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Tire Wear Question


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Tire experts….. I was doing some maintenance today before we head to Arizona next week.  I noticed one of my tires had a significant amount of wear while the other three still look new.  It’s the curbside back tire, it looks like it has flat spots all around and the tread is worn down to the wear bars.  The other three show no wear.  Is this a wheel problem, axle problem, or something else?  I’m going to call Discount Tire to order a new one.  Mike

 

Worn tire, rear curbside.

IMG_6914.thumb.jpeg.43c036af17b8ca0d817801478bdd84c8.jpeg

 

Street side rear tire.  The two fronts look the same.

IMG_6913.thumb.jpeg.ba366f6cecbc0ebe30902734d958209b.jpeg

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Now that I see that the wear appears to be all around the tire, it would likely be alignment.

When was the last time you rotated them and/or had them balanced?

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Geronimo John said:

Now that I see that the wear appears to be all around the tire, it would likely be alignment.

When was the last time you rotated them and/or had them balanced?

 

 

They were balanced and mounted at Discount Tire in January 2021.  I have 42,044 miles on them (not counting miles in the local area for maintenance and to/from storage).  No rotations or balancing since.  This is not something I’ve noticed before and I do check the tires before/after trips.  Like I said, the other three look new still.  All four old tires these replaced looked new after 5 years.  Maybe I hit a pothole or something recently….

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I would carefully measure the axles and wheels to see if the axle has moved or been bent.  If not finding anything, have it aligned.

GJ

 

 

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DYI’s:  BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DYI’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Timken Bearings, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all.

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30 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

Maybe I hit a pothole or something recently….

This would have been my thought - or, possible you took a right turn a bit too tight and hit that tire on a curb.

I'd take a very close look at the sidewall and then take a very close look at the street side tire.  If the street side tire looks good then the issue is - probably - not with the entire axle.  But , it could be just the spindle on that side.  And, this is where GJ's measuring would come into play.  

Finally, from your pics it is a bit hard to tell, but, is that abnormal wear actually "cupping" or simply having the tire riding too much on the outside?  If you can't tell then hopefully your guy at Discount tire can make the call.  The reason this is important is that your bearings and/or spindle on that tire could need adjusting or replacement.

Good luck!

Bill

p.s.  at the very least I'd get that wheel off the ground and test for bearing play (i.e. grab the tire at the top and bottom and see if you can move it in/out).  I think that you once told me that you use a local guy to do your bearing maintenance - can you get to see him for a quick check before you leave?

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33 minutes ago, topgun2 said:

I'd take a very close look at the sidewall and then take a very close look at the street side tire.  If the street side tire looks good then the issue is - probably - not with the entire axle.  But , it could be just the spindle on that side.  And, this is where GJ's measuring would come into play.  

Finally, from your pics it is a bit hard to tell, but, is that abnormal wear actually "cupping" or simply having the tire riding too much on the outside?  If you can't tell then hopefully your guy at Discount tire can make the call.  The reason this is important is that your bearings and/or spindle on that tire could need adjusting or replacement.

The street side tire is fine.  Looks new.  The wear on the tire in question is not even, there are flat spots evenly spaced all around.  I checked with Discount Tire and will have a new one put on next week.  I’m going to get it off the ground tomorrow and check free play and do some measuring.  Monday I’ll give my local repair guy a call to see if he can look at it sometime next week.  

I knew I shouldn’t have taken the trailer rock climbing in Colorado last summer! 🤣

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8 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

I knew I shouldn’t have taken the trailer rock climbing in Colorado last summer! 🤣

I'm surprised that you could pull your trailer up the shear side of those mountains. Carol must have been behind pushing.

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One can fine lots of images for different tire wear patterns online.  I found the attached from a commercial fleet site and while there are no images, the descriptions are good.

Additionally, just to stir the pot 😀I really trust this guy (see video below) who suggests that IF you are not seeing strange wear patterns, rotations are not really needed.   I have been rotating tires for 50 years....but now questioning it a bit.

