Tire Wear Patterns Guide

Your vehicle’s tires are a crucial part of your vehicle — sure, they can affect fuel economy, but they can also affect the safety of you and your passengers. That’s why understanding tire wear patterns is important, even if you’re just taking a short trip between Plainfield and Joliet: you should know when it’s time to rotate your tires or replace them. In some cases, tire wear can also be indicative of a mechanical problem. So be prepared by checking out our tire wear patterns guide.


Tire Wear Patterns and What They Mean

 

In Center

Tread Wear

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Tires overinflated
  • Use of oversized tires

Appropriate Correction

  • Confirm cold inflation pressure matches vehicle’s recommended pressures
  • Confirm appropriate rim width and evaluate alternate tire pressures

 

On Both Shoulders

Tread Wear

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Tires underinflated
  • Vehicle overloaded

Appropriate Correction

  • Confirm cold inflation pressure matches vehicle’s recommended pressures
  • Confirm load being carried is within vehicle specifications, reduce as necessary

 

On One Shoulder

Tread Wear

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Wheel alignment does not match actual driving conditions
  • Worn or amaged steering/suspension parts

Appropriate Correction

  • Set alignment to most appropriate angles within vehicle’s approved range
  • Replace worn or bent parts and align

 

Heel and Toe Block Wear

Tread Wear

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Insufficient tire rotation for driving conditions
  • Tires underinflated, increasing drag and wear

Appropriate Correction

  • Rotate tires more frequently following vehicle’s approved pattern
  • Confirm cold inflation pressure matches vehicle’s recommended pressures

 

Irregular Cupping

Tread Wear

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Loose steering or suspension components
  • Tires and wheels out of balance

Appropriate Correction

  • Replace worn struts/shocks and other steering/suspension parts and align
  • Correct balance of tires and wheels

 

Circumferential Split/Star

Sidewall

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Impact break from road hazard or pothole
  • Tire sidewall pinched between road and wheel

Appropriate Correction

  • Dismount tire and inspect for interior damage, replace tire if damage found
  • Determine if wheel is bent by inspecting for runout, replace wheel if damage is found

 

Bubble/Bulge

Sidewall

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Tire sidewall pinched between road and wheel
  • Components contaminated during manufacturing

Appropriate Correction

  • Dismount tire and inspect, tire manufacturer’s warranty applies if no interior damage is found
  • Dismount tire and inspect, interior damage indicates road hazard

 

Ozone/Weather Cracking

Sidewall

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Frequent exposure to direct sun and hot temperatures
  • Tires exposed to ozone or harsh chemicals

Appropriate Correction

  • Evaluate service conditions and attempt to minimize exposure to sun and heat
  • Attempt to keep tires away from sources of ozone and chemical exposure

 

Abrasion of Both Sidewalls

Sidewall

tire-condition

Probable Cause

  • Driven on when extremely low on air
  • Driven on when flat

Appropriate Correction

  • Dismount and inspect tire for interior damage, replace tire if damage is found

Tire Inspection Procedures

It is necessary to examine an entire tire — beyond just tire wear patterns — to identify the probable cause for any condition. For example, it is possible that a sidewall bubble may have resulted from a road hazard or improper repair that could only be confirmed by inspecting the interior of the tire.

Highlight the Tire Identification Code (DOT Serial Number) and all suspicious areas with a tire marker as you inspect the tire. Begin by inspecting all of the way around the circumference of the tread area looking for punctures, cuts, foreign objects and any distortion. Then examine the outboard and inboard sidewalls looking for scuffing, cracks, bulges, breaks, cuts or weather cracking. Finally move to the interior of the tire looking for any inner liner penetrations, cracks, blisters or wrinkling.

Of course, we’ll be happy to inspect your tires at Continental Mazda of Naperville and to make the right recommendation for service or replacement. You can schedule service online or contact us to learn more!