Accelerated Tire Wear

mikeber55mikeber55 Member Posts: 4
edited September 2014 in Subaru
Apologies if this topic was discussed in the past, but I couldn't find a direct answer to my question:
I own a Subaru Legacy Outback 2005 AWD which my wife drives to work. Today it has 60K miles, but in late 2008 with only 31K miles, we had to replace the original tires. They were badly worn and uneven. The originals that came with the car were Bridgestone Potenza RE92, 225/60-16.
This time however, we choose a set of Goodyear Assurance TripleTred which were recommended by many. The manufacturer's warranty for those is 80K miles and when installed, the dealer also adjusted the wheels. I took care and rotated them twice a year. Now, with 30K miles they again show early signs of uneven ware. One tire in particular is almost finished. We brought the car to the dealer, which found the tires well inflated and the wheels adjusted correctly.
Q- is there any known problem with this Subaru model?


  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,297
    Interesting; I wouldn't necessarily expect more than 30K out of the crappy OEM tires, but I owned a set of the Tripletreds on my '96 Outback and after 25,000 miles they didn't even look worn; they certainly would have made the 80K mark if not exceeded it.

    What does the "uneven wear" look like? I have a minivan whose camber, I suspect, is off, and it wears one of its tires evenly, but heavily. I put 15,000 miles on a new set of tires last spring and the two tires used on that corner of the vehicle look like they are close to 50% gone. I have also used those tires on other vehicles and taken them up to as many as 76,000 miles. Something's wrong, but the tire shop says everything looks fine. :sick:
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • mikeber55mikeber55 Member Posts: 4
    edited February 2010
    By uneven ware, I mean two out of four are 50% worn, which I may consider reasonable, though a little disappointing. Third tire is about 3/4 worn (which is bad), but the forth is 90% finished, with some shallow grooves left in the middle, but nothing towards the edges. Again, we put less then 30K miles on them. The car is driven on pavement, with those unavoidable NY potholes, but never off-road. Rain, slush, a little snow, nothing extreme.
    When these tires were installed, the car was aligned and tires balanced. They were rotated a few times (usually with the oil change) and we aligned the car once again about a year ago. Currently, the mechanic said the car is fine.
  • snowbeltersnowbelter Member Posts: 288
    Have the tires showing wear spent more time on the rear? Do you carry heavy itiems in the rear?

    There is a TSB going back to January 2007, 05-36-07R, for 05 to 07 Outbacks, that had changes for a new rear alignment spec and an increased tire pressure when carrying a heavy load.

    I have an 07 and I asked my Service Manager to change the rear alignment. He told me only when there is evidence of wear, but to increase the tire pressure to 32 on all four tires unless I am carrying a heavy load, and to 32/35 with a heavy load.

    This is contrary to the TSB which says to change the alignment "to prevent excess tire wear" and says 30 in the rear when not a heavy load and 37.5 to 39 with a load in excess of 441 lbs in addition to passengers.
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,297
    All of those are more worn than should be the case for those tires at that mileage. I think you should exercise the treadwear warranty on them so you at least do not have to fork over the full cost of a new set. I didn't realize there was a related TSB, but that may be worth considering as well.

    If you do put on a new set, I think you should track, very closely, the amount of wear the tire incurs at each location. It sounds like one side of the vehicle is wearing them faster than the other, but if you are rotating front to back, which is causing the most wear.... front or back? Each time you do a rotation, just use a depth gauge (or quality ruler) to check the tread depth and record that information along with miles traveled. It may help you isolate the problem.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • grahampetersgrahampeters Member Posts: 1,786

    When you get the tyres replaced, make sure that you get a good quality four wheel alignment done and repeat this every 10,000km (or about 6,000 mile) and get tyres rotated professionally. It is remarkably cheap for the improvement in tyre wear which more than doubles.

    Also ensure that tyre inflation is checked regularly. Subarus are notorious for handling changes if the inflation is out only a pound or two.


  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 901
    I strongly suspect there is a problem with your Subie. It just doesn't make sense to have tires wear so differently unless there is a problem with the suspension - alignment, worn components, etc.

    I also suspect the potholes you mentioned to be at least a contributor. But don't forget: Most tire wear occurs when cornering, so if you do a lot more turns compared to the average guy, then you won't get the same miles out of your tires. Is it possible that you turn the same direction all the time - and it's the tires on that side that are wearing faster?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    I only got 28k out of the OE tires on my 98 Forester.

    I couldn't wait to replace them anyway!
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Member Posts: 166
    Just because I didn't see it written above:

    Always, always get the date of manufacture on tires. There are numerous reports of tread separation because people were buying "new" tires in the sense they were unused but they were actually manufactured 6 or more years ago.

