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Strange Marks on Tire


Well-Known Member
May 17, 2015
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Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Hi all,

I have something quite strange happening, can't find any answers anywhere else. On only one of my tires (front passenger), there is a strange looking circular pattern (almost like a Spirograph), that appears around the outer edge of the sidewall where it meets the tread. This tire is wearing unevenly on the outside edge as well. Certain areas are worn more than other as I spun the tire around. I read somewhere this is indicative of shocks/struts or wheel balance?

There's vibrations above 60mph and constant sort of "micro-vibrations" that occur at any speed that radiate through the body and cabin of the car, you can feel them if your leg rests against the door and on the arm rests etc.

The vehicle also pulls to the right slightly, I'm taking it to be aligned soon. Before I do so I feel like I should replace my tie rod ends. There doesn't feel like there's any play in them but the boots on both are torn and I feel like that could also be contributing to another issue I'm having-tight steering (thoughts on this?)

Lastly, I replaced both front wheel bearings last spring (2016) with brand new Timken bearings in new hubs. Now I'm getting a sort of grinding, rubbing metallic sound at low speeds during deceleration. It seems to relate to the tire spinning as it's an up and down sort of noise and not a constant pitch. The vehicle has a slight 'jump' to it as well at very low speeds, at a certain spot it seems to jump as if I just drove over a division in the asphalt on the road (even if the road is smooth). I can't imagine this to be the bearings again. There is a quiet rubbing noise when spinning the tires off the ground by hand, but it seems to be the brake pads rubbing the rotors, I could be wrong though.

My explorer used to be fun to drive but with all this going on it's a nightmare! Please share your thoughts with my on what could be wrong with my suspension and drivetrain, thanks in advance!