Front Tire Wear/Slippage on 2006 Toyota Matrix - Accelerator Adjustment?

I have a 2006 Toyota Matrix which has experienced excessive front tire wear from the start (bought it new). The original tires lasted about 25K miles and showed even wear across the entire face. Dealer pointed to tire manufacturer who said was lack of rotation. The problem promptly showed up on the replacement tires, different manufacturer.

Alignment, inflation, and rotation checks and service don’t seem to solve the problem.

I have since found that many people are reporting excessive front tire wear.

The one thing I’ve noticed is that it is quite easy to accelerate too quickly from a start and cause the tires to slip. This mostly happens if there is dirt or moisture on the road, but can happen at any time.

I’m now wondering if there is a safe way to adjust the accelerator, either in the cabling or at the engine, so that more pedal movement is required to produce a given amount of acceleration.

Essentially, I want to make the accelerator less sensitive to a heavy foot, though I must protest that I don’t think I have one.

Anyway, any suggestions?


I think you may be the only person in world that complains of excessive power in a Matrix. I’ve driven a few and even the XRS model was too gutless for my tastes. Anyway, have you tried using stickier or slightly wider tires?

I drive a vibe and you have to get lucky, in the right conditions, to break the front tires loose, for a second. How fast do you go around curves and corners? I have never had or heard of excessive front tire wear being a problem on these cars in particular. Maybe you need to slow down…

There is no way that I know of to diminish throttle response short of deliberately neglecting to maintain the vehicle, which is definitely not a good idea. Since you say the tire wear is uniform with no evidence of alignment, overinflation, or underinflation wear, I am wondering if you have been rotating your tires. Did you keep them rotated and have to replace all four at 25000 miles? What brand/model of tires came original on the car and what did you replace them with?

If your tires are rotated according to the manufacturer’s schedule, the wear on the front and back tires will be equalized, so the first obvious solution to the OP’s problem is to rotate the tires every 5k, as well as being sure to inflate them to the pressures listed on the driver’s door jamb–NOT the pressure listed on the tire sidewall.

That being said, the tires that most cars (and virtually all Toyotas) come equipped with from the factory will show considerable wear by 25k. When replacing them, it is important to actually research the relative tread wear scores on all of the tires available for the car.

I believe that the OP bought a set of replacement tires that were no better in terms of tread wear than the original tires were. A few minutes on the Tire Rack website will show the OP that there is a HUGE difference in tire wear from one brand and model of tire to another.

And, as others have said–Too much power from a Toyota Matrix? This is a first. Unless the OP is driving exclusively on snow/ice, or on dirt or gravel roads, a consistent loss of traction indicates that the OP is accelerating too fast. Less pressure on the gas pedal is the order of the day, and it will yield better gas mileage, as well as improved tire tread wear.

It may well be the tires I replaced them with… I also agree that regular rotation would even out the wear. Next set of tires I’ll research traction ratings. Good recommendations all.

As far as slippage goes…I’m talking about pulling out from a full stop. Cornering and acceleration when the car is already moving are not a problem. No slip there. The only time it slips is when the car is completely stopped and your trying to pull out into traffic. It is then very easy to punch it too much. Yeah, I know just take it easy, but the first gear on this car seems to have tons of torque at the bottom. This Matrix is the only car I’ve ever driven that I’ve had this problem with. It’s not my only car, but I can normally swap between vehicles without a problem.

I don’t “know” that tire slip is causing the wear. My suspicion is that each start is slipping slightly and causing extra wear each time.

Thanks for the advice.

Have someone who’s opinion you respect ride with you and grade your technique. What you are asking for is not so far fetched. There are cars who’s gas pedal responsivness can be changed (Subaru comes to mind) gives more or less of a sport feel,does not increase torque.

These vehicles are known tire eaters.

Get an alignment and have the guys set the camber to the minimum value.

Your 2006 Matrix has an electronic throttle (commonly called a drive-by-wire throttle). When you move the gas pedal, a sensor reads the pedal movement and sends a signal (by wire) to the throttle on the engine. The throttle is opened, or closed, by a small electric motor, to match the foot pedal movement.
Your electronic throttle could be causing too much throttle opening. The dealer’s technicians should be able to check this.

I suggest that at least part of the problem could well be the OEM tyres. They may well be optimized for mileage or just cheap. In either case they may not have the life you might want and expect.

Personally I doubt that wear when starting off from a stop is an issue unless you are really pushing it.

Thanks for all the info. I’ll check with the dealership about possible throttle adjustment and camber adjustment.