Will Cupped Tires Smooth Out – An Insight Into Tires

Will cupped tires smooth out? If you’ve noticed uneven wear on your tires, you may be dealing with chopped or cupped tires.

Cupping in tires can cause several problems affecting the vehicle’s performance and safety.

However, some jargon can be confusing to some drivers. When you don’t know these technical terms, it may cause an awkward discussion in a workshop.

This guide explores the symptoms and causes of cupping in tires. We’ll also answer the important question: are cupped tires safe to drive on?

What Are Chopped Tires, Cupped Tires, Or Cupped Wheels?

will cupped tires smooth out

Modern air-filled tires are a remarkable accomplishment of engineering. However, despite their outstanding qualities, they are not invincible and will eventually wear out.

It’s to be anticipated, and a new pair of tires is usually required every few years. Tire cupping, scalloping, cupped wheel, or chopped tires refer to the same wearing problem.

This type of uneven wear occurs on the tread due to various circumstances, including air filling and misalignment.

Cupping is characterized by a lot of scoops or shallow indentations. They can emerge at certain points around the circle of the tire tread.

Although some may believe that cupping is not a serious issue, it requires immediate attention in some cases. Serious scalloping impacts vehicle performance, handling, comfort, and safety.

It can create a grooved sensation. You may even notice strong vibrations and shaking when driving.

However, if your car has minor cupping problems, you won’t notice it. Thus, driving on tires that are chopped is your decision.

Will Cupped Tires Smooth Out?

Cupped tires may somewhat smooth out, depending on the seriousness and underlying reason. It can cause a bouncy ride, increased road noise, and poor handling and traction.

When the cupping is triggered by an alignment issue, including misaligned wheels or worn suspension components, merely changing the tires may not be sufficient.

Cupping may not smooth out in this case. Before replacing new tires, it’s critical to identify and repair the underlying problem.

If overloading or underinflated tires cause the cupping, fixing the tire pressure and moving the tires frequently may help level out the worn tread pattern.

When the cupping does not cause any problems, you can continue driving. Cupping will smooth out. Otherwise, it is best to find the underlying issue and fix them.

What Are Cupped Tires Symptoms? 

Cupping of the tire tread creates a scalloped diagonal pattern that serves as a visual symptom. It can appear across the entire tread or just on the inner or outer shoulder of the tire.

However, you will not want to look at the tire all the time. The symptoms below will help you identify them promptly.

Tire Cupping Noise

Cupping may be detected by the rhythmic sound. This noise will occur when the tire goes up and down. The sound may be varied depending on the tread’s uneven wear patterns.

Tire noise is normally audible beyond regular road noise. However, it may be less perceptible when the problem is not serious.

Uneven Wear

The steering wheel will shake or rattle if the front tires are chopped. It is more visible because the front tires directly connect to the steering. Front wheels are located near the driver.

Conversely, rear tire scalloping is often more difficult to detect unless extreme. Vibration in the rear wheels signals a significant issue.

Traction Reduction

Traction loss is a sign of tires cupped and can jeopardize vehicle safety by increasing the danger of sliding or hydroplaning.

Wheel cupping is the formation of scoops or small dips in the tire tread. It will reduce the tire area in contact with the road surface.

It can lead to decreased traction in acceleration, braking, and turning. They are dangerous, particularly in wet or slippery situations with highway speeds.

Tire inspection, correct inflation, and wheel alignment regularly can help to minimize cupping.

Poor handling 

Cupped tires commonly cause poor handling, which may threaten vehicle safety. Cupping causes uneven tread wear. Thus, it causes the vehicle to handle curves and rapid movements badly.

It may additionally lead the car to pull to one side, necessitating regular steering corrections to stabilize the vehicle.

Cupped tires can also cause vibrations and noise, resulting in an unpleasant ride.

When it affects your driving experience, bring it to a technician for a thorough inspection. You will not want to risk your family’s life. 

What Are The Causes Of Cupping In Tires?

are cupped tires safe to drive on

Recognizing how cupped tires form can help pinpoint the root cause. Replacing the tires without addressing the underlying issue that’s causing uneven wear would be a futile expense.

Here are some common causes of tire cupping.

Misaligned Tires


Misaligned wheels and cupping arise when the wheels are not parallel to one another. The tires are not perpendicular to the road surface. Camber is one of three angles involved in wheel alignment.

A camber angle of 0 is preferable since any positive or negative camber angle might cause uneven tire wear.

When the camber angle is negative, the top of the tire tilts inward, causing the inner tread to wear faster than the outer tread.

Conversely, when the camber angle is positive, the top tilts outward. It will cause the outer tread to wear faster.


The caster angle determines the location of the steering axis in relation to the road surface. The optimal caster setting is 0, as positive or negative angles can cause difficulty in steering.

