Why do tires wear on the inside?

Tires becoming worn on the inside edge is a common problem many sport car drivers encounter. From the BMW 328i to the Volvo S80, this is an issue that a simple alignment cannot fix. What causes this damage to the tires?

A sports car is designed to go around corners faster, more confidently and safely. If you take your BMW 3 series around a corner, you will notice it handles that side force much better than the family minivan. There are many reasons for this, but one is how the suspension is set up.

Camber is another reason certain cars handle corners well and a common thread that ties many of the inner tire wear problems together. If you look down the side of your car, you will notice the rear tires are "tipped" in a little bit, this is called negative camber. Negative camber causes both tires to lean on the axle towards the center of the vehicle. All four tires develop an equal and offsetting "camber thrust" force even when the car is driven straight ahead. When the vehicle encounters a bump that causes one tire to lose its grip, the other tire's negative camber will push the vehicle in the direction of the tire that lost grip. The vehicle may become more susceptible to tramlining. Excessive camber may also reduce the straight-line grip needed for rapid acceleration and hard stops.

How can you help minimize this? Regular wheel alignments should be considered routine and preventative maintenance. Since there are "acceptable" ranges provided in the manufacturer's recommendations, find a technician who will align the vehicle to the preferred settings and not just within the range.

Accurate wheel alignments are critical to balance the treadwear and performance a vehicle's tires deliver. Also, select a tire that reflects your driving habits and remember to rotate your tires frequently.

See more details on alignment here.


Alignment Tech Article

Comments

Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Steve

The front tires are wearing on the inside about the same ammount - very smooth, outside of tire looks good.The outside of the tires ,(front) meaasures the same as the rear tires throughout. Can it be the camber is out for both front, or do you think it just needs an alignment? Thanks, steve
Friday, April 6, 2012 by Tire Rack Team

Alignment settings established by the vehicle manufacturer are based on the way they perceive their vehicles will be driven. They provide preferred settings and an acceptable range (±). Unfortunately, the tolerances can result in uneven tire wear even though the vehicle is somewhere within “spec”.

However, if both front tires are wearing on the inboard edges, it’s quite likely your vehicle has too much negative camber and needs an alignment. We would recommend talking to the shop before scheduling an appointment, making them aware of your tire wear concern and confirm they can adjust your vehicle’s camber (camber adjustment requires aftermarket shims or bolts for some vehicles). Reinforce your concern with the service advisor/alignment technician before they begin the alignment. In addition to the alignment, you should have the tires rotated as indicated by your vehicle’s owner’s manual or by our tire tech article at: http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=43&currentpage=4
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 by Doug Goad

Very helpfull article that answered most of my questions about the uneven rear tire wear problem.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Victoria

I have a 2004 Lexus IS 300 and inner tire is wearing only on the driver side. Could this be a major problem or a could I just possibly need an alignment? Thanks
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 by Takashi Takasaki

2007 Mustang pony package
Winter tires mounted orignal 17" Stock rims,
Summer tires mounted 20" American Racing Fronts 255/35-20R, Rear 275/35/20R
I have inside front tire wear when I switch to my summer tires, I get left pull when not holding steering wheel, as well I get wheel chatter,but not constant.
What is the cause, does the alignment & or canter need to be adjusted from summer to winter?
Friday, January 8, 2016 by brian wilks

Thank you this was very helpful and helps me understand my problem enough that I don't get hoodwinked at a garage .
Saturday, April 16, 2016 by Peter

I have a 2012 Ford Mustang GT500. I have inside tire wear and put new tires on every 8,000 - 10,000 miles. I had the alignment done several times and all within Ford Specs. My alignment shop says I need to put in aftermarket camber bolts. The car has not been lowered and nothing is bent or damaged. No one can seem to tell me if I do that, will the alignment still fall with in Ford specs or it does not matter. Any advise or information would be helpful.
Monday, April 18, 2016 by Tire Rack Team

Peter, It is difficult to say without seeing the tires. However, it is normal to have a little uneven wear due to negative camber. We would recommend asking them to align to the preferred spec, not just within spec. -- sonny@tirerack.com
Monday, November 28, 2016 by Duke

I have a 2013 mustang, and my front tires wear on inside. The outside still has good tread. One more question is that the car pulls with the ruts in road pretty hard, what can I do to fix that? I drive on two way highways living in north central washington, not that much city driving.

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