Help me with my wear problem!

I have a 2003 Sentra with 100K miles. I'm using American Goodyears and rotating them every 10K miles. I feel no vibration or bouncing while driving, the only thing I hear is tire noise. The tires are "wearing" on the inside track of the tire. I say "wearing" but it's not limiting the tread life of the tire, just creating a wave pattern in the inner track of the tire. All four tires are like this. I went to various shops and this is the consensus: 1. Rotate them more often. I don't believe this one as 10K rotations seem fine for how much highway driving I do. 2. Balance the tires more often. I don't believe this either as I feel no vibration when I drive. 3. Alignment is off. Hard to believe this one or the whole inside track of the tire would wear evenly, not in a wave pattern as it is. 4. Bad shock/strut. I guess I could believe this one but I feel no vibration or up and down motion while I'm driving. 5. Defect Tires. Hard to believe this one as well because the factory tires did the same thing (just maybe not to the same degree as the Goodyears). I don't have a money tree in my back yard where I can't have new struts, shocks, or alignment done to hopefully fix the problem. What do you think might cause that wavey condition on the inside track of my tires? I can see the waves as well as feel them when I run my hand across it. Thanks for the input.
 
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3,931
Location
Somewhere in the US
By the numbers: 1) If you allow a wear pattern to set in, then it can be difficult to wear a different pattern into the tire when it is in a different position. But that does not mean the source of the problem is the rotation. Rotation is just a good way to eliminate the effects of wheel position. In this case it sounds a bit like there is some wheel position effect that isn't getting eliminated when the tires get rotated. 2) I agree with you. 3) Alignment could be off a bit. There are certain combinations of settings that will compensate for each other and cause the tire to wear evenly, but irregularly. This is a real possibility. 4) I don't think its that. 5) I agree - too much of a coincidence. One other possibility - Ackerman - which is a non-adjustable steering geometry condition. (Let's see - how to explain?) When a vehicle manufacturer designs the steering geometry, he has to compensate for the tire on the inside of the turn needing more angle - because it is turning in a smaller circle. The side to side difference in turning angle (toe) is called Ackerman. It is an unfortunate fact of physics, but for a given curve radius and a given speed, there can only be 1 optimal Ackerman setting. Change the speed and a different setting is needed. This means that once a vehicle's steering geometry is set, there is one and only one proper speed for each turn. Go over (or under) that speed and you are dragging the inside tire a bit sideways. Luckily, most people drive about the same, so most vehicle manufacturers have figured out what works. Plus it really doesn't matter much unless you drive quite a bit differently than the norm. So here's a list of those things that will generally put you outside the norm. Mountainous driving Parking garages City driving (more turns per mile) Freeway off ramps that loop around Hard braking (or accelerating) Hard cornering There's one other thing you probably ought to look at - inflation pressure. A little more pressure than what the placard calls for really stiffens up the tire. Although I don't have the data to prove this, my gut tells me that a few more psi with a bit of center wear gives more life than a lower pressure with even wear. Hope this helps.
 
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1,856
Location
PA
You need to get off those Goodyears... honestly. The tread pattern alone will chunk. However, seeing that you're getting the same problem in all 4 wheels makes me think its more than just a bad shock or something. I would look at alignment first - and I dont mean see if it's within stock specs. You need that alignment completely redone 4-wheel by a real alignment shop that knows what they're doing. Get your tires trued smooth and flat, then try again and see if the wear pattern returns. Yes truing the tires removes the tread, but at least you'll know if you fixed the condiiton or not!
 
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219
Location
milpitas
please let us know what happens, my previous post is about the wear on my tires as well. Everywhere I went to I have come to the conlusion that it is not an exact science. We have to use process of elimination. I would recommend going to Firestone and getting there one time payment lifetime alignment. All you can align. WHile your there u should get a free balance and rotation. Those are always free or one time fee. If that still wears than you will have to look into shocks (like me, and hopefully that will work). U would know if it springs. U cannot tell if it is shocks really, becuase the springs can absorb all the shocking. If that is not it, than we have a problem. U just got to go through the whole process, you would be suprise what it could be, oh did i mention tire pressure as well. hope all goes well tuong apologize for any grammatical error, very tired and its late. happy sunday
 
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1,910
Location
Vista, CA
You need to get back to where you were when you bought your car. 100k miles means new struts/shocks and a good look and any other wear parts in your suspension. You car is sagging and the tires are showing wear because of that. Plan A, replace the parts and get some new tires, align everything. Any short cuts are a waste of time an money. Or plan B, just ignore everything, accept poor handling and lousy braking, and keep replacing tires. Give yourself lots of space between yourself and others on the road and don't let anyone ride with you. Please, consider plan A.
 
