What Does It Mean When a Tire Is Cupping?
July 7th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Unless you are really into tires, you may have never heard of the term “cupping.”
Take a look at your tire tread. If it moves from high to low in different spots, it means your tire is cupping.
Notice the position of the dips in the tread. Are they in the center of the tire, at the edge, or do they cut across the width of the tread? Cupping is most likely a result of the wheel and tire “bouncing” while driving if the dips are in the middle or across the tread’s width. The culprit is probably an unbalanced tire.
What is tire cupping on a car and why should you care?
Tire cupping, also known as tire scalloping, negatively affects your driving performance, causing an up-and-down motion as if your wheels are bouncing. It usually makes a grinding or rumbling noise that increases as you accelerate.
Uneven tire wear cupping interferes with your tire’s ability to make smooth, even contact with the road, and is an indication that you may have other problems with your car that are causing the cupping.
Sometimes misdiagnosed as a worn wheel bearing, tire cupping could mean that your shock absorbers or struts are wearing out or loose, that your tires are unbalanced or low-quality, or that your wheels need an alignment.
What is feathered tire wear?
Tires become “feathered” when the tread is worn lower on one side and higher on the other. What causes tire feathering? It typically indicates a problem with your wheel alignment. Poor alignment means your four tires aren’t moving in a straight line, thus the sensation of feeling that your car drifts to the left or right.
Wheels that are misaligned cause not only handling problems but also damage to your tires. The remedy is to have your alignment re-set by a trained technician.
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between what is tire cupping on a car and what is feathered tire wear. It is easy to confuse these two. If you are not sure, we recommend having your tires checked by professionals. It’s also crucial to keep up with your car maintenance schedule because it allows you to identify and fix any problems before they turn into expensive repairs.
Now that you know what causes tire feathering and tire cupping be vigilant. Monitor your tires for excessive wear and be proactive about rotating them. Keep all of your tires, including your spare, properly inflated based on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended PSI. Check your tires’ air pressure once a month and before leaving on a long trip.
If you think your tires may be cupping or feathering, have them inspected immediately so a highly trained and trusted mechanic can conduct a thorough inspection. If the cupping isn’t too severe, the tread will even out after the tires are rotated. Given more serious damage, you may have to have the tire replaced.
In the meantime, we encourage you to read our blog post covering what to do in the event your tires are balding.
Be careful out there!
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Mission Valley, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing all customers in Mission Valley and San Diego neighborhood.
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