Tire Wear

Understanding Tire Wear

This blog is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Tire wear is bound to happen with every vehicle. The difficult thing is the fact that tires are not a minimal part of a vehicle. They are truly a car’s foundation. With a vehicle’s tread helping the handling of the car, you can also receive better comfort in your car with the right tires that are not worn down. When you have a solid tread, you can expect the safest driving experience.

The wearing of a tire also has a lot to do with the proper maintenance of your tires. When you inflate the tires to the perfect pressure, your tire’s tread will hold up better over time. Additionally, your wheels will stay in alignment as well.

Even with all of these things in mind, you need to know what tire wear looks like. When you do this correctly, you could protect yourself from a horrible blowout that could cause a wreck when on the freeway or the country roads. So, let us check out the top-7 tire wear issues in the 21st Century.

7 Types of Tire Wear Explained

#1 – Toe Tire Wear

Think about a pair of shoes the same way you think about toe tire wear. Over time, your shoes start to fall apart, especially around the toes of the shoes, where there is a lot of stopping and starting. The kind of excessive wear of the tire can be seen on the outer or inner edge of a vehicle’s tire. What this should suggest to you is that wheel alignments may be a necessity here.

If you continue to go down this road, expect your car to not stop as quickly or have as comfortable a ride from Point A to Point B. This kind of wear usually shows up as a feathered pattern around the front 2 tires of a vehicle. Just remember, in a similar fashion shoes will lose their traction, so with tires with toe wear.

#2 – Edge Tire Wear

The edges of your tires can wear down over time as well. This happens when a tire is underinflated. So, make sure to pump up your tires as often as possible. One rule of thumb is the fact that you should check your tire pressure every time that you get gas in your vehicle. If you do not do this, then you will run the risk of having this problem come to you.

With this type of wear, the middle of your tire will look good at all times. But, the edges will have even wear and tear. Just because the tire looks evenly on either end of the tire.

#3 – Tire Cupping Wear

You will notice every couple of inches or so on your tire that the suspension and balance start to rub the tires the wrong way. You will notice your tires starting to get compromised, bent, worn down, and so much more. The cupping insignia is a scalloping pattern that goes across diagonally on the tire.

If this is the problem you run into, go immediately to a mechanic to get your balance and suspension. This might be a pretty penny to get things covered, but you will care about your tires in the long run. And since your tires are the lifeblood of the vehicle, then it is on your to get the best out of the products you buy for your car.

#4 – Center Tire Wear

This is one of the most common wear and tear on a vehicle. When a car’s tires are inflated too much, you will see the center of the tire wear out quicker than the edges. Another reason to check your tires when getting gas is to check for overinflation.

It will only cost you a quarter or less to let the air out of your tires, so you will have the best ride on the road. This kind of wear can be stopped in its tracks if you are aware of the needs your tires ask of you.

#5 – Camber Tire Wear

Having a camber tire wear is a funky kind of issue your car can come up again. What you will notice is one side of your tire wear down, while the other side looks brand new. When the camber is misaligned, this is a must to get things checked out.

Go to your mechanic and ask them to take a look. Chance is that you need to have the camber fixed in some way. The prices may vary, but it will be worth your while in the long run.

#6 – Sidewall Wear

When dealing with sidewall wear, you must look out for this troubling situation. This wear usually happens when a driver parks right up against a curb. Street parking and other urban situations bring this type of wear to light for many drivers in today’s day and age.

As the sidewall starts to weaken, the tire’s core starts to get affected. The worst-case scenario is that your tire will buckle causing a flat. Then, you will be stuck on the side of the road needing help with your spare. Do not be that individual.

#7 – The Flat Spot Wear

If you are an aggressive driver, you may run into this next problem. People who are reckless on the roads, brake very quickly, or leave the emergency brake can cause damage to their tires. The worst-case scenario here is that you have an awful brake issue that might need a complete overhaul costing you thousands of dollars.

Are you starting to notice this problem happening with your tires? Then, be more careful when your brake. Place yourself far behind the car in front of you. This way, you will have plenty of time to break without making your tires screech with the smell of burnt rubber-not far behind. By checking your foundational issue which is braking, you will not have to deal with the dreaded flat spot wear.

