Ford F-150: Why are My Tires Wearing Unevenly?

Uneven tire wear is a sign that something is not right with your truck. Below is a summary of potential causes of uneven tread wear.

By Marc Carter - September 3, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F150 (2004-2014) and the Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

It's important to always check the condition of your tires to make them last longer. Spotting abnormal tire wear early can keep you from having to shell out hundreds of dollars in repairs. With time and proper tire rotation, tires should wear evenly across their surface, but there are some conditions that can cause tires to wear unevenly. Depending on where the uneven wear is taking place on the tire, you can quickly address what is causing the problem.

Below are a few items to constantly monitor on your truck, which if not monitored regularly, could lead to abnormal tire wear.

Tire Pressure

With regular inspections, you should always monitor your tire pressure to make sure it is set to the manufacturer recommended level. If your tires are overinflated of underinflated, a tire will eventual show uneven tire wear. If you've noticed that a tire is wearing out faster on the outside edges of the tire, then your tire is most likely underinflated, while if it is showing more wear in the center, then it is most likely overinflated.

  • Overinflation Illustration
    Overinflation Illustration
  • Underinflated Tire Wear
    Underinflation Illustration
  • Overinflated tire wear
  • Underinflated Tire Wear

Alignment

In addition to monitoring your tire pressure, your truck's wheel alignment can also cause uneven tire wear if it is not set to specification. If you notice that your tire is wearing faster on one edge, but not the other, which is often called "feathering," then your vehicle's alignment needs to be adjusted. Some other ways that you can tell if your truck needs an alignment is if it seems to drift to one side, even when you should be driving straight or if you are driving straight, but your steering wheel is not centered. Luckily an alignment is much cheaper than replacing your tires, since the procedure usually costs less than the cost of replacing one tire.

  • One-sided tire wear
    One-sided tire wear
  • One sided tire wear

Suspension Issues

As your vehicle ages, its suspension components will wear out. Worn out shocks and struts can lead to uneven wear on the surface of the tire, that is known as "cupping." If the surface of the tire is not smooth, it is likely the result of worn out suspension components that are causing the tire to literally bounce on the road. Unfortunately this is the more costly repair compared to an alignment or a tire rotation, but fortunately this usually does not occur until your vehicle is much older.

  • Cupping tire
    Cupping tire Illustration
  • Cupped Tire

Tire Rotation

Tire Rotation for RWD/4WD Vehicles
Tire Rotation for All F150s

It is important that you also rotate your tires, front to back/ back to front and most manufacturers recommend the procedure every 5,000 miles. Regularly rotating your tires will help evenly distribute tire wear, especially with front-wheel-drive vehicles. The front tires on front-wheel-drive vehicles tend to wear faster than the rear tires since they have the job of not only moving the vehicle, but also moving the vehicle side to side via the steering system. While you rotate your tires, it's also a good idea to make sure your tires are balanced by a technician to ensure they wear correctly.

Pro Tip

Figure out what's wrong with this tire wear cheat sheet.

Related Discussions