After clocking about 28,000km on my Honda Jazz, the front tyres are almost bald, but the rear ones look barely worn. The tyre shop told me the rear tyres should also be changed as they were unevenly worn. Strangely, the wear was not on the inside or outside, but around the circumference. What are the reasons for the difference in lifespan of the tyres and the uneven wear pattern?
On a front-wheel-drive car like the Honda Jazz, the front tyres will wear roughly twice as fast as the rear ones.
This is because power and traction are handled only by the front tyres. In addition, on any front-engined, front-wheel-drive car, the front tyres carry more weight.
At the rear, the tyres do not need to work as hard because they do not have driving or steering duties. They are also lightly laden in comparison.
Although not frequent or obvious, there is a tendency for rear tyres to experience uneven loading. Over undulations or speed humps (if you do not slow down enough), the tyres go through a wide range of loading. This phenomenon by itself can cause a small amount of peripheral unevenness.
Another major cause of the wear you have pointed out is worn dampers. This will result in even greater load fluctuations because with insufficient damping, the springs will cause the tyres to bounce several times over speed humps or road irregularities. Often, the unevenness can be visible around the tread.
The only remedy in such a situation is to replace the car's dampers with new ones.
With front-wheel-drive cars, it is always advisable to rotate the tyres - front to rear and vice versa - every 10,000km or so. This will even out the wear.