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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just had my car inspected at Firestone (what a nightmare) and they noticed all 4 tires are cupping. I did notice that the outside edge of the tires (blizzak lm-32) were wearing abnormally, kind of looks like it was sanded with rough sandpaper (best way I can think to describe it). From the googling I did, it seems like worn suspension components, mainly struts, are a common reason for tire cupping. Is this likely on the R or is it more likely some other suspension bits or an alignment issue? I've had numerous issues with getting the car properly aligned at Firestone and after 9 alignments in the last 2 years the front toe seems to be off each time I get it aligned and although the spec sheets say it is fixed, it never seems to actually get fixed and the car veers left or right slightly. Will the toe being out of spec/car slightly veers to left or right cause cupping? I thought bad toe causes feathering? Maybe the tires are feathering and Firestone called it cupping?

At least 3 of the 4 wheels are slightly bent, nothing too bad though. The front struts were replaced ~50k miles ago, LCAs and ball joints replaced ~15k miles ago, the front wheel bearings were making noise this past winter and have since been replaced but the tires with cupping were only used before bearing replacement, everything in the rear is original except IPD sways and there is knocking that would indicate the rear struts are on their way out. The tires have been used for 2 winters or ~15k miles and are at the deep snow wear bar. Not sure if there is cupping on my summer tires, but I never noticed any odd tire wear on my summers besides a little center wear from slight over inflation.

Anyone else experience cupped tires front and back, any advice or resolution?
 

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First of all, I think you need to find a new place. Find a place that will align the car properly. Cupping does not occur due to mis-alignment. Cupping occurs when there is an issue with the suspension or bad quality tires will cup. If you do a search, you'll be able to see what cupping looks like and compare to what you have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First of all, I think you need to find a new place. Find a place that will align the car properly. Cupping does not occur due to mis-alignment. Cupping occurs when there is an issue with the suspension or bad quality tires will cup. If you do a search, you'll be able to see what cupping looks like and compare to what you have.
I'm only still going to Firestone because of their lifetime alignment. However, the car had been aligned at 3 separate Firestones and Merrimack Street Volvo, all with varying results, none of which were perfect. After some more searching, I'm thinking the cupping/feathering/heal toe wear is from slight under-inflation, hard cornering, and the toe issue. Time for the 10th alignment under my ownership :mad: I'll make sure they have it right this time and remind them that they are making absolutely no money from me and only wasting my time and their tech's time with a half-assed alignment.
 

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Spirited cornering and letting tires remain in their corners too long make cupping issues prominent. The kind of cupping that causes big visible wave patterns across the entire tread of the tire comes from bad shocks/struts or springs. But small cupping/feathering on the outside edge is the side effect of fun.
 

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But small cupping/feathering on the outside edge is the side effect of fun.
I noticed this last weekend when I rotated my tires, and yes, there has been a lot of fun driving since the last rotation. :)
 

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I'm only still going to Firestone because of their lifetime alignment. .
Yet another "lifetime" thing. People should know that it's a scheme for you to go back there for additional work or tires from them. Nothing wrong with that but going 9 times for alignment for the same price is excessive. Yes, they will kind of do it but do you expect quality?!
 

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I've got great service everytime, the techs are getting paid regardless, I'm not sure what your on about. My R has kept a straight Trac thanks to them. Cupping also happens with wider tires, I run 235 an never had an issue.
 

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On my last car I got 10 + years of alignments out of Firestone's $99 lifetime alignment. Didn't have them do any other service and I didn't buy anything else from them; just the alignment, so it was a big win for me.
 
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