2003 Toyota Highlander scalloped tires

Dear Doctor: I am the original owner of a 2003 Toyota Highlander with 139,000 miles. On my last oil change I asked the service department to do a tire rotation. As I drove home I felt as though I was driving on a very rough and bumpy road. I returned to the dealer and was told that I had “scalloped tires.” I had the rotation reversed, but I want to know: Are these tires safe to drive on? They have 35,300 miles on them. This is mostly my fault, as I found out in the owner’s manual that I should rotate every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

Dear Patrick: Scalloped tires are not unusual on any vehicle that does not get regular tire rotation. Scalloped tires are also caused from worn suspension parts, alignment issues and out-of-balance tires. If the tires still have a lot of life to them, then rotate them again, have them balanced, and check the front end. The scalloping effect should wear down with mileage and the roughness will disappear. You can also change the air pressure by 3 pounds up and down every month. This will give the tire a different footprint to the ground and help the wearing pattern. If you do replace the tires, then I recommend that you purchase a non-aggressive highway tread pattern.

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