recommended pressures in your vehicle handbook.
Depending on how badly worn the center of the tires are, it may be necessary to replace them. You can test this by checking the tread depth with the penny test. If you can see the whole of Lincoln’s head, you will need a new tire as the tread is not deep enough.
Inner and Outer Edge Tread Wear
If your tires are under inflated, this will cause more wear to both the inner and outer edges of your tires as they will be making more contact with the road. This is not to be confused with other tire wear patterns where only either one of the inner or the outer edge of the tire wears away faster.
Always ensure that your tires are inflated to the correct pressures as recommended in your vehicle handbook. Under inflated tires are a common issue in the winter as the air contracts inside the tire and lowers the tire pressure.
Newer vehicles are often fitted with tire pressure monitoring systems which will alert the driver when tire pressures drop too low.
Outer-Edge Tread Wear
If the outer edge of your tires are wearing away faster than the rest of the tire, the most likely cause is the wheel alignment being out of specification. Wheel alignments should be done every 2-3 years when servicing your vehicle or after having new wheels or tires installed.
Another common reason we see for an outer edge tread wear pattern is due to drivers consistently taking corners too fast.This causes the outer edges of the tires to scrub harder on the road and wear down faster as a result.
Inner-Edge Tread Wear
Inner edge tread wear is the most common type of tread wear issue seen by shops. This is another culprit of poor wheel alignment. The angles that cause this type of tire wear patterns are typically negative toe and camber.
If a wheel alignment does not solve the issue, then the suspension components of your vehicle will be to blame. This will be more likely an issue on older vehicles, vehicles with higher mileage or vehicles driven in harsher terrains.
Tire feathering is a tire wear pattern when the treads on a tire are rounded or lower on one side and higher with shaper edges on the other. This occurs because the tire is worn down at an angle and is an indicator of a misaligned toe angle. Vehicles are very sensitive to even minor changes in toe angle and a good alignment will rectify the issue.
If caught early, the tire may still be usable if there is enough tread depth on it. If in doubt, take it to your local shop and they will advise whether it is safe to drive on. Severe tire feathering may require you to replace with a new tire.
The signs of scalloped or cupping on your tires is the indication of a more serious issue with bent or worn suspension parts. While the reason can be due to poor wheel alignment and wheel balancing, it is unlikely as this would usually result in a more even distribution to the tread wear.
Patchy Wear or Diagonal Wear Pattern
Patchy wear or diagonal wear patterns to your tires are the symptom of unbalanced wheels. When you have new wheels and tires added to your vehicle, the shop will balance your wheels with counterweights to ensure your tires ride smoothly and wear evenly.
You may also want to rotate your tires. This will extend their life by ensuring that they all wear down evenly.
As the average motorist infrequently does a visual inspection of their tires, it is useful to know what other signs to look out for. This way you are able to catch tire wear before it becomes serious and requires you to replace the tire.
Examining the Tread
The easiest way to spot if your tires are worn or are suffering from any abnormal tire wear, is to examine them. This may sound easy but there are many reasons why this is not as easy as it sounds.
It is difficult to get a good view of the entire tire without having the vehicle on a ramp or without removing the wheel. For this reason, a quick stop at your local tire shop will be the easiest way to figure out if there are any issues. They will usually be happy to fit you in at no charge and you can be done in as little as 10 minutes.
If while examining your tread you notice any large bubbles or blisters on your tire, this is a sign of a serious failure within the tire. These bubbles could grow over time and may cause a tire blowout. This requires immediate attention and we would strongly advise you to change your tire as soon as possible.
Check out our full guide on “tire bubbles” here.
If you notice that your vehicle starts to return a lower MPG than usual, this may be an indication of extra resistance from poor tire wear. This will show as you will find yourself needing to fill up more frequently and spending more on gas. When tires wear unevenly, this increases the rolling resistance they experience thereby increasing fuel consumption.
Rough Driving Experience
One of the first signs that something is not right with your tires will be felt while driving. This will be easier to distinguish if you have owned your vehicle for an extended period of time. A common sign of an issue will be vibration through the steering wheel, especially when driving at higher speeds.
Also be sure to listen out for any unusual or funny noises from underneath your vehicle. Either of these signs is an indication that there may be an issue with your tires. We would recommend having it checked out with your local shop.
Can tire wear patterns be repaired?
Depending on how your tire has worn and how far it has worn in any particular way will determine if it is able to be fixed. The main way to fix the issue will be to rotate your tires or potentially even tru your tires.
You may also be able to extend the life of your tires by retreading them. However not all tires will be suitable for this.
