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2004 A6 w/ 17" rims - tires keep shredding

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Old 01-19-2014, 10:13 AM   #1
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Default 2004 A6 w/ 17" rims - tires keep shredding

Ok, so I've had this car for about 160,000 miles and I've probably gone through 6-8 sets of tires. The tires don't wear out at the tread, but the issue is that I keep getting a groove in the corner of the tire where the tread meets the sidewall on the inside of the tire. Beyond this issue, the tires always look good for their age.

I inspected this issue and decided that there is only about 1/8" clearance between the tire and the knuckle and hypothesized that as the car gets out of alignment, the tire must rub the knuckle. Still, despite regular alignments, I keep ruining tires every 6-8 months.

Today I was on the highway and my driver's side wheel started "clicking" so loudly that people in the cars passing me were looking at me. I got out of the car and sure enough there is a roughly 1/4" groove in the corner of the tire and exposed belt. The clicking, which went away, was presumably a rubber strip that came off the tire and was flapping as the tire spun. I bought this tire in August and now I need new ones. Needless to say I am getting pretty sick of it.

Anyway, I want to know what all of you think about the theory that it rubs the knuckle? I can't see anything else that the tire even comes close too but I don't understand how the tire CAN rub the knuckle while driving since even now I can run my finger between the knuckle and the tire. It seems like the tire would need to move 1/4" to come into contact with the knuckle and then another 1/4" for the knuckle to wear it down to the belt. Thinking about the alignment idea - this would be the control arms and tie rod, right? The tire should always stay in the same orientation to the knuckle, since it is just attached at the hub which doesn't get aligned, correct? Something doesn't seem right to me....

My thought, at this point, is to get some 8mm spacers on the front to move the tire away from the knuckle a little. Not sure if this will fix the problem, or if there are any trade-offs associated with this....
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:19 AM   #2
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It sounds like the tire is rubbing when you corner. Try the spacers.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:34 PM   #3
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Stock wheels and stock-size tires? Seems odd.
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:12 PM   #4
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Yes, I bought the car used, but they have 17" Audi rims and have 235/45/17 tires on them, which is what tire rack and everywhere else specifies.

I've seen other threads with this same issue. Mine is a little more pronounced since I drive about 30-50K miles per year. Other people may never even see this if they get it aligned 1X per year, but I get it aligned every 4-6 months and that apparently isn't good enough.

There is a small nub just above the tire on the knuckle that I think the tire is somehow hitting. I don't see ANYTHING else that it looks like it could hit. I even looked at the tie rod and it seems to be further away. There is a small amount of black on the nub so I'm guessing that is the culprit, but there is almost enough clearance, even now, for me to spin the tire to different spots and slide my finger between the tire and the nub. I don't see how it could flex enough to hit the upright in any way, but it appears to be happening...
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:13 PM   #5
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Also, I'm looking at my car and it looks like the tires are almost flush with the body panel, which is supposedly the spot you are supposed to measure for spacers. I don't think I have 20mm or even 12 mm but I may have 3mm which I don't think will make that much difference.

I think they did a face lift sometime around or before 2004 and lowered the car and gave it the bigger wheels, etc. - and this problem may only happen in the last year or so that they made the C5....
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseklund View Post
I think they did a face lift sometime around or before 2004 and lowered the car and gave it the bigger wheels, etc. - and this problem may only happen in the last year or so that they made the C5....
Everything I read says that the facelift happened in 2002. I have a 2002 2.7T with the sport package that's a bit lower and the factory 17" wheels and don't have this problem... I just swapped out my tires a couple thousand miles ago and the ones that came off have none of the mentioned markings on the inner tire wall. Unfortunately I can't help you with a solution as I am still learning about my own somewhat new (old) car.
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Old 01-19-2014, 01:43 PM   #7
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Also, I forgot to mention that I have the same size tires you mentioned that originally came from the factory (but no longer are manufactured) Dunlop SP Sport 9000s...
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:11 PM   #8
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Probably not stock suspension (springs and shocks) if ruling that low. I had a 2001 2.7T with lowered suspension (H&R coil overs) and never had that issue with 235-45-17 tires. How off is the camber?
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Old 01-19-2014, 02:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseklund View Post
Yes, I bought the car used, but they have 17" Audi rims and have 235/45/17 tires on them, which is what tire rack and everywhere else specifies.

I've seen other threads with this same issue. Mine is a little more pronounced since I drive about 30-50K miles per year. Other people may never even see this if they get it aligned 1X per year, but I get it aligned every 4-6 months and that apparently isn't good enough.

There is a small nub just above the tire on the knuckle that I think the tire is somehow hitting. I don't see ANYTHING else that it looks like it could hit. I even looked at the tie rod and it seems to be further away. There is a small amount of black on the nub so I'm guessing that is the culprit, but there is almost enough clearance, even now, for me to spin the tire to different spots and slide my finger between the tire and the nub. I don't see how it could flex enough to hit the upright in any way, but it appears to be happening...

