Tires Chopping? [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Tires Chopping?

12-22-2005, 08:27 AM
I just got back from the dealer and they advised me that my tires are chopping. I guess they are wearing from the inside out. All 4 look uneven. I have the 225/70/16 Toyo Open Country's. Anybody else have this problem wothe the bigger tires? Is this a vehicle issue or a tire issue? I've never had this happen. Should I replace the or just ride them out? It's not dangerous to ride them like this, right? Any help is appreciated...

12-22-2005, 09:13 AM
The Toyo Open Country tires have a rather large and open block tread pattern, which is sometimes susceptible to cupping or feathering, which generally are alignment issues. I have over the years seen this behavior with certain tread types on vehicles where the alignment is right it could just be a trait that open block tires exhibit. I don't believe it to be unsafe, more of just an aesthetics issue, although some road noise may become apparent as the tires age and become more cupped over time.

Chopping is not a term I'm familiar with, so I'm going to assume it is similar to cupping or feathering. (maybe different regional terminology)

12-22-2005, 09:19 AM
Tires Chopped. Thats what the dealer noted on my invoice. I do hear the noise level of the tires getting worse. But I've only got 12K on them. Apparently thats not covered by my tire warranty. So I'm stuck with them til they wear out.

12-22-2005, 09:19 AM
I've never heard the expression of "chopping" on the tires before. Can you be a little more specific in describing this?

Do you mean the inner part of all 4 tires is wearing faster than the outer area? Is this on just the fronts or just the rears?

Provide a few more details and it could help.

As for whether you need to replace them, it all depends on how badly worn they are. Can you take pictures of each tire and post them?

12-22-2005, 09:26 AM
I found a site that illustrates tire wear and they show a "chopped" tire...hmmm, maybe I was calling it wrong all these years.

Tire wear illustrations (

12-22-2005, 09:29 AM
I have done a bit more searching around. The word "chopping" is rarely used but it can mean "scalloping" of the tires.

Do your tires look like this?

Probable Causes
- loose wheel bearings
- mismounted tire/ wheel assembly
- out of balance wheel assembly
- tread design/ tire design
- worn bearings, shocks, springs or other suspension compnents

Here is a bit more info on this:

Which condition do your tires most resemble? (

12-22-2005, 09:33 AM
Here are some pics. So it sounds like it might be allignment according to the research. Of course they don't warrant that.

12-22-2005, 09:36 AM
Could be alignment... could be balance... but it can also be tire pressures.

What are your tire pressures and how often do you check them? Did the tire shop check the balance of each wheel? Have you looked to see if you are missing or even have any weights on the inner or outer side of the wheels?

It could any of the above 3 things, or a combination of any.

12-22-2005, 09:44 AM
I check my pressure regularly and keep them at about 33psi. I'll check for weights, but I have no vibrations at the wheel. I had it alligned when they put the tires on 8 months ago. So I thought I had all my checks in place. Unless they charged me and didn't do the work...

12-22-2005, 09:49 AM
Anything is possible as far as the work that was/wasn't performed.

There is no reason why you couldn't continue to drive on those tires though.

How aggressively do you take turns? Do you drive the E very hard? If you do, it is possible the tread blocks are too large and don't grip properly so you are getting some sliding around which is allowing the tires to hop and causing this also.

If you can drive down a flat straight road and the E isn't pulling too hard to either side, your alignment is probably ok. If you don't feel any vibrations through the wheel or seat of pants, alignment is probably ok. When you stop hard, without lockup, if the E doesn't pull either way then the alignment is probably ok. But if you have any of the above symptons I would get it aligned and have the tires balanced... do the tires first though to see if that fixes the problems you mght be experiencing.

Let us know if you get this resolved and what it turned out to be.

12-22-2005, 09:52 AM
A few weeks ago I started realizing when I took turns in the rain it would slip. Other than that they feel fine.

12-22-2005, 10:06 AM
Was it slipping in both left and right turns the same? Do you get any slipping in dry conditions?

What was the dealers advice to you other than giving you the condition of the tires?

12-22-2005, 10:14 AM
Both ways. Just in wet conditions. Dealer says I need new tires. They suggested to go back to the tire shop and complain. I called the shop and they said I'm out of luck. That chopped tires can happen from lack of rotations and improper inflation. Both of which I have done.

12-22-2005, 10:26 AM
If it were my car i would not get new tires. I see nothing from your pictures to indicate that the tires are ready to fall off or do something else.

The tire dealer is possibly correct in saying there is nothing they can/should do. I would certainly check the balance though and I would also check the alignment, even if just for peace of mind.

Keep in mind that just because you had an alignment and balance done previously doesn't mean it can't go out of alignment and out of balance. But 4 tires going out of balance within 8 months is highly unlikely.

12-22-2005, 10:28 AM
How many miles on vehicle? How many miles on the tires? Are all 4 tires worn the exact same? Assuming you have kept a good rotation schedule! If so, it looks like it is more of an alignment issue. Disregard that you had one 8 months ago and have it checked again. Tell them you want a printout before and after alignment if needed. Maybe even try a different tire dealer.

Those tires will never become smooth again, but I would wait till the cause is determined before purchasing new.

I am sure if any mechanical/suspension parts were worn, the dealer would have tried to sell them to you!

I have learned a few things after working in this industry for pretty much my whole life.

1. Aligners(especially the new laser kind)can easily go out of calibration. They are expensive to calibrate and many small and large operations let them go in the crapper instead of keeping them maintained.

2. Most tire dealers have an alignment tech instead of a fully certified mechanic providing the alignment services. Alignment techs are just above tire techs as far as skill goes. In defense, with a newer aligner, pretty much anyone can do it because the machine tells you exactly what and how to do it. I have actually had to teach alignment techs how to read the specifications on the printouts at times.

