Uneven Tire Wear 2005 Chevrolet Suburban

A while back, I posted a discussion regarding tire cupping on the front tires of my 2005 Chevrolet Suburban. At that time, GM indicated it was an alignment issue and performed another alignment. They indicated it was slightly off target but within spec. It has been nearly 2 months now, and I can’t see where it is getting any better. I recently checked the inside of the tires and could feel where the surface is rolling, like going up and down on a hilly street. I have had the tires rotated every 7 - 8,000 miles and the tire pressure is checked at every oil change at 3,500 miles. I think there is an issue with the front suspension or something in the front end that is causing the uneven wear. I can’t seem to get anywhere with GM and repeated attempts to contact them has not yielded any help. Anyone got any thoughts? Is my analysis of the situation totally off base? Thanks!!

The only time I have ever seen uneven tire wear from bad alignment, it wasn’t cupping. It was premature wear on the inside or outside edge. Cupping is usually caused by worn out shock absorbers or struts.

The idler arm might be worn enough so that the tires are facing away from one another while driving. It could be solid enough so they can’t tell that it’s bad. Try rotating tires at 5,000 miles.

2 thoughts:

  1. I’m hoping you weren’t expecting the tire wear to get better on your old tires. Once you have the alignment squared away, then the new wear pattern gets added to the old pattern (or is that subtracted?). Either way you express it, the new wear pattern is not likely to change the old pattern (Unless they over compensated - and why would they do that?)

  2. “Within spec” is not good enough - the vehicle mnaufacturer’s specs are too wide. My experience is that the alignment has to be in the inner half of the tolerance.

I am with you. I didn’t expect it to get better but all GM would do was to check with alignment. It really just seems it is continuing to get worse. As to your second point, I have had that told to me before. What concerns me is that they never even gave us a report to show us the alignment specs, tolerances, etc. A friend of mine, who is an indepndent mechanic, believes it has something to do with weak suspension.

Some more thoughts:

  1. If the dealer did this under warranty - in other words, you didn’t have to pay for it - then they did the minimum and the fact that they didn’t show you the alignment printout is just their way of trying to deal with a bad situation - Ostrich style. Frankly, I think it is unrealistic to expect the dealer to give you a print out and explain what happened and why, particularly since it is possible the alignment was fine when it left the factory and was knocked out later on.

  2. If you paid for the alignment, then I would discontinue going to the dealer and find someone who will show you the alignment before and after.

  3. You should be aware that as a tire wear appraoch the wearout point, it will appear the wear gets worse. This is an optical illussion. Unless you measure it, you can’t be sure. So what might be happening is that the tire wear is just not getting better and will contue this way until the tire wears out. This year the 3 year GM warranty runs out, so I would wait for the tires to wear out, replace them and find another alignment shop - one that will set the vehicle up within the inner half.

Actually, we are on our second site of tires, Bridgestone Duellers. When this problem was noted by the first dealer, where we purchased the car, they told us that Bridgestone was having a “silent” recall. We know a local Bridgestone rep and he said there has been no such recall. The dealership replaced the tires with a new set of Duellers, not giving us the option to switch to a different brand. The tires were replaced for free but we had to pay for an alignment. When the problem started to occur with the new set of tires, this same dealership offered no additional help and advised us to contact Chevrolet customer service. Chevrolet then sent us to another dealership for an alignment check, which we once again had to pay for. I have considered replacing the tires but just want to make sure I have all avenues covered otherwise I’ll just continue to throw money away on tires. I have made repeated efforts to contact Chevrolet but this has yielded little to no help.

Thanks for the narrative. It helped a lot in trying to sort out the details.

OK, aside from paying for the alignments, Chevy has gotten you to 3 years without you having to pay for tires. They will see that has having fulfilled the “warranty”. There are other issues in your narrative that negatively impact your “warranty” situation, but rather than dwell on those, let’s see if we can fix your problem.

It is quite possible for the alignment to leave the factory in 100% OK condition and have it knocked out later.

So what you need to do is find a different place to do an alignment - one that will set the alignment to the inner half of the tolerance and give you a before and after printout.