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I own a Suzuki Vitara SZ4 (F2WD) 1.6cc petrol 5 door hatchback which was first registered in the UK as new in March 2016.
Both rear tyres (Continental brand) first started to show signs of premature wear (the outer edge two grooves) at about 13,000 miles. I referred this potential problem to a Suzuki dealer when the car was being serviced but they said the tyre wear was probably due to incorrect tyre pressures (which I disputed because I always check and maintain them at 33psi as recommended by the car’s manual) and/or poor road conditions.

Subsequently, I had to renew both rear tyres at 18,000 miles due to excessive wear on the outer two grooves on both sides. My local ATS depot, which fitted replacement Continental tyres, indicated that the rear wheel alignment was out by 5mm but had no adjustment on my car to correct this error. The two front tyres were OK and did not require renewing (subsequently changed 3 months later at about 20,00 miles).

Since the rear tyre change, I have now clocked up a further 12,000 miles and the rear tyres are again indicating premature excessive wear (almost down to the limit indicator) in the same areas as before albeit within permissible limits. Current measurements are:
O/R – Inner edge two grooves 4.39mm 4.67mm / Outer edge two grooves 4.34mm 3.38mm.
N/R – Inner edge two grooves 4.47mm 4.35mm / Outer edge two grooves 4.08mm 2.68mm.
These measurements suggest significant difference in tread depth is occurring from one side of the tyre to the other.

I have done some research on the internet and discover that a rear axle on a Suzuki Vitara 2015 model was not straight and was wearing out the rear tyres after 12,000 miles. This seems to be the same problem experienced by the Suzuki Vitara’s predecessor (The Suzuki Grand Vitara) and, more recently, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross and the Suzuki Swift.

There are also reports that suggest that some owners have had the rear axles of their cars replaced under warranty to cure the rear tyre excessive wear problem. My 3 years warranty expires 31 March 2019 and I am keen to get this situation rectified before it expires.

I have owned several front wheel drive cars in my lifetime and have never experienced rear tyres wearing out before the front tyres. Is this a known problem with some Suzuki models and have other owners had similar experiences to mine?
 

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I admit I know sod all about the new model but the old one was adjustable. I've not heard of people having these problems before though. Here is what the older JB model has, I'd expect the newer one to be much the same but as I said I have no experience with the latest model.

 

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Hi Darrell, thanks for your prompt response – much appreciated.

It was ATS Euromaster that told me there was no mechanism to adjust the tracking of the rear tyres on my Vitara SZ4. Also, I have seen a posting (I think it was on this site or the Suzuki4u one) where the owner of a Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, who has the same problem as me, was told independently that there was also no adjustment on their car to correct misalignment.

Furthermore, I have seen another article on my problem where a dealer informed an owner that there is a fault on the rear axle which causes the tracking to be out. Another article on the (Australian) Redline GTI website mentions that ‘the toe-in and camber angles of the stub axles can vary wildly about ‘and there is a suggestion ‘that the beam axle distorts when welded and the stub axles simply bolt on with no method of adjustment’.

The following two web-links:
https://www.redlinegti.com/forum/download/file.php?id=500&t=1
https://www.redlinegti.com/forum/download/file.php?id=501&t=1

are a Suzuki Service Bulletin in relation to reports of some cases of seemingly premature wear on the outer edges of the rear tyres on the RS415 Swift model. It makes an interesting read. Although it is dated 23 June 2006, there are plenty of articles on the internet where this problem still exists today and is affecting some owners of more recent Suzuki models.

A few Suzuki dealers seem to acknowledge there is a problem and, in some instances, replaced the back axle. For example, one such dealer said - ’The geometry of the new one should be OK; their warranty department should OK it. We’ve changed a couple at our dealership and it cured the problem’.

I will, therefore, be taking this matter up with my Suzuki dealer. However, before doing so, and to reinforce my case, I would like to hear from any other Suzuki owners who have had/or are suffering from premature wear on the outer edges of their car’s rear tyres. If this problem is fairly common, it could indicate a design and/or manufacturing defect which, in my opinion, should be subject to a recall. Does anyone agree?
 

