^ Tire wear is a good indicator of steering and wheel alignment problems. Proper tread wear is difficult to notice, so tires are made with wear-indicator bands that indicate when the tire is nearly worn-out. On an evenly worn tire, these wear-indicator bars will eventually appear as evenly spaced bald "stripes" about Vz in. wide running across the tread surface. The appearance of these tread-wear bands on only one part of the tread indicates uneven wear.
Uneven tire wear is usually caused by improper tire inflation pressures or misalignment. Other kinds of uneven tread wear may be the result of faulty components or improper alignment. The following figures illustrate the influence of these factors on tire wear.
Effect of tire inflation pressure on wear pattern. Condition (A) is normal. Overinflation (B) causes increased wear in center of tire tread. Underinflation (C) causes increased wear on outer edges of tire tread.
^ Examples of uneven tread wear caused by overinflated and underinflated tires. (Drawings courtesy of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.)
Tread wear bands
Tread wear bands
^ Examples of uneven tread wear caused by misalignment and/or worn or damaged components:
• Feathering suggests incorrect alignment.
• Uneven wear on one side suggests incorrect alignment or repeated hard cornering.
• Cupping results from vibration, often caused by unbalanced tire or faulty shock absorber. (Drawings courtesy of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.)
Tire wear that is uneven across the tread—one side worn more than the other, or unusual wear of individual tread ribs—indicates an alignment problem, and perhaps worn suspension or steering components. Cupping or scalloping—wear that is uneven around the circumference of the tire—is a telltale sign of an unbalanced tire or a worn-out shock absorber.
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