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Thread: "chopped tires" What causes it?

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    Typically broken pachood's Avatar
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    "chopped tires" What causes it?

    I work for an Audi/Vw dealership, and I see "chopped" tires all the time. Before working here, I hadnt even heard of it. Basically, "chopping" is when the outsides of the tread becomes wavy. Often it is visibly wavy, like 1-3/32nd different in depth.
    Almost every time I look for it on a car up in the air I can find it. Maybe its a VW thing, but it seems odd how much I see it.
    So what causes it? I thought maybe it was the slightly stiff factory suspension, but then why dont you see it on cars with modified suspension..


    Also, these vehicles are un-modified, 20-50k mile cars, usually driven by middle aged women.
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    XP FTW! speedyham's Avatar
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    Bad alignment causes that. Nissan had a serious problem with it on the 350Z cars to the point that some buyers received new tires and they changed the OEM alignment specs for the cars. After the change, no more problems.
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  3. #3
    Do you know what they changed in the alignment to fix it? Not enough caster so they wobble a bit? It seems like a strange symptom.

  4. #4
    Loose/Faulty control arms and tie rods
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  5. #5
    blown struts can cause scalloped tires which i think is the same thing.
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    Typically broken pachood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GUS View Post
    Loose/Faulty control arms and tie rods
    Yeah but these are often on nearly brand new vehicles. I see it on everything from Jettas to Touarags.

    I guess it makes sense that just poor alignment can do it. I think VW recommends an alignment every 12? or 24 months, so I suppose seeing it on a vehicle with 2-3 years worth of miles wouldnt really be out of line.
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    Heavy Metal Derek69SS's Avatar
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    On my car, it seems to be most effected by toe. It gets really choppy with no toe or toe-out. Goes away with toe-in.

    Nothing loose or faulty, everything is new high-quality DANA/Spicer parts, and the bushings are delrin in place of rubber.
    Last edited by Derek69SS; 10-16-2011 at 12:25 PM.

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    CONTROLLED SQUIRREL DaveBahl's Avatar
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    Jeff T.A.G. should be "chimming" in soon but I believe the outside "wavey/choppy" is caused by shocks... but being new vehicles this shouldn't be the problem... keep us posted, I'd like to know what you find out.

  9. #9
    Have these cars had their tires rotated on a regular basis? Tires wear differently based on their position on the car, which is why tire rotatations are recommended. It helps "correct" what could be a bad wear pattern that develops over time. Too much time in the same position, and you see things like: cupping, chopping, feathering, etc. As mentioned before, bad shocks or loose front end parts can also cause these wear patterns. The fact that these are newer cars makes me think it's probably a lack of tire rotations, but also, I've heard of cars not being aligned at the dealer when they arrive from the manufacturer. Which can result in your brand new car being out of alignment and killing your tires prematurely.
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  10. #10
    I've also noticed that with VW's and Audis. Consistant tire rotations can keep it from occuring as fast. Generally if a car has cupped/chopped/feathered tires and has no loose components or obvious blown or weak shocks/struts its an alignment issue. About the only time I'd recommend shocks/struts without an obvious problem is if it has >50K miles and the alignment is good.

    Not sure why VW and Audi's are prone to abnormal tire wear, alignment specs don't seem outside of the normal range. But like others have said, the tire rotations every other LOF helps a lot.
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