What the... Alignment/tire guys, what is this?

'12 Avenger. Coworker’s car. 3 of the tires are within a couple of months of needing replacement. The fourth, passenger rear, needs replacement right now. But its wear pattern is odd. It’s outside edge is worn down below the cap ply, but only on a continuous chunk of 1/4 of the circumference. The rest of the tire exhibits normal wear.

Ordinarily for a single spot wear area I’d think he was dragging a brake, but this is far too big of an area. It almost looks like someone took a sander to it. The only way dragging a brake might do it is if the tire was almost flat, was way too positively cambered, and then was dragged for a long distance… And even then the wear patch might be too big for that scenario to fit. He says it’s never gone flat on him and he’s never to his knowledge had the wheel lock up on him.

He does need an alignment - it pulls fairly significantly to the right, but alignment issues should express across the full circumference of the tire, not just in one very large spot. Any ideas to check before the new tires he’s about to get end up getting messed up like this?

It’s possible that in addition to an alignment your friend has a warped disc and/or sticky caliper that creates drag every time the wheel goes through that segment of its circumference.

However, I googled 2012 Dodge Avenger and apparently there have been a lot of complaints to NHTSA about rear suspension problems on these cars. You may want to peruse the attached link.

Oh, and I would not rule out damage to your friend’s suspension. Perhaps that should even be the first thing to suspect.

I did a visual inspection of the suspension and it looks OK - nothing broken, anyway. Your idea of the warped disc creating more drag in that area is an interesting one. I might have him come over to the house where I can get it in the air and see if that’s an issue.

Appreciate the advice!

Can you post a picture? Could also be nothing more than a separated tire. It must also have a pretty good bounce going down the road.

How many miles on the car? Original tires? What brand and model tires?

Right at the point the cords start wearing through I wouldn’t be surprised if they showed up in one area a little before the other areas. Kind of like when folks are right down to the wear bars, and some areas get there first.

@asemaster 70k miles. He doesn’t know if/when tires were replaced because he just bought it a short time ago. Michelin Primacy Mxv.

Worn spot (it continues around the tire to the right for some distance but I couldn’t get it all in frame):

What the rest of the tire looks like:

Maybe a bent rim? I’d check it for runout.

Defective Tire? Bad Belt?
I’d Be Jacking It Up And Checking Tire And Rim Both For Radial And Lateral Run-Out. That Tire Is Showing Its Age.

I have seen low buck tires do this when the begin to separate on the inside.

I don’t see anything particularly unusual there, just a tire worn well past when it should have been replaced.

Based on your second picture, the weatherchecking and worn sidewall I see just tells me it’s a worn out tire. Looks to me like the tire is starting to separate, it’s no longer perfectly round and the high spot on the tire is going to wear faster.

I’d have the tires replaced, the suspension inspected for wear and an alignment done.

I'd have the tires replaced, the suspension inspected for wear and an alignment done.

Excellent. That’s what I told him this morning.

He’s getting tires and an alignment on Monday. Thanks for the advice guys!

First, tires do not wear 100% evenly around the circumference. There are irregularities in the run out of the wheel AND tire and those result in differences. So it should be a surprise to find some differences in wear around the circumference.

Second, to get to the point that a cap ply is showing means a whole lot of negligence towards maintenance. Who knows what else is wrong? You mentioned the pull, so the alignment needs work. I noticed the tire wear is one sided, so that’s confirmation of the misalignment.

Yup, a whole bunch of things are likely to need fixing.

Having now seen the photo, I’m with Capri 100%.
I should add that the tire in the photo is shot and has no business on any car. I like to get good mileage out of my tires too, but there’s no way that tire is dispersing water on a rainy road. If the other tires are similarly worn, they should all be replaced.

Are they the OEM tires? I bet a set of decent tires and an alignment and the problem is GONE…

It would not surprise me to discover that car has something tweaked a bit in the suspension; possibly related to a large pothole or curbstrike.

Regarding curbstrikes, it’s kind of strange how that seems to happen quite frequently and many people think nothing of it or dismiss it so easily that they will later deny that it happened and honestly feel that it never happened.

I’ve seen about half a dozen vehicles in the last couple of days cut corners hard, jump the curb in or out of a gas station, etc and the first thought is “well, there goes the alignment”.

No Doubt The Car Is Due For An Alignment, But I Have Had A Tire Create A Pull. It Was Brand New And I Wouldn’t Have Believed It If I Didn’t Have One Installed On My Own Car And Then Have To Figure Out Why My Car Wasn’t Pulling Before Getting A Set Of New Tires And Was Pulling Afterwards.

Should this have happened to somebody who didn’t know any better and they kept driving with a slight pull then I’d imagine it could cause wear in the area creating the pull. I suspect my new tire caused a pull because of a defect from the factory, but a defect could also result from a curb strike, pot hole, or age and wear.


Yeah, maintenance was neglected on the car. He knows pretty much zip about cars, but to his credit when the tires were pointed out to him he immediately made an appointment to get new ones. As it was on the passenger rear, it wouldn’t shock me if he’s never even glanced at that tire. A lot of people don’t realize that an occasional walk-around is a good idea.

The other three tires were not worn as badly as the one in the photo - I judged that they could be driven on for the summer if he needed to put off the financial hit, but he would certainly want new ones on before first snow. Then I saw the really bad one and told him to just get all 4 new tires as long as he had to get 2 anyway.