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Tire "Chop" I being taken for a ride?

I just had my tires rotated after about 15k miles. (New tires...first rotation) and the guy in the garage told me my front tires where "chopped", slightly. I went out to look and he showed me what he was talking about. Now this is hard to describe without a picture, but I will try.

Looking are the top of the tires, from the side of the vehicle, it looks like the trailing edge of each tread is slight rounded, and the leading eadge is still square.

Like this:

It does not look like feathering or uneven wear. It doesn NOT look like this:

This wear is only visable on the front tires, and the "chop" is pretty symetrical...that is, it's not any worse on the right or left side of the tire...

Now, the suspicious thing is that the tires were rotated at a "Brake and Muffler" shop...and it seems awful conveniant that my tire wear was blamed on "bad" front struts, which will run me $600 according to thier "daignosis" of the "cause".

More info:

I have Bridgstone Revo 2's with 15k on them. (first tire rotation)

The vehicle they are on is a 2007 Toyota 4Runner, with 50k.

So, my question is this...what could be causing this type of wear? (Is it really bad struts?)


  • edited November 2010
    It could easily be bad struts, or even bad balance. Or a combination. Or even alignment. Or a combination. It's hard to guess without actually seeing the tires. The following link has some really good photos of wear problems and what they represent.

    My rear tires are chopped too...I just had the car on the lift a week ago. I too need struts. With 146,000 on the car, I have no complaints.
  • edited November 2010
    The best example from these pictures is the one that says "Diagonal Wear / Heal & Toe Wear":
  • edited November 2010
    Than it may be just an alignment problem.

    But understand that all of these forces can interact, and you may still need struts.
  • edited November 2010
    Sometimes it's just the tires themselves, a poor tread design that squirms as the tire rotates. Or an AWD system that drags a little..Struts?? Not very likely..Have the alignment checked as a first step..
  • edited November 2010
    I think the first thing I'd do is to rotate the tires every 6000 miles instead of 15000 miles and see if that helps. 15k is too far to go without a rotate. Should have had almost 3 rotates by now. 50k is way too soon for struts/shocks.
  • edited November 2010
    I took a picture of the tread wear. Again, it's the same on both the inside an outside treads and on every tread around the entire tire so I'm not sure how it could be alignment. (Assuming misalignment would manifest itself with one side of the tire being worse than the other, but I'm not a tire guy so I'm not sure how the physics work.)
    my tire.jpg
    549 x 411 - 37K
  • edited November 2010
    To me it looks like normal wear for the front as they are the tires that get a bit of scrubbing every time you turn the vehicle. But then again I am not a tire guys either.
  • edited November 2010
    The tires are heavily siped, lots of tread cuts and open space in the tread design. This provides great wet road and snow traction but it also makes the tread very soft and flexible, subject to distortion and scrubbing especially at high speed.. Something as simple as increasing the air pressure by a few PSI could solve this problem..
  • edited November 2010
    This is normal for radial tires. I have seen this on my own tires. If you rotate tires as I do, front to back same side and back to front opposite sides, the tires that had their rotation direction reversed which will be the rear to front opposite side tires will eventually have the chopping as you call it, reversed. I'd say don't worry about it.

    PS: In reality, it is easier to feel rather than see this. Use a couple of fingers to rub the top of a tire front to back and then back to front. If you don't feel a difference, the tire may have been recently rotated and is in the middle of transition from one chop direction to the other. Thanks for the word, now I know what to call it.
  • edited November 2010
    First, that is indeed heel and toe wear and it's not too bad. In some respects, it is normal, especially on driven tires.

    No. The shocks may be bad, but this wear is not caused by bad shocks. Bad shocks would cause cupping or some version of irregular wear, such as diagonal wear.

    However, mis-aligment can cause more rapid heel and toe wear - which might lead to irregular wear. But since your tires were on the rear, I think mis-alignment can be discounted.

    But don't be too hard on the guy at the shop for getting this wrong. Tire wear is pretty complex and even within this thread, there are otherwise knowledgeable folks getting it wrong.

    Oh - and as has been said. 15K is a little long to wait for rotation - which is aggravating the situation.

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