All You Need to Know About Tire Wear Patterns

Published: May 27, 2022
Last updated: February 29, 2024

Wear and tear are common problems with tires. It is understandable since they bear all of the vehicle's weight, even if some boost comes from the car suspension system. Additionally, the tires come into contact with the road, which has quite a rough surface that speeds up tire wear. It is an asset if you're knowledgeable about tire wear patterns, just like a good mechanic or car enthusiast.

Identifying the problem with the vehicle can be determined by understanding the tire wear patterns. The problem may manifest itself in a distinct wear pattern. We will examine many of these patterns to gain a deeper understanding.

What Do Your Tire Wear Patterns Mean?

A guide is presented below to explain common tire wear patterns.

Tire Tread Wear On the Center

Most treads will wear in the center, one of the most common patterns. This is an indication that your car tires are overinflated. Overinflated tires ride on their central tread when you exceed their inflation limits. This part is more likely to wear due to excessive road exposure. Fill the wheels to their recommended level to prevent this.

Tire Tread Wear On the Sides

Side wear patterns may also be noticeable on tire treads. These are indicative of underinflated tires. Tires deteriorate because they carry the load on the sides. This may also result from unbalanced tires, contributing to low tire inflation. Check the tires for damages that may require replacement and fill them with the right amount of air.

Feather Edge Tire Wear

The feathered pattern refers to tire wear on which one side is smooth, and the other is lifted. Feathering is caused by incorrect alignment settings, excessive positive or negative toe, or excessively positive or negative toe.

There are also troubles with toe-out tires, similar to feather edges. In this case, the shoulders may be sawed or toothed, and they wear quickly. Excessive positive or negative toeing is usually to blame for this problem.

One-Sided Tire Wear On the Shoulders

An uneven tire wear pattern on the shoulder indicates excessive camber. Depending on where you are looking, the camber describes the angle between the inside and outside of the tire. Cars with low clearances and sporty styling often have camber. Tires that are angled inward excessively are negative camber, while tires that are angled outward are positive camber. Cambering is likely if you have a flawed suspension system and too much load.

Patchy Wear Patterns

Tires with deeper patches in some places than others indicate unbalanced wheels. A diagonal wear pattern is another indication of out-of-balance tires. The problem can be remedied through tire rotation.

Little Dips on the Tread

Poor suspension leads to little dips or cups on the tread, indicating a bad suspension system. The dips in your ride may indicate that your shocks and springs need to be replaced. 

What Are The Different Signs Of Tire Wear?

When looking for signs of tire wear, there are many to keep an eye on so that you know what needs to be done. Following are some of the different signs to keep in mind.

Tread Wear

Tread wear in the tires is one of the symptoms of a problem. There are different patterns in which the tread can wear out. The wear pattern that the car assumes can point to various issues, and it is important to know which issue is in your hands. Refer to the tire wear patterns guide for an in-depth understanding of the subject.

Rough Driving Experience

Having worn-out tires may also cause your driving experience to be rough. You may experience poor traction on the road if your tires have an imbalance or poor tread. If the tread is deeply worn, you may feel the bumps on rough roads. Unlike when driving with brand-new tires, bumps may be very pronounced.

Poor Fuel Economy

If the tire wear causes its inflation to drop, you will experience a rise in fuel consumption. Underinflated tires are among the reasons for inside tire wear, especially on the shoulders. As a result, the tires drag more, and the engine needs more power to move them. Your tank will be drained faster as a result.

Bulges And Blisters

You may also see blisters and bulges as a sign of tire wear. If you notice these, you should change your tires right away. Tires can burst due to bulges that grow over time. Bulges and blisters will commonly appear on the sides. This indicates that the tire has reached the end of its useful life. Replacing the tire makes sense in this case.

What Would Cause A Tire To Wear On The Outside?

Why does the outside of a tire wear out? The question is asked by many drivers when they notice that the tread on the outer edge is diminishing rapidly. Several factors contribute to this problem, and we will explore the most common ones.

Alignment Issues

Wheel misalignment is one of the leading causes of tire wear on the outside. Malfunctioning suspension systems or mechanical impacts cause wheel misalignment. As a result of poor alignment, a wheel may tilt to one side, exposing the outer shoulder to the road. When this occurs, the outer tread will become worn. It's a good idea to have the wheels aligned to resolve this issue.

Bad Springs

A problem with the spring could cause the front tire to be on the outside. Spring support is essential to maintaining the vehicle's balance. However, with age, they become less flexible. Coil springs are used in the frontal wheels, which lose their elasticity very quickly, causing the wheels to become shorter. When the wheels become shorter, the suspension becomes out of alignment. This causes the outer shoulders of the tires to be exposed.


