Tire pressure in Volvo XC 90

Purchased a new Volvo XC 90 in May 2021. In January 2023 (with 30,000 miles) I took to the dealership with a very loud thumping road noise. All four tires were worn unevenly. The center of each tire had less tread depth than the outside of the tires. They said that was causing the loud thumping noise. All four were replaced and solved the problem. The question I have is should I stick to the manufacturer’s recommended 38 tire pressure seeing that a great majority of the 30,000 miles was long-distance highway driving? On long trips would it make sense to lower the tire pressure a bit and would that lessen the chance of the center of the tires from wearing more than the outside edges?

First, did you check your tire pressure frequently enough to make sure you were always running them at (or around) 38 PSI, in case they were overinflated by your dealer or mechanic?


Inflate to the pressures on the placard on the drivers door sill. Check at least monthly. Also, overinflation would lift the edges off the ground and there would be more tire wear in the middle of the tread. The wear you mention is consistent with overinflation. If 38 psi is recommended, you have little recourse.


No it would not . Check the tire pressure at least once a month before driving the vehicle . Set the tire pressure at what the plaque on the drivers door calls for . Rotate tires at 5000 miles and you should be fine .

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Thanks to all for the information. Tires were rotated at all oil changes. I checked the tire pressure before all long trips. Always set to 38. That’s why I was wondering if on long trips the tires would be constantly heated up and tire pressure increased accordingly. If so, would lowering tire pressure to 37 or 36 before a trip then keep the tires from not going above 38?

If the tires were only rotated at oil change then you may have gone 10000 miles between rotation . I think your vehicle calls for oil change at 10000 miles or 12 months .

Oil changes were between 5,000 and 6,000. One went to 7,000 while on a trip. I was originally wondering about the tire rotation but then didn’t think that was the factor as all 4 tires measured the same when they were replaced. So confusing.

Some tires on some cars wear strangely. Just a fact of life and 30K from a set of tires is OK wear. Not great, but OK.

Just follow the manufacturer’s recommended pressures.

Just to be sure - the 38 psi is on the car’s sticker, not the number on the tire side, correct?


The tires that the manufacturer chooses for their new cars is based on a few factors, including…
Low cost
Low rolling resistance, in order to maximize MPGs
“Acceptable” traction
Low cost
Low noise level
Low cost

As a result of those factors, it is rare for OEM tires to have a long tread life, simply because that is not a priority for the car company. In my experience, most