There’s no denying the fact that the majority of the motorists are only concerned about the tire pressure in their cars, and they only begin to worry about the tires when it gets flat or in a worst-case scenario, burst.
Tires are the only parts that connect the car to the road and play a few crucial roles. They ensure adequate traction and stability and bear the load of the car and passengers as well. It is a common misconception that the tire wears only on the surface that contacts the road. Rather it can occur on the outside, as well as inside of a tire and there are many reasons behind that.
Keeping an eye on the tread wear pattern and tire shape is very important, to prevent any mishap. What causes a tire to wear on the outside and how can it be prevented? This comprehensive guide answers all your queries in detail, so you don’t face this problem.
What Causes Tires to Wear on the Outside?
Car owners and drivers must be aware of the probable causes behind a tire wearing on the outside, so they can keep a check and prevent the damage before it’s too late.
1- Inadequate wheel alignment
Wheel misalignment is by far the most common cause of a tire wearing on the outside. If you were involved in an accident or hit a pothole or a curb, it is highly likely that the alignment of your wheels is out.
It causes the tires to have uneven contact with the road and the outside surface gets damaged as it scrapes against the road. This problem is usually not so evident and gets ignored by the driver, and is only noticed when the damage gets out of hand.
2- Improper wheel balancing
Wheel balancing is usually done when you change or rotate the tires and it ensures that your car has a vibration-free, stable ride.
If you drive on an uneven road and go over speed bumps quite often, expect the balancing of your wheels and suspension to be off. It also causes a jolty ride and tires to wear unevenly, especially on the outer surface.
3- Sagging or limping springs
When you’re cruising comfortably on the road and enjoying a bump-free ride, it is the springs of your car’s suspension system that are doing all the labour. There are different types of springs and suspension setups used by manufacturers, but regardless of make and type, the springs lose their shock-absorbing properties due to continuous jerks and recoiling over time.
This causes the car to lose some height, and the ride to become a bit jolty and undulating. This shifts all the stress of jerks and weight to the tires which bend unevenly under pressure. This causes excessive wear and it becomes evident from the treads on the outside of the tires.
4- Improper tire inflation
Properly inflated tires serve more than just one purpose of ensuring a comfortable ride, they also offer enhanced fuel economy, stability on the road, and sharp handling. Tires that are correctly inflated aid in distributing loads, cornering force, and adequate braking on the tread. The tire contact area will struggle to perform its function efficiently if the tire pressure is either too high or too low.
This can cause uneven and accelerated read wear, both on the inside and outside of the tires.
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5- Damaged bushings
Bushings are a crucial part of the suspension setup and keep the control arm firmly in its place. Due to excessive usage over time, and rough terrain, the bushes can get damaged and worn out.
This can badly affect the camber adjustment and lead to wheel misalignment, shifting uneven stress to the tires. Outside tread wear on the tires can also be due to this problem.
6- Worn out ball joints
Ball joints are one of the most important parts of the front suspension in a car, and they keep the hub housing and camber connected in place. They also reduce the vibrations in the frame and offer a comfortable ride.
The most obvious indicator of ball joint damage is the tires pointing outward (positive camber). This can also be harmful and lead to uneven outer surface tire wear which can prove fatal if not fixed timely.
7- Bendy Spindles or Struts
Struts and spindles are one of the main structural components of a car, and they work closely with ball joints and shock absorbers to keep the suspension system intact and ensure a smooth ride.
In the majority of the cars, a proper camber angle and wheel alignment are kept at optimal by the proper functioning of the strut. A bent strut and spindle would result in an undulating motion of the car and are indicated by only the outer edges of the front tires getting worn out.
8- Rugged Terrain
If you are a frequent traveller and love to face the challenges head-on, it is likely that your tires are paying the price. When you try to manoeuvre on uneven surfaces or rugged, such as gravel, or off-road trials, the outer surface of the tires comes in frequent contact with the surface. This causes accelerated wear and can even damage the tire fatally.
How to Fix the Tires Wearing on the Outside?
Most of the factors that lead to wear on the outside of the tire surface require professional care and fixing by an expert mechanic. Here’s how you can fit this problem.
1. Proper wheel alignment – your wheels could simply be maligned and you can get rid of this problem by getting it fixed, it is ideal to rotate tires and get the alignment redone every 10,000 miles.
2. Repair/Replace saggy springs – Fixing the limping or saggy springs will instantly improve your car’s ride quality, and stability. Not to mention the tire wear problem that will disappear after you get the job done.
3. Replace the faulty ball joints – Ball joints cannot be repaired, so it is ideal to get them replaced and put your tires back on the right track.
4. Fixing the Struts and Spindles – Needless to mention that the suspension components are the most common culprits behind the tire wear, and replacing or repairing the struts and spindles can fix the problem of uneven tire wear, and jerky ride quality.
How to Prevent Tires from Wearing on the Outside?
Follow these simple steps to prevent tires from wearing on the outside;
1. Keep the tire inflation pressure at optimal, usually, the tire pressure is written on the inside of the driver’s door panel for regular reminding.
2. Drive carefully, and avoid potholes or curbs. Also, drive over the speed bumps calmly, to prevent any damage to the suspension.
3. Ensure tire rotation, wheel balancing, and wheel alignment every 10,000 miles.
4. Get the suspension system inspected every 20,000 miles and fix the faulty parts, such as the control arm, struts, or bushes.
5. Get the suspension overhauled at 75,000 miles to keep it in optimal condition.
6. Finally, replace tires every 25,000 miles or so, depending on the tread wear and puncture history.
Tires are one of the most important, and rugged parts of a car that serve more than one purpose. Offering a comfortable ride, and ensuring stability, traction, and sharp handling are some of the main jobs served by your car’s tires.
Tires are bound to wear, age, and retire, but they ought to be in a normal pattern. If you hit speed bumps, and potholes and don’t keep the inflation pressure optimal, the stress on the tires increases and they develop an uneven contact with the road. This leads to uneven wear of the treads, particularly on the outside surface.
Car suspension parts are the ones that suffer the most and can worsen the condition. If you notice uneven tread wear, it is time to get your tires checked. Getting proper wheel alignment, replacing faulty suspension parts, and keeping inflation pressure normal will prevent uneven wear on the outside surface of the tires.