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I have done some research on the internet and discover that a rear axle on a Suzuki Vitara 2015 model was not straight and was wearing out the rear tyres after 12,000 miles. This seems to be the same problem experienced by the Suzuki Vitara’s predecessor (The Suzuki Grand Vitara) and, more recently, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross and the Suzuki Swift.
I want to caution you against two aspects of "internet research" - first - forums (such as this one) are a huge store of "collective experience" - the problem is that the experiences are frequently those of owner/drivers many of whom are, to put it mildly, clueless - they will tell you that the rear tires wore rapidly, and they will tell you what they think caused it, or what they think the mechanic, or some well meaning friend may have told them, but, the reality is they cannot tell you why. Very few of the people who know and understand what they are talking about are contributing to these discussions.

To cite a specific example - your research supposedly discovered that the rear axle on a 2015 Vitara was not straight and was the cause of rapid rear tire wear - the problem I have with that is that the 2015 Vitara does not have a rear axle as such, it has what is known as "multilink independent rear suspension", which in a nutshell means the two rear wheels can move independently of one another - it is, so to speak, deliberately designed to not be straight - this allows for a more "car like" ride.

The last Vitara/Grand Vitara with a straight rear axle would have been an SQ series that rolled off the production line around 2005.

The second thing is that the folks you'll find on the forums are mostly those who have had problems, and are either looking for solutions or "bellyaching" about the problems - you're not going to find the owners who are happy with their vehicles, so the results of the research will always be skewed.
 

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To cite a specific example - your research supposedly discovered that the rear axle on a 2015 Vitara was not straight and was the cause of rapid rear tire wear - the problem I have with that is that the 2015 Vitara does not have a rear axle as such, it has what is known as "multilink independent rear suspension", which in a nutshell means the two rear wheels can move independently of one another - it is, so to speak, deliberately designed to not be straight - this allows for a more "car like" ride.

The last Vitara/Grand Vitara with a straight rear axle would have been an SQ series that rolled off the production line around 2005.
The latest Vitara (4G) has a torsion beam rear axle in the 2wd models, so it is not an independent multi link as the 3G models have, so a bent axle is a possibility.
 

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Our car was also registered in March 2016 but has thus far done only just over 6k miles. I had the nearside back wheel off today and as things stand, I cannot detect any abnormal wear pattern and I looked at and measured the tread thoroughly.

It should be noted however, that I am running our Vitara at considerably higher pressures than The Brigadier. We are running ours at 41psi in the front and 38psi in the rears, which are the ECO pressures listed on the door jamb label. Many of the journeys my Wife does on a daily basis, are on the motorway (we live just two miles from the M1 and we use it daily). We do not find the ride bone jarring or uncomfortable at all, and we've done a 300 mile round trip at those pressures, admittedly all motorway driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi 2013GV & fordem – a belated thanks for your replies.

The registration document for my Suzuki Vitara SZ4 (4th Generation – 2WD)) states that the Wheelplan is a ‘2-Axle-Rigid Body’. A review of this model when it was first released mentions, and I quote - The rear wheels have torsion-beam suspension with the beam design (a closed section consisting of a pipe crushed to form a "U" shape) that Suzuki first adopted in the SX4 S-Cross. The beam design yields superior rigidity and ride comfort. I’m not sure whether this new design can be classed as a rear axle in the normal sense; however, I assume that it should be a significant improvement to what was on the older Grand Vitara model that had ‘back axle’ problems causing premature excessive wear on the outer parts of their rear tyres.

I must admit that I was not aware of the recommendation in the Owner’s Manual to rotate the tyres of my Suzuki Vitara every 6,000 miles to avoid uneven wear and prolong their life. The requirement to still do this would seem to be somewhat archaic now following advances in technology on modern day cars. I’ve never rotated the tyres on other cars that I have owned and have always got excellent mileage out of them before the need to renew them. The low-profile rear tyres on the last car that I owned (Vauxhall Zafira) lasted much longer than the rear radial ones on my Vitara SZ4.

As previously mentioned, one would expect the front tyres on any FWD car would need to be renewed before the rear ones – this has been my experience on all FWD cars I have owned. Unless the new Vitara is starting to exhibit the same rear tyre problem (i.e. premature excessive wear) experienced by owners of the old Grand Vitara, then, perhaps, I may have a problem with the set-up on my car (re the toe-in &/or camber) and need to get it checked and adjusted if required.

