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One bad tire

We have a 2010 Camry with 57,000 miles. We had to replace two tires at 27k and the other two at 38k. The car has been aligned twice, after each alignment we were told that everything was okay and that the alignment wasn't necessary. Tonight I noticed the (passenger side rear tire) has completely worn out far ahead of the other three to the point where is is very badly cupped and practically bald. Why would one tire wear out so much more quickly than the other three? I have always noticed a dragging feeling at slow speeds in this car-almost like the brake is on, which it isn't. Could this somehow be related to the problem? My mechanic says we just need to find tires that will work on this car but I'm having my doubts.


  • The only time I had that problem with a rear tire, I needed a four wheel alignment with shims. I didn't believe the tire shop when they said it was pulled out of alignment on the transport truck when it was delivered new. I wore a rear tire out to near octagon shape in less than 30K and finally let them do a four wheel alignment. That did the trick. A dragging brake or bad bearing wouldn't wear the tire a tire out but a mis-aligned tire could cause a dragging noise. Maybe better go to a good alignment shop.
  • rmp:
    What kind of shop did your alignment for you? Was it a national chain shop, or an independent local mechanic, or a dealership? I agree with Bing - maybe you need to find a better alignment shop.
  • I suspect the alignment is off, perhaps the equipment was not calibrated properly meaning the last alignment job was off. Or, you hit a pothole or something on the road and the rear alignment is off. Go to a different shop and have the alignment checked. If it is so far off as to ruin a tire it might be visibly off to the "trained" naked eye.

    In a decent sized town you can often find a specialty "alignment shop". This is a shop that handles difficult cases, and simply has more and better equipment and better trained techs. In this case I'd look for one of these. Or, spend a couple of extra bucks for an alignment at a Toyota dealer.
  • Cupped tires are usually suspension or poor tire related, not so much alignment related. Here is Tom and Ray's breakdown.
  • If you've got "cupped" tires, it is very likely the vehicle is out of alignment. Some shops think that if there isn't a factory provision for adjustment, then it CAN'T be adjusted - and that is just not true. It can and should be adjusted.

    So you need to get to a shop that will adjust the alignment on your vehicle.

    Oh, you are rotating the tires regularly right? Don't do that and the likelihood of getting cupped tires is increased.
  • Thanks for the feedback. I live in a rural area and I took the car to a local mechanic but he doesn't do the alignments, he sends the cars to a nearby town to a place that does supposedly specializes in tires and alignments. I have had good luck with my mechanic and he speaks highly of this place but I think they may have missed the mark on this one. There is a Toyota dealership near where I work so I think I may open up the checkbook and see if they can help.
  • The attached has a variety of "charts" on how to read tire wear. If you can match your wear up to one of the images, at least you'll have something to discuss with the tech. DO NOT, however, attempt to diagnose the cause for him. Just use the images to make you a bit more knowledgable for a more productive discussion.
  • It could be the alignment was fine when it was done, but then the wheel hit a pothole or got wedged against a curb going around a curve or just parking, and something got bent, which ruined the alignment. It is the rear passenger side wheel, right? That could easily happen as it is on the curb side of the car. Think about how much force is involved if you wedge a wheel at a very slight angle against a curb, then move the car even further. You have a powerful engine along with the mechanical advantage of the wedge forcing against the wheel, the bearing, and the suspension parts. There's no way to prevent something in the rear suspension from bending with that amount of force applied.

    So I think it is back to the alignment shop, and you'll find that wheel is now out of alignment. You may need some damaged parts replaced too.
  • On front wheel drive cars even from new, there just isn't enough weight in the rear to keep the tires planted on the ground if you have no passangers or luggage. It is difficult to make the rear suspension limber enough for a single driver and stiff enough for a full load. Regular rotation will minimize cupping.
  • Odd tire wear can be due to worn or failed struts. Yes, a strut can fail at 50k miles. We had a 2010 Camry and it came with horrible el400 tires which got awful ratings from most folks. Terrible wear, zero snow traction. Junk tires. U did not say what your tires were?
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