Honda: Old struts related to tire wear?

I have a 1995 Honda Accord with 220K miles. I recently had a set of front tires wear out in four months due to excessive wear and tread separation on the INSIDE of this set of front tires.

It occurred to me that maybe the wheel has a negative camber (i.e. bottom of tire is out, top of tire is in) and is producing this tire wear. And maybe that has to do with struts. The car has never had its struts replaced. So:

(1) Could struts be the issue?

(2) How can you tell when struts are bad?

Sort of could be but an alignment shop is the first place to go so the tie rods can be checked along with the ball joints.

  1. Not for this kind of wear, worn out struts could cause cupping, but wearing out the inside of both tires is an alignment or other worn suspension item issue. Worn out struts by themselves do not affect camber.
  2. I would bet that any factory struts with 220k on them are worn out. Do you plan to keep the car? If so, replace them.

Tread separation could be related to worn shocks absorbers or struts. It could also have to do with overinflation of the tires. Do you inflate them to the pressure listed on the plackard and owner’s manual or the presure listed on the tires? It could also be related to the fact that you are in need of an alignment. It could also be you have defective tires. Tread separation is caused by a lot if things, and on smaller cars with worn struts/shocks, you might not see cupping like you do on older larger vehicles.

Well, they said the inside edge of both tires wore to the cords in only 4 months, so it would seem some sort of alignment or worn suspension would be the cause. Overinflation would affect the center, not the inside tire edges, and I don’t see how worn struts would cause this kind of problem.

I saw it on the Civic I used to own. When I first bought it, I made the common mistake of inflating the tires to the pressure listed on the tires instead of the pressure on the placard. The tires were Dunlop and all four of them, one by one, experienced tread separation. We are talking about a difference between 30 PSI and 35 PSI, so it wasn’t enough to make the center noticeably wear faster. Then after I learned not to make that mistake and my tires were properly inflated, I asked a tire guy why the inside and outside edges of my tires were more worn than the inside even though they were properly inflated. He said I had worn struts. I got them replaced and the wear pattern went away.

I think what I experienced was slightly worn struts. You might not see cupping until they are completely worn out. I was mainly responding to the tread separation symptom based on my experience. It is quite likely I caused the whole situation by overinflating my tires, which, in turn, caused premature wear of the struts in addition to the tread separation. The treads never totally separated. They just formed bubbles below the treads, which I noticed and addressed before catastrophic failure.