2017 Ford Escape - Cupped tires

Purchased a used 2017 vehicle with 24,000 miles; now at 27,000 and am told that rear tires are cupped. I am reading on what the causes are. Could the CVC joints, Struts, ball joints, wheel bearings be worn out already? I want to be aware if the dealer says it is caused by one of the above. Drove a 2014 Escape for 161, 000 miles and never had a problem.

From Popular Mechanix website:

It Looks Like: A pattern of alternating hills and valleys

The Diagnosis: It happens when worn or damaged suspension components cause the tire to bounce as it travels, coming down harder on some spots of the tire than others. Bad shock absorbers are the usual cause, though anything that connects the wheel to the rest of the car could be a culprit.

Be careful with your diagnosis, though. Even tire shops sometimes incorrectly identify feathering or heel-toe wear as cupping. A wheel that is out of balance may also cause cupping or bald spots to form, though there will be fewer hills and valleys than you’d see with cupping caused by a failed shock absorber.

If the original 36/36000 warranty was transferred to you, have the dealer fix it.
If not, you can go to any independent shop (not chain) for diagnosis.


Far more likely alignment than anything else given the age of the vehicle. An alignment won’t be covered under warranty but anything else (besides tire replacement) would.

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As was alluded to, “cupping” is a term that is frequently misused to mean any sort of irregular wear.

In most situations nowadays, misalignment is the cause of the irregular tire wear. My experience says that most published alignment specs are too wide - by half. In order to get good tire wear, the alignment has to be within the inner half of the spec - with 1 exception: The camber should not be greater than 1 degree.

Find an alignment shop who will do that. Ask ahead of time, and if they don’t agree, find somewhere else. Please note: It might take an eccentric bolt or a camber plate to get the alignment where it needs to be - additional cost! If the alignment shop doesn’t mention it UPFRONT, ask about them.

I had a rear tire developing cupping patterns on my Corolla. Discovered as part of replacing the tire it was probably due to an imbalance, a wheel weight had fallen off the rim. At first I was thinking it was a bearing problem, but testing showed the bearing was ok. Next I thought it was the strut, but there was no obvious difference in function or appearance between that strut and the one on the other side which had no tire cupping.