Other Issues That Cause Wear & Tear

Along with the top tire wear issues mentioned above, there are three other issues that can wear down your precious tires. This involves loads, springs, and bushings. Let us start with Loads

Load Management

If you put a lot of weight on the back of your vehicle, you will be sure that the toe, camber, and caster will cause some problems for you and your vehicle. The front and even the rear of the vehicle can start to be misaligned, and you know by now the problems you might have to face in the interim.

One problem is the caster and the camber will have a front positive issue. Furthermore, if you own a car with a rear suspension that is independent of the rest of your vehicle, you can bet you will have negative camber. You will have a toed outwear because of this dilemma.


Springs are essential in your vehicle to help with suspension, but they can wear down over the life of the vehicle. In turn, your tires can start to wear down as well. Here is what the suspension is supposed to do normally.

A normal suspension should rebound and compress every time you hit a bump or uneasy terrain. This way, you will have the smoothest of rides. During this process, the alignment changes angles. What a mechanic can do when the suspension starts to get faulty involves an alignment.

The ride’s height can play a part in the process, so mechanics know the formula for how to give the best handling around, as well as normal wear and tear that the tires can handle. When this is not done probably or not done at all, you can bet your bottom dollar that your tires will struggle to last.

When spring does not support your vehicle as it should, your alignment will certainly suffer. A mechanic can tune your suspension so it is toed out to help with rear compression. In turn, you will get more stability from your vehicle, but you will also get a negative part: wear and tear on the inner edge.

If the type of material for your springs can have different wear on your tires for different reasons. For example, metal springs are usually treated with heat. However, they will still show fatigue over time nonetheless.

Other kinds of springs include torsion bar, coil, and leaf varieties. For these lovely springs, make sure that you talk with your mechanic or you do your homework to make the right adjustments here. They will be extended for any type of vehicle, especially for the camber on the axles pairing the same wheels. Regardless, you should inspect your springs whenever humanly possible. When getting gas to fill up your car, do not just stand there. Do a spring check.


The last thing you should look for is bushings. If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, your bushings could be in major trouble. Ozone can also be a problem as well as atmospheric issues. What happens is the rubber bushing begins to decay-causing destruction like none other on your vehicle.

When this happens unfortunately in your vehicle, your alignment will change. In turn, your tires will wear down. What trouble cars can be, huh?

Hydraulic bushings are also in a variety of vehicles. The bushings are used for the controlled arms on the lower side of the vehicle. Over time, the bushings can start to leak out and then fail. In turn, the extra movement will start to happen in the vehicle that is unexpected and unwanted. Because of this, the tires will start to have toe outwear, along with negative camber. Do not expect a much longer life from your tires at this point.

Figuring Out the Measuring Depth of the Tread

There are a few ways that you can measure the depth of the tread. When figuring this out, you can use the penny test or the help of mechanical and digital tools. Let us start with the penny test.

The Penny Test

This is one of the easiest ways to check how your tires are doing. By placing your penny upside down in the tire tread, they can give you a general idea of what you need to do next. Place Abraham Lincoln’s head in between the tread.

If you can see the top of the former president’s head, the tread will be worn down at this point. And you guess it. A replacement is certainly needed for your tires.

Mechanical & Digital Tread Depth Tools

For a more accurate reading, try a mechanical or digital tool. This will help you find the best tread depth around. You will see that both tools measure the depth between 0 and 19/32 inches. With this in mind, you will find success with all your tread depth needs.

How Important is Tire Maintenance?

With the help of rotation and other maintenance, you must care for your tires like you would your child. Alright, maybe that is a little excessive, but you get the idea here. Rotations are key because when the wearing started to happen, and it will, you can move the tires around scientifically, so you can get an even wear on your tires. This way, they will last longer than you ever thought possible.

Inflation, as stated earlier, is also something that should be on your brain a lot of the time. You will just be wasting money if you do not keep them inflated to the best of your ability. If you like to waste money, be my guest. But, I imagine you are reading this because you would like to spend your money on other things than just new tires every year. Tires should last you a couple of years, so give them the best life possible.

Fixing Wear & Tear

Not all wear and tear issues can be fixed. You may just have to replace the tire. But, there are some circumstances where you can patch and fix your tire.

