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Weird tire wear


I am replacing the tires on my car, and while examining them found a very interesting thing on just one of them: the treads are worn out only on the center band but not all the way around. I know that if only the center of the tire is worn out, it might indicate that the tire is overinflated. But what doesn’t make sense to me is that the wear is uneven around the tire. One side has no tread left at all, while the other still has about 2mm of depth left. Just curious how this happens.

Picture of the tire in question:

Note that at the top, the tread is gone completely, while at the bottom you can see it gradually coming back. The other side of the tire (on the ground in the picture) has even more tread.

other than central band, I see you have outer band worn more as groves are worn there more

that seems to be Continental, I had the same tires on my wife’s Sentra as OEM, hated them

besides being noisy from get-go and having not really good traction, they wore down in a similar way: central band wore faster than outer sides, overall it wore unevenly in different parts of the tire.

new car, alignment done every 20K miles or so, I had tires rotated every 5K miles and balanced every 10K miles, tire-shop did not change weights location much or added/removed many, tires were worn bold in under 40K miles, well before rated lifespan

It is indeed a Continental tire. Fairly certain it’s original to the vehicle, which now has 80k miles on it. I was going to replace the tires in the fall, but then had a tire rotation done. It was hard to see the extent of the baldness of this particular tire because it was on the back before.

I am starting to notice a lot of whap whap whap type road noise in additional to the usual cacophony. Ended up going with non-run-flats from General (the newly released G-MAX AS-05) off Tire Rack. Here’s hoping they are as good as the 03’s which were apparently pretty popular and well reviewed.

Your tires look great for 80,000 miles. Why are you complaining?

Actually, it’s hard to tell from your picture how much tread is left. The wear bars aren’t at the same level as the tread, but I can’t tell how far below the tread they are.

Still, at 80,000 miles, those tires are champs.

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Oh I’m not complaining. This has been great. I bought the car used about 10k miles ago. I was just curious about this wear pattern because I didn’t think it could be caused by alignment. I guess some tires just wear unevenly.

If you have only owned car for 10k miles, how do you know tires have 80k miles?

I’m guessing some combination of over-inflation and a tire defect. Good idea to do a quick check on the shock/strut and wheel bearing on that wheel too as part of replacing the tire.

That tire has been bouncing down the road. Either it is not round or has an internal defect or you struts are worn out.

I don’t see a bald tire. The tread depth is measured in the circumferential groves. Don’t judge the wear by the shallow horizontal groves in the tire, the tire mold is not always uniform in the small groves across the tire.

While the wear isn’t even, I don’t think it is out of the normal range. It is not uncommon to find a 32nds of difference around the tire. Lots of this is caused by slight amount of mis-alignment - not out of spec, but not at the target value.

I don’t know that for a fact, but I believe it’s the OEM tire (Continental ContiProContact SSR) and knowing where the vehicle came from, I figured that’s what it was. It’s possible that the original owner got this tire put on at the dealership at some point. In either case, I’m replacing them because it’s time.

Thanks. I’ll have the shop check the struts when they put on the tires. They will also do an alignment for me too.

oldtimer_11 and GeorgeSanJose, you were right! The shop I had install the new tires said I need new shocks on the back and struts on the front. They quoted me about $2600 for parts and labor.

Now I just have to figure out whether I can get this done myself or not.

If you ask a tire shop if your car needs new struts or shocks the answer will always be “Yes”. What is wrong with your struts?

They said that they are older and worn out and the bouncing up and down is what caused the one tire to have uneven wear. Now I wish I had asked them to show me exactly what was wrong with them, not just give me the quote.

I think it’s reasonable to say that the read left shock might be bad because that’s where the baldest unevenly worn tire was until very recently. Not sure about the suspension in the front.

They just push down hard on each corner of the car and watch how long it takes for it to return to level, and how much bouncing it does. It should return to level quickly, with little to no bouncing. It’s a skill that takes some experience to learn, but a diy’er could do it if they had the same make/model/yr car with known good suspension to compare to.