Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Bald rear tires AWD Nisan Murano

2008 AWD Nisan Murano - rotated tires, ~ 3000 miles later all 4 tires were worn evenly bald. Dealer apologized, said they did not align them.
Replaced all 4 tires, ~ 5000 miles later rotated them and then ~ 3000 miles later both rear tires were worn evenly bald, front tires were fine.
Dealer replaced bald rear tires. ~ 5000 miles later rotated tires,
then ~ 3000 miles later rear tires worn evenly bald - dealer checked alignment and alignment was fine.
Dealer has no clue as to the cause of this reoccurring issue.

A car that is at least 7 years old does not have any warranty coverage remaining, so I am having a hard time understanding why you are relying on a dealership (which clearly lacks either expertise or a desire to resolve the problem) for something like wheel alignment.

I suggest that you go to the best independent front-end/suspension shop in your area for a thorough check of the condition of the rear suspension components and the alignment of all 4 wheels.

That being said, I am having a very hard time believing that the rear tires would be evenly bald, especially after ~8k miles. A suspension/alignment problem would lead to uneven wear patterns on the tires. Being evenly bald is normally a function of tread wear over an extended period of time, rather than being related to a suspension or alignment problem.

I agree, alignment problems do NOT cause tires to wear evenly. Do you try to spin the tires on accelerating from a stop?

This sounds like it might be an AWD system problem and not an alignment problem. There’s no way an alignment problem can cause rear tires to be evenly worn bald.

Perhaps too much power is being sent to the rear wheels and not the front?

I assume the dealer reference was for the tire dealer but until more accurate information is given this doesn’t make sense. Why would the tire dealer keep replacing tires that wore all the tread off in 8000 miles? If they really wore that quickly there would have to be driving and steering problems.

Even if the OP did floor the vehicle every time they took off the wear still wouldn’t be ( EVEN ).

Replaced all 4 tires, ~ 5000 miles later rotated them and then ~ 3000 miles later both rear tires were worn evenly bald, front tires were fine

And this strange problem was not present for the first 5000 miles with the new tires, and was present from 5k to 8k miles ?? Getting total wear out in 3000 miles ?? TWICE doesn’t make sense.

+1 to VDC’s post.
And have the brakes checked out too. If the front brakes are for some strange reason not working, the rear tires will wear prematurely.

Is this vehicle a recent purchase or yours for a while?

I think we need a bunch more information. How many miles on the vehicle? How many miles since it was purchased? When was it purchased?

I suspect we are talking about short trips and that wears tires rapidly.

“I think we need a bunch more information”


In addition to the data that CapriRacer mentioned, I think that we need to know the brand and model name of those tires, along with the wear rating listed on the sidewall of the tire.

appreciate all of the comments:

Purchased the car new ~ 6 yrs ago, now has ~ 100,000 mile on it

Each time this problem has occurred is after a 2 week driving trip from Louisiana to Colorado,

The 1st trip was Dec. 2014 upon return all tires worn evenly bald. 4 new tires installed, dealer blamed it on them not aligning the tires after rotating them just prior to the trip.

Put ~ 5,000 miles on them driving in Louisiana. Aug. 2015 rotated the tires(all 4 had minimal wear)

Drove to Colorado in Aug. 2015, ~ 2 week trip, upon return both rear tires worn evenly bald, front tires showed minimal wear.

Dealer installed 2 new tires on front, rotated the 2 front tires(now had ~ 8,000 miles on them) to the rear. Drove the vehicle in Louisiana ~ 5,000 miles. Inspection in Dec 2015 showed mild wear on rear tires(now had ~ 13,000 miles on them), no wear on front tires(had ~ 5,000 miles on them). Dealer rotated the rear tires with 13,000 miles to the front and the front tires with 5,000 miles to the rear.

End of Dec. 2015 drove to Colorado ~ 2 week trip, when returned to Louisiana the rear tires were worn evenly bald, Front tires showed mild wear. Dealer could not figure out the reason for evenly worn bald rear tires, so dealer took it to a reputable alignment shop - they said no alignment problems.

Dealer installed 4 new tires. Dealer and Nissan have no clue as to the cause.