 

2024-01-13_18-19-10.jpg

Edited by Jim and Frances
Source of wear pattern is https://www.doctorpreload.com/2017/01/bearing-adjustment-real-cause-irregular-tire-wear/
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SE Texas  | 2021 Elite II  Twin Bed # 927  "Lucy"  |  2019 F250 FX4 6.7

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I have similar wear on one of my trailer tires as well. Mine are the original Michelin tires and I have never rotated them with 56,000 miles on them. Like mine it’s interesting that only one is wearing on the inside. Check with a level (if the tire is worn inside all the way around) to see if that one tire is tilted in at the top compared to the others. Could be the axle got tweaked a little on that end sometime when the trailer was jacked up.  If it’s just in a few spots could be as simple as balance. Maybe threw a weight off at some point. There isn’t any adjustments on the frame or axle for alignment like would be on a car front end. I think that if you hit a curb or something hard enough to bend an axle mount you’d know it. I agree, check the wheel bearings just to eliminate them as being an issue as well as the other measurements as a sanity check just to make sure nothing is loose or out of place. Let us know what you find out. 

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An unbalanced tire causes vibration. It would have to be extreme to create this kind of cupping, and less likely than other causes. Checking the balance doesn't matter anymore, since after this cupping it is certainly out of balance.

You must determine cause, though bottom-line Mike, before a major trip you need to but a pair of new tires for that axle. Save the good one in case you do not find cause and have another single tire worn upon your return.

I read some comments here suggesting alignment, but there are no alignment mechanisms in trailers like in an automobile or truck. You cannot adjust camber, caster or toe-in on trailer wheels. Looking at the picture, you can see that the axles are attached and float on the leaf springs, which bolted to the frame at 3 fixed points. The leaf springs generally have a centering hole that would not shift and again, not adjustable. Also, it is highly unlikely that a damaged axle would affect one side and NOT the other!

Likely possibilities: a 1) damaged rim, 2) the bearings or spindle, or perhaps 3) the leaf spring for that wheel. When your trailer is sitting level, before you jack it up, inspect the leaf spring thoroughly and compare its height and shape to the good side. When you get the affected wheel up in the air, check for free play by pushing it in the 3 to 9 o'clock and 6 to 12 positions. Remove the wheel and check the backside of the rim for any cracks or bends. Now look again at the leaf spring thoroughly and check for bangs, bends or cracks.

Lastly, it is most likely the bearings or a worn spindle on which they sit. It appears the cupping is more so on the outer edges of the tire, which again looks like bearings. See what the grease looks like. Clean inner and outer bearings with old fuel or kerosene, blow dry and see if they spin freely and quickly when sitting on a workbench. Check the axle to see if it is out-of-round, has any discoloration, bad spots or anything that does not look like clean hardened factory steel.

Of course, correct anything found to be damaged. If you cannot find anything, just repack your bearings, mount those new tires and try to enjoy your trip!

Once you get underway check the temp of each hub each time you stop. I just read this in another thread here. You can get the fancy infrared digital thermometer, or just use the palm of your hand to feel the heat. Feel if one hub seems hotter than the rest. And of course, keep a closer eye on this RR position that had the issue. Good news is you found this prior to leaving, tire cupping is not life threatening immediately, as it likely took tens of 1000s of highway miles for this tire to get this amount of cupping. I understand you put a lot of miles on your Oliver annually. Best wishes

Oliver on Jacks.jpg

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Thanks for all the good suggestions, everyone.  Lots of good information here.  I’ll venture out to the driveway this afternoon and do some checking.  Mike

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@Mike and Carol:  What ever the culprit malady is - please keep us informed.  I'm thinking it's related to either inner or outer bearing issues, which could lead to a spindle problem.  But as mentioned, an IR temp gauge reading after a few dozen miles might show a higher heat level on the suspect hub.  Good luck, Mike.

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@Mike and Carol today I thought of a 4th item to check. However, probability on this item being the cause is also lower than bearings and spindle.

