Why do tires wear on the inside?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 by Mac McNabb
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 on Why do tires wear on the inside?

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

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