I will now sale/trade the vehicle

Thank you for the additional information, but I would still like to know the make and model of these tires, along with the wear rating that can be found on the tire’s sidewall.

Because suspension problems, alignment problems, or even inflation problems would all lead to uneven wear patterns, there is clearly something else going on if the tires are evenly bald across the width of the tread after just a few thousand miles.

Can you give us the missing info about these tires?

Additionally, if you are going to sell the vehicle, I hope that you do full disclosure of the ongoing tire problem, because if you are not forthcoming with that information, bad karma is sure to follow you for the rest of your life.

Here’s what I suspect:

The short trips are wearing the tires rapidly, but the wear isn’t apparent as the first 60% to 70% of a tire’s wear, the tread appearance doesn’t change much. Beyond that point, the tread pattern loses much of the small sipes and grooves and sometimes the difference is dramatic.

At the end of that long trip, the tires have been worn enough that that tread pattern difference is more visible.

What is puzzling is that the vehicle is accumulating yearly mileage that is above average. I suspect that means that either there are a LOT of short trips, or that long trip is way out of proportion.

I think you are going to find a bad bushing(s) in the rear suspension. At low speeds, the tires remain in alignment but at high sustained speeds, the higher drag pulls against the weak bushings allowing the wheels to go out of alignment.

On these road trips, do you carry a pretty big load so the back end drops some? That could be leading to some excess wear as it also changes the wheel geometry. You may also want to have the rear wheel bearing checked for excessive wear or drag.

I am not doubting your diagnosis, but I have never seen an instance of bad alignment that resulted in tires that were worn evenly across their tread width. Bad alignment always seems to induce uneven wear patterns on the tread.

Can @CapriRacer please comment on this issue?

The tires have been replaced but I will find out from the dealer: the make, model, tread wear rating of the old tires and post that info to the blog tomorrow.

On all 3 of the occasions the tires were worn evenly bald following a 2 week trip from Louisiana to Colorado then back to Louisiana. 2 of the trips occurred in December and one in August.

On both of the Dec. trips there were 4 passengers with luggage behind the 2nd seat - total weight ~ 850 lbs. Also on each of the Dec. trips a hitch mounted cargo carrier was used. Total weight of carrier + ice chest on carrier ~ 125 lbs.

On the August trip passengers + luggage ~ 500 lbs. Cargo carrier not used.

I will be trading the car in on a new vehicle - dealing with the same dealer.

Might also check for a broken spring or strut that lost its gas charge.

I suspeck Keith is on the right track with worn bushings. The faster you go and the more weight you have, the greater effect. If the bad bushings were in the front you would have uneven tire wear because while the front wheels are toeing out from bushing deflection, they are also steering at angles to the direction of travel and going through changes due to Ackerman effect.

The rear tires have only the toe out and bounce to deal with. If the roads are good there isn’t much bounce. The net effect would be to drag the tires sideways some as it rotates. Hence rapid even wear.

The weight of ice chest is not a lot, but it ia all behind the rear bumper. I remember the 56 T bird having handling problems because they put a continental kit on that year. The next year it was gone.

Uneven tire wear in the rear is usually found mostly on front drive cars that are lightly loaded and the bouncing of the rear end causes cupping, your car is loaded enough on these trips so this isn’t happening.

Is it possible for the owner to reconfigure the AWD system to 2WD, or is it always AWD and that can’t be changed? If you could switch it to 2WD for a test of how the tires wear then, that might be diagnostic.

VDCDriver said: "… Can @CapriRacer please comment on this issue? … " talking about bad alignment never resulting in even wear.

First, many folks don’t recognize uneven wear unless one side is completely bald. Heck, tires can be unevenly worn (Up to 2/32nds), but the tire isn’t visually different (other than the depth).

Second, it is possible to have offsetting conditions. For example, an underinflated tire (which causes shoulder wear) mounted on a drive tire (which causes center wear) and that results in even but rapid wear.

Yes, I recognize my example isn’t about alignment, but I am struggling coming up with an alignment example that is easy to explain. Everything I can think of is kind of complex.