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783
Location
Austin Texas
I am going to go with 4) but not limit the problem to shocks and struts. I also include suspension bushings and control arm bushings. At 100K miles the suspensions of many lower end cars are close to shot. When the bushings go, the control arm does not hold the tire at one spot on the road surface and can allow the tire to move back and forth with little indication back at the drivers steering wheel. Especially if the driver is not paying attention or actively trying not to pay attntion. In any event, to make the tires wear round, you need to get the suspension put back to mile = 0. Do not be surprised if this requires new springs to reset the ride height back to factory specs and eliminate sagging. If you can't get the ride height reset to factory specs, don't do any of the rest of the work, because it won't fix the problem. When I do this, I go the extra mile and have the car corner weighted so each conner (side to side) has the same weight on it, and then later when aligned has the same geometry applied to it. You should pretty much assume the rubber bushings should be replaced, and that the shocks are due for replacement. I would not be surprised if a control arm had a bushing that is only replacable with a new control arm. This is option A from above--BTW.
 
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4,009
Location
Calgary Canada
I've seen this phenomenon in "ricer" cars on the rear where springs have been chopped to create lots of "Racey" looking negative camber. This causes the tires to ride on the inside edges and wear out prematurely there. This effect could be simulated by sagging shock and springs or crushed or missing bushings creating too much negative camber.
 
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490
Location
Colorado
I don't think a 2 or 3 year old Nissan with 100k mi. should be exhibiting any serious mechanical defects like worn bushings, etc. that would be causing this problem. Possible yes, but unlikely. I'm guessing this set of tires is the 3rd, maybe 4th set of rubber you've had on there? Or did you purchase the car used relatively recently? When did you first notice the problem, relative to these particular tires? The fact that you are rotating them and the pattern is repeated on each tire makes it difficult to diagnose. I'd get them remounted/flipped if there is half or more of the tread left and the bad portion of the tread is not dangerously worn. Then stop rotating them and keep an eye on it. Otherwise get new tires and watch them closely the first thousand miles or so. I had a Goodyear tire that exhibited this problem, but it was just one and I caught it before/during rotation. That particular tire died on the opposite corner of the car two months later, so I decided to replace the whole set with almost half the tread left. No problem noted with the Yokahamas I just rotated last night for the first time. Nothing done to the car. Never buy Goodyears again.
 

ryansride2017

Thread starter
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1,197
Location
The coal hills of eastern PA
"I don't think a 2 or 3 year old Nissan with 100k mi. should be exhibiting any serious mechanical defects like worn bushings, etc. that would be causing this problem. Possible yes, but unlikely." I agree. I bought this car new (now 2.5 years old) and put 100K miles mostly on the highway. I drive it like a grandmother would. I'm nearing the end of the tread life of the second set of tires. I'm considering getting cheap tires at Walmart and not rotating them until I can determine what tire position the wear is occurring at. It's most likely on all four tires since I rotate them every 10K miles....meaning there is a problem at one wheel location and when I rotate them the problem migrates to all of the tires. If the wear pattern reappears on all four tires instantly, without rotation, I will switch to a high quality tire. If the wear problem is evident at one wheel location (or front vs. back) I'll then begin my troubleshooting. I just find it interesting that the factory set (which i thought was a high quality tire) did the same thing - just to a lesser degree.
 
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426
Location
NY
Your alignment is off. The camber is off causing inside wear. Most of time an aligment alone will do. SOmetime you might need cam bolts
 
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259
Location
WI
I agree that it's probably the alignment... most likely the camber. Just because the car tracks straight ahead doesn't mean there's not a problem. Have a four-wheel alignment done.
 

ryansride2017

Thread starter
Messages
1,197
Location
The coal hills of eastern PA
Please explain to me how the alignment could be off causing a wave pattern on the inner portion of the tire. If the tire was wearing down evenly on the tire (i.e. inner portion of the tire is smooth)I would completely agree that the alignment would be off. I'm just not sure what part of the steering suspension could cause that type of wear.
 
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3,931
Location
Somewhere in the US
I'm not sure if it's the "wave" part that is bothering you or the "wave on the inner portion" part that is bothering you. I'll explain the "wave" and leave it to other to explain the variants. When a tire is pointed in a different direction than it is traveling (slip angle or toe), the road surface grinds off a bit of the tread. The amount ground off at any partcular point is a function of the contact pressure and the horizontal stiffness of tread at that point (if we hold all other things contstant especially tread compound). So a slight amount of imbalance or runout (and other harmonic vibrations) will cause some variation of the pressure, and cause some slight variation in the tread wear around the circumference. The horizontal stiffness controls how a particular portion of the tread wears compared to its neighbors - more stiffness, less wear. And since the tread pattern varies in size around the cricumference of the tire, there will be some variation in tread wear due to this. The combination of all of this results in significant variation in tread wear around the circumference and, peculiarly, following the "diagonal-ness" of the tread pattern. Oh and did I mention that when a tire goes around a corner, the tread shoulder on the outside travels a different distance than the inside tread shoulder? That also helps set up these patterns. Hope this helps.
 
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