    On an offnote, I would burn through any tires on my Honda Civic, because I drove it like I stole it. It's possible that if you or your wife is an aggressive driver (not in the sense of road rage, but in the sense of turning corners at 15-20mph, etc) that you will lose the tread on the outside as opposed to the inside. As you rotate your tires this eventually makes it so you lose treads on both of the sides.

    Or, your tire is underinflated, and the outside edges of the tire are making contact with the ground and the middle isn't.
  • mikeber55mikeber55 Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2010
    Good News:
    After arguments, the manufacturer agreed to replace the 4 tires free of charge!
    New tires (same model) were installed, balanced and 4 wheel drive alignment was performed.
    One interesting detail: I asked the dealer how he inflated the new set. His (surprising)
    answer: (per the manufacturer recommendation) - 32psi in front, 30 in the rear!
    I was very surprised by this answer and took that in writing.
    (BTW - I don't haul heavy loads, unless if my wife's shopping at Costco can be considered so...)
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,297
    Excellent news! For this set of tires, keep records of what tire is where and how they are rotated, along with mileage on the tires at each rotation and tread depth. That way, you may be able to isolate the primary problem (if it persists) to a certain position on the car....
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • alexandyalexandy Member Posts: 16
    Hello All: about 2 weeks ago, I realized (purely by accident) that I've been running my tires underinflated because the dealership didn't put the correct tire placard on at delivery (~15 months ago, 18K miles of driving) These are Toyo Proxes 4 (235/35/ZR19) installed on TRD (Toyota Racing Development) 19"x8" wheels on a Scion xB (2009) The tires have less than 2/32 left on both inside and outside shoulders and about 5-6/32 in the center of the tires. What should I do? I've contacted Scion customer service and they have opened a case. Also, about 11 months ago, I had to replace a rim after hitting a small pothole...I'm thinking the rim wouldn't have been damaged if the tires were inflated properly. Scion says the fault is "totally" with the dealer and the dealer says they have never installed "replacement" placards (It is a federal law/regulation BTW)
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 901

    Just so we are all on the same page:

    Your vehicle tire placard ought to say the original tire size was either 215/45ZR17 or 225/40R18 both inflated to 32 psi front / 29 psi rear.

    It turns out that a 235/35ZR19 has the same inflation pressure characteristics as the original tire sizes - and therefore, the inflation pressure listed on the vehicle tire placard would be the same. So there is something else causing the tire wear issue, not the inflation pressure.

    Second, the law concerning vehicle tire placards is a little vague when it comes to replacing the original tires (meaning the ones supplied at the vehicle assembly plant - and therefore, what is listed on the vehicle tire placard.)

    Clearly, the original vehicle tire placard has to match what was applied at the vehicle assembly plant. However, if the vehicle is substantially modified, then the "Modifier" becomes the "Manufacturer" and is now responsible for the vehicle tire placard. It is not unusual for certain modifications to be made to incoming vehicle BEFORE they reach the dealership. The question about what is a "Substantial Modification" is the problem area.

    It has been agreed that if the vehicle's engine, drivetrain (I'm thinking 4X2 to 4X4 conversions) and body work modifications (other than paint), then that would constitute enough of a change that the modifier becomes the manufacturer.

    But it is unclear if merely changing tire sizes is enough - and the result is that many vehicles are modified by changing to fancier rims as well as changing tire sizes, and the vehicle tire placards are NOT changed. The legality of this modification is unclear.

    So what is it that caused your unusual tire wear if it wasn't the inflation pressure?

    Too many possibilities to list, but here are some:

    * - Rim width too wide

    * - Akerman ( a steering geometry issue)

    * - "Spirited" driving

    * - "City" driving (meaning many turns compared to the miles driven in a straight line)

    * - The design of the tire


    Your best bet is to call Toyo and plead your case - hoping they will take pity on you and give to a discount on another set. Be aware that your tires DO NOT carry a mileage warranty, so anything they offer is a "Goodwill" gesture on their part.

    and another thing to be aware of: Tires are never covered by the vehicle manufacturer's warranty. They are only covered by the tire manufacturer's warranty and for original equipment tires, they will never carry a mileage warranty.

    And to answer your other questions:

    Why is Scion not responsible? Because they didn't supply the tires.

