Understanding and Addressing Outer Tire Wear

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Written By Robert Sutton

Outer tire wear is a common issue that many vehicle owners face. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including wheel misalignment, worn suspension components, and improper tire inflation. Understanding the causes and solutions for outer tire wear can help extend the lifespan of your tires and improve your vehicle’s performance.

Causes of Outer Tire Wear

Wheel Misalignment

One of the primary causes of outer tire wear is wheel misalignment. This can occur due to various reasons such as hitting a large pothole, a major accident, or climbing over the road’s hard shoulder.

Misalignment causes the wheel to tilt on the outside, exerting more pressure on the road-facing shoulder of the tire, leading to faster wear on the tire’s outer edge. Regular alignment checks every 6,000 to 7,000 miles can help prevent this issue.

Worn Suspension Components

Worn suspension components such as sagging springs, bent spindles or struts, and worn ball joints can also contribute to outer tire wear. These components play a crucial role in maintaining the vehicle’s stability and ride comfort.

Over time, these parts can wear out or become damaged, leading to misalignment and increased pressure on the tire’s outer edge. Regular inspection and replacement of these components can help prevent outer tire wear.

Improper Tire Inflation

Improper tire inflation is another common cause of outer tire wear. Over-inflated tires tend to wear down rapidly in the center, while under-inflated tires cause the edges to wear down more quickly. Regularly checking your tire pressure and maintaining the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle can help prevent this issue.

Outer tire wear

Solutions for Outer Tire Wear

  1. Tire Replacement: The first step in addressing outer tire wear is to replace any tires that are unevenly worn. This typically involves changing all four tires at the same time to prevent unevenness between the treads. It’s important to choose high-quality tires that are suitable for your vehicle and driving conditions.
  2. Tire Balancing: After replacing the tires, it’s crucial to ensure they are balanced. Tire balancing ensures that the weight of the tire is evenly distributed around the axle. An unbalanced tire can cause uneven wear, and vibrations, and potentially damage the suspension. A professional mechanic can balance your tires using specialized equipment.
  3. Wheel Alignment: Wheel alignment is the process of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Misaligned wheels can lead to outer tire wear. A professional wheel alignment service will adjust the angles of your wheels to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  4. Check and Adjust Tire Pressure: Tire pressure should be checked regularly and adjusted to the manufacturer’s recommended level. Under-inflated tires can cause the edges to wear down more quickly, while over-inflated tires can cause rapid wear in the center. A tire pressure gauge can be used to check the pressure, and air can be added or released as necessary.
  5. Inspect and Replace Worn Suspension Components: Worn or damaged suspension components can lead to outer tire wear. Regular inspections can help identify any components that need to be replaced. This might include shock absorbers, springs, ball joints, and control arms.
  6. Regular Tire Rotation: Tires should be rotated regularly to ensure even wear. The recommended rotation period can vary depending on the vehicle and tire type, but a general rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.
  7. Professional Inspection: If you’ve tried the above steps and are still experiencing outer tire wear, it may be time for a professional inspection. A trained mechanic can examine your vehicle and tires to identify any underlying issues that might be causing the problem.

Remember, the key to preventing outer tire wear is regular maintenance and early detection of potential issues. By following these steps, you can help extend the lifespan of your tires and improve your vehicle’s performance.

Measures you can take to prevent outer tire wear

  1. Avoid Aggressive Driving: Hard braking, fast acceleration, and high-speed driving can all contribute to faster tire wear. Try to drive smoothly and anticipate stops to reduce the need for hard braking.
  2. Avoid Overloading Your Vehicle: Each vehicle has a recommended maximum load capacity. Overloading your vehicle puts extra stress on your tires and can lead to faster wear.
  3. Avoid Potholes and Road Hazards: Hitting potholes or other road hazards can damage your tires and cause them to wear more quickly. It can also lead to misalignment, which contributes to uneven tire wear.
  4. Regularly Clean Your Tires: Dirt and debris can cause minor damage to your tires, leading to faster wear. Regularly cleaning your tires can help prevent this.
  5. Park Carefully: Scraping your tire against the curb when parking can cause damage to the sidewall of the tire, leading to faster wear. Always try to park carefully to avoid this.
  6. Check for Tire Damage Regularly: Regularly inspect your tires for any signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, cracks, or bulges. If you notice any damage, it’s important to have the tire inspected by a professional as soon as possible.
  7. Use the Right Tires for the Season: Using summer tires in winter conditions, or vice versa, can lead to faster tire wear. Make sure to use the right tires for the season.
  8. Maintain a Safe Speed: Higher speeds can cause more heat and increase tire wear. Maintaining a safe, moderate speed can help reduce tire wear.

By following these best practices, you can help extend the lifespan of your tires and improve your vehicle’s performance.

Video explaining types of tire wear


Outer tire wear can be a costly and dangerous issue if not addressed promptly. Regular maintenance, including alignment checks, tire pressure checks, and suspension component inspections, can help prevent this problem and extend the lifespan of your tires.

For more information on tire wear and maintenance, check out these resources:

Remember, the key to preventing outer tire wear is regular maintenance and early detection of potential issues. Stay safe on the road and ensure your tires are in the best condition possible.

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