(703) 352-7770 |  3215 Old Pickett Road, Fairfax, VA 22031  |  Mon–Fri: 8:00am–6:00pm (After Hours Key Dropoff Available)

7 Causes Of Tire Wear And Recommendations On Resolving This Problem For Fairfax, VA Drivers

May 11, 2021

7 Causes Of Tire Wear

You can usually look at a person’s expression and figure out if they are happy, sad, stressed etc. Believe it or not, the same applies to your vehicle’s tires! The mood of the tire can be noticed by checking the tire wear.

In this article we will summarize the most common tire wear types and what your tire is trying to tell you.

1. Center Tire Wear

Cause: If one or more of your tires are worn down the center but not the sides, this is probably due to an overinflated tire. 

Solution: To avoid center wear, keep your tires inflated to the pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner manual.

a graphic showing center tire wear

2. Side Tire Wear

Cause: Under-inflated tires will cause tread to wear on the sides but not down the middle of the tire. 

Solution: To avoid side wear, keep your tires inflated to the pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner manual. If in fact you routinely check your tire pressure and yet you still have side wear, this may be an indication of a bent or worn steering arm alignment.

a graphic showing side tire wear

3. Cupping Tire Wear

Cause: “Cupping” looks like scoops worn in your tread and is caused by a repeated up-and-down motion. Generally, you can see or feel the tire bounce as you drive with this type of wear.

Solution: Cupping is usually caused by a worn shock absorber or a bad suspension system. 

a graphic showing cupping tire wear

4. Feathering

Cause: Feathering is usually caused by either excess toe-in or toe-out. This type of wear is usually hard to visually observe but can easily be observed if you run your hand along the tread of your tire. You can feel an individual tread worn on one side and sharp on the other.

Solution: This issue can be resolved with a wheel alignment. However, feathering might also be a symptom of aggressive driving; specifically, taking corners at high speeds.

a graphic showing feathering

5. Flat Spot Tire Wear

Cause: Flat spot tire wear is often caused by aggressive or emergency braking, although it could also be an indication of a brake issue. 

Solution: If you spot this type of wear, consider adjusting your driving style. If you feel like you don’t drive aggressively or don’t remember making any sudden or hard stops, schedule a brake inspection.

a graphic showing flat spot tire wear

6. One Side Tire Wear

Cause: If you notice one side of the tire wearing faster than the rest of the tire, this is usually a sign of misaligned wheels.

Solution: A wheel alignment service will generally solve the problem. Click here to read 5 signs you need a wheel alignment.  But, if it doesn’t, make sure to have the springs and ball joints inspected.

a graphic showing one side tire wear

7. Sidewall Tire Wear

Cause: Sidewall tire wear is usually caused by a driver who parks too close to the curb. In extreme cases, sidewall tire wear can weaken the tire’s core and cause a tire to buckle.

Solution: Get better at parking your vehicle and staying away from the curbs 😛

a graphic showing sidewall tire wear

If you are experiencing any of these issues, we recommend visit to your local mechanic shop as soon as possible. If you let uneven tire wear run its course, you could be in for an unexpected tire failure when you least expect it. Ready to have your tires inspected or repaired by an auto shop you can trust? Click here to schedule an appointment with our friendly and honest experts at ABS Unlimited.