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Suspension? Tires? Help!

Hi Folks -

I have a 2004 Hyundai Elantra 65k miles.

I recently had a flat tire and had to get two new tires to match. Right after I got the tires I noticed a lot of noise and my car feeling like it was really hugging the road…running very harshly, almost like it had snow tires.

I have two Goodyear Hydragrips on the back (20k miles on them) and bought Goodyear Assurances to replace the flat on the front and match. They’re brand new.

I complained about the road noise and I was told it was my rear tires…ok…um…they have 20k miles on them. Was told by a second place, yeah, it was the rear tires because my suspension is bad…and that’s why I’m getting the noise. These were both goodyear dealers because I honestly wanted a refund on the tires since I didn’t have the sound before I got the new (Assurance) ones. They are telling me it is the suspension and the rear tires have worn badly because of my poor suspension…

I went to a third-non goodyear place that is very reliable that I have used in the past who never screwed me over (actually drove 30 minutes to get there back to an old town I used to live in just because I trusted them). They told me, yeah, the tires on the rear don’t look great but aren’t terrible but are somewhat worn for only 20k, and the suspension doesn’t look bad BUT at 65k it’s probably time to do the shocks and struts. About a $800 repair from them which is in line with what I’ve read online. They were not pushing it however, saying it’s really just the time based on mileage.

I am also hearing from these mechanics “Well, maybe you just need matched tires” but…no one seems to be able to give me a definitive answer of what is causing this noise problem because it only started after I got the new Assurance Tires and supposedly, from three separate shops, they are fine. If it was the tires or the suspension, wouldn’t I have noticed this BEFORE I got the Assurance tires? The car was running fine before the flat…

The way I see it I have three options:

1. Spending $800 for the suspension work and another $200-250 for new tires. If I could be assured the problem was fixed, I’d be ok. But no one seems to know for sure that’s the problem and it’s a lot of money to spend on a “maybe” especially when the trusted mechanic says the suspension looks fine, and it’s just the fact that mileage has been reached to think about changing it.

2. Get two Assurance Tires for the rear and match them. If the noise and hard driving goes away…great. That’s the problem.

3. Get 4 new tires (not Goodyear Assurances) because something is wrong with the front tires no matter what the dealers are telling me.

Any help folks? I’m really at a loss here. It’s very frustrating.

First, move the Assurances to the rear and see if the noise moves with them. That may rule out tires being the problem. That is also where new tires belong these days (newest, most tread at the rear), anyway, not on the front. Make sure tire pressure is correct for your car. The older tires should be OK on the front. If the noise persists, then consider shock/strut replacement. I can’t quarrel with that suggestion. It is possible for struts to be bad and lose all their hydraulic oil before anyone sees the oil leakage. Whenever I run across problems like this, I make sure only one shop works on the car. That way they are stuck with the results. As soon as you introduce more than one shop into the equation, a certain amount of finger-pointing can occur. In general, I buy my tires, alignments and suspension repairs from only one shop, so that all blame for failing to diagnose and repair falls clearly on the one shop.