Mazda3 tire wear problems

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2007 mazda 3i, daily driver, 55k miles of regular driving (not aggressive), mix of local and high way. two front tires currently have about 10k miles on them, they developed a heel-toe wear pattern on the outside shoulders. driver side rear tire has an interesting alternating tread block wear pattern (not the passenger side rear though). car has three alignments done over 5 years, suspension is tight, bearings have no play, wheel hub run-out is within spec., so I am at a loss finding the culprit of the wear. Some say the heel-toe wear is normal, so I swapped the fron tires left-to-right on the front. As for the rear tires, for some time, my passenger side tire had a slow leak, so tire pressure was lower than the one on driver side, but not greater than 6psi, otherwise the TPMS light would be on. no problem that I can see on the rear shocks. Any thoughts? thanks. PS. I also checked both front and rear sway bar and links, they are fine and positioned properly.
 
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We have an 07 and it too seems to wear out tires rather quickly. I don't know why. I'm not good with suspensiona related problems.
 
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Post the actual numbers for your latest alignment. A car can be "aligned" and still chew tires. This is often the tradeoff for cars that respond well to driver input. You can set a car up to wear the tires slower, but driver input may also be muted. Heel-and-toe wear on the outside shoulder of tires that are toed-in is not unusual. This is common for front tires, and can also happen on rear tires as well, if the rear tires have toe-in. Rotating tires across the car is the best way to keep this heel-and-toe pattern in check, at least in my experience. For most FWD, a modified cross pattern works best. Move the front tires straight back, and cross the rear tires forward. This ensures that the tires move from front to back on every rotation, and that they also change direction on every other rotation.
 
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Originally Posted By: buster
We have an 07 and it too seems to wear out tires rather quickly. I don't know why.
Same here. My 07 eats tires even after numerous alignments.
 
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You need an alignment.
Originally Posted By: windeye
2007 mazda 3i, daily driver, 55k miles of regular driving (not aggressive), mix of local and high way. two front tires currently have about 10k miles on them, they developed a heel-toe wear pattern on the outside shoulders. driver side rear tire has an interesting alternating tread block wear pattern (not the passenger side rear though). car has three alignments done over 5 years, suspension is tight, bearings have no play, wheel hub run-out is within spec., so I am at a loss finding the culprit of the wear. Some say the heel-toe wear is normal, so I swapped the fron tires left-to-right on the front. As for the rear tires, for some time, my passenger side tire had a slow leak, so tire pressure was lower than the one on driver side, but not greater than 6psi, otherwise the TPMS light would be on. no problem that I can see on the rear shocks. Any thoughts? thanks. PS. I also checked both front and rear sway bar and links, they are fine and positioned properly.
 

windeye

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I usually keep the alignment sheet, but could not find it for the moment. I remembered everything is within the inner range (the graph has an inner range and an outer range -wider spec for each element, like toe, saber etc), except for the right front camber which was just a bit out of the inner range. I am trying to find a reputable alignment shop in Albany, NY area. Any ideas? I don't know what to suspect, maybe the alignment shops don't calibrate their machine as often as they should. I am still puzzling over the rear tire alternating tread block wear, certainly interesting. The less worn tread block is certainly not contacting road, could the shock be the problem? But bad shock at 55k miles? Seems early. I'd like to try lower the pressure from normal -32 psi to 30, what say you?
 

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Originally Posted By: brandini
Cross to front for FWD Cross to back for RWD Also make sure you have an alignment job with before and after numbers.
I swapped the front tires left to right, will see. It'll take some time to make it even. I am on only one pair at a time when it comes to new tires. Rear tires were a bit older, and they are directional, so can not swapped them left to right or to front. No more directional tires for me in the future.
 
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Originally Posted By: windeye
No more directional tires for me in the future.
I completely, 100% agree with this. I never shop directional tires, and for this very reason. One COULD rotate them across sides, but it would involve dismounting the tire from the wheel and moving it to the other side and mounting it to that wheel. It's not worth that, and the performance achieved from the tires is not worth that. There are symmetrical and asymmetrical non-directional tires that are generally as good or better than most directional designs. The lone exception seems to be winter tires, but that doesn't appear to be relevant here. Can you better describe the rear tire's alternating pattern? That could be camber or toe, or more likely a combination of the two, depending on exactly what it is. Is rear camber adjustable on your car? Technically it should be, but sometimes a camber kit is required to do it as camber cannot be adjusted with the factory parts. I know this is true for many Honda rear suspensions, but I don't know about Mazdas. I have the camber arms on our MDX and will be putting them on our CR-V shortly.
 
