Are you suffering from uneven tread wear and you are asking yourself what causes tire wear on the inside? Well, if this is the case and you find yourself in this situation, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic.
- Uneven Tread Wear
- Wear Patterns
- What Causes It?
- How To Diagnose?
- How To Fix It?
Having a problem like this can not only be frustrating but also really dangerous. Uneven tread wear is one of the most common reasons for tires exploding on the highway and causing really dangerous situations that could potentially even cost your life. Is this an exaggeration?
Absolutely not. Tire failure at high speeds is really dangerous and could easily cost your life. So, sorting this problem out with uneven tread wear is a really important thing that you have to do to resume driving your car safely without any major issues down the line.
So, if you notice something like this, it is important to act quickly and make sure that you sort out the problem accordingly unless you want to live on the line. And how you can do this? Well, we are going to help you out with that.
First, we are going to learn more about uneven tread wear and we will learn more about tire wear patterns. Then we will cover what causes tire wear on the inside and learn what you can do in order to fix this problem and at what cost will this be possible. So, if you want to learn more about solving this problem, follow along.
What Is Uneven Tread Wear
Now before we dive into more complex stuff such as what causes tire wear on the inside, let’s first cover some of the basics of what is uneven tire wear. Why this is necessary? Well, there are a ton of people reading this article that is familiar with this issue and wants to learn more about this problem.
So, this chapter is dedicated to them. If you feel like you have the grasp, you can jump directly to the causes of the problem. If not, keep up with us for a bit.
Nevertheless, uneven tread wear is unnatural tread wear of the tire. As you probably know, you have four tires and all these tires have something known as treads.
The treads are basically the patterns on the tire. Different tires have different patterns. For example, summer tires are rather simple in design while winter tires can have very aggressive tread patterns.
What is important when it comes to this tread is that this thread should wear evenly on every tire if the tires were installed at the same time.
So, after 10,000 miles after installation, you will notice how you lose some of the meat and the tire treads become thinner and thinner.
If this tire wear is even across the tire wear, it is considered to be normal tire wear. If the tire wear is not even and the tire wears on the inside, then this problem needs fixing. But what causes tire wear on the inside? More on that we are going to cover in a bit. Let’s first see if you should be worried about this or possibly not.
Should You Be Worried About Tire Wear On The Inside
Since we covered the basics and now we have the grasp of knowledge needed to understand what causes tire wear on the inside. We can now slowly move on and dive into the risks this type of tread wear has.
As you probably know, worn-out tires are nothing special and it’s certainly not good. Tires wear in a number of ways. First is the age factor, the older the tire, the harder the rubber gets, and old tires are all cracked out and plasticky.
And this is something that you really don’t want. The new tire should be rather soft to the touch as well as have deep black color. This means that the rubber is in relatively good condition.
And the second thing that you need to be aware of is the wear patterns. We are going to elaborate on the tire wear patterns in the following chapter in-depth where we are going to learn all about the different patterns. But what causes tire wear on the inside? More on that we are going to cover in a moment.
The important thing, for now, is to learn the dangers of tire wear from the inside. And when it comes to this situation, you need to know the risks.
The first thing is probably the drivability. The car will not like to handle well with these tires, you will not have grip and the car will constantly lose traction and also have poor braking characteristics.
And the biggest danger of these tires is the possible explosion. And this can happen at high speeds. For example when you drive on the highway. And when this happens, the car could lose control and you could end up hurt. This is why addressing the problem is important.
Tire Wear Patterns
Now before we dive into what causes tire wear on the inside, let’s take a look at the tire wear patterns, also known as the tire wear chart, and learn about the different types of wear that could happen on the tires of your car. So, what are these different tires wear types? Let’s elaborate more on them in the following paragraphs in detail.
The first type of wear that we are going to cover is center wear, the center wear is when a tire wears on the center, this type of wear can be caused by two major factors. One of them is overinflation. And the other really important factor is underinflation. Both of these situations can cause damage to the tire, so making sure that your PSI level inside of the tire is always at the recommended number is key in tire preserving.
The next type that we are going to cover is tire wear cupping. This is the situation when you have diagonal tread wear over the tire. This is a real bad situation that is often caused by bad suspension components.
The next is patch wear. This is the situation when you have random flat patches all over the tire tread. Also, a very undesirable type of wear that could also hurt the drivability of the vehicle.
