Help on Big Van tires!


#1

About 2 years ago, I purchased 2 new tires for my van (2007 Ford E350) and immediately started noticing that my front end kind of felt like it was swerving. I rotated the tires to the rear and it felt like the back end had to “catch” up whenever I move the steering wheel a little…this is always evident at highway speeds…not so much in town. My mechanic convinced me that the tires were the problem and I bought 2 new Michelins for the front (keeping the “bad tires” on the rear).

Well, the tires wore out and I just purchased 4 new Michelins (225/75 16 E-rated tires). I left the shop and headed down the highway and the swerving was greatly exaggerated.

Is this due to the new tires having a deep tread ? This seems very unsafe. When I change lanes, it feels like the van has to catch up to my steering. Even going straight it is hard to not feel the swerve effect trying to stay in a lane. Will this go away as the tires break in?

Any help would be appreciated.

Brian


#2

Sounds like an alignment problem to me. Have you had the alignment checked?


#3

Was an alignment performed on the van after the new tires were installed?

Tester


#4

I thought alignment problems would make it pull to one side. The steering feels like it is swerving no matter which way I turn the wheel…it doesn’t favor one side or the other. I will definitely have it checked though…thanks!


#5

When an alignment is performed, all steering components are inspected for wear.

If there are any worn steering components, the alignment can’t be performed until the worn steering components are replaced.

That’s why an alignment is performed after buying new tires.

So you don’t burn up those brand new tires.

Tester


#6

An alignment problem can also cause wandering, swerving, and some other handing problems. Even without pulling to one side. Camber angles being off are the first most suspect, but the angles are all tied together… they all need to be checked and corrected as a “system”.

NOTE: a good alignment tech will also check the articulating components for integrity in the process of doing the alignment. Can’t properly align a vehicle with a loose ball joint or tie rod end for example.


#7

Bad stabilizer bar links or a snapped stabilizer bar can cause this.


#8

If the toe is off the steering will seem to over-react when turning the wheel small amounts at driving speeds.


#9

In addition to bad alignment, I would suggest that the OP consider the possibility that the truck’s anti-sway bar has a broken link. The symptoms that the OP describes are essentially similar to what I experienced when I drove a friend’s Explorer that suffered from broken anti-sway bar links.

I think that a thorough inspection of the suspension and steering components–by somebody other than the OP’s regular mechanic–is needed at this point.


#10

VDCdriver wrote:
I think that a thorough inspection of the suspension and steering components–by somebody other than the OP’s regular mechanic–is needed at this point.

I agree with this. Get a second opinion here.


#11

I thoroughly and totally agree.


#12

Just a thought:

Over the last 5 to 10 years, I have been hearing reports of new LT tires being “vague” and “squirrely” for the first thousand miles or so - just like the OP reports. I’ve only heard about from LT tires. The phenomenon could have been there before, but I didn’t notice it and it’s only an occasional report - certainly not an epidemic. A variety of tire brands. A variety of vehicle brands. It doesn’t seem to be related to a vehicle needing maintenance as sometimes the reports are from the second set of tires on a newish vehicle.

Could it be alignment? I suppose. Could it be tire mold release lube? I suppose, but I would think that would rub off in a hundred miles, not the thousand it seems to take.

Perhaps the OP would tell us how long the first set of tires exhibited the phenomenon.


#13

Check the sidewall for inflation specs. If you have high pressure tires, you may have to put 60 PSI in them. If the maximum is 60, try 45 or 50 and see what happens.


#14

Don’t use the sidewalk number except as a max. the van should have a sticker that the gives pressures.


#15

According to Tire Guides, a 2007 Ford F-350 with LT225/75R16’s should say the inflation should be 60 psi front / 80 psi rear.


#16

What does the tire pressure sticker say on your door post? I would think that 60psi front and 80psi rear would be suicidal.


#17

Not on a truck, those tires are rated for much higher pressures.