What Are the Causes of Extreme Inner Tire Wear?

by Bud Maxwell

Not only are the tires on your car expensive to replace, but they also provide an important level of safety for your family. Worn tires that are ignored are an invitation to not only becoming stranded on the side of a busy and dangerous highway, but they can also catastrophically fail, causing the driver to lose control.

Tire Wear

There are many reasons that tires wear unevenly. Excessive center wear is usually caused by over inflation; a feathered wear pattern across the front tires is an indication of tie rod wear; and cupping, or a dished pattern, makes worn shocks suspect. Even if you can't remember the reason your tires are wearing unevenly, you should inspect the tread on a regular basis, then rely on your tire technician to make the diagnosis and correct the problem.

Camber Problem

When the inside tread on your front tires is wearing faster than the center or the outside edge, the problem is likely a "camber" problem. "Camber" refers to how straight up and down your tire is with the full weight of your car on it. If you look at the front of your car and the tops of the tires are leaning out, you have positive camber angle. If the bottoms of the tire lean to the outside, you have negative camber. Negative camber angle can cause excessive inner tire wear.

Bad Alignment

Inner tire wear is often associated with bad alignment in which the camber has been knocked out of proper adjustment. A car's front end can become out of alignment for a number of reasons, including collisions with pot holes. An indication that your alignment needs adjusting would be the steering pulling in one direction or the other while driving on a flat road.

Worn Ball Joints

Bad alignment could also be a symptom of other more serious front end problems, such as worn ball joints. Ball joints connect to the tie rods and ensure that your car steers correctly. They hold the steering knuckle in place when your tires bounce up and down on rough streets and will become worn with time.

Worn Tie Rods

Tie rods ensure that your car's wheels remain steady and that both front tires turn at the same rate. Two tie rods, an inner and an outer, connect directly to the steering linkage. Failure to regularly grease the tie rods can cause them to wear out quickly and throw the front end out of alignment. Tie rods should be greased with each oil change.

About the Author

Bud Maxwell is an editor and novelist who finds his tranquil lifestyle on Catalina Island the perfect setting for writing. Maxwell serves as an editor for local Catalina publications and is currently focusing the majority of his work on screenplays. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of psyberartist