And the last two types are the camber wear and the toe wear. The camber and the toe as you probably know are the angles that are used to adjust the wheels. And when these two angles are not adjusted correctly, you have problems. But what causes tire wear on the inside? Well, more about that, we are going to cover in the following chapters more in-depth.
Causes Of Uneven Tire Wear
Now let’s get to business and learn what causes tire wear on the inside or in other words what causes uneven tire wear on the inside. Knowing the reasons will be really beneficial for you when it comes to tackling the problem quickly and effectively.
We are telling you this because you need to fix some things first before you decide to install a new set of tires. Because if you install a new set of tires, the tire wear could repeat and tires could still wear on the inside. This is why performing proper repairs are key to success. So, let’s cover the reasons for this problem first.
What Causes Tire Wear On The Inside #1: Negative Camber Angle
Now let’s get into what causes tire wear on the inside. First, we are going to focus on the wheel adjustment and the angles that affect the tire wear, especially the inner tire wear. This is the case because a bad wheel alignment is probably the case in more than 90% of the problems that people have with uneven tread wear. So, let’s get into it.
The first angle that you need to know is the camber angle. The camber angle in simple words is the angle that the tire sits on the surface.
There is positive camber, neutral camber, and negative camber. As you probably assume, in order for the tire to wear evenly, you need to have a neutral camber. In other words, the tire should lay flat on the road and not wear unevenly.
On the other hand, if you have a positive camber angle, your tire will wear on the outside. And in our case, which is the inside wear, the camber angle is too much on the negative side.
So, when people ask the question of what causes tire wear on the inside, we can safely say that in most cases like this, it’s caused by a negative camber angle.
And how you can get rid of this negative camber? Well, the only thing you need to do is to perform a wheel alignment. And the downside is that you should not perform a wheel alignment before you fix some of the components that are causing the tire to misalign. And more on that we will cover in a bit.
What Causes Tire Wear On The Inside #2: Bad Toe Angle
When it comes to alignment, the toe angle is also really important. So, what is the toe angle? Well, in simple words, the toe angle is the angle to where the wheel is pointing.
There is toe in, this is the situation when the wheels are pointing towards the inside. There is toe out, the situation when the wheels are pointing outward. And there is the correct toe angle where wheels go perfectly straight.
And what can happen is that when your toe angle is bad, the tire wear will not be even and tires could end up wearing on the inside and on the outside. They wear inside when there is a toe in angle.
And in addition to this, the tires are susceptible to a condition that is known as feathering. This is the case when the outer edge is the thickest and has the most surface and as you go towards the other end, it gets thinner and thinner.
The toe angle can also be corrected with a wheel alignment. But what is bad, is that it could be caused by some bad suspension components. And that we are going to cover next in our list of what causes tire wear on the inside.
What Causes Tire Wear On The Inside #3: Worn Out Tie Rods & Upper Ball Joints
Now let’s see what causes tire wear on the inside from a hardware perspective. We learned that this is a problem caused by a negative camber or bad toe angle. But we need to dive deeper and understand what is causing this problem.
And the first things that we need to address are the tie rods and ball joints. So, what is a tie rod? Well, this is simply a steel bar that goes from the steering rack to the strut assembly.
There are two pieces, an inner tie rod, and an outer tie rod (if you want to learn more, check out our guide on the outer tie rod replacement). They screw into each other. Sometimes the inner tie rod can fail and when this component fails it usually creates problems like these. So, you need to pull it out and replace it with a new component. And you will need a special tool for this purpose.
The second is the outer tie rod. The outer tie rod is basically the ball joint. You probably heard about this ball joint.
These ball joints are metallic balls covered in grease. And what can happen is that the rubber on the outside will crack and cause dirt to get into and cause steering issues. So, in this case, proper replacement is needed and wheel alignment after this repair.
What Causes Tire Wear On The Inside #4: Worn Out Control Arm Bushings And Lower Ball Joint
Now let’s move to the next cause in our list of what causes tire wear on the inside. And this is also a suspension problem. More precisely the control arm bushings.
As you probably know, in modern cars you have a lower control arm. This control arm basically holds the wheel in place. And in order for there to be no contact of metal against metal, there are bushings on each of the spots where this arm bolts on.
More precisely, there are two of them on the side of the car, and one lower ball joint on the side where the control arm is bolted to the wheel knuckle.
