How To Wear Your Rubber


Performance alignment settings are great for the track, but they'll eat your tires alive on the street.

How To Wear Your Rubber

While autocrossing a Ford Bullitt Mustang in F-Stock I had to try all sorts of alignment settings to convince that front heavy, solid rear axle, beast to actually turn when I told it to. After a lot of trial and error (and the death of a few orange cones) I finally figured out what the car wanted: the front tires liked 2.5 degrees negative camber (that is the top of the tire leaning toward the center of the car for you guys who don't spend your days working the alignment rack at Pep Boys). The Stang also liked a quarter of an inch toe out (the right front wheel turning right an eight of an inch and the left front wheel turning left an eighth of an inch, while the steering wheel was straight).

How To Wear Your Rubber

The end result was a muscle car that could do more than just haul ass in a straight line, it could carve corners too. At the track everything was good and many trophies were collected, however, the long drive home on street tires resulted in some ugly and extremely premature tire wear. I had brand new tires on the outside edge and cords showing on the inside. I had ninety percent of a great tire left, but the ten percent that was junk had me at the tire shop hemorrhaging cash. What was the solution?

How To Wear Your Rubber

Stop driving the "race car" to and from events and spend my wife's birthday present money (for the next ten years) to purchase a trailer. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

How To Wear Your Rubber

It turns out just because you have solved one tire wear problem, doesn't mean all of your worries are behind you. My next biggest issue with rubber wear was flat spotting from locking up the tires under heavy braking. Transitioning from one race car to another can be difficult, especially when one car has ABS brakes and the other doesn't. My braking foot was a touch on the heavy side, resulting in some square tires, not to mention those damn cords showing up again. They should color those metal cords inside tires green to represent money, because that is what they represent each time you see them.

How To Wear Your Rubber

And if you combine too much negative camber (my fault, I aligned the car) and too much dumbass heavy braking (my fault I'm the idiot behind the foot) then you have the above result which is a very bad thing. Pneumatic tires need air inside them in order to keep working. No air, no worky.

How To Wear Your Rubber

So what is the final solution to all of this extreme motorsports tire wear? The answer is obvious, it's boat racing.