In any event, I would still like to hear from any other Vitara (4th Generation) owners that have experienced similar problems to me. In recognition that it is a new model (introduced late 2015/early 2016) it may be a little premature to indicate that there is a potential fault. It would seem, however, that postings I have viewed on the internet (see my initial one above) might suggest otherwise.
 

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Hi 2013GV & fordem – a belated thanks for your replies.

I must admit that I was not aware of the recommendation in the Owner’s Manual to rotate the tyres of my Suzuki Vitara every 6,000 miles to avoid uneven wear and prolong their life. The requirement to still do this would seem to be somewhat archaic now following advances in technology on modern day cars. I’ve never rotated the tyres on other cars that I have owned and have always got excellent mileage out of them before the need to renew them. The low-profile rear tyres on the last car that I owned (Vauxhall Zafira) lasted much longer than the rear radial ones on my Vitara SZ4.
For my part, I have and always will continue to rotate the tyres on any car I own. Clearly, for directional tyres, you can only really swap the same side left or right from front to back, and this is what I do anyway.

As for wheel alignment, well we all know just how bad roads here in the UK can be (save for motorways which are generally well maintained), and it doesn't actually take a huge amount for wheels to get knocked out of alignment if you hit enough pot holes. I had my own car aligned recently and was shocked to find just how much it had been knocked out of alignment. It was put on a Hunter wheel alignment system and put back to factory spec.

Personally, if you're having so much trouble a this juncture with tyre wear, my first port of call would be your local wheel alignment centre. It might cost a few quid, but ultimately will save money in the longer term.
 

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To rotate or not rotate is a matter of personal preference - do you want to replace in pairs or sets of four or five - it could also be considered a matter of "cash flow".

I'm finicky about my vehicles and I like my tires to be matched, so unless I have specific reason to deviate, I will be changing tires five at a time and so I do a five tire rotation every six months, regardless of what I'm driving.

In my opinion there has always been a need for rotation to even out tire wear - I got my license back when live axle RWD cars with IFS were common, and even then front tires wore faster than rear, although how much faster varies with the nature of the vehicle usage - city driving vs highway driving - the adoption of FWD by most manufacturers led to a situation where the front tires wore even faster, making owners more aware of the need for rotation.
 

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I'm sorry, I have no sympathy for anybody that doesn't read the owners manual for a vehicle they just purchased, obviously maintenance is not a high priority. After all, how do you know when to do things if you don't read the schedule? wait for it to stop?

I must admit that I was not aware of the recommendation in the Owner’s Manual to rotate the tyres of my Suzuki Vitara every 6,000 miles to avoid uneven wear and prolong their life. The requirement to still do this would seem to be somewhat archaic now following advances in technology on modern day cars. I’ve never rotated the tyres on other cars that I have owned and have always got excellent mileage out of them before the need to renew them. The low-profile rear tyres on the last car that I owned (Vauxhall Zafira) lasted much longer than the rear radial ones on my Vitara SZ4.
in this case, you have been extremely lucky to have vehicles that have all had perfect alignment. In any mechanical system, things will move over time. Alignment is one thing that WILL move. This is why they tell you to rotate tyres to check these things.

I definitely rotate tyres, the front ones even with correct alignment will round off on both edges due to the fact they are being used for steering direction change. This was very noticeable a few months ago when i rotated them on my 2015 GV. Didn't look like it on the car, but side by side they tyres were very different in profile. I have a FWD car that wears tyres evenly, and if anything, the rears seem to wear slightly faster, but they wear evenly across the tyre so alignment is not an issue.

I can get about 45,000 kms out of a set on the GV with no rotation, and upwards of 70,000 with rotation.

Rotate tyres every 6,000 kms or so to get max life out of them. If urban driving, every 6 months regardless of miles.

If you are chewing tyres in 6K like you claim, somethings bent and needs to be fixed immediately.

My old mitzi took the entire inside edge down to the canvas on the right front in 10,000 kms due to a 1.0 mm toe in on one side. If i'd rotated them like i should have, I might have discovered it earlier and saved the tyre
 

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Without wishing to come across as pious, as I mentioned previously in a different thread, very few owners actually bother to RTFM these days. I've been a forum moderator myself and I've read too many posts from owners who quite simply would have discovered the answer to many of their questions just by actually reading the rather large book that comes with the car. Much of the time, the manual rarely makes it out of the wrapping.