What it the minimum tread depth on a tire?
The tread depth on your tires needs to be at least 1.2 mm. However once your tires are at this point or close to this point, your tires will need to be replaced.
Is it ok to drive on tires that aren’t evenly worn?
If you notice that your tires are not wearing evenly as they should, we would recommend taking your vehicle to a shop for an inspection. We would not recommend driving on tires that have worn unevenly as it is an indication of an issue with your vehicle.
If you must drive your vehicle, avoid driving in wet conditions and drive cautiously. Avoid harsh acceleration, braking or steering until you are able to have a mechanic inspect your tires.
Knowing the telltale signs for bad tire wear patterns and what they mean will help you figure out what may be wrong with your vehicle. Routinely checking your tires for unusual tire wear patterns will ensure that your vehicle is safe for many miles to come.
Spotting an issue early will save money by rectifying it before it requires you to purchase a new tire. If you are ever in doubt, we always recommend talking to your local tire shop.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!
What are the different wear patterns on tires? ›
Clues in tire wear patterns, like inner and outer wear, center wear, edge wear, cupping, and patchy wear, can help you understand the inner-workings of your vehicle—even if you aren't a tire expert!What causes different tire wear patterns? ›
Uneven tire wear is usually caused by improper alignment, overinflation, underinflation or a worn out suspension. It can be helpful to know the different uneven tire wear patterns below and what they may suggest about your car.What does an uneven wear pattern that has excessive wear in both outside edges of the tire tell us? ›
Tire wear on the edge may mean your tires are underinflated
Based on the tire wear chart above, you can see that any tire wear on the outer edges can mean your tires are underinflated. Checking your tire pressure may seem like an afterthought, but it's important that your tires have just the right amount of pressure.
If your tire shows more wear in the center of the tread than at the two sides, it has been over inflated. If the two sides of the tread are worn more than the center, the tire was under inflated. Proper inflation according to the manufacturer recommendations will prevent the irregular wear from continuing.Do all 4 tires need to be same tread pattern? ›
For optimal safety and performance, Continental recommends fitting the same tires to every wheel position on your car, so drivers should have the same brand, size, tread pattern, load index, and speed rating on the front and rear tires.Which tires wear faster front or back? ›
Since most cars today are FWD and the front tires are responsible for acceleration, steering and most braking, they normally wear faster than the rears.How do you read tire wear patterns? ›
Tire wear in the center of the tread pattern tells you that the inflation patterns are too high. Too much pressure can cause the contact patch to shrink and the center of the tire to carry all of the load. Tire wear on the edges of a tire will typically indicate inflation pressures are lower than specified.What tire wear pattern will result from excessive negative camber? ›
One-sided shoulder tire wear: This type of irregular tread wear means the inside or outside shoulder rib of the tread is significantly more worn than the other ribs. Also known as camber wear, excessive positive or negative camber often causes this type of wear.Why are my tires worn on one side of my car? ›
One-sided shoulder tire wear: This type of irregular tread wear means the inside or outside shoulder rib of the tread is significantly more worn than the other ribs. Also known as camber wear, excessive positive or negative camber often causes this type of wear.Which tire wears the most? ›
Under normal driving circumstances with a front-wheel drive vehicle (passenger cars, minivans, etc.), the front tires will wear at a slightly higher rate than the rear tires.
How do you check if your tires are misaligned? ›
You can test this by taking your hands off the steering wheel when driving on a straight path to see whether it goes straight forward or moves in a different direction. When it does this more than once, it means you might require wheel alignment.What is the most common tire and wheel issue? ›
Tires can become damaged for a variety of reasons, and it can happen without the driver being immediately aware there's a problem. The most common types of damage are punctures, cuts, impacts, cracks, bulges and irregular wear.What are all the 5 lug patterns? ›
5-lug patterns consist of the following: 5×98, 5×100, 5×108, 5×110, 5×112, 5×114.3, 5×115, 5×120, 5×120.7, 5×127, 5×130, 5×135, 5×139.7, 5×150, 5×155, 5×165.1 and 5×205.How many tread patterns are there? ›
Here, we'll take a closer look at both the elements of tyre tread patterns as well as the three types you might run across in your search for new tyres: symmetric tread patterns, asymmetric tread patterns, and directional tread patterns.Is it OK to buy 2 tires instead of 4? ›
It's usually dependent on the vehicle itself and the remaining tread depths on the other tires. It's always best to replace all 4 tires at the same time. This is because all 4 tires spin independently of one another, and different tread depths and/or styles can cause them to spin at different speeds.Is it illegal to drive with different tread patterns? ›
It is perfectly legal to use different brand tyres on your car, however, this doesn't always mean you should. Slight differences in the tyre could end up causing huge differences in performance, which can ultimately end up damaging both your car and your wallet as a result!Is it OK to replace only 2 tires? ›
If two of your tires wear out faster, it may only be necessary to replace those two instead of replacing all four. If you do, it's important to have the two new tires installed on the back and the partially worn tires moved to the front – even on front-wheel-drive vehicles.Should I put 2 new tires on front or back? ›
According to Tire Review, new tires should always go in the back. Rear tires provide the vehicle stability, and if they have little tread, then stability is lost.Which tires wear down fastest? ›
Front tyres tend to wear faster, up to 2.5 times faster on some cars. The left front tyre has it the hardest. It is the most heavily loaded and responsible for transmitting most of the steering during right hand turns.Does driving fast increase tire wear? ›
Driving at high speeds may make you feel the thrill of an adrenaline rush, but it will also wear down your tires and your car faster. At high speeds, your tires will generate a great deal of friction with the road, as well as very high heats. Prolonged exposure to high heats will soften the rubber and weaken the tire.
