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Recently I have noticed that the tread of my tires has cracking in many places and in some cases small pieces of missing rubber or gashes. In a number of places the tread is peeling away in small flaps. Is this just superficial damage or should I replace my tires right away?

This is on an AWD Ford Fusion 2011. Please see the pictures below:

small gashes and penny for scale tire damage tire damage side view

  • Check the age of the tires with the code printed on them. I agree with Paulster, but just for your own curiosity you can see if they are very old tires. The rubber seems to be cracking to me which would indicate the tire age is more at fault than anything else. Tire date code – JPhi1618 Sep 6 '17 at 20:32
  • @JPhi1618 I bought all four tires myself from a tire store nearby about four years ago. They were supposed to be new when I bought them. Do you think this looks like the kind of aging that could happen in four years? The car isn't used for commuting so it mostly gets used on the weekends and stays put in the driveway during the week. Probably only about 10k miles have been put on it in 4 years. – mattgmg1990 Sep 6 '17 at 23:13
  • There's certainly other ways that damage could have happened. I didn't realize you purchased the tires somewhat recently. Check the date to make sure you didn't get some old stock tires somehow, but then focus on what Paulster said. Alignment is pretty mandatory when you get new tires. Four years shouldn't be enough time to dry-rot tires. – JPhi1618 Sep 7 '17 at 3:12
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In brief, these tires are shot. They need to be replaced very soon.

It appears they not only have some rubber chunks missing out of them, but they have some very irregular wear patterns. This could very likely be due to an alignment issue with the suspension or possibly some worn out suspension parts causing a misalignment. When you do put new tires on there (hopefully soon), you need to have not only the alignment checked, but also see if there are any worn bushings or other suspension parts which need replaced. If you don't, it's going to be another short period of time when your new tires are worn out as well.

  • Thanks! I will definitely take it in to have the suspension and alignment checked. I'll also get the tires replaced. It's odd to me how this happened so quickly. I think I took it back about four months ago to where I bought the tires for a rotation and they said everything looked great at the time. Now suddenly they have all this damage and I need to replace them. – mattgmg1990 Sep 3 '17 at 15:46
  • Marking this as accepted because you answered my question well: the tires were heavily damaged and did need to be replaced. It turns out according to the dealership my alignment and suspension are fine, but the tire store that sold me the tires originally said this particular Michelin model was recalled for frequently having damage like this and they replaced the tires at a discounted price. – mattgmg1990 Sep 15 '17 at 4:44

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