Gouge in tire sidewall

I just purchased a used 2017 SUV with around 39K miles on it. The fronts have 6/32, the backs have 4/32.

I noticed one of the back tires has a gouge on the sidewal. When mentioning this to the salesperson, he had someone from service look at it and say it’s safe since the belts are not showing. I’m not convinced, and actually have a week to return the car; even for this issue with the tire. I’ve attached a picture. Is this something to be concerned about?

Additionally, one of the front tires has a plug in it. Is there a way for me to determine if it’s patched from the inside without actually having the tire removed from the rim? I’ve had tires plugged AND patched from the inside, and the plug part usually is a solid piece of rubber that you can see on the outside of the tire (it sticks out less than 1/2 inch). The repair on my tire looks like one of those standard plugs that you can do yourself. The dealer’s response is that the tier isn’t losing air.

Additionally, you’ll notice two “lines” in the tread on the right. Has anyone seen this, and if so, what could cause that type of wear?

Are these both things I should be concerned with? I’ve attached pictures of both tires in question.

Thanks everyone!!

The sidewall damage needs to be replaced. It is not safe to drive in my opinion. The plug is probably OK but the tire would have to be un-mounted to determine if there is a patch.

You DID have this car checked out by YOUR mechanic before you bought it, right? Because if you did not, I’d return this car and get my money back.


Over and above the sidewall damage and the plug, what would concern me most about this vehicle is the disparity in treadwear from front to back. That disparity shows that the tires have not been rotated as they should have been, and that is an integral part of the required maintenance on an AWD vehicle. That disparity could have already led to premature wear on some of the components of the AWD system, and that could lead to very expensive repairs.

And, of course, if the previous owner failed to have the tires rotated as required, then you have to wonder if he/she skipped other vital maintenance procedures.

If I was in your situation, I would return the vehicle, out of an abundance of caution.


I agree with you about the plug, having used them a few times. I also agree with the previous replies about the sidewall gash; not safe.

I would offer the dealer the following alternatives: a new set of tires or take the vehicle back. Getting the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic in the meantime would also be a good idea.


I second the advice “new set of tires or take the vehicle back”. These tires are unsafe, and the dealer certainly low-balled the customer who traded it in, due to the tires, and possibly other “reconditioning expenses”. You cannot replace just one or two tires on an AWD vehicle, and the dealer should be aware of this.

I could not find where it was said to be AWD but it does not matter. Another vote for returning the vehicle. There might be some charge for usage , just pay it and find a better dealer and have the next vehicle looked at by a shop.

That is true.
When I read “SUV”, I assumed that it is an AWD vehicle, but it is possible that the first owner opted to go without AWD–if that was even an option on this mystery vehicle.

Hi Everyone. Thanks for all the responses.

The car is a Honda Pilot, and it’s 2 wheel drive. Got it from Carmax. I’m taking it back there tomorrow for “service” and would hammer out the issues on the tires.

I am not sure if this is true. I do not buy 4WD vehicles, and on a 2WD model, tires can be replaced per-axle. I have done the math and realized that it is actually no more expensive to skip rotating the tires, which means the front tires will wear a lot more than the rear tires. When the front tires are nearly bald, the rear tires will still have plenty of tread. No problem–those get replaced with two new tires, and the rear tires go on the front at that time.

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That’s been my strategy with 2WD vehicles, too.

That is good news. Now, please request the replacement of the gouged tire with an identical make/model tire.

Well, he still needs the two rear tires replaced. They’re almost worn out, anyway.


You bought a car with pretty worn tires. I would get the car looked at by your mechanic and if all else is well, go back and say you will keep it if they pay for half the cost of new tires.


At least CarMax isn’t a fly by night organization. I imagine they will replace the tire. Make sure it has the same tire rating as the origin, and is an exact replacement if possible.

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The Honda Pilot is a front wheel drive SUV unless AWD is ordered. The front tires will wear out much faster than the rear tires for this configuration so the difference is not that great to me. On FWD vehicles, I usually only rotate the tires once when the front treads are down to about 5/32".

The tire with the side wall gouge may be OK. I would forcefully tug on all the loose rubber to make sure that it isn’t cut down to the cords. If you can’t see the cords no matter how hard you tug, then the tire is good, but at 4/32", it is not long for the world and I would not pass up a good tire salve if you see one.

I would agree that the front tire with the plug should be dismounted and checked for an inner patch. I have used these plugs many many times on my own vehicles and never had a problem, but to me, that patch doesn’t look like it was inserted far enough. When a patch is used, they don’t insert the plug too far, but when I use one, I do not dismount the tire and use a patch on the inside so I insert the plug to the point that very little material sticks out.

I’d be leery about a shallow insert with out a patch on the inside.

But the next question in my mind is that if the previous owner didn’t take care of the tires that well, did they take care of the rest of the vehicle too?

As I pondered, earlier in this thread…



I had a related experience. My new 2010 Kia Forte SX came with 215/45/R17 Goodyear Eagles. at 6,000 miles I grazed a curb with the right rear resulting in a sidewall gouge similar to OP’s. I took it to a trusted regional tire shop. The manager checked it with a small screwdriver and bright LED flashlight. He declared it cosmetic, with no cord damage and estimated It was safe for up to 12,000 more miles. I saw no logic with the manager of a business that’s main purpose is selling tires not selling me a tire. The tires were replaced at 20,000 miles due to tread wear. Of course the new tires were purchased from this dealer. Also my current tires. Their business model since 1952 has been ‘Customer Satisfaction’.

I see a lot of scuffed sidewalls, the tires don’t get replaced if there are no cords showing or no deformation of the sidewall. The rope plug is unacceptable.

Without reading all the other responses, to me that scuff looked pretty bad. At any rate with that level of wear, and just getting a new car, spend the $1000 for a brand new set of tires and be done with it. Lots of times buying a used car the first thing people do is replace the tires.


I’d push Carmax, they sold the OP a car with two heavily worn (4/32" left) tires, one with debatable sidewall damage, and another tire with a questionable repair. See what they’ll do.

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