Do tire patterns matter? ›
Directional tire tread patterns provide high protection against aquaplaning, excellent handling on snow and mud, and very good road-holding at high speeds. Asymmetric tire tread patterns offer excellent handling, high curve stability, and good grip in wet conditions.What does a cupped tire sound like? ›
The noise of cupped tires is growling or grinding, very similar to that of a bad wheel bearing. It's important to be able to distinguish the sounds. The noise generated by cupped tires will increase as you speed up.How many miles do tires last? ›
Your tires should last 50,000 to 60,000 miles on average. But that really depends on the manufacturer. Some manufacturers build their tires to last up to 80,000 miles, while some design their tires to last as little as 30,000 miles. You can see how many miles to expect out of a tire by checking its treadwear rating.What does negative camber look like on a car? ›
If the top of the wheel is angled towards the vehicle, then it's negative camber. If it's angled the other way, then it's positive camber. You've likely seen vehicles with negative camber on the road as it's a common modification for drifting and street racing. Another term for this is stanced wheels.Is toe in or toe out better for stability? ›
Toe in is a much more common setting on the rear of cars, especially on RWD platforms, as it reduces their tendency to oversteer and provides the car with high-speed stability making the car handle in a much more stable manner allowing the driver to push harder and faster.Which alignment angle is most likely to cause tire wear? ›
The toe angle for front or rear wheels is measured in fractions of an inch, millimeters or fractions of a degree. Zero toe-wheels aimed straight ahead-causes the least tire wear. Extreme toe-in or toe-out causes feather-edged wear across the tire tread.What is the best tire tread pattern? ›
Directional/asymmetrical tire tread is the best of both worlds – it features the V-shaped pattern of the directional tread for discharging water away from the tire and the dry weather traction of the asymmetrical tread.What are the different types of tire tread designs describe each? ›
Tires are designed with different types of tread, and each one is meant for different road conditions and driving styles. The four types of tire tread are directional, symmetrical, asymmetrical, and directional/asymmetrical.What are the three types of tire tread? ›
Let's look deeper at both the elements of tire tread patterns as well as the three types you might run across in your search for new tires: Symmetric tread, asymmetric tread, and directional tread.What does camber mean on a tire wear? ›
CAMBER. This is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, respectively, indicates improper alignment and will need to be adjusted.
