Out Of Round Tire | Causes, Symptoms And How To Prevent

Have you ever felt like your car has a mind of its own? One minute, it glides smoothly down the road, and the next, it shakes and vibrates like a runaway train. Well, chances are you’re dealing with an out of round tire situation. But don’t let this bumpy ride dampen your spirits! 

In this post, we’ll unwrap the mysteries behind out-of-round tires – from what causes them to go wonky in the first place to how you can keep those wheels rolling perfectly around for years to come. So sit tight and prepare for a journey where knowledge is your ultimate tool against these unruly rubber rebels.

What Is An Out Of Round Tire?

An out-of-round tire is not perfectly round. It can happen due to manufacturing issues, road hazards, or improper storage. It can also be called tire runout. Initially, you may not notice any vehicle performance issues. But, as the tire worsens, you may experience symptoms. A common one is a vibrating steering wheel or vehicle at certain speeds. This occurs because the tire’s balance is disrupted by its out-of-round shape, causing uneven weight distribution and vibrations.

tire out of round

What Are Types Of Tire Runout?

There are two primary types of tire runout: lateral and radial. Let’s discuss both of them:

Radial Runout

Radial tire runout is the distance between the center of the wheel and the tread of the tire. It should be the same all the way around the tire. If not, problems like vibrations, uneven wear, and reduced performance can happen. These issues can be caused by mistakes in tire manufacturing, incorrect installation, or damage. It’s about how the tire moves up and down as it turns.

When there’s a big difference in distance, the tire gets disrupted during rotation. This makes the wheel go up and down, causing noticeable vibrations affecting the steering. The driver can feel these vibrations, which makes driving uncomfortable.

Lateral Runout

Lateral Runout is an important factor that affects how smoothly tires rotate. It mainly looks at the center of the wheel and the outer edges of the tire’s tread. When a tire has a lot of lateral runout, its rotation becomes less stable, which can cause problems. As lateral runouts get worse on your tires, you might notice that they move from side to side or wiggle while driving. This is concerning because it makes driving less safe and affects how well your tires perform on the road.

Out Of Round Tire Symptoms

To prevent any damage, you should be aware of tire out of round symptoms. Here are some of these:

Loud tire noise: Caused by uneven weight distribution due to out-of-roundness.
Shaking vibration through steering wheel: Indicates tire imbalance from non-round shape.
Soft spots on the tire: Sign of varying rubber thickness in the tire.
Uneven tread wear: Faster wear in certain areas suggests tire runout.
Vibrations in the seat: Indicative of rear tire issues.
Vibrations in the steering wheel or whole vehicle: Suggests all four tires affected by runout.
Irregular contact with the road surface: Caused by out-of-round tire.

What Causes Out Of Round Tires

Out-of-round tires can cause unwanted vibrations, decrease fuel efficiency, and even lead to premature tire wear. But what exactly causes a tire to become out of round? One common cause is improper balancing. When a wheel and tire assembly is not properly balanced, it can lead to uneven weight distribution and ultimately result in an out-of-round tire.

Getting Cheap/Lower Quality Tires

tires out of round

Cheaper tires may not undergo the same strict quality checks as expensive ones. This means that the manufacturers might use lower-quality molds when making the tires. As a result, the tires could wear out unevenly over time. High-quality tires are usually made using segmented molds, creating rounder tires and consistent shaping. In contrast, cheap tires with inferior molds may have irregular shapes and designs.

Improper Mounting

Improperly mounting tires affects their performance. Even a perfectly round tire can become misshapen if not mounted correctly, causing tire runout. This can lead to driving problems, such as uneven pressure distribution and vibrations. It can also make the steering wheel wobble or shake at higher speeds, affecting vehicle handling and safety.

Wrong Diagnosis

Tire problems can be hard to figure out because the symptoms can be similar. For example, imagine a tire that looks perfect but shakes when you drive. This shaking could make you think the tire is not round, but there could be other reasons for it. A bent wheel can make a round tire seem not round. Also, a tire can shake if the outer part has come off. This can be dangerous if you think it’s not round and try to fix it that way.

How Far Can A Tire Be Out Of Round Before It’s Bad?

Well, there is no clear answer to this question because it depends on the tire type and your driving style. But, experts agree that if your tire is more than an inch out of round, you should replace it. This imbalance can cause uneven tread wear and vibrations, affecting your vehicle’s handling. It can also stress other components like suspension and steering systems, potentially causing damage.

Can an Out-of-Round Tire Be Fixed?

Road force balancing is a good way to fix an uneven tire. It involves adding weight to the tire’s rim to make it balanced. This makes the tire ride better. When you get your tire balanced, the person doing it will check the tire and rim for any problems. They will put the tire’s strong part on the rim’s weak part to make the ride smoother.

This balancing fixes out of round tires and reduces vibrations and steering wheel wobbling caused by imbalanced weights. It improves tire performance for a smoother and more enjoyable drive. When considering tire weight, it’s important to consider the balancing process and the possibility of needing a new tire.

Can I Drive With An Out Of Round Tire?

An out-of-round tire gets harder to drive with over time. You’ll feel more vibrations, wobbling, and bouncing while driving. Please pay attention to these signs because they can tell you when it’s time for new tires. You can still drive with an out-of-round tire, but be careful. It can make your vehicle harder to control and less stable. The vibrations can also be uncomfortable and cause more damage to your vehicle.

How To Prevent Tires Out Of Round?

If you want to prevent the hassle of dealing with an out-of-round tire, you can take two key approaches: purchasing high-quality tires and following proper maintenance practices. 

Purchasing High-quality Tires

Out Of Round Tire

When buying tires, consider long-term savings. Investing in high-quality tires is a smart choice. They are more reliable and sturdy than low-quality tires. High-quality tires are made using segmented moulds, which make them perfectly round. This precision helps maintain performance and reduce road issues.

Proper Maintenance

Caring for your tires helps them last longer and perform better on the road. One important part of tire maintenance is keeping them in good shape and preventing uneven wear. To do this, inspecting and rotating your tires every 7,500 miles or every six months is recommended. This helps ensure that all tires wear down evenly, which keeps your driving stable and reduces the risk of accidents caused by uneven wear.

Final Thoughts

To avoid out of round tires, it’s important to understand why they happen and what symptoms to look out for. Prioritizing safety for yourself and others while driving is crucial. Regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle to keep it safe on the road. Check your tires for any irregularities or damage, and have them balanced and aligned by a professional if needed. By being proactive and knowledgeable about out-of-round tires, you can stay safe while driving and ensure a smooth ride for everyone.


How can I fix an out of round tire?

There are a few ways to solve this problem. One is to smooth the tires by shaving, buffing, or grinding them. This can fix any irregularities. Another way is to drive the truck for about 1000 miles with different air pressures to even out the tire shape. However, this method doesn’t always work.

How much wheel runout is acceptable? 

A rotating tire-wheel assembly’s maximum suggested radial runout determines the acceptable amount. This applies to both front and rear tire positions. The recommended limit for wheel runout is .125 inches.

Can tires go out of round from sitting?

Tires can become misshapen if they are left sitting for a long time. This happens because of temperature changes and lack of use. The tires can develop flat spots when a vehicle is parked for a while, especially in cold weather.