If the ball joints of a vehicle are damaged and unable to grip the suspension system, it is referred to as toe-out. Wear and tear on the ball joint can cause it to malfunction, as is the case with most vehicle parts. The tires might start bulging outside when the lower joint is affected.

A Problem with the Bushings

It is also possible that the bushings are causing the tires to wear outside. A key function of these components is to prevent free play. They are responsible for holding the suspension system firmly in place, reducing noise and friction.

They might malfunction, causing the wheels to camber outside. If the wheels have excessive camber, they will tilt inward and cause the outer edges of the tires to wear out.

How to Fix Tire Wear on The Outside

If you notice any wear on the exterior of your tires, it is prudent to replace them right away. That way, you can avoid secondary problems that can make things worse. The moves listed below can assist you in repairing a bad tire.

Inspecting the Tires

Start by checking the tires and reading the wear patterns on the treads, if they exist. When you analyze p-patterns, you will be able to identify the underlying problem. You can consult a professional for help diagnosing the issue if you are not sure of the patterns. Once the issue is identified, you can begin planning the necessary repairs.


You can usually repair your tires and suspension system to get them working most of the time again. If you inspect your vehicle first, you can determine what parts need attention. Tires can be inflated to the right level, and wheel balancing can be performed if necessary.

They can be rotated as well to enhance their service lives. After that, you should inspect other components like bushings, springs, and ball joints. You should repair these components if they're broken.

Making replacements

You might find that the tires and suspension system are badly damaged and that repairs would not make much difference. The best option, in this case, is to replace the tires and suspension system. Purchase original parts to ensure long-term performance.

What Would Cause A Tire To Wear On The Inside?

Both the outside and the inside of tires can wear out. How could a tire's inside become worn? You should consider asking yourself this question to understand your issue's root cause. As a result, you see the inner edge of the shoulder is severely worn out. The following factors cause this.

Poor Camber Angles

Camber angles are one of the main reasons tires wear on their inside shoulders. This is a case of negative camber, where the bottom part of the wheel tilts outside more than the top part. The tire's inner edge will be severely stressed if the negative camber tilt is too great. It will start with a slight feathering before it reaches an extreme.

Poor Wheel Alignment

Tire wear on the inside can also be caused by poor wheel alignment. A misaligned tire will cause the tire to be out of balance, and the right shoulder may be exposed to the road surface due to imbalance.

Worn or Damaged Suspension System Components

It is also possible for parts of the suspension system to be damaged, which can cause the wheels to wear on the inside. Car systems are complex and contain many components. Components of the suspension system include shocks, ball joints, springs, and bushings. The alignment and balance of the wheel can be affected if any of these components are damaged. In some cases, you may damage either the inner or outer tire shoulders, depending on the angle at which the wheels are rolled.

How to Fix Tire Wear on The Inside

If you discover tire wear on the inside, you should take action promptly to avoid a big problem later on. If you know what you are doing, you can deal with internal tire damage relatively stress-free. The first step in determining the extent of vehicle damage is to perform an inspection. You can then determine which parts require immediate attention. It would be better if you enlisted the services of an experienced party who can handle this step professionally if you are uncertain.

As soon as the problem has been identified, you can start performing routine maintenance. Tires can be changed, rotated, and balancing carried out. Alignments may also be necessary from time to time. It is a good idea to have your wheels aligned regularly. The best driving experience can be achieved by doing this every 6000 to 7000 miles.

It may be necessary to replace some parts, just as you would when dealing with tire wear on the outside. You should replace any parts that are no longer redeemable if they are beyond repair. It's best to go with genuine parts, as most of them are very durable and will last a long time before needing replacement.

Final Word

You can determine the issue with your vehicle by understanding tire wear patterns. A car diagnosis can be based on it when dealing with issues affecting the car's suspension system. This article highlights the different types of tire wear patterns. Follow the guide and be aware of any issues affecting your car tires or other parts.

Are you interested in learning more about cars and their maintenance? Head over to the KeepDriving website and check out our blog post on how often should a head gasket be replaced.

Founder, Editor-in-Chief Carmelo Pickel is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Keep Driving, with almost 20 years of experience working in the industry. Before founding Keep Driving, Carmelo held leadership roles for over a decade on top automotive dealership corporations across North America, handling various leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, and Incentives.
Copyright © 2024 Keep Driving. All Rights Reserved.
DMCA.com Protection Status