Rotating Feathered Tires

My car has been vibrating starting at around 60 mph on the highway. I took it to the mechanic for an alignment check and I also asked them to rotate the tires. He told me that they couldn’t rotate the tires front to back because the back tires are feathered, but they did rotate them side to side. Is it true that feathered tires cannot be rotated front to back?

No, there is no truth to that. Rotating the tires is a way to remove feathering. You might want to find another shop or another alignment tech.

For a vibration at about 60 up, I’d check tire balance first. Since the rears are feathered, the alignment needs to be checked, too. Likely too much toe-in or out in the rear depending whether the feathering is inside or outside.

If you move tires with abnormal wear patterns to other positions, they can become somewhat noisy, just so you know.

Balance and 4 wheel alignment.

The reason the mechanic didn’t do a front to rear rotation is they didn’t want the front tires to become feathered too.


I wonder if the shop even mentioned balancing the rims

That’s one of the first things I would have checked

What kind of car is this? Feather edging generally points to a toe in or toe out problem; assuming no suspension wear problems.

You took it in for an alignment check. Did they even check the alignment, checked front only, or what?

If both rear tires are feather edged on the inner or outer edges then what is the side to side swap supposed to accomplish?

It’s also common with worn out shocks/struts.
Elemodelo, we might be better able to help you if you’ll tell us the make, model, mileage, and maintenance history of the vehicle.

I think we have 2 problems

The feathered tires are probably due to a toe problem

the shaking is because the rims need to be balanced

That said, I’ve also seen choppy tires, due to rims that need to be balanced. My experience has been this . . . when I balance the rims, the problem “corrects itself” over time. Meaning if I see the vehicle again, in a few thousand miles, the tires aren’t choppy anymore

I think it’s all related. I suspect that the chassis needs a good going over.

But it sure would be nice to know whether we’re discussing an '89 Escourt with 250,000 miles or a 2014 F150 with 5,000 miles. That makes a huge, huge difference.

Elemodelo, what are we discussing here?

It is pretty common for excessive toe to cause tires to develop irregular wear and that causes both noise and/or vibrations. Obviously the feathering is a symptom that there is excessive toe.

No, balancing the tires will not correct a vibration cause by irregular tire wear, because that is an out of round problem.

Tough to get excessive toe on an F150…
My point is that we’re all guessing and making general statements based on absolutely zero information about the vehicle. If the OP would be so kind as to help us out with some information about the vehicle, perhaps we could help. But, alas, as has happened so many other times, the OP has left the building.

Exactly right, TSMB. Given what little we know, I would

  1. either get 2 new tires or get the ‘feathered’ tires shaved (if there’s enough tread), and
    1a (edit). balance all the tires
  2. get an alignment, and
  3. check the shocks, and
  4. check for worn/damaged suspension parts

I don’t understand what all the confusion is about?

The OP stated that the rear tires were feathered and the mechanic wouldn’t do a front to rear tire rotation.

It doesn’t matter what type of vehicle it is. If the vehicle came into my shop, and I saw the rear tires were feathered, I wouldn’t do a front to rear rotation either.