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Old 09-10-2011, 12:41 AM   #1
OldsRocket
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Default Tire cupping (causes?)

At work when a car comes in with inside tire cupping we are being told to recommend shocks/struts. Is that usually the main cause of tire cupping on the inside only of the tire. I notice that this seems to be much more common on newer front drive cars (with struts) than on trucks (with shocks).

Often times, I can't see any damage or leaking from the shocks/struts. Should I be looking for something else or recommending other possibilities for the tire wear? I have read that improper tire balancing could cause this.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tire cupping (causes?)

Lack of rotation will cause cupping on FWD cars in my experience.
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Old 09-10-2011, 08:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tire cupping (causes?)

Aside from worn shocks/struts, lack of rotation, and an out of spec alignment can also cause tire chop. The tires i see with the worst chop though tend to be bottom of the line tires, and although i've never had anyone confirm this to me, i think tire design and tread pattern factor in as well.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tire cupping (causes?)

Out of balance will cause cupping.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tire cupping (causes?)

It worries me every time I am told to recommend struts/shocks for this when I am not convinced that is the issue. Is there a process of elimination you go through to diagnose this? Should I suggest wheel balance or alignment first? Once the tires are like that the customer is kind of screwed so I just don't know what to do to help them out. They basically need new tires but I don't want them spending money on tires and having the problem occur again.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tire cupping (causes?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldsRocket View Post
At work when a car comes in with inside tire cupping we are being told to recommend shocks/struts. Is that usually the main cause of tire cupping on the inside only of the tire. I notice that this seems to be much more common on newer front drive cars (with struts) than on trucks (with shocks).

Often times, I can't see any damage or leaking from the shocks/struts. Should I be looking for something else or recommending other possibilities for the tire wear? I have read that improper tire balancing could cause this.
If you are seeing abnormal tire wear on only one side of the tire then right out of the gate the car needs an alignment. It's not that the alignment is neccessarily causing the cupping..but it is an indicator that the inside of the tire is making harder contact with the road.

If you're selling new tires then those tires will get balanced..so no upsell needed there.

In my experience ( I was a tech at Goodyear and Firestone) more times than not cupping is caused by weak shocks/struts causing the tire to not maintain full contact with the road surface.

The wild card in all of this is to look at the tires in question...if they are economy tires you need to educate the customer they get what they pay for.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tire cupping (causes?)

http://www.aa1car.com/library/ride1.htm

Some good stuff here.

http://www.procarcare.com/includes/c...dtirewear.html

I'd bounce test the struts and check for other problems. We are not a front end shop but we do a lot of repairs. With our clientel we don't replace struts as a maintenance item, there has to be obvious damage. We see a lot of cars many time over the long term and, as long as they balance and rotate frequently, we don't see much weak strut tire wear. When I worked at Firestone, every tire problem was a strut problem. Now, if you replace struts you need to do an alignment, and if the tire is already cupped it is junk. Unless they are new and in good shape, sell the struts and the alignment and educate the customer on the need for regular balance and rotation. The customer comes to you to get their problem fixed, telling them that you need to do a balance and alignment and bring it back in 5,000 miles to see if your maybe bad struts have ruined your new tires isn't going to cut it. I"m not telling you to get out there and oversell, it's just that struts and shocks are a judgement call that can be a pain to make if the front end isn't bouncing all over the place.
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