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I do my own repairs. I'm pretty versed on things like engine building, and the importance of farming out things like alignment and having an exhaust system welded on. Just assume I'm "somewhat competent at repairing vehicles".

My question is this: I have a 1998 Chrysler Sebring Convertible 160,000 miles on the odometer. It sees almost 90% interstate driving at 70-80mph 5 days a week, for 100 miles. It is used for no other purpose, only this high speed driving. I have a jeep for in-town jaunts.

About 2 years ago, I put new high quality wheel bearings on the front, and replaced the brakes and rotors, as well as the tires. All of these components were failing due to age. I also replaced the outer tie rod joints, and took the car in for a thrust alignment. It has been driving fine, no pulling, good brake action, no smells or noises, but i've noticed the drivers side tire is wearing along the outer edge. It is worn about 1/2" down almost to where its starting to be bald. The passenger side is wearing just fine. Also today, I noticed when i arrived at work that the brake wear indicator was squeaking. I checked, and the driver's side brake wear indicator is touching the rotor, but the passenger side still has about 1/4" left between the indicator and the rotor.

  1. Do you think there is a correlation between the tire wear and the brake wear, even though there is no pull and no indication that the brake is not releasing properly?
  2. If one brake was working harder than the other, due to a pressure imbalance in the master cylinder, wouldn't that result in pulling to one side?
  3. My guess on the wear issue for the driver's side tire is improper camber angle, but still, wouldn't that result in a constant pull to the left?
  4. I've experienced a "checking condition" on the brake line due to rust on the inside of the brake rubber brake hose mount on the strut, but I don't think its this. I would notice a drag after a firm brake press.
  5. I could assume ball joint wear, but there is no clunking / chattering etc associated with common ball joint wear. Its a double A-arm suspension with a clevis mounted shock / spring combination.

I need to know what I should concentrate on. Obviously I'll need a new tire, and brakes, and possibly rotors, maybe brake cylinder as well, but this to me is a mystery why it wore funny on one side and not the other, with no symptoms other than visual.

  • When you replace your brake system completely you'd find that, well, the rotor actually rubs against the brake pad just slightly, because the mechanical advantage is used so slightly, at such high amplitude. That probably is not the case because any touching would rub itself away. Sometimes the E brake, if it's cables, can rust up a bit but some penetrating spray can fix that. It gets caught in the line itself I believe. – GettingNifty Oct 30 '17 at 0:12
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Uneven tire wear is typical caused by improper tire pressure, misalignment or both.

It is unusual for all the issues to be located a one specific axle. There may be a number of things going on or one major thing causing many issues. The brakes wearing unevenly is not common, but could be result of being improperly installed to faulty pad material.

I would suggest inspecting all the suspension components; ball joints, bushings, etc. Something may have failed after your last alignment causing things to be out of alignment, resulting in uneven tire wear. Also inspect for damage. If something like a control arm is bent, it could cause alignment issues too.

Once you have ensured all is correct, get the tire replaced and have a 4-wheel alignment done. Might be worth paying extra to have them check all components too.

Lastly, there is a long shot that the tire is just defective. Have it checked when you replace it.

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You didn't mentioned if you changed your front end shock absorbers. I had a problem where both front tires were wearing out the inner tread at an abnormal rate. The pick-up truck did not veer to any direction when steering wheel was released and the visual inspection did not show any serious toe, camber, or caster alignment problems, at least not to the extend that would cause such abnormal inner tire wear. The shocks were shot on both sides however. I have had them replaced and I will update my post here in 6 months to let you know if that resolved it.

In the mean time if your shocks have reached their lifetime or close I would replace them. You need to change both sides together even if only one side is defective.

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Check your tire pressure frequently. It could be your rims. When you catch a slight leak, which they shouldn't leak at all, buy some fix a flat, whatever brand you want, and let all the air out of your tire, fill it with the fix a flat, air it back up and jump on the highway long enough to get some heat going. Don't listen to the directions on the back. It's a type of epoxy. Heat activated. Inflate them to about 92% of the maximum psi, but make sure they're all even or it will pull to the lower side. The wear comes from the weight of the car sitting on the inside of the rim with lower pressure. Also epoxy becomes impermeable to water if cured in a moist environment, but can take longer. Normally epoxy can harden within just a few hours, but for instance boats made in Alaska, take weeks to cure, but because they're cured in that climate, it basically adapts to the conditions.

Also take a look at the bushings on the control arms in the front and rear.They have to be pressed in, but if you just had your bearings done that shouldnl't be a problem. If they're not after market you can just replace the control arm. They should share the same bushing size, but aftermarket have an adjustment for lowered cars. Most brake and alignment mechanics won't notice after market parts under the car, they'll just look at the ALLDATA. You can do the bushings yourself but you need to use a big hammer with a socket that matches the bushings size, and some penetrating spray to remove the old. Spray it and let it sit for a few minutes. You could use a strong vice, or just rig something up. Be careful to be accurate or it may pinch and get stuck.

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