What causes uneven tyre wear?

28th May 2019


Uneven tyre erosion occurs when the tyres on your vehicle wear excessively, abnormally to its natural wear pattern. Tyre wear is inevitable - and happens over time, regardless. But knowing how to prevent uneven tyre wear can avoid premature replacement of your tyres.

Types of uneven tyre wear

We know that uneven tyre wear can lead to early replacement of our tyres - but what are the different types of excessive tyre wear? And what are their causes?

Over-inflated tyres
Too much air pressure in the tyre can lead to your tyres being over-inflated, and indirectly, excessive tyre wear. This is because the centre of the tyre is taking on too much contact with the road in comparison to the outside of the tyres, leading to central tread pattern tyre wear.

Under-inflated tyres
If your tyres are wearing excessively on the outside of your tyres, this is likely because you have under-inflated tyres. Under-inflation causes the edges of the tyres to dip to meet the road surface, causing the excessive wear - leaving the middle section intact and the outsides worn down.

Scalloped tyres
Also known as cupped tyres, scalloped tyre wear refers to abnormal dips that appear around the surface of the tyre. This is usually due to worn or bent suspension parts, caused when the tyre moves excessively - such as what would happen with worn shock absorbers or struts - the scalloped pattern on a tyre can appear.

Tyre feathering
Tyre feathering, or tyre scuffing, can often be detected by the eye - but it can be easier to run your fingers over the surface of the tyre to feel it for yourself. This indicates that one side of the tyre is more worn than the other - caused by when the tyre's tread ribs have rounded edges on one side, and sharp edges on the other. Feathering is often a result of improper wheel alignment - which usually needs to be reset by an expert.

Causes of excessive tyre wear

So, what causes uneven tyre wear? As well as the causes listed above, there are some causes that are important to be aware of to avoid excessive tyre wear:

Wheel alignment
If your wheels are out of alignment, it may cause excessive or uneven tyre wear. This means the angles of your tyres aren't positioned correctly to the contact with the road - which then leads them to wear unevenly.

So how do you know if your wheels aren't aligned correctly? Signs of poor wheel alignment can be dragging or pulling to one side, steering wheel vibration or visible tyre wear.

Improper inflation
If your tyres are over-inflated or under-inflated, this can inadvertently affect your tyre wear. This is also one of the main causes of tyre wear. As discussed above, if you notice that your tyres are under or over-inflated it's worth checking your tyre pressure - this can minimise unnecessary tyre wear.

Driving style
Being aware of your driving style can also help to avoid excessive tyre wear. Examples of driving style that would affect tyre wear are:

  • Driving over potholes
  • Hitting kerbs
  • Sharp turns and reckless driving

Need more advice on the causes and types of uneven tyre wear? Find your local Tyre Group centre today. Alternatively, browse our full selection of tyres to buy online.

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