Unusual and abnormal wear on the treading of your vehicle tires is never a good thing. It indicates that your wheels are not making proper contact with the road, and it is also a sign that your car tires will have a shorter lifespan and are likely to blow out. Anytime you observe abnormal wear on the treading of your tires, you should immediately arrange an inspection with a mechanic. Feathering happens when the tire is subject to angled wear and tear, and as such, one side of the tread will be sharp, and the other side will be rounded.
How this system operates
Tires are manufactured to be at a certain angle with regards to the road. Both the vertical and the horizontal angles are required for optimal wear and tear, and for the best driving experience. When one of these angles gets out of line (such as when the bottom of the tire sticks too far out or too far in, or the front of the tire points too far out or too far in), the vehicle will not drive as smoothly, the tires will not make even, consistent contact with the road, and abnormal wear and tear will happen.
Common reasons for this to happen:
There are two primary reasons for feathering of tires:
- Poorly aligned wheels: If your wheels are not aligned properly, the tires will wear in abnormal and harmful ways. A proper alignment sets the wheels on both a vertical and horizontal axis. When the front of the wheels are pointed too far in (called “toe-in”), feathering on the tread of the tires will happen quickly. Misalignment can be naturally happening, as the result of an accumulation of miles. It can also be the result of a tire change or tire rotation in which the mechanic did not do a good job.
- Faulty suspension: Feathering on the tires is always the cause of a toe-in misalignment. However, this misalignment is often because of a larger problem with the suspension. The suspension is what connects the body of the vehicle to the wheels, and is responsible for the car running smoothly. The shock absorbers, struts, and springs all help absorb the impact of the road, so that the car does not have too much stress on the wheels, while the control arms and ball joints help the wheels turn and work in cohesion. If any of these parts fails, large amounts of stress will fall on the wheels, which can force them into a misalignment.
How important is this repairs?
Tires are one of the most vital parts of your vehicle. Abnormal wear and tear needs to be handled immediately, because it greatly decreases the lifespan of your tires, and puts you at greater risk for having your tires pop. It also reduces your control of the vehicle. However, when you have feathering in your tire, you should always schedule an inspection, and not just have the tire changed and the wheels aligned. A feathered tire often show a more serious problem with the suspension, and that should not be ignored.