What Can Cause Excessive or Uneven Tyre Wear?

Your car’s tyres are the only contact you have with the road whilst driving and it’s crucial that you check their condition on a regular basis. Uneven tyre wear is ususally the most common defect and we discuss what causes excessive or uneven tyre wear below.

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What Can Cause Excessive or Uneven Tyre Wear
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Depending upon the car you drive and the type of driving that you do will determine how fast your tyres will wear overtime. However, if your tyre wear is excessive or uneven, this would suggest that there is a problem. As you are probably aware, uneven tyre wear isn’t what’s supposed to happen and it can affect your car’s performance on the road.

How To Check For Uneven Tyre Wear

Simply looking at your tyres from a distance and assuming they are in a road legal condition isn’t good enough. Many tyres can look brand new with tyre shine applied but until you actually get close to the tyres, it may be another story.

The easiest way to quickly check for uneven tyre wear at the front wheels is to turn the steering wheel onto a full lock. This will allow you to see the entire width of the tyre without it being blocked by the bumper or other bits of trim. With regards to the rear tyres, usually you can see the tread clearly by bending down near to the floor. Alternatively, if you drive a sports or lowered car, you may want to lift the car up with a trolley jack for a better view of the tyres.

Once you have got a clear view of the tyre tread, you can begin to check all four tyres. You’ll want to look out for any uneven wear on the corners of the tyres as well as the centre. If you have a tyre gauge or a coin, you can also place either into the groves of the tyres to see if the wear is even across the full width of the tyre.

What Causes Excessive or Uneven Tyre Wear

1. Over or Under Inflated Tyres

By far the most common reason for excessive or uneven tyre wear is due to over or under inflated tyres. Whether you haven’t inflated them for a while or you are inflating the tyres to the wrong pressure, it can cause tyre wear issues.

If the tyres are under inflated, the outside of the tyre will wear quickest because the lack of pressure causes a dip to occur in the centre of the tyre. This has the result of putting more of the car’s weight upon the outside of the tyre.

If the tyres are over inflated, the centre of the tyre will have excess tyre wear because the additional pressure inside of the tyre causes a bulge in the centre. This means that the centre of the tyre is taking most of the car’s weight.

To avoid under or over inflating your car’s tyres, we strongly recommend investing into a modern car tyre inflator that’s produced by a reputable brand. We state “modern” because you want it to be reliable and accurate.

2. Wheel Alignment

Misaligned wheels is another common reason for excessive or uneven tyre wear and it can often cause your car to pull to one side or the steering wheel to vibrate. The reason why your tyres may become misaligned can be down to suspension work carried out upon your car, hitting a pothole or curb and many other reasons.

In order to rectify misaligned wheels, you’ll need to take it to a garage that has the correct alignment tool because they’ll be able to align the wheels to the manufacturer’s specification. Wheel alignment is often referred to as tracking and it’s the process of setting the car’s tyres to the angles (camber, toe and caster) specified by the manufacturer.

3. Faulty Suspension Components

If the car’s spring or any other components of the suspension have started to weaken, this can result in uneven or excessive tyre wear. The faulty components can increase the load upon certain areas of the tyres and also cause abnormal handling of your car too. Although fixing the suspension may improve the handling, you may still need to have your wheels aligned to prevent further tyre wear because it may have become misaligned during the repair.

4. Driving Style

Your driving style is a big contributor to excessive or uneven tyre wear and it can be caused by any of the following:

  • Hitting the curb or potholes
  • Wheel spins or fast cornering
  • Aggressive use of the brakes
  • Driving on the edges of speed bumps

Although the points listed above are minor in terms of the wear they cause to the tyre, continuously doing them will result in your tyres wearing out far quicker than they should.

5. Faulty Brakes

Although not as common, faulty brakes can also be an issue because the fault may cause the car to pull to one side or even lock up whilst braking. This can result in flat spots and general excessive tyre wear that wouldn’t normally occur.

Time For New Tyres

Tyres can wear at different rates and as long as the uneven tyre wear is minor, you may be able to rotate the tyres to increase their lifespan. However, it’s important that you don’t continue to use a tyre that’s too far gone.

For example, in the below picture, this was a tyre removed from one of our cars with a severe alignment issue. This tyre was removed straightaway due to the cords showing as well as the depth being lower than the legal requirement.

Uneven Tyre Wear


Regular checks of your tyres for uneven wear is highly advised and it takes just a few minutes to do. If you do notice any signs of abnormal wear, don’t ignore it because it will only get worse as time goes on. Simply changing the tyre and not fixing the main issue of uneven wear in the first place isn’t going to solve the issue.

YourCar Author Dan

Written By Dan

Dan has been a car enthusiast ever since he can remember and has an extensive range of cars that include classic cars that he has restored himself from a barn find condition to modern performance cars. Whether you need advice on how to install car parts or recommendations on what products to buy, Dan’s first-hand experience will certainly help.

If you want to find out more about Dan, our testing process or the website itself, visit our about page for further information.

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