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Cupped Tires

I have a 2007 Azera which I bought used. Discovered the tires were cupped and replaced them with Michelins. It didn’t take long for the noise to come back again – it’s especially bad at highway speeds – and the tires have only 20,000+ miles on them. Was later told by Hyundai dealer that Michelins and Azeras don’t work well together. They recommend I replace my tires w/Korean tires. Before I spend another $5-600 on tires, is it likely this will clear up the problem or could there be some other issue with the car and I will never get rid of the tire noise. If the latter, even though I love the car, I’d rather trade it in than invest more money.

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

Was an alignment done when the new tires were installed? If not, why not?

Have the new tires been kept at the proper pressure all along?

The tires have been rotated regularly and were aligned when they were installed and again less than a month ago when the tires were rotated. Around town I can deal with it, but I just took a short trip this week and the noise was really unpleasant.

The tire pressure has been checked when car is serviced every 3000 or so miles.

Are you sure you are not confusing “aligned” with “balanced” above?

Just reviewed all my service paperwork. Michelin Tires installed in 3/08 and the tires were BALANCED at that time and were also balanced at later rotations.

The tires were ALIGNED in 8/08 and again in 6/10.

Did you have the shocks/struts checked?

There’s no mention of shocks/struts on my service paperwork.

My knowledge of cars is limited to the basics. If it is not suggested by the dealer’s service department I wouldn’t have thought to ask about this.

How many miles on the car when you purchased it?
How many miles on it now?
How many miles since you purchased the new tires? (the ones that have cupped again)

Miles when car purchased: 16,793
Miles when new tires purchased: 18,261
Miles now: 41,243
So 22,982 miles have been put on the new tires.

In general tire cupping (meaning, the cupping is centered on the tire tread) is caused by weak/worn-out struts or shocks. If the cupping manifests itself on the interior or the exterior edges of the tires, then the aligment is the problem. Have a shop check out your struts/shocks.

More or less, I agree with BadaBing.
Tire “cupping” is almost always the result of worn-out or damaged suspension components, such as struts, ball joints, and tie rod ends. It is even possible for a bad wheel bearing to cause tire cupping, but this is rare, as is tire cupping that results from bad alignment.

One of the many potential problems with used cars is that you never know how many times the previous owner(s) hit a curb, or drove through potholes at high speed, or did other things that can damage the car’s front end. So, it is entirely possible that your car is “damaged goods”, and it is also possible that some components are just plain worn out from driving on bad pavement. You need to take the car to the best front-end shop in town for a thorough inspection of the front end, and repair of whatever might be worn/damaged.

I also want to comment on something else, namely, “Was later told by Hyundai dealer that Michelins and Azeras don’t work well together”. If that was the case, then why was the original equipment tire a Michelin? The most likely explanation is that the Hyundai dealer sells Hankook or some other Korean tire brand, and was trying to build up his overpriced tire business.

My brother has an '08 Azera, and he has had no unusual wear issues with the original equipment Michelins. However, he also rotates them on schedule, monitors the tire pressure, has them rebalanced and/or aligned if necessary, and does not drive into curbs and potholes, so that may explain the difference between his car and yours.

Since you earlier noted, “Miles when car purchased: 16,793, Miles when new tires purchased: 18,261”, I have to assume that the original tires were in poor condition after less than 20k miles, and that does not speak well of the previous owner(s) and their approach to car and tire maintenance.

Unfortunately, I believe that you are at the mercy of whoever drove and/or abused the car prior to your ownership of it.

Any chance of posting a pic or two of this tire cupping?
Cupping is caused by weak shocks, struts, or possibly wheel balance problems.

Sometimes tires can featheredge badly and this can be misinterpreted as cupping. Featheredging is an alignment issue and/or a loose suspension component issue. I would not suspect a suspension fault on a 40k miles vehicle unless it’s seen a lot of rough roads, road salt, high water, etc.