Tire Cupping: Meaning, Causes and Prevention

Regularly inspecting your tires can help you spot potential issues before they get too serious. Tire cupping is one thing you should be looking for.

You should immediately correct this problem if you see tire scalloping. Tire cupping can be caused by several things.

Misaligned or suspension problems can cause tire cupping. Unbalanced or damaged tires can also cause tire cupping. There’s also the possibility that the tires on your vehicle are low-quality and cheap, leading to uneven wear. 

This guide will explain what tire cupping is. It is important to understand what causes it and the consequences it has. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Tire Cupping: What does it mean?
  2. Tire Cupping: Causes
    1. 1. Wearn suspension parts
    2. 2. Wheels that are not aligned
    3. 3. Balanced tires/damaged wheels
    4. 4. Low-inflation Tires
    5. 5. Low Quality Tires
  3. Tire Cupping Problems
    1. 1. Increased road noise
    2. 2. Shaking/Vibration
    3. 3. Difficult Handling
  4. Prevent Tire Cupping
    1. 1. Check Suspension Components
    2. 2. Balance/Rotate Tires
    3. 3. Regular alignment
    4. 4. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
    5. 5. Good Tires are a wise investment

Tire Cupping: What does it mean?

Tire cupping refers to uneven tread wear, which looks like worn patches in a tread that is otherwise normal. Tires are not maintaining contact with the road surface and are instead bouncing around. This causes the tire cupping. 

Tire cupping can be described as one form of irregular wear. This can be referred to as: tire cupping, diagonal wear and shoulder wear.  

Tire Cupping: Causes

1. Wearn suspension parts

Multiple parts make up the car suspension. They keep your tires from contacting the roads. For road imperfections to be absorbed, the shocks and struts will need to work in tandem with the springs. They help keep the car in control even during bumps or dips.

When the parts begin to fail, the tires aren’t going to be controlled as they should. Tires can jump onto the roads, which causes wear to certain parts and not other. 

The most likely parts to cause tire cupping are the shock absorbers and struts that have been worn. Because it causes the tires to bounce after every bump, bad shocks are most likely.

2. Wheels that are not aligned

It’s important to have the wheels aligned regularly to ensure the tire tread wears normally. Different parts can wear more quickly if the alignment is wrong. 

When you bump into something or hit an object, wheels can become out of alignment. You may experience wheel alignment problems over the years if your driving is on bumpy roads. You should also get alignment done when you install new tires, or change suspension parts.

You can cause tire wear and misalignment if you don't do a wheel alignment when replacing suspension components.

READ MORE: The 5 Signs That Your Wheels are Not aligned Correctly

3. Balanced tires/damaged wheels

It is important to balance tires before they are installed. If the tires aren’t balanced, the spinning action can cause parts of the tire to wear abnormally.

This is also true for rims that are bent or damaged. Variations in the weight of the wheels around the circumference could cause tires to bounce on the roads instead of riding smooth. 

A shaking steering wheel can indicate that front tires may be unbalanced. If the car shakes, but not the steering, then it's possible that the rear tires/wheels have become unbalanced.

READ MORE 5 Signs You Have Unbalanced Tires

4. Low-inflation Tires

While tire cupping most commonly occurs due to worn suspension parts or misaligned tires, underinflated tires can also cause it.

There is a high chance that your tires have become worn at the edges. Regularly inflating your tires is simple and cheap. Every driver should make sure they are checked at least once every month.

5. Low Quality Tires

There’s a reason that some tires are cheap and others are costly. All it comes down to the tire's quality. 

Low-quality tires can be made of low quality material. Low-quality steel belts can cause uneven tire wear by providing less tread support. If the wheels aren’t balanced or there is a suspension issue, the cheap tire is going to have less defense against cupping.

Tire Cupping Problems

1. Increased road noise

You will hear more road noises when the tires start to cupple. The noise might be rhythmic, but it’s going to be different from the typical road noise. This noise can be confused with bad wheel bearings as it has a similar sound.

The radio might help drown out any noise. However, that doesn’t fix the issue. It only masks what’s going on, so you can live in denial for a short time.  

2. Shaking/Vibration

You will feel some vibrations when the front tires are pressed against the wheel. You may also feel vibrations in the seat. 

These vibrations are at best annoying. However, it’s more likely that the shaking becomes dangerous as you struggle to keep control of the vehicle. This makes it difficult to determine if there is something wrong with the vehicle while they are shaking. 

3. Difficult Handling

Because the tires could lose their traction on the roads, vibrations and shaking can make it hard to control the car. There’s also the issue of the car pulling to one side. 

Cupping can cause you to have to correct the steering more often to get your vehicle back to its original position. You are in unnecessary danger. 

Prevent Tire Cupping

1. Check Suspension Components

Regular inspections will ensure that all parts of your car are in good working order. You can have any worn parts replaced during a suspension inspection.

While it’s not pleasant to pay for new suspension parts, it’s worse to pay for them and new tires later. Maintaining your vehicle can prevent tire wear.

2. Balance/Rotate Tires

For optimal off-road handling, and longer tread life, regular tire rotation and balance is essential. In general, it’s recommended to have the tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, maybe with each oil change.

A tire balance must be performed every other rotation. They should also be checked when you change your tires. You should also check for any imbalances in your tires. This can cause problems with the car over time, which could lead to more expensive repairs.

Related: What Does it Cost to Rotate a Tire? (& Is it worth it?)

3. Regular alignment

It’s important to have the wheel alignment checked once a year to ensure that the tread rubber lasts as long as possible. Wheel alignment isn't expensive and will help you save money on your tires. To ensure that the wheels align perfectly, there are several calibrations required. 

To make these calculations, the tire shop uses advanced equipment. A package deal that includes regular alignment and rotation service could be available. This can save you money. 

4. Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

It’s important to check the tire pressure at least once a month. Check the tire pressures frequently as the temperature drops. 

You can prolong the life of your tires by maintaining the correct amount of pressure. You can find the recommended amount of pressure listed on the driver’s side door jamb. 

5. Good Tires are a wise investment

There are many options available when it comes time to purchase new tires. It can be tempting to choose the lowest-cost option, but this doesn’t serve you well.

It might be worth investing in higher-quality tires. We aren’t suggesting that you get the most expensive if those aren’t needed. You should get the most protection for everyday commutes with a set of mid-range tires. 

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