What Does My Tire Tread Pattern Mean?

We've all experienced the frustration of driving in a car that won't go any faster than 3 miles/hour, so your car shakes as you plow through the potholes. Eventually, after years of dents, scratches, and broken bits, you buy a new set of tires.

Your tire tread tells how your car tires are holding up. If you notice that your tire wears on the edges, center, or outer sides, you should somehow correct them.

You should inspect your tires frequently to see any problems and establish whether they require service. Here is a quick guide on the most common types of tire wear patterns to assist you in interpreting your tire tread.

1. Side Wear

The sides of your tires look like they've been dragged on a cement floor. When you're driving, you may experience side-to-side vibration of your vehicle or hear squealing sounds while driving at high speeds.

Cause: Consistently under-inflated tires or improper alignment can cause side wear. This problem is usually caused by the steering arm or tie rod ends wearing out.

2. Center Wear

You see two or more parallel grooves in the middle of your tires. Since your vehicle's weight is distributed evenly on each tire, this type of wear indicates over inflation.

A tire with center wear may experience vibration while driving and may emit squealing sounds when cornering at high speeds.

Cause: You probably have your wheels over-inflated if you notice center wear in your tires.

3. Cupping Wear

Cupping looks like scoops worn in your tire tread, and you can feel your tire bounce while you drive. It has a smooth surface and runs parallel with the tread pattern.

It looks like a cupped tea leaf that has been flattened out on one side, with only a flat area in between two raised edges.

Cause: The cupping wear is caused by a bad suspension system or a worn shock absorber.

4. Feathering

Although feathering may be hard to spot with a visual inspection, you can easily feel it by running your hand along your tire tread.

Cause: By either excess toe-in or toe-out and aggressive driving, especially taking corners at very high speeds.


Tire tread is all about your driving experience and the maintenance of your car's tires. If you want a better driver's experience, keep up with your maintenance schedule. If you want to make sure that your tires are in good condition, don't drive them into the ground. Remember to schedule regular inspections of the treads on your tires and make sure that you rotate them periodically to distribute the wear evenly. If you need new tires, we invite you to bring your vehicle to Kwik Kar Auto Repair in Richardson, TX today!

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