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Tire "Chop" I being taken for a ride?

I just had my tires rotated after about 15k miles. (New tires…first rotation) and the guy in the garage told me my front tires where “chopped”, slightly. I went out to look and he showed me what he was talking about. Now this is hard to describe without a picture, but I will try.

Looking are the top of the tires, from the side of the vehicle, it looks like the trailing edge of each tread is slight rounded, and the leading eadge is still square.

Like this:

It does not look like feathering or uneven wear. It doesn NOT look like this:

This wear is only visable on the front tires, and the “chop” is pretty symetrical…that is, it’s not any worse on the right or left side of the tire…

Now, the suspicious thing is that the tires were rotated at a “Brake and Muffler” shop…and it seems awful conveniant that my tire wear was blamed on “bad” front struts, which will run me $600 according to thier “daignosis” of the “cause”.

More info:

I have Bridgstone Revo 2’s with 15k on them. (first tire rotation)

The vehicle they are on is a 2007 Toyota 4Runner, with 50k.

So, my question is this…what could be causing this type of wear? (Is it really bad struts?)

It could easily be bad struts, or even bad balance. Or a combination. Or even alignment. Or a combination. It’s hard to guess without actually seeing the tires. The following link has some really good photos of wear problems and what they represent.

My rear tires are chopped too…I just had the car on the lift a week ago. I too need struts. With 146,000 on the car, I have no complaints.

The best example from these pictures is the one that says “Diagonal Wear / Heal & Toe Wear”:

Than it may be just an alignment problem.

But understand that all of these forces can interact, and you may still need struts.

Sometimes it’s just the tires themselves, a poor tread design that squirms as the tire rotates. Or an AWD system that drags a little…Struts?? Not very likely…Have the alignment checked as a first step…

I think the first thing I’d do is to rotate the tires every 6000 miles instead of 15000 miles and see if that helps. 15k is too far to go without a rotate. Should have had almost 3 rotates by now. 50k is way too soon for struts/shocks.

I took a picture of the tread wear. Again, it’s the same on both the inside an outside treads and on every tread around the entire tire so I’m not sure how it could be alignment. (Assuming misalignment would manifest itself with one side of the tire being worse than the other, but I’m not a tire guy so I’m not sure how the physics work.)

To me it looks like normal wear for the front as they are the tires that get a bit of scrubbing every time you turn the vehicle. But then again I am not a tire guys either.

The tires are heavily siped, lots of tread cuts and open space in the tread design. This provides great wet road and snow traction but it also makes the tread very soft and flexible, subject to distortion and scrubbing especially at high speed… Something as simple as increasing the air pressure by a few PSI could solve this problem…

This is normal for radial tires. I have seen this on my own tires. If you rotate tires as I do, front to back same side and back to front opposite sides, the tires that had their rotation direction reversed which will be the rear to front opposite side tires will eventually have the chopping as you call it, reversed. I’d say don’t worry about it.

PS: In reality, it is easier to feel rather than see this. Use a couple of fingers to rub the top of a tire front to back and then back to front. If you don’t feel a difference, the tire may have been recently rotated and is in the middle of transition from one chop direction to the other. Thanks for the word, now I know what to call it.

First, that is indeed heel and toe wear and it’s not too bad. In some respects, it is normal, especially on driven tires.

No. The shocks may be bad, but this wear is not caused by bad shocks. Bad shocks would cause cupping or some version of irregular wear, such as diagonal wear.

However, mis-aligment can cause more rapid heel and toe wear - which might lead to irregular wear. But since your tires were on the rear, I think mis-alignment can be discounted.

But don’t be too hard on the guy at the shop for getting this wrong. Tire wear is pretty complex and even within this thread, there are otherwise knowledgeable folks getting it wrong.

Oh - and as has been said. 15K is a little long to wait for rotation - which is aggravating the situation.

The Vinman is right, that wear pattern is known as heel and toe wear… this is a combination of the wheel base of the vehicle and lack of rotation. For tire awareness you should know first off 5K is about the best time to do it, your owners manual will state 7500, 10 or sometimes 15K. Common sense is best here, every 5K. The Bridgestone product line is a quality tire and usually you can make that wear pattern go away, but the lack of rotation may have established a “Mechanical Wear Pattern” that will not wear away. When I say Mechanical Wear Pattern that means it is the vehicle or operators fault. A possible way out for you is to call BFS consumer affairs, start a claim and take them in and have them adjusted off the vehicle, yes you will have to pay a little something something… but it will pay dividends down the road in ride quality and longevity of the other 2 tires. Your struts may be worn, or atleast they should be considering most manufactures recc. inspection and or replacement of the units at 60K. The job of a strut or shock is to hold the tire to the road, yes it does wear out. I drive a Tundra and am planning for replacement of mine at 90K, either big svc or trade out.
To ensure proper tire wear, inflation…rotation…alignment
Purchase the balance policy offered at time of purchase so its free for the life of the tire.
Alignment checks are free, let them check it, buy a policy or program if you become a fanatic about it (always ask for the before and after prints…easy to read and you can explain any adverse wear… also prove that they did it)
3 elements to a wheel alignment;
1)Vehicle go down the road straight
2)Tires wearing evenly
3)Steering wheel straight (Cross bar)

If you have all three you may not need an alignment, but check it every 10-12K, if you are missing any of the 3 its more than likely you need to have it performed.