You get your car aligned that often?! Isn't it like $100+ to do an alignment? Does it really fall out of spec that much if you're not hitting curbs and horrible pot holes and stuff? Or do you mean you get them rotated every couple months?
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:38 PM   #10
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Yes, I get it aligned that often - but keep in mind that could be anywhere from 10-20,000 miles in between alignments. That is what I am saying, if someone got their car aligned 1X year and drove 15,000 miles you'd still probably never see this problem...but I still think it is ridiculous.

I am only hypothesizing that it is hitting the knuckle, as I obviously can't watch it when it happens and the tire is spinning. Even with this hypothesis, I am wondering HOW the tire could flex that much in the knuckle - it doesn't move with pressure at 6 and 12 o'clock, and the bearing seems very tight. Even if the suspension moved, the wheel is mounted to the hub, mounted to the knuckle - so the suspension would move the knuckle, which would move the wheel, and the two items that APPEAR to be rubbing would be moving together for the most part, I would think, no?

I'm not sure on the camber when it gets off....I am gonna get some new tires tomorrow and have them align it. Last time I took it to them in August, I showed them how close the tires were to this part of the knuckle and when I pointed it out the mechanic working on the car he called the other guys in the shop over to check it out, he couldn't believe how close it was. Even still, I just don't see how this is happening....
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:45 PM   #11
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I have this same issue. All I have determined is that it is NOT rubbing, if it was rubbing it would rub all around the tire, on mine there is one point on the tire were it is obviously the worst, and it gets less drastic as you get further away from that point. I run stock wheels with stock tire size for my winters, and although it isn't as drastic, I have noticed it is happening with those to. I've changed bearings and control arms, had the car aligned, and it doesn't seem to help.

I have also seen other cases on this board of people with the same issue, but no definite resolution yet.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:46 PM   #12
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and for what it is worth, my car is a 2000 avant
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:27 PM   #13
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Who is doing your alignment?
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:32 PM   #14
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Are you talking about this clearance here? This from my lowered 2.7T. Tight, but no rubbing and no unusual wear ever.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseklund View Post
Yes, I get it aligned that often - but keep in mind that could be anywhere from 10-20,000 miles in between alignments. That is what I am saying, if someone got their car aligned 1X year and drove 15,000 miles you'd still probably never see this problem...but I still think it is ridiculous.

I am only hypothesizing that it is hitting the knuckle, as I obviously can't watch it when it happens and the tire is spinning. Even with this hypothesis, I am wondering HOW the tire could flex that much in the knuckle - it doesn't move with pressure at 6 and 12 o'clock, and the bearing seems very tight. Even if the suspension moved, the wheel is mounted to the hub, mounted to the knuckle - so the suspension would move the knuckle, which would move the wheel, and the two items that APPEAR to be rubbing would be moving together for the most part, I would think, no?

I'm not sure on the camber when it gets off....I am gonna get some new tires tomorrow and have them align it. Last time I took it to them in August, I showed them how close the tires were to this part of the knuckle and when I pointed it out the mechanic working on the car he called the other guys in the shop over to check it out, he couldn't believe how close it was. Even still, I just don't see how this is happening....
Holy crap, I think I've only got mine aligned twice in the 65k miles I've owned it, once about 6 months after I bought it (only slightly out of spec, probably just wasted money) and then after I broke a tie rod...
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:46 PM   #16
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Yes, that is the clearance. Mine is tighter than that for one thing, at least it looks to be. I have attached a photo of my tire, but facing from the side of the car, which shows the part I THINK is rubbing the tire. From the angle of your photo, it looks like your knuckle does NOT have the little nub that I am talking about on my car, but it may just not be in view.

I'm on Cape Cod, so feel free to come look at it, haha....
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:47 PM   #17
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Also, the clearance there looks to be greater ....but I had the tire hanging off the ground, so the suspension was completely expanded and even still, it is closer than it looks.
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Old 01-19-2014, 04:49 PM   #18
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Also, I have had alignments done by Sullivan Tire and Town Fair, but I use a local guy now because I feel he does a better job. Regardless, they all say they align it, and I am fine for a while (I've pulled the tires off myself and had a look) and then suddenly they start to wear and get much worse....
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Old 01-19-2014, 05:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jseklund View Post
I inspected this issue and decided that there is only about 1/8" clearance between the tire and the knuckle and hypothesized that as the car gets out of alignment, the tire must rub the knuckle.
Unpossible.
Alignment issue.
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:55 AM   #20
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I don't deny that it seems unpossible. The issue for me is, the tire is worn out in such a way that it doesn't look like solely an alignment issue. There is about a 1/8-1/4" square gouge out of the tire. The tread is fine right up to the corner, then it drops to the belt suddenly, with no sign of wear beyond the destruction. The inner sidewall exhibits the same characteristics, no wear and then drops to belt. The damage is also not consistent around the tire - it is damaged all the way around, but not as deep in a few spots.

The knuckle is the ONLY thing it could be rubbing and there is a nub that looks like it would fit perfectly into the groove.

It seems impossible to me - but I don't know what else could be wrong...I don't think it is just that the tire is tracking at an angle and rubbing the ground and wearing out...
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Old 01-20-2014, 03:55 AM
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