Personally, I'm fanatical about vehicle maintenance. I used the time I spent yesterday to fully inspect tyres, pressures, pads, discs etc and the car is only two years old with knack all mileage on it. Not everyone's idea of spending an hour or so on a Saturday afternoon I agree, but at least I know everything is ok. I know enough people who have absolutely no interest at all in their vehicles, they just get in the car and drive it 'til it breaks.

Sticking to the subject of tyre wear, whether others agree or not, it's worth having the alignment checked at least annually, but for many it will always be about cost and so most won't bother, especially if the vehicle is fairly new because problems like this aren't expected to occur so early in the vehicle's life. My last alignment check cost 25 quid, hardly a significant amount in terms of ownership costs.
 

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Exactly, lots of things are solved by applying "RTDM" philosophy.

daily pre drive checks should always be done, its saved me from very expensive situations, i have found cut tyres, nails in tyres, low fluids and brake lights not working.

Sadly I know of people that buy a new car every 2 years, and never have the free services done, let alone pay for the first critical oil change. Someone else buys these problem waiting to happen cars.
 

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I’m not a fan of rotating tyres as it can increase wear by compounding errors between front and back axles. Instead I monitor closely for uneven wear and get the alignment sorted if necessary, but generally it’s ok.

On the FWD Mazda 6, it’s a given that it’s 2 pairs of fronts to 1 pair of rears - and we’re just getting our seventh model next week. I fully expect the RWD MX-5 to be the same but with the rears needing replacement more often. Both cars wear virtually flat across the tread and, in the case of the 6, a dash prompt suggests rotation at predetermined intervals which I promptly cancel.

The 4x4 BMW X5 is a different matter entirely as the wheels are staggered so can’t be rotated. These cars have a well know tendency to wear slightly unevenly on the fronts, mainly due to the weight of the car, but tweaking the pressure a couple of psi can compensate. The winter tyres don’t suffer so much as the rubber is more pliable.

And Yes, I always read the manual.
 

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I’m not a fan of rotating tyres as it can increase wear by compounding errors between front and back axles.
And Yes, I always read the manual.
Good for you reading the manual.

I'm confused by your statement as rotating tyres will cancel any differences front to rear and side to side. If its compounding, then you have an alignment issue that needs addressing.
 

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I said “compounding” not cancelling.

The issue can be that if, for example, the fronts wear on the outer edge by say 15mm of the tyre width and the rears on the inner edge by a similar amount, if you rotate the tyres you potentially end up with 30mm worn across the width of the tyre.

UK traffic regulations require the minimum tread to be across a certain % of the tyre’s width and by rotating, you may fail that test. If, on the other hand, you leave them as is, you will likely remain within the regulations.

Before mentioning alignment again, it’s worth noting that some manufacturers have fairly aggressive toe in angles to optimise the grip. I assume that as a paid up petrol head, you’ll be familiar with this from your Alfa Romeo ownership. I defy anyone to get 15k out of tyres fitted to any Alfa :eek:
 

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I'm having a similar issue with my Vitara S. The rear tyres are wearing out much faster than the front. I bought the car used at 12k miles and currently on 16k. I must admit I haven't rotated the tyres. My previous Honda civic was on tyres for 45k miles before I only needed front ones so to find the the rear ones on my Vitara getting close to the legal limit has come as a shock. The passenger rear is very close, however I've also noticed that it's just the outer rings of the tyre? It also has a huge gap between the body and the tyre compared to the drivers side (yes on very level floor as where I work we have a weigh bridge that has to be spot on). I'm having new tyres next weekend so will see what the garage has to say.
 

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Just buy new tyres. If you swap them, you’ll still end up buying new ones eventually.

I swap mine at 3-4mm. Don’t care if it’s fronts or rears as long as both tyres on the same axle wear evenly.

On the Vitara, I’m guessing £80 a corner so what’s the big deal.
 

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I would still recommend getting a Hunter wheel alignment done before having new tyres fitted. I had my Saab Hunter aligned just last week, it was out of alignment just 12 months after having it done the last time. Smacking potholes, speed bumps, none of that helps. I don't do it on purpose, and I can't do anything about the speed humps my local Council have installed in my road, other than drive over them very slowly. Seems absolutely pointless having new tyres fitted if your tracking/toe in/toe out/camber etc is all over the place.
 
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