While tire wear on the outside of your tires is readily noticeable, wear on the inside of the tire can be just as problematic—and dangerous. Inside tire wear is often caused by things like worn ball joints, incorrect camber angles, and incorrect toe settings. Fortunately, it can be addressed by wheel alignment, balancing your tires, and repairing or replacing damaged components.
Ignoring inside tire wear can be a safety hazard—the lack of treading and traction on the inside decreases your ability to drive and brake safely on roads that are wet, icy, or covered in snow. The insufficient level of tread can also lead to the building up of heat, and lead to a tire blowout.
While car maintenance, like fixing tire wear, can be both tiring and inconvenient, you must maintain the upkeep of your car to ensure the car’s health and your safety.
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What causes tire wear on the inside?
Inner tire wear refers to the deterioration of the treading of the tire’s inner side. This can be caused by worn ball joints, incorrect camber angles, incorrect toe settings, damaged suspension components, and worn control arm bushings.
Worn ball joints
If you notice
uneven tire wear, it is most commonly an issue with your car’s ball joints—and worn ball joints are often a cause of inner tire wear, as well.
Ball joints connect the tire’s lower and upper control arms to the wheel hub of the vehicle, helping the vehicle drive smoothly. With daily usage and friction, ball joints will start to wear down over time. Consequently, this reduces their grip on the wheels, which will lead to greater tire wiggle room and expose the inside of the tire to wear.
This wiggle room also will lead to incorrect camber angles, another main cause of inner tire wear.
Incorrect camber angles
A camber angle is a measurement of the angle between your tire’s vertical alignment and the road the car is driving on. Ideally, the camber should be vertical, allowing the tire to sit flat on the road’s surface for the correct amount of road contact and an optimal driving experience.
When the ball joints get worn down, the camber angle can start to change, becoming either positive or negative. If a tire has a negative camber angle, the upper portion of the tire will be tilted inward while the lower portion is tilted outwards. This results in inside tire wear because the inner tire is in more contact with the road.
Incorrect toe settings
The “toe-angle” of a car tire denotes the angle of the tire in relationship to the other tire. Ideally, the primary forces that push tires inwards and outwards are balanced, and the tires will be parallel to each other. The toe settings control this balance and are crucial to ensuring that the tire is facing straight.
If the tire points inwards due to misaligned toe settings, the forces pulling on the inside of the tires are dominating. This often will accelerate the wear on the inside of the tires as this portion of the tire is subjected to increased friction from the road.
Damaged suspension components
The suspension components of a car are instrumental in not only absorbing road vibrations and shock, but also in ensuring that a vehicle’s stock ride height remains consistent. This is important because it directly affects the camber angles, which can increase inside tire wear.
With regular use, suspension components, like springs, tend to sag. Defective springs will not be able to absorb shock as much, and this can further damage other suspension components of the vehicle.
Additionally, defective springs can lower the vehicle’s stock ride height and cause changes to the camber angles.
Worn control arm bushings
Control arm bushings are rubber or elastomer components that link the chassis and steering knuckles.
These bushings serve to get rid of the excessive free movement within the vehicle, which can negatively affect the camber angles. With frequent use, the control arm bushings gradually wear down, leading to increased movement and more inside tire wear.
Key Takeaway With consistent use, car components will wear down and require repair and replacement.
How to fix inner tire wear?
Inner tire wear must be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the vehicle’s components, like springs and ball joints, and to ensure greater safety for you and your loved ones.
Get your wheels aligned
To prolong the lifespan of your wheels, you should get them properly aligned, which can help you save hundreds of dollars in the long run. Proper alignment also will prevent other issues, like early ball joint wear, damaged springs, and bad camber angles.
It is recommended that you get your wheels aligned twice a year, or every 5000 miles. Making tire alignment a part of your
basic car maintenance scheduleis a good way to keep your tires healthy.
Regularly balance your tires
Do not wait until you get uneven tire wear to balance your wheels—you should get your wheels balanced once every two years. If you have installed new tires on your vehicle, you also should have them balanced immediately to protect them from inside tire wear.
Properly inflate your tires
When tires are not properly inflated, tire wear can be accelerated because the sidewall of underinflated tires comes in contact with the road.
You should check your tire pressure regularly—you generally can do this at your local gas station or by buying an inexpensive pressure gauge.
Repair or replace damaged components
If you realize that there is uneven tire wear on a specific tire, you should investigate and check the suspension system. Damage to a suspension system can accelerate the inner tire wear, or it could lead to future problems like a decrease in the vehicle’s top speed and costly repairs.
Key Takeaway Consistent car maintenance is a great way to prolong the life of your vehicle and prevent costly repairs in the future.
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What causes choppy inner tire wear?
Choppy inner tire wear can be caused by worn ball joints, incorrect chamber angles, incorrect toe settings, damaged suspension components, and worn control arm bushings.
How do you fix uneven tire wear?
Uneven tire wear can be fixed by getting your wheels aligned, regularly balancing your tires, properly inflating your tires, and repairing or replacing damaged components.