3. If you go to Discount tire and assume you will be getting an alignment with your new tires, think again! I have never heard of any DT's that have one. Go figure, a tire store without an aligner.

Hope a little of this helps-JRAD

12-22-2005, 04:11 PM
To Self......"Modified Cross Rotate every 3K".........
If you rub your hand along the if it were the road it will be smooth one way and sawtooth the other.....taking the rear tire that would feel smooth, as it would be rolling down the road, placed onto the front axle...the tire that was there, placed on the opposite side, rear axle, it would be sawtooth position/rotation........Screw this !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I GOT LOST TOO!
Just tell'em to cross rotate, modifiy if needed!!!!!
Smooth on the front, sawtooth on the back

12-23-2005, 11:15 AM
Vegas, I bought a used vehicle several years ago the had original equipment GY tires that were badly cupped, and the ride was affected (vibration) and it was very noisy (only 23000 miles on tires.) I found a locol truck tire company that had a mcahine that would do "tire truing" in essence, the machine removed any high spotts, rough spots or uneven wear spots. They looked at my tires and said they could help, as the tread was better than 50%.

When they tried to put the tires on their machine, the wheel size was too small, so it wouldn't work. I ended up buying new tires to smooth things out. Most of the work they do is on large trucks.

If there is a truck tire company in the yellow pages that mentions truing, you might inquire if they can help. Since the Element is bigger sized, it would have a better chance of fitting.

Good luck

Element 2004
12-23-2005, 11:41 AM
I got the same problem too. I believe it is lack of tires rotation. My case is like this: I brought my car in for 22000 miles service. So they rotate the back tires to the front and I noticed my car feel different right away. It had more noise from the tire and the brake pedal vibrate when slow down. So I went back to the dealer and they checked for me and they said it was the tire feathering. But it is still safe to drive. Then I have them to rotate the tires back to original before I got the service done and the noise went away or at least I do not hear and feel when I am driving. What I have thought about is have the tires turn inside out and mount them opposite so it will rotate same direction. I will try this next week and let everyone know how they work out.

12-23-2005, 12:41 PM
You will feel unbalanced or unevenly worn tires more on the front than the rear, since that involves both steering and power. Shortly after having my Coopers rotated at 6000 miles, I noticed bad vibration at freeway speeds. It turned out that one front tire was missing its balancing weight. While it is possible that it lost the weight during the rotation or shortly after, it is more likely that it had been missing for a while, but I didn't feel anything because it was on the rear.

Getting that tire balanced took away that bad vibration.

I am still getting some vibration - however it seems to occur only at certain speeds and on certain roads. While there may still be something unbalanced in the tires and wheels, it is possible that I am just being extra sensitive to road roughness that is transmitted through a stiff suspension and AT category tires.


12-23-2005, 12:43 PM
(The following is some speculation about 'chopping'.)

The nature of the wear on the original poster's tires is not entirely clear, but it sounds as though individual tread blocks are wearing unevenly, producing a sawtooth surface. If the tread blocks are large and thick, they may tilt (relative to tire body) as they hit the ground. The result would be faster wear on the leading edge of the tread block.

A careful examination of the tread wear may indicate whether there are alignment problems. Keep in mind that front and rear tires are likely to have different wear patterns, and different alignment issues. The pattern of light and dark surfaces on the tread blocks in Vegas Baby's 3rd image, suggests a bias in wear from right to left. However the differences that I see may be just a matter of lighting. Also it isn't clear which images are front tires and which are rear ones, and which are viewed from behind v. from in front.

Assuming there are no alignment problems, a higher tire pressure may reduce sawtooth wear problems. Higher pressure would stiffen the tire, and reduce the independent movement of individual tread blocks. Wear like this might also be an argument against putting AT category tires on an Element, since these tires tend to have a thicker tread and larger tread blocks.


12-23-2005, 03:06 PM
I wish I had a scanner so I could post all of the materials I have on tire wear subjects like this! I did find a nice article on Tire racks website explaining alignment angles. For the most part, Camber and Toe will be the adjustments that would affect tire wear. I have used and sold a ton of toyo open countrys on many types of vehicles and have yet to see such terrible issues like this.

If this is alignment related, it appears it would be more of the toe adjustment. See this article

FYI, if these tires are not that old, many times Tire companies will be very sympathetic and offer some type of concession. Most of the time it would come in the form of some kind of credit towards new tires(usually 50%)with goodyear and michelin). Goodyear and Michelin have always been very good with this and to be honest, I never had to even think about calling on a toyo. Couldn't hurt to give toyo a call!

12-24-2005, 10:19 AM
When I was shopping for BFG A/Ts one tire center was concerned since the weight of the e is a bit on the lite side there may/will be scalloping so rotating every 2/3k was very important so all tires get to enjoy the engine weight. Scalloping (he said) could be caused by lack of weight.
That was one guy and I did not hear that from any other shops.



12-26-2005, 11:48 PM
Same thing the dealer told me. The E is too lite for those tires.
One more thing...
Took it about 700 miles on a trip this weekend and very noisy a little bouncy at 90-95 mph. But besides that nothing major except... My darn windsheild cracked again!!! Exactly 1 year and 6 months from the last time. Drove about 40 miles from house to another and came out side and there it was. The night before I had driven about 250 miles to one place and nothing. Called the dealer on Christmas Eve and left them a message. Lets se if they'll do it again for free....

12-26-2005, 11:54 PM
Bummer on the window....
Since my BFGR A/Ts are new I am having the alignment done this week again just in case the last guy did a bad job.
I got free rotation for the life of the tires so I will be rotating a lot..