Driver's Guide

What Would Cause a Tire to Wear on the Outside? [Causes and Solutions]

What would cause a tire to wear on the outside?

Indeed, tire wear outside of a vehicle happens to be a common occurrence with many causes. Remember that tire wear patterns give you vital clues on your vehicle’s suspension system’s health and functionality. So what would cause a tire to wear on the outside?

Sagging springs, bent spindles or struts, worn ball joints, underinflated and overinflated tires, worn out suspension, are common reasons that would cause a tire to wear on the outside. It is important to identify the cause and fix it.

Let me begin with the dangerous part. Indeed, tire wear on the inside can also create unsafe driving conditions and experiences as the tires won’t grip the road. The tire’s inability to maintain optimum traction, especially when driving on snowy and wet roads, will make it prone to slippage.

Here is another costly scenario. Car tires that wear outside quickly don’t only put your driving safety in jeopardy. They also end up making a big hole in your pocket. Sometimes this happens because tire wear will be irreparable once it has reached an extreme level, requiring tire replacement.

Note that tire wear can be the fault of wheel misalignment, bent spindles or struts, over inflation, under inflation, and others. You should know that it is vital to know the different tire wear signs and what they may suggest about your car.

Car tires are vital components in your car, and it’s a good idea always to examine them periodically to see how they’re faring. Sometimes the effects of winter might linger in your tires, such as snow, cold, salt, or fluctuating temperatures, and also, the winter potholes which often afflict roadways, all these can cause wear and tear to your tires.

However, if you intend to determine how well the tires are doing, you need to understand what would cause a tire to wear outside.

What would cause a tire to wear on the outside?

Factors that Causes a Tire to Wear On The Outside

Below you will find the reasons and what causes a tire to wear on the outside:

Wheel Misalignment

Did your car involve in an accident lately? Or you remembered that one of its tires hit a large pothole while you were driving at night? Do you remember one of its tires mistakenly climbing over the road’s hard shoulder? If so, these are some of the reasons that might cause the wheel to go out of alignment.

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After all these scenarios, your wheel tilts on the outside will start putting more pressure on the tire’s road-facing shoulder. Note that this issue will appear not too serious at first, but over time it will cause the rubber on the tire’s outer edge to scrub quicker than the one on its inner edge.

However, once you ignore this problem for a long time, your car rubber scrubbing will lead to the tire developing wear on the outside. It means this will happen because the tire’s outer edge is scrapping itself off on the asphalt and also wearing down its road-facing edge.

The Solution:

Examine the alignment of your car tires every 6,000 to 7,000 miles. After that, decrease the time between successive alignment inspection once the suspension and wheels get older.

A Bent Spindles Or Struts

Your vehicle’s struts or spindles form an essential structural component of most vehicles’ suspension. What they do is that they join the dampening impact of the shock absorber and the upper ball joint, holding the wheel and tire assembly in place. Also, their optimum performance is necessary for maintaining a comfortable riding experience.

Remember, most times, the strut’s top rotated to get its optimal camber and correct wheel alignment. So whenever that specific part is bent, the entire setting misaligns. However, this does cause the wheel to misalign, and then the tires will start to wear on the outside.

Note that the tire wear’s magnitude will depend on how much (or how little) the spindle has bent. Meaning that if you observe the bend in the spindle early enough, the damages to both and the tire wear may be reversible (and less costly to repair).

The Solution:

In case the spindle has bent beyond repair, then you may have no option but to replace it. However, this might cost you between $480 and $600, including labor and the part cost. But if you notice that the damage to the spindle isn’t too severe, then you can take it to a tire shop and have it straightened for a small fee.

A Sagging Springs

I guess you already know how important your vehicle’s springs are to your car. What they do is to support the car’s entire weight and absorb excess energy that emanates from road shocks. This is because their anti-sway bar is responsible for shifting the wheels’ movement, which helps stabilize the car.

Because of this, the application of constant load on the springs weakens their flexibility. Meaning it results in the leaf spring losing arch or the vehicle’s coil spring is losing its height. Note that your car tires that wear outside do so because of the latter scenario, meaning that their coil springs have lost size due to aging.

However, this also means that your vehicle follows suit once the coil springs start losing their height. What this does is to cause a misalignment in the entire suspension of the car. And this will force the tire to handle more weight than it should and might cause its outside edge to wear.

The Solution:

What you should do is to have the springs that may have sagged replaced. In case you have experience doing mechanical work, you can have them replaced in your car garage yourself or take your vehicle to a nearby workshop. No matter the option you choose, be prepared to spend $450 on replacement parts.

A Worn Ball Joints

Your vehicle ball joints are a crucial component of your car’s suspension system. Ball joints are responsible for maintaining the tire’s optimum contact with the road throughout the suspension’s motion. Ball joints also control arms to provide a vibration-free driving experience and give you full control over your vehicle.

Just like other parts in your vehicle, the ball joints are also prone to wear and tear. Once they begin to show signs of damage, your car’s wheels will start pointing slightly outward. Note that most mechanics refer to this condition as the ‘toe’ of the wheel going out of alignment.

You should note that tire wear caused by worn-out ball joints is hard to observe but no less dangerous than one caused by wheel misalignment, which means both of them to end up placing more pressure on the outer edge of the vehicle’s tire and may lead your tire to wear on the outside.

The Solution:

Have the worn-out ball joints replaced and have your wheels re-aligned. And in case the problem persists, then you may also have to change the control arm. Note that all these might cost you $1500 to $2000 for the replacement.

What would cause a rear tire to wear on the outside 

Underinflated Tire

An underinflated vehicle tire causes excessive or abnormal wear on the outside perimeter of the tires. It tends to fold inward towards the middle; this condition causes the vehicle tires’ outer edges to press downward with an abnormal force, which can cause excessive tire wear outside.

An Unbalanced Tires

Remember that car tires need to be perfectly balanced before installation. Meaning that tires that are not appropriately balanced or not balanced before installing a vehicle will develop abnormal wear patterns, including excessive tire wear outside.

A Worn Tie Rod Ends

The tie rod ends as a critical component of a vehicle’s front suspension, affecting front wheel alignment. Note that this means that worn tie rod ends will negatively impact tire stability and wheel alignment, both of which have the potential of causing wear on the outside of a vehicle’s tires.


I guess I have been able to answer the question, what would cause a tire to wear on the outside? But remember, multiple reasons might cause your tire to wear on the outside. Your vehicle wheel might have misaligned, the vehicle’s strut or spindle might have broken, the ball joints in the suspension system might have also worn out, or the springs underneath the car might have sagged. But the good news about this is that you can fix all these problems.

However, the bad news is that the cost of having them fixed depends on the extent of their damage. Note that identifying and rectifying these problems while in their early stage is crucial if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on replacement parts and labor costs, which can also lead to bad differential issues..

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Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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