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#6 tire wear patterns help you to easily identify your car problem.

There are #6 uneven tire wear patterns that you should know and can differentiate between them.

Tire wear is gradual corrosion of the tire tread which results in decreasing tire tread thickness. There are #6 uneven tire wear patterns that you should know and can differentiate between them.

I have spent more than 35 hrs preparing for information included in this article based on my own experience and experts in this field.

We will teach you how to define the type of tire wear pattern from its shape. also, you will know the causes behind this wear in addition to how to measure tread depth.

What is the risk of tire wear?And why tire tread is important?

  • Tire tread is the first defense line for tires to protect against slipping over wet surfaces. As outstanding tread makes much contact with wet or snowy surfaces, the tire will not grip the road.
  • In a few words, tire wear not only affects the performance of the vehicle but also it is very dangerous and accidents may easily occur.

What is the minimum tire tread depth?

 So, how do I know If I need new tires?

  • The United States Department of Transportation set a tire wear pattern guide for tire tread depth to be expressed as 32nds for an inch.
  • Most of the passenger tires tread depth is varying between (9/32-inch to 11/32 inch).
  • It is recommended that you should replace the tire immediately once tread depth reaches the minimum (2/32 -inch). it is a clear sign of bad tires.
  • If a tire with tread depth less than 4/32, it is dangerous in normal conditions. if below 5/32, it is dangerous in snowy weather or in areas of heavy precipitation.

How do you measure tire tread depth?

There are 3 methods to enable you to read tread depth.

  • Tread depth gauge. Using a tread depth gauge is the most accurate method to measure tread depth.
    • Put the tread depth gauge on a flat surface until the probe goes up at maximum. to ensure its accuracy it must be at zero.
    • Place the probe into the groove of the tire and push the probe until it lays down.
    • Avoid placing it on a tread wear indicator or any raised surface to obtain accurate reading.
    • Be aware that the correct read is the number that is aligned with the probe case. must be above the legal limit of 1.6mm.
    • Repeat this step in different spots around the tire and in different grooves and take the average reading.
  • Tread depth indicator.
    • Also known as wear bars, you can find it within the tread grooves in some places around the tire, so you can accurately know if the tire wear reaches to the limit shown in the tread depth indicator or not?. If the tire tread reaches the minimum depth level in the tread wear indicator, you should replace the tire.
  • Penny test.
    • Place benny where Lincoln’s head points down into the grooves between tread .
    • If you are able to see the top of the Lincoln’s head( the whole head appears) so the tread reaches to the minimum limit.
    • Repeat this process in a number of spots for all tires. If any of the spots show the tread depth is at minimum level, it is recognized as tire wear and you should replace it.
    • Keep in mind that penny tests target the minimum depth level 2/32 inch which isn’t safe enough.

Different tire wear pattern and causes.

 An uneven tread wear pattern not only tells you about the time you should replace the tires, but also lets you know about the different causes for tire wear and how to avoid it.

Improper inflation.

Setting your tire pressure is a significant issue when it comes to prolonging tire life span and making it slower for tires to get wear

1. Edge tire wear.

  • You can know edge wear when you see a smooth zone located on both sides of the tires( edges of the tires).
  • The main reason for edge wear is underinflation ( low tire pressure) that makes tire edges most contact with the road, so edge wear occurs.

2. Center tire wear.

  • You can know center wear when you see a smooth and down zone located only along the center part of the tires tread .
  • The main reason for center is overinflation( higher tire pressure than recommended) because the majority of vehicle`s load will focus on the center of the tires.

Improper tire alignment.

Tire alignment or wheel alignment refers to the process of adjustment of steering and suspension components of the vehicle. In brief it adjustment of the angles of the tires and removing any degree of camper might be found whether +ve or -ve.

3. Toe wear.

saw teeth edge
  • You can define toe wear when you see wear on one side of the tire at shoulder rip go more faster than the other side. If you move your hand along the wear side, you feel like you saw teeth. smooth in one direction of moving your hand and rough in opposite direction.
  • The main reason for toe wear is wrong alignment that causes excessive positive or negative toe.

4. Camber wear.

  • You can define one sided tire wear or camber wear when you see irregular tread wear in one shoulder rib more worn than the other rib. It is similar to toe wear but the worn side of the tire is smooth when you move your hand in both directions.
  • The main reason for camber wear is from its name excessive +ve or -ve camber due to improper alignment.

5. Cupping wear.

  • You can know cup wear when you see random smooth spots on your tires. It appears as uneven dips in the tire tread wear.
  • The main reasons for cup wear are either problems in suspension components like shock absorbers or unbalanced wheels. Any deterioration in the suspension part makes the tire bounce rather than rolling smoothly. this bounce creates unequal pressure on the tire and so the cup wear happens, in this case you often feel a cupping pattern or slight rumbling sound while driving.
  • Note that, even if you replace any of the suspension parts you will need wheel alignment.

6. Patchy wear.

  • You can define patchy wear as uneven wear. it appears at smooth flat patches (not as dips) along the tire.
  • The main reason for patchy wear is unbalanced wheel so the tire needs proper alignment and rotation.

Another causes of tire wear.

  • Aggressive driving habit: driving very fast at high speed for prolonged periods, burning rubber by making car drift particularly among teenagers make tire wear faster than usual.
  • Road condition: driving on the soft roads is more suitable for tire tread to be in good condition than driving on unpaved roads between towns.
  • Heavy loads on the vehicle make tires wear faster.

How to prolong tire life span.

potholes cause tire mis alignment

New tires can last for 40000 km on average but it also relies on the way you drive your car, how often you maintain your tires and tire quality for sure.

  • Rotating your tires every 5000-7500 miles is essential for tire maintenance.
  • Optimize tire pressure for all tires including spare one as recommended. check tire pressure every month don’t make it over inflation or under inflation.
  • Avoid carrying extra load on your vehicle, always check load pressure index.
  • Tire balancing: routinely check tire alignment and wheel balancing in one of tire services.
  • Improve driving habits in terms of speed, drifting and hitting nasty potholes.
  • Regularly check tire tread depth using one of previously mentioned methods.

Which tire wears faster? 

Front tyres tend to wear faster than rear ones up to 2.5 times faster. The front left tire is the first tire to wear. this because:

  • Right turns:  the front left tire is the one responsible for steering during the right hand turn.
  • Cumber road:  cumber road is designed to be descended on both sides to collect water from the rain. so when you drive on the left side as normal, there will be extra load on the left tire that wears faster.


tire wear is not the big issue to deal with if you correctly determine the cause of it. Always be careful about low tire pressure and proper tire alignment.

Picture of Mado eldemrdash

Mado eldemrdash

as a vehicle tire specialist. I can definitely guide you to select the best choice of tire for your vehicle.

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