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How often are the tires rotated? Unless there is something that prevents it (directional, staggered sizes) one should cross the non-drive wheels. Since there seems to be a trend with Mazda 3 owners and tire wear, it might be worth investigating the dealer, sometimes they are aware of things or may have a feel for what works best. (Sometimes not, but worth a shot) Find someone thats interested in actually fixing the car, because as mentioned a car can be "aligned" or "in spec" and still not be right. In fact an alignment guy that says "it is in spec" is probably not one you want to use. Most manufacturers have a range and a "preferred". It looks as if the front and rear toe and rear camber are adjustable on your Mazda and there are camber bolts available for the front. So a good place to start might be to find someone willing to set all the adjustments to Mazda's latest "preferred" setting. TOE is what wears tires generally, camber has to be pretty extreme to impact it much. I personally would look for a shop with a newer Hunter rack... Oh and if you rotate the tires every 7500-10,000 miles they should last longer.
 
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Oh, and I completely agree, no more directional tires! (I must type even slower than I thought, Hokiefyd's post was not there when I wrote mine wink ) Also, when you take it in, take it in with 1/2 tank of fuel and clean it out, particularly if there is anything that is heavy in the trunk and so forth.
 
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The mazda3 suspension comes from factory with excessive negative camber in rear to get better handling around turns... so even when they align it to factory specs you are still going to have tire wear... the only way to fix it is to buy aftermarket adjustable control arm... they cost alot of money so all I did with mine was just keep them rotated and then have the tire store prorate for mileage on new tires... I had to replace tires about every 30k to 40k on mine and just delt with it.
 
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Originally Posted By: scottyducati
The mazda3 suspension comes from factory with excessive negative camber in rear to get better handling around turns... so even when they align it to factory specs you are still going to have tire wear... the only way to fix it is to buy aftermarket adjustable control arm... they cost alot of money so all I did with mine was just keep them rotated and then have the tire store prorate for mileage on new tires... I had to replace tires about every 30k to 40k on mine and just delt with it.
And it seems to add more camber with compression to the point that the specifications vary based on fuel load. Looks like five or six companies make rear camber arms too. It also allows what I would call excessive rear toe. You could probably improve tire wear by installing a camber kit and setting it to the minimum or slightly less than minimum tolerance and close to "0" toe. The trade off will be handling and the toe will affect on center feel and straight line stability. The fact one rear tire is worse with no apparent suspension problem suggest that that side may have too much toe (would also show in the thrust angle). Without knowing what the last alignment actually was, we are just guessing and I'm talking in generalities. But as mentioned by the time you replace the lower arms and have a 4 wheel alignment you are looking at what $350.00 minimum if you actually change the arms and probably as much as $600.00 to have it done? Depending on the factory tire size (Comes with 15, or 16?) that could come close to buying a full set of tires? I would probably deal with it by doing the best I could with the alignment, 4 identical non directional tires and an aggressive rotation schedule (every oil change perhaps). Also, I would definitely not lower pressure to help outside edge wear. (A picture of the tire wear might be helpful) *note: I found a scan of what seemed to be a factory repair manual indicating that the Mazda3 had eccentric adjusters at the inner rear lower arm mounting point - does yours?
 
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This sounds just like our two cars: the upper control links (they call them arms, but with two mounting points, they're really more like links) are fixed units from the factory, and they probably work fine with new springs and bushings. But as bushings wear and as springs sag over time, and more suspension movement/settling is realized, camber can quickly become worse than optimal. Our CR-V is sitting at close to -2 deg camber on both rear tires. I plan to buy adjustable upper control links and install them, as I did on our MDX. It, too, had fixed upper links and rear camber was out of spec when we got it. I don't know about for the Mazda, but Raybestos and ACDelco both sell adjustable upper links for our CR-V, and a pair can be had for about $150. Not super cheap, but better than continually scrubbing up sets of tires.
 
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I got over 25,000 miles(and three track days) out of the )OEM Bridgestone RE050As on my Mazdaspeed 3- and over 38,000 street miles out of a set of Pirelli PZero Nero All-Seasons, so I can't say that I have anything to complain about.
 
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