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.
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.
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.
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.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of psyberartist