This would be the RR shock. If the shock absorber at that position failed drastically it could affect tire wear. To test, remove the shock and push it down to full compression on a workbench. Release it and look closely to see that it gradually returns to full length without hiccups or hesitation. Run it up and down 2-3 times in this manner.

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19 hours ago, jd1923 said:

I read some comments here suggesting alignment, but there are no alignment mechanisms in trailers like in an automobile or truck. You cannot adjust camber, caster or toe-in on trailer wheels. Looking at the picture, you can see that the axles are attached and float on the leaf springs, which bolted to the frame at 3 fixed points

It is factual that we have no means to adjust incrementally tire alignment on our trailers.  But worn out spring attachments can easily put a tire into an abnormal wear pattern.  

SO checking that the spring bushings are still there and doing their job is a good idea.  I would put a pair of chocks against both sides of single tire and have a partner in the TV gently stress each of the bushings one at a time.  If you see visual slippage on the shackle bolt of the spring...bingo.  Or if you are young and strong like mule just jack it up and slam it around some.  Me, I'll use the Ole Man's way.

GJ  

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TV:  2019 F-150 SuperCrew Lariat, 3.5L EcoBoost, Max Tow, FX-4, Rear Locker      OLLIE:  2018 OE2 Hull 342, Twin Bed.    OLLIE DYI’s:  BB LiFePO4's, Victron 712 Smart, 350 Amp Master Switch, Houghton 3400, Victron Orion DC - DC, 3000-Watt Renogy Inverter, P.D. 60-amp Converter, Frig Dual Exhaust Fans, Kitchen Drawer Straps.    TV DYI’s:  2 5/16" Anderson System, Timken Bearings, Nitto recon’s, Firestone Rear Air Bags, Bilstein 5100’s, Mud Flaps & Weather Tech all.

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OK, so let's call that worn shackle bushing needing replacement vs. the trailer needing an alignment. When these bushings go dry and get bad, after a whole lot of miles, you would hear screeching or some kind of metal on metal noise. The trailer wheels would still drive pretty much straight and could not be the cause of cupping one of 4 trailer tires.

Edited by jd1923
rewritten for clarity. Thx
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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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On 1/13/2024 at 6:16 PM, ScubaRx said:

I'm surprised that you could pull your trailer up the shear side of those mountains. Carol must have been behind pushing.

Every time she gets out to "push", she finds another pretty rock to add to her collection in the trailer somewhere.

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1 hour ago, Jason Foster said:

Every time she gets out to "push", she finds another pretty rock to add to her collection in the trailer somewhere.

@Jason Foster I believe I'm starting to get your sense of humor!

 

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Chris & John in Prescott, AZ | 2016 EII #113 | '01 Ram 2500 Cummins!

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On 1/13/2024 at 2:51 PM, Mike and Carol said:

Tire experts….. I was doing some maintenance today before we head to Arizona next week.  I noticed one of my tires had a significant amount of wear while the other three still look new.  It’s the curbside back tire, it looks like it has flat spots all around and the tread is worn down to the wear bars.  The other three show no wear.  Is this a wheel problem, axle problem, or something else?  I’m going to call Discount Tire to order a new one.  Mike

 

Worn tire, rear curbside.

IMG_6914.thumb.jpeg.43c036af17b8ca0d817801478bdd84c8.jpeg

 

Street side rear tire.  The two fronts look the same.

IMG_6913.thumb.jpeg.ba366f6cecbc0ebe30902734d958209b.jpeg

If you run the palm of your hand over the tread area can you feel somewhat regularly spaced areas that seem to be lower (cupped) than areas adjacent? 

If so then I would suspect a worn or defective shock absorber (damper) or an extremely unbalanced tire/wheel assembly. This does not address the somewhat uniform tread wear around the outside edge of the tire.

If you can, grab a level that is at least as long as the tire is tall and place it vertically against the tire aligned along an axis that travels through the centerline of the wheel hub.

