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Why is Only One of My Tires Worn Out?

Like most mechanics and auto technicians, the experts at Chapel Hill Tire recommend looking over your tires once a month to ensure they look healthy. On occasion, drivers will find that one of their tires has suddenly gone bald of tread. What causes this strange tire phenomenon? Here is a look at 7 possible problems you might be experiencing. 

Problem 1: Wheel Alignment Issues

Ideally, your tires are all angled correctly to evenly meet the road. Over time, bumps in the road can throw off the alignment of one or more of your wheels. Naturally, this will cause disproportionate wear to the misaligned tire(s). Your wheel will face rolling resistance and additional friction on the road—causing it to quickly go bald.

While all tires are subject to alignment troubles, this most often impacts the front right tire and front left tire. Alignment troubles are the most common problem for drivers who find just one of their tires worn out. Thankfully, the solution here is simple: wheel alignment service

Problem 2: Skipped Tire Rotations

If you find one (or both) of your front tires worn out, you might think back to the last time you had your tires rotated. In general, your front tires will wear faster than your rear tires. Why?

  • Weight: Your front tires often bear more weight than your rear tires because of the engine placement. 
  • Steering and turning: Most cars have front-wheel drive (FWD)—meaning only the front wheels turn to steer your car. Turning results in additional friction against the road. 
  • Road hazards: Drivers have a little more time to correct their steering for back tires when encountering potholes and other road hazards. 

This is why tire manufacturers recommend regular tire rotations. Tire rotations help your tires wear evenly by ensuring they balance out the impact of road and driving hazards. 

Problem 3: Mis-Matched Tires

Every tire brand works to make unique tires. Unfortunately, some tire brands are known to last longer than others. The tread patterns, rubber composition, threading, age, and so many other factors contribute to a tire’s lifespan. In some cases, mismatched tires will not create any problems. In other cases, it could potentially contribute to tires wearing at different rates.

Problem 4: Inflation Differences

Proper tire inflation is vital to your tire health. If one of your tires is running with low tire pressure, it can quickly cause structural damage. We commonly see this problem when there is an undetected nail in the tire. Overinflation can also cause uneven tire tread wear. You can check your tire information panel on the frame of your car near your driver’s seat to ensure your tires stay inflated to the ideal PSI. Alternatively, there are easy ways to score free tire pressure refills at your local mechanic shop.

Problem 5: Used Tire Inconsistencies

If you buy your tires used, you never truly know what you are getting or the exact history of each tire. One of them might have older rubber, prior damage, or a compromised structure. As such, buying used could be the reason one of your tires has worn more quickly than the others.

Problem 6: Driving Factors

On occasion, a tire problem has nothing to do with the tire. Are the roads in your area uneven and bumpy? Perhaps you hit the same unavoidable potholes each day? Driving habits, road conditions, and other factors specific to your situation can impact your tire health. These conditions may also lead to one tire wearing faster than the others—especially without proper rotations. 

Problem 7: Tire Age Differences

The age of a tire’s rubber heavily affects how it drives, how it wears, and how safe it is on the road. If one of your tires is older than the rest, it will likely wear early. You can find our full guide to tire age here

Should You Replace All the Tires or Just the One?

If you catch tire wear early, you may be able to avoid replacement. However, if one of your tires is disproportionately worn out, it will need to be replaced during your service visit. In these cases, some drivers opt to have all four tires replaced if they are getting old or nearing replacement. This will help keep all of the tires on the same routine. It also avoids issues with newer tire tread gripping harder than the others. 

Conversely, you can often save money by replacing just the single worn-out tire. This is especially true if your three remaining tires are in good shape. However, it is essential to find a tire with a similar composition and tread pattern. If possible, match your new tire to the brand of your remaining tires to avoid any problems. Thankfully, this is easy to do when you buy your new tires online.

Chapel Hill Tire Alignment and Tire Services

If you find that one of your tires has gone bald, the professionals at Chapel Hill Tire are here to help. We offer tire alignment, balancing, inflation, replacement, and other mechanic services. If you don’t have time to visit one of your 9 Triangle-area locations, we will come to you with our suite of convenient car care services. Best of all, you can get the lowest possible prices on your new tires with our Price Beat Guarantee. Our local auto mechanics invite you to make your appointment here online, review our coupon page, or give us a call to get started today!

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