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Old 08-22-2012, 04:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Wheel alignment and tyre wear

My car has a slightly bent tie-rod on the driver's side.
It hasn't been a problem other than the steering wheel being off-centre and a slight pull to the left.
I recently noticed some slight uneven tread wear on the driver's side front tyre, at the outer edge. I checked the wheel alignment and it was out a little, so I corrected it.

Now the tyre has started wearing more on the outer edge.

I think that although the front wheels are now to spec in the straight ahead position, and the car does feel better for it, the bent tie-rod is causing 'toe-in on turn' which is causing the tread wear.
The previously incorrect alignment must have been compensating for this.

Does this sound right?

(I'm going to replace the bent tie rod now, after putting it off so long, and hope all becomes well)

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Old 08-22-2012, 07:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markweatherill View Post
My car has a slightly bent tie-rod on the driver's side.
It hasn't been a problem other than the steering wheel being off-centre and a slight pull to the left.
I recently noticed some slight uneven tread wear on the driver's side front tyre, at the outer edge. I checked the wheel alignment and it was out a little, so I corrected it.

Now the tyre has started wearing more on the outer edge.

I think that although the front wheels are now to spec in the straight ahead position, and the car does feel better for it, the bent tie-rod is causing 'toe-in on turn' which is causing the tread wear.
The previously incorrect alignment must have been compensating for this.

Does this sound right?

(I'm going to replace the bent tie rod now, after putting it off so long, and hope all becomes well)
Steering wheel off, pull to the left, uneven tire wear.

Personally I don't need any more indicators that something is WRONG. Pulling to the left is a good way to get into a head on collision. You knew the tie rod was bent and did nothing. Try straightening the tie rod .

If you can't afford an alignment there are many ways to do one with a piece of string. Beats letting a perfectly good tire get destroyed.

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Mech
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Old 08-22-2012, 07:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Tire Wear

Once a tire developes an uneven wear pattern, it is exceedingly difficult to get the tire to wear evenly. That's because once you fix the source of the ueven wear pattern, the new, even, wear pattern is now being generated on top of what is already there - the uneven wear pattern continues.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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That's why you should rotate tires at the first sign of any wear pattern. Toyota kept telling me they needed to rotate tires at 5k miles. That's rediculous unless you are trying to hide another problem with rotation. You can usually tell what needs to be done by the wear pattern. Typically a FWD car will wear the shoulders of the front tires, slightly more on the outside than the inside, especailly is you agressively drive through turns. I find it usually is about 20k plus miles. I wouldn't trust any dealer to rotate my tires 20 times in 100k miles without stripping a lug nut.

Rear wear will be even with the shoulders remaining fairly sharp, again depending on your agressiveness in turns. Front to rear (same side) rotation is the solution.

If you are super cheap and don't have icy winter issues, and a matching spare (not a space saver) then buy one tire that matches the spare, drive the car until the fronts are bald, put one bald tire in the trunk and the spare and new tire on the front. On many cars you can go 100k plus miles with only one additional tire, and you don't need to have a new tire in the trunk with bald tires on the ground.

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Old 08-22-2012, 10:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for your replies! And I should have changed the tie rod a long time ago, I know.

Still, my question is, am I right in thinking that a bent tie rod - even if only slightly bent - can cause 'toe in on turns' that will cause the tyre wear?
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markweatherill View Post
Thanks for your replies! And I should have changed the tie rod a long time ago, I know.

Still, my question is, am I right in thinking that a bent tie rod - even if only slightly bent - can cause 'toe in on turns' that will cause the tyre wear?
Since toe plays a huge role in uneven tire wear - and most of the time you are driving straight ahead - I think that is what played the largest role in the wear that you are experiencing.

The shorter tie rod will tend to develop "less toe out on turns" - and the common term is "Akerman" - and yes, that will cause some wear issues - BUT - I think it will be small compared to the toe in problem in the straight ahead position.

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