Does the 'level' check indicate if the top of the tire is leaning out or in?  If, to achieve a level (plumb) reading, you have to bring the bottom of the level out away from the trailer then that likely signifies that the axle or spindle is bent along the vertical axis for what ever reason. This would concentrate wear around the outer edge of the tire.  A worn or loose bearing assembly would typically show wear aong the inner edge of the tire.

Another possibility is that the axle or spindle is bent along the horizontal axis and that could show as increased or abnormal tread wear at either the inner or outer tread area around the circumference however this type of wear will likely add another measure of wear to the tread that usually presents itself by exhibiting a feathering of the tread blocks.

Now that said; as other have mentioned, check your wheel bearings and have the rig aligned by a professional.

Sorry for the long read!

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OK, so I’ve been around town trying to get a definitive issue to blame this on, the weather presented some challenges since most folks around here aren’t used to temps in the teens.  I got the tires off the ground, checked freeplay, spinning, looked at shock, etc.  Checked with a level.  Took to to an RV tech, he said shock is worn but still functional, recommended replacing soon.  Bearings were okay.  He thought tire balance may be an issue, also recommended a higher TP since these are LT tires and not trailer tires.  I have them set at 50psi, so I will up that on this next trip.  The Discount Tire guys said it could have been a missing weight causing a balance issue and they also recommended raising TP to at least 60psi.  They did find a nail in the tire, right in the middle between treads that wasn’t very visible until the wheel was removed.

So the bad tire is gone.  We’re going to Arizona Monday.  When we return I’m going to replace all the shocks and bearings.  After 100K miles I think it would be prudent, probably should have done it earlier.  I’ll be watching that tire, I do have a IR heat sensor which I haven’t used much, but will as we travel next week.  Mike

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@Mike and Carol - Just FYI: We keep this one:

Screenshot2024-01-18at08_15_28.thumb.png.78edbc03d349a0e4bc1215fe6ea6a70d.png

in the TV's center console and make a habit of checking hub and drum temps at fill-up stops.  Just really looking for anomalies and deltas in temps from wheel to wheel.

In any case have safe travels next week, Mike and Carol!

Cheers from Quartzsite!

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While I think that it is unlikely - 

Another possible reason for that tire going bad when the other three (bought at the same time) look fine - that tire was defective in the first place.

Again, I believe that this possibility is well down the list of possible issues and that the guys at discount tire might have mentioned it if it was apparently a defective tire - but, it is at least something to think about and add to the list.

Bill

p.s.  If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, they have temp monitors fairly cheap.  I've had one of theirs for several years now and it hasn't missed a beat.  Like this one for $24.99.

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What is the typical temperature of the tire trailer tires  above ambient on Asphalt  or Concrete pavement?  I have noticed the temperatures higher on the sunny side of the trailer as would be expected.  The tire size and pressure matrix I have seen has never stated a temperature maximum..

George

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5 hours ago, topgun2 said:

Another possible reason for that tire going bad when the other three (bought at the same time) looked fine - that tire was defective in the first place.

p.s.  If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, they have temp monitors fairly cheap.  I've had one of theirs for several years now and it hasn't missed a beat.  Like this one for $24.99.

The RV tech mentioned defective tire too.  I do have a temp monitor, just haven’t used it much.  I will next week as we tackle I-10 West.

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7 hours ago, gbergh said:

What is the typical temperature of the tire trailer tires  above ambient on Asphalt  or Concrete pavement?

"Rule of thumb"

Anytime you observe an increase in tire temp exceeding 10 degrees (F) you should seek and answer as to what might be causing it.  If you can't find and "easy" answer - such as bright sun on that side versus the other side of the trailer, or exceedingly hot pavement (this is particularly found with newly laid black top) - then you should seriously think about adding air to your tires.  By adding air you will reduce the "squirm" of the rubber and cords inside the tire as it goes down the road.  In turn, this reduction should result in a cooler tire.

Hope this helps!

Bill

p.s.  I normally "only" add 5 psi at a time in these situations which happen rarely.

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