What does tire feathering look like? ›
New tires are generally molded from new with sharp edges on the tread blocks and ribs – a feathered tire will have sharp edges on one side, and rounded edges on the other.What happens when camber is out of alignment? ›
If the camber is out of adjustment, it will cause tire wear on one side of the tire's tread. If the camber is too far negative, for instance, then the tire will wear on the inside of the tread. If the camber is different from side to side it can cause a pulling problem.Why is my front driver side tire wearing on the inside? ›
If you examine your tire and discover that the inner or outer edge of the tire is wearing down faster than the rest of the tread, your vehicle's wheel alignment is likely out of specification. This wear pattern indicates that your wheels are leaning too much to one side, which can typically be blamed on misalignment.Can ball joints cause tire wear? ›
Worn Lower Ball Joints typically will cause inside edge wear on tires, which will be worn smooth, while worn upper Ball Joints will cause outside edge wear. Excessively worn ball joints can also make a clunking noise which is caused by the stud banging into the socket.How often should tires be replaced? ›
On average, tires last about six years or between 36,000-75,000 miles. But the actual lifespan of tires varies with factors like climate, maintenance and driving habits. No matter how they look, tires should never be used longer than 10 years. When should I really replace my tires?What is the number one tire in the United States? ›
1. Michelin: Best Tires Overall. One of the most popular tire brands in the U.S. and throughout the world, Michelin sells quality tires in virtually every category. From run-flat tires to summer tires to all-season tires, Michelin tops recommendation lists from consumers and industry experts alike.What is the number one tire in the world? ›
Michelin is the world's top tire manufacturer and leads the industry in innovation and trust. As our top Golden Wrench winner for Best Tire Brand, Michelin has a trusted track record for quality and longevity.Which is better H or T rated tires? ›
H-Rated Tires: This is a perfect, average tire for most sedans and commuter vehicles. It might not seem to fit in our chart, but the tire speed rating “H” is rated for up to 130 mph. T-Rated Tires: This tire is often recommended for family sedans and vans. It's rated for up to 118 mph.How do I know if my car needs wheel balancing? ›
What Are the Signs That Your Tires Needs Balancing? Uneven tire wear and vibration in your steering wheel, floorboard, or seat can signal it's time for tire balancing. You may also want to have your tires balanced during a tire rotation, after a flat tire repair, or as part of your scheduled maintenance.How can I check my car alignment at home? ›
Jack up one of the front tires, secure the vehicle on jack stands, then spray-paint a stripe on the tread while spinning the tire. Try to keep your hand as steady as possible so your line can be even on both tires. Measure from line to line with the tape level with the floor.
How do you know if your alignment is done right? ›
If you are driving on a straight and flat surface and briefly let go of the steering wheel, does your vehicle want to drift to the left or right? Do you have to constantly steer in the opposite direction to keep the vehicle driving straight? These are classic symptoms that the wheels are out of alignment.What are 4 common symptoms of tire problems? ›
- Cracking or cuts in the sidewalls.
- Uneven tread wear. ...
- Excessively worn tread. ...
- Alternatively, you can use a quarter and penny as treadwear indicators. ...
- Bulges or blisters. ...
- Excessive vibration.
#1 – Causes of Tire Failure: Under-inflation
One of the main causes of tire failure is under-inflation. Tires that are under-inflated flex more in the sidewall. Excessive flexing causes them to heat up far beyond normal operating temperatures.
One of the main reasons that drivers experience tire failure is under-inflation. When a driver's tire becomes under-inflated, the tire flexes more in the sidewall and the increased flexing causes the tire to heat up far beyond normal operating temperatures.What do tire tread patterns mean? ›
Also called tire tread designs, tire tread patterns are the arrangement of continuous ribs, independent tread blocks, circumferential and lateral grooves, as well as the thin sipes molded into the tread to fine-tune noise, handling, traction and wear.What is the most common tread pattern? ›
The most common tread pattern in use on passenger tires is the symmetric tread pattern. In these types of patterns, the outer and inner sides of the tread are symmetric—that is, they are mirror images of one another. The tread blocks form continuous ribs around the tire.Does tire pattern matter? ›
Directional tire tread patterns provide high protection against aquaplaning, excellent handling on snow and mud, and very good road-holding at high speeds. Asymmetric tire tread patterns offer excellent handling, high curve stability, and good grip in wet conditions.Which tires need more tread front or back? ›
According to Tire Review, new tires should always go in the back. Rear tires provide the vehicle stability, and if they have little tread, then stability is lost.What tire wears out first? ›
Front tyres tend to wear faster, up to 2.5 times faster on some cars. The left front tyre has it the hardest. It is the most heavily loaded and responsible for transmitting most of the steering during right hand turns.What are the three basic types of tire marks? ›
There are three major types: tire prints, skid marks, and scuff marks. If you want Brandt to continue talking to you, do not confuse the three. Tire prints usually don't reveal much. They're simply the trace left by, say, a muddy tread.
What does 3/32 tire tread mean? ›
5/32” If wet roads are a concern, consider replacing your tires. 4/32” – 3/32” Seriously consider replacing your tires as soon as possible. 2/32” Your tires are legally bald and need to be replaced.What does asymmetric tread pattern mean? ›
An Asymmetrical tire has a tread pattern that is designed for two purposes. Asymmetrical tires have one side of the tire that is designed entirely different from the other side of the tire. Asymmetrical tires will always have a marking to identify which side of the tire should be mounted facing out.What is an unsafe tire tread? ›
A tire with a tread depth below 1.6 millimeters (2/32 inches) lacks grip. Braking distance and vehicle control are impaired. These tires are not safe for driving and must be replaced.