Misalignment of the caster angle can cause uneven tire wear, leading to cupping. A regular wheel alignment will ensure optimal vehicle performance and safety.


The toe angle is important for the parallelism of the tires. A toe angle of 0 is optimum for even wear.

Any variation from this setting, whether inwards or outwards, will cause uneven tire wear and cupped tires. 

Toe angle misalignment may lead the car to pull to one side. It will diminish stability and raise the danger of an accident.

Worn Suspension and Shocks

The suspension system and shock absorbers of an automobile are critical to providing a smooth ride. The part prevents the wheel from bouncing.

Even minor wear or damage in any system component might result in a rough ride and cupped tires.

Shock absorbers should be changed every 50,000-60,000 miles. Meanwhile, the usage of struts should last every 60,000-90,000 miles.

Suspension bushings have a much longer lifespan, lasting 100,000-150,000 kilometers.

Cupping may be avoided by inspecting these parts at least once a year or every 12,000 miles.

Worn-out or leaking shocks will lose their ability to control the rebound of the suspension springs. It will lead to tire bouncing. As a result, tire cupping can develop over time.

Cupping in tires can also be caused by other parts that connect the wheel. They could be ball joints, bushings, springs, and wheel bearings.

These parts aren’t frequent causes, but make sure to check them.

Unbalanced Tires

Tire Imbalance

Tire imbalance occurs when the weight distribution across the circumference is irregular. It can cause car vibration and bouncing, leading to patch wear and cupped tires.

To address this issue, take your vehicle to a tire shop where a technician can diagnose and balance the tires.

Neglecting tire imbalance may lead to handling issues. Even a slight imbalance of 0.25 of an ounce can cause cupping. Balancing your tires in time can increase their lifespan by up to 20%.

Tire Runout 

Runout is an imperfectly round form of a tire, rim, or wheel. It comes in two types, including radial and lateral. Side-to-side swaying is caused by lateral runout.

Meanwhile, radial runout is an imperfection between the low and high points.

Some runout is okay sometimes. However, it becomes an issue when lateral runout exceeds 0.08″ or radial runout exceeds 0.06″.

Constant shaking or wobbling may trigger the tire to lose traction on the road, resulting in cupped tires.

Cheap Tires 

With mild shocks or bounces, counterfeit or poor-quality tires are more prone to cup. These tires are often thinner and feature less stress.

They also have less temperature-resistant rubber compositions.

Some are even made unbalanced, resulting in early cracking and cupped tire wear. If you detect any signs of cupping, you must change the tires immediately.

When purchasing new tires, choosing carefully and only buying from authorized dealerships or good tire manufacturers is important.

It will help ensure that you are getting genuine, high-quality tires.

How To Fix Cupping Tires

To correct cupping, a driver must first analyze the tire-wheel systems and determine the cause. An expert at a repair shop may inspect the tires, wheels, and suspension issues.

They will recommend replacements, including new tires if needed.

When new tires aren’t essential, rebalancing and rotating the old tires after fixing any necessary parts might help level out uneven wear.

Wheel weight distribution difficulties resulting from cupping can also be corrected by balancing.

In case any suspension components need to be replaced, be sure to re-align the wheels afterward. It will help prevent future tire cupping. 

How To Prevent Tire Tread Cupping

Several actions are required to avoid tire cupping. They can be rotating, balancing, pressure checking, wheel alignment, and purchasing new tires on time.

To avoid uneven wear and increase tire life, tire balance should be inspected every 3,000-6,000 miles.

Meanwhile, tires need to be rotated after 5,000-8,000 miles. Wheel alignment is critical for preventing cupped tires.

The suspension should be examined annually in addition to an alignment.

Tire pressure must be monitored periodically to guarantee consistent inflation rates. Serious underinflation may produce cupping in the tire’s center.

Tires over 5-6 years old should be properly diagnosed annually. The ones with 2/32″ depth should be changed since they are deemed risky. It is not advisable to wait for them to smooth out.

Are Cupped Tires Safe To Drive on?

how to fix tire cupping

Cupped tires are not safe to drive on. Cupping can lead to a loss of traction. It is dangerous in wet or slippery conditions.

Excessive noise and vibration make for an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe driving experience.

Chopped tires may smooth out. However, it is not advisable. In case you don’t sense any symptoms, you can continue driving, but you still need to check your car regularly.

You should take the car to a workshop when you can feel the shaking or any other signs of tire cupping.


Will cupped tires smooth out? Yes, it will. However, it is not recommended to wait until then. Cupped tires can lead to reduced traction, noise, vibration, and poor handling.

It’s crucial to diagnose and repair underlying issues when possible. Regular tire maintenance is essential to prevent cupping in advance.

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