    Why is the dealer not responsible? Because they didn't modify the vehicle - and while they may or may not have known the vehicle was modified, their recourse is through the modifier who will, in turn, deflect that to the tire manufacturer.
  • alexandyalexandy Member Posts: 16
    Actually...all 2nd Gen Scion xBs come with 205/55/R16 and the placard shows 35psi front and 32psi rear. The "Delivered Vehicle" was with 235/35/ZR19 which according to Scion Customer Support, should have come with a tire placard stating such and the proper pressure of 39psi front and 37psi rear. So the uneven tire wear is because of underinflation. Everyone agrees that a mistake was made by the dealer and the dealer did sell me the wheels and was a vehicle option. I'm thinking the tires should be replaced now because I've never actually gotten the performance of this expensive tire...Initially, I was driving on mostly the shoulders (wearing them down) and now with proper pressure, I'm driving on the middle of the tire. My research of tire placard responsibility is that the original seller (Toyota/Scion "IS" responsible to put the proper tire placard on at time of Sale (Scion Customer Service confirms this)

    thanks for your replay
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 901
    edited March 2010
    I'm sorry,. I looked on the wrong page.

    Yes, Toyo and Scion Customer service are correct about the tire pressure.

    Nevertheless, they are wrong about the dealer being required to change the vehicle tire placard. If they changed the vehicle, they've done it on a "option" that really isn't an option. In other words, they aren't "remanufacturing the vehicle" - this gray area I discussed earlier.

    What they did was make it easy for the consumer to customize his vehicle - and while it would be a good idea to change the placard and make sure the consumer is informed about the proper pressure, they are not under any legal obligation to do so.

    Neverthless, that is a good "hook" to get them to give you some compensaion on the next set of tires. Be sure to work through them and don't do it yourself first, then confornt them with the issue.

    Oh, and it is always a good tactic to mention that you'll be purchasing other vehicles from them and will otherwise recommend their dealership to friend and family if only they would take care of this one little thing for you.
  • ingvaringvar Member Posts: 205
    I replaced my OE tires on 3.6R on the next day after purchase.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    39/37 psi? Really? :confuse:

    That seems unusually high.

    My Sienna calls for 35psi and that surprised me. My Miata is something like 28psi.
  • xwesxxwesx Member Posts: 16,297
    I share your high opinion of Subaru's choice of OE tires. ;)
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 901
    Yes, 39 / 37. Here's why.

    Most cars are fitted with Standard Load (SL) tires - where the maximum load carrying capacity occurs at 35 psi. For practical purposes, 26 psi is the lowest pressure that can be used on a passenger car tire. So the range of pressures listed on the vehicle tire placard for passenger cars is 26 to 35 psi.

    However, the tires under discussion were not supplied by the vehicle manufacturer and are Extra Load (XL) tires. XL tires are tires that can carry more load than SL tires, by using more inflation pressure (up to 41 psi). Put a different way, the load carrying capacity needed to match the higher profile SL tires that came originally on the vehicle required the use of an XL tire at higher pressure.

    This is not unusual for Plus Size fitments.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587

    Still surprised me, though, because my Miata indeed has the bigger wheel/tire package, and the pressures are low.
  • robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    Still surprised me, though, because my Miata indeed has the bigger wheel/tire package, and the pressures are low.

    That's because the girls that normally drive Miata's prefer a soft ride.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    edited March 2010

    Per AutoNation 65% of Miata owners are male (married and middle-aged like me), but I'm sure females buy plenty of used ones. ;)
  • robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    I know that but I couldn't resist.

    I'm not suprised that married, middle-aged men are the primary buyers. Like I tell my wife be thankful all I want for my mid-life crisis is a stupid car.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We call mine "The Mistress". :shades:
  • capriracercapriracer Member Posts: 901
    You have to be careful how you use the word "bigger".

    You can have tires with larger rim diameters, and even though the overall tire diameter is pretty close to the same, the load carrying capacity is smaller - which is the case above.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Correct - the wheels are bigger. The tire diameter is roughly the same.

    Haven't checked the load rating - not a big concern with a Miata. ;)
  • robr2robr2 Member Posts: 8,805
    Haven't checked the load rating - not a big concern with a Miata.

    Except with the driver!! :P

    Bazinga!! Juice, you're tossing to many soft pitches up there to resist!!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Payload is a rather pathetic number, it was 360 lbs on my '93, not sure on the new one.

    Me and wifey can squeeze in, but no luggage! :D
  • peterlc63peterlc63 Member Posts: 2
    Wow, I'm surprised you got 31K out of your Potenzas. My car is at 90,000 miles now and I've gone through three sets of tires already so 30K per set sounds just about right.

    The last tire dealer I who installed my current set of tires was adamant that I get my tires rotated every 6000 miles, especially since it is an all wheel drive car.
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