Take a puncture for instance. It is merely a flesh wound in the car world, and it has a high rate of success when looking to fix a vehicle’s tire. If you see your tire going flat, get a spray bottle full of soapy water. Spray the water where you think the issue is coming from. Do you see bubbles forming? Then, you have a puncture. With the help of a plug or a patch, you can fix the problem. However, keep in mind that a patch is better than a plug-in in most cases in the 21st Century.

When Do I Replace My Tires?

Eventually, tires do need to be replaced. If you wear your tires down too much, you will run into flats and blowouts at the most inopportune times. So, with this in mind, check out these warning signs if you, for any reason, believe you need to replace your tires.

  • Tires of 2/32 inches or less of quality tread
  • Rubber is starting to crack and peel
  • Spare cannot have these issues either
  • Check your tires if you live in places with varying temperatures, you load up your truck a lot, and/or you have had maintenance for inflation pressure on your vehicle.

Other warnings you should look out for include seeing more than 3 treadwear issues on one tire. It is natural to have some wear on tires, but if you are seeing multiple issues on one, a replacement should be in your future. Another problem is if you see the fabric and/or the tire cord seeping through the rubber. This is never a good sign. Go get new tires pronto.

As stated earlier, the sidewall and tire wear are the most common signs you will see when tires start to have issues. Cracking, cuts, deep snags are all no-nos you should identify as a vehicle owner.

Are your tires splitting or bulging? Then, “Houston: we have a problem,” too. Of course, punctures, cuts, and other damages can maybe be repaired. But, you may just have to get a new tire at this point.

Storing Tires

Many people overlook this factor for tire wear, but how you store your tires properly is important as well. Since tires age just like people do, know that storing them mounted onto a car can lessen their value. Think of cars like Jeeps who hold the spare tire on the back of the vehicle. Even though these tires on not being used on the ground, you can imagine that weather, like the hot sun and the cold snow, does not do the tires any favors.

So, here are some rules of thumb when you have a spare hooked to the back of your Jeep, or if you are storing a vehicle for more than a month. When you park a vehicle, find the best cool, dry place you can nearby your home. This could be a garage, a storage center, or a flat area where you can cover your entire vehicle (even the tires of course). Keep away from sunlight because the rays are notorious for aging your tires like a fine wine. Unfortunately, the results are not as enjoyable as a fine Cabernet.

Your storage area should also be clear from gas, grease, and other chemicals that could damage or break down your tires. Anything that deteriorates rubber should be something you keep hundreds of feet away from your precious vehicle and your tires during storage. Remember that unmounted tires fit into this category as well.

As you continue to think about the best storage area for your vehicle’s tires, park the car on the flattest of surfaces. But, you may run into a situation where the long-term storage cause vibrations when you drive. To limit these issues, which happen in vehicles being parked for over a month, either take off the tires or raise the vehicle off the ground. This will ensure your tires will stay healthy as they are not in use for an extended period.

How To Buy The Best Tread Saving Tires

Your tires do tell a story of how your car is performing on the roads. That is why it is necessary to buy tires that you are willing to price out, buy, and take care of for the long haul. By getting a professional’s help, you will be able to top the problems that all tires can face. Professionals will also be able to help you decide when it is time to buy new tires after their life has run out.

Reputable websites and stores should be the place you buy quality tires. Do not think for a second you are getting a better deal on tires when they are cheaper than most. Without a good reputation from a store or website, you will probably get ripped off.


Final Verdict

Well, we have come to the end of the road when it comes to tire wear and tears. There is certainly a lot to take in. But, by now, you are a true professional. You know what to look for and you will not be blindsided by tire issues ever again.

Additionally, you have solutions if you ever run into trouble again. Tire issues are bound to happen if you own a car. But, if you are proactive about keeping your tires fresh and clean, you will be able to enjoy them for as long as they allow. Every brand has a general warranty and shelf life, so do your homework when picking out the best tire for you. This way, you can drive with confidence knowing that you will be able to drive around town or across the country with ease.

No matter where you travel to, be safe. Make sure to check your tires. And enjoy all the amenities that a car has to offer you. This way, you can make memories that last a lifetime for you and whoever you are with.

Read Also:

Scroll to Top