What Causes Outside Edge Tire Wear?

Several factors can cause your vehicle’s tires to wear out over time, but with the right vehicle maintenance, you can stay safe and comfortable on the road.
Written by Kara Vanderbeek
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Wheel misalignment, sagging springs, and worn ball joints can all contribute to the wear and tear of your tires over time. Understanding what outside edge tire wear is can help you to address the problem, implement the right solution, and get safely back on the road. 
Tires are an essential component of any vehicle, and any wear and tear can severely impact your safety and comfort on the road. As such, it’s important to have your tires checked periodically to ensure your car is supported with adequate tread and traction. Further, if your tires do have any problems, dealing with them before irreparable damage has been caused can save you from costly mechanic bills.
To give you a breakdown of outside edge tire wear and solutions,
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What are the causes of outside edge tire wear?

While there are a variety of causes that can impact the wear of your vehicle’s tires, there are also a variety of solutions. To best understand which solutions to implement, you’ll first need to determine what might have caused your tires to wear down in the first place.

Wheel misalignment

Have you hit a pothole recently? Has the body of your car suffered a hard hit? If the answer is yes, your wheels may be out of alignment and tilting to one side. Consequently, the outside shoulder of your tire may be put under greater pressure, which can cause the tire’s rubber edge to unevenly wear down over time. 
Solution: Check the alignment of your tires after any hard hits that may have moved the suspension. In general, it’s recommended that you check your car's alignment every 6,000-12,000 miles, with more frequent inspections as the suspension and wheels get older. The cost of alignment can be anywhere between $75 and $150, depending on the model of your vehicle and the auto shop you receive service from.

Bent spindles or struts

Struts and spindles form the vehicle’s suspension to absorb shock and hold the wheel and tire assembly in place. Accordingly, any misalignment of these essential components can impact the comfort of your ride. If the strut is bent, the wheels become misaligned, and the outside edge of the front tires will start to wear.
Solution: Depending on the extent to which the spindle has bent, the tire wear may be reversible. You’ll likely have to have your wheels straightened. If your tires have suffered irreparable damage, you will need to replace the spindle. Be prepared to fork out $480to$600 to cover the costs of replacement and labor. 
MORE: Winter tires vs all-season tires

Sagging springs

The springs in your vehicle work to absorb road shocks, support the vehicle’s weight, and stabilize the vehicle. If your vehicle’s springs are under constant load, the coil springs can weaken and shorten, and the leaf springs can lose arch. If the former occurs, your vehicle can misalign, forcing the tire to absorb more weight and eventually wear down
Solution: You can replace the sagging
suspension springs
in your vehicle for about $450, including parts and labor. However, if you have any mechanical experience, you can save some money and fix the springs yourself. 

Worn ball joint

Your vehicle’s ball joint, which works to optimize the motion of your vehicle’s suspension, can wear down over time and cause your wheels to turn slightly outward. If your wheels become misaligned, there will be more pressure on the outer edge of your tire, causing the rubber to wear down
Solution: You can replace the ball joints and realign your wheels to fix this problem. The cost of a ball joint sits around $600 to $700.Keep in mind that you may also need to replace the control arm, which costs about $1,400 to $1,500.
Key Takeaway Replacing the impacted parts and realigning your wheels can prevent additional outside edge tire wear and further damage. 

Risks of tire wear

Driving on worn tires doesn’t just impact the comfort of your ride—it’s also a major safety concern. Some of the most dangerous situations that can result from worn, bald, and low tread include:
  • Tire blowouts
  • Flat tires
  • Inability to brake 
  • Higher likelihood of hydroplaning on wet roads
  • Greater susceptibility to road punctures
  • Less traction on snowy or icy roads
  • Low tire pressure
    , which can impact a car’s braking, steering, and fuel economy  
The more worn out the outer edge of the tire, the higher the risk level will be. To avoid these safety risks, ensure your tires are inspected before every wheel alignment and perform a routine maintenance procedure.

How to save on car insurance

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In general, you should have your tires replaced every five to six years. However, if you notice your tires beginning to prematurely wear down, you may need them replaced sooner. 
The legal minimum tread depth for tires is 2/32 inches. If your tires go below the legal depth, they are considered bald and should be replaced immediately.
Driving on worn tires can impact your safety and the safety of those around you. It’s advised that worn tires be replaced as soon as possible.
Depending on the cause of your tire wear, you may need to have your vehicle’s wheels realigned or replaced. If you’re unsure of the cause, bring your vehicle to a professional mechanic for an inspection.
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