Both the control arm bushings and the lower ball joint can fail and cause you problems like in our case with the problem of what causes tire wear on the inside. So, in this case, you should be able to know how to test these components. But you shouldn’t worry because we are going to explain how this work is done on any car. Now let’s move on to the next probable cause for inner tire wear.
What Causes Tire Wear On The Inside #5: Blown Struts
And the last one on our list of causes for tire wear on the inside is the problem with the blown struts. As you probably know, most modern cars are using MacPherson struts at the front.
This design is simply everywhere and you will hardly see a car that is produced new without it, except for some cars that use double wishbone suspension.
Nevertheless, the MacPherson strut is a simple shock absorber that has a spring that is under pressure.
And sometimes these struts can leak and when they leak, the car will become really bouncy and you will basically struggle to drive this vehicle.
Also, the vehicle could go out of alignment and cause issues like in our case. And make you ask what causes tire wear on the inside.
So, these are the components that you definitely want to check out, especially if one wheel is affected only. But how you can diagnose these problems? Let’s elaborate more on that in the following chapter.
How To Diagnose Tire Wear On The Inside
We learned what causes tire wear on the inside, now let’s dive into the problem and find out how we can diagnose this problem and find the root of the issue.
The most important thing when diagnosing stuff like this is to check the condition of the tires. If they both wear unevenly on the inside, then the reason is probably bad wheel alignment.
If, there is one wheel that is worn more than the other or the other is not worn on the inside at all. Then you probably have problems with some of the suspension components.
In this case, you will need to diagnose each of these components one by one. The first thing you can do is to test the strut. In order to do so, you can apply strong pressure on top of the car where the strut is located and if the car goes down and bounces back, then the strut is probably bad. Also, check for hydraulic fluid leaks on the strut. If it’s greasy then it is due to be replaced.
The next thing you want to check are the ball joints, there is an upper ball joint and a lower ball joint. Check their condition and see if they are greasy. If they are greasy and the rubber around them is cracked, then they should go and be replaced. Also, grab the tie rod and give it a little wiggle. If it moves, then the tie rod should be replaced.
For the control arm, you can get a pry bar and put the pry bar between the body and the control arm. And if the control arm moves, then the bushings are probably bad and could be causing tire wear on the inside.
How To Fix Tire Wear On The Inside
Fixing this problem really depends on what is causing the issue. If the problem is only a bad wheel alignment, then you only need to realign the wheels and also replace the bad tires and balance the new tires in the process.
On the other hand, if the problem is caused by bad suspension components, you will need to remove the old components and install new ones. Then after you fix everything, you need to replace the tires and also do a wheel alignment. After this, the car should drive perfectly smoothly.
Cost To Fix Tire Wear On The Inside
So, what is the cost to sort this problem out? Well, it is not cheap, that’s for sure. Because to fix this problem you will at least need to do a wheel alignment and replace the tires. And this could easily cost you $200 to $350 on average.
Suspension repairs are also costly and you can add up to this price about $180 to $320 on repairs. So, the overall cost of the suspension repairs, tires, and wheel alignment will probably be above $500.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the problem of what causes tire wear on the inside.
First, we learned what is uneven tire wear and why you should be worried. Then we covered the types of tire wear as well as what causes tire wear on the inside. We also learned how you can diagnose and fix this problem and also at what cost is this possible.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Do Tire Treads Do
Tire treads simply allow the tire to grip the tarmac. There are three tread designs, summer, winter, and all-season. Every tire has different treads. The winter tires have the most aggressive treads out of the few.
What Causes Tire Feathering
Tire feathering is caused by a bad toe angle. You probably have either toe in or toe out angle. The toe should be neutral in order for you to avoid situations like tire feathering.
How To Check Wear On Tires
You can check the wear with a coin. Insert a coin between the treads and see if there is enough tread. Also, you can check this by checking the wear indicators on the tire. If the tire wear has reached these indicators, you should replace the tire.
Why Do New Tires Wear Out So Fast
This really depends on the car and also on the tire. Heavy vehicles like pickup trucks or SUVs tend to go through tires much quicker than sedans because they weigh a lot. Also, some tire manufacturers are producing softer tires, that can also wear quicker.
Which Tires Wear Faster
Usually, the ones that wear the fastest are the high-performance tires. These tires are extra sticky and tend to wear much quicker than your standard summer or winter tire.
How To Fix Inner Tire Wear
You can fix this problem by doing a wheel alignment. But before this, you will fix the problems with the suspension if there are any, as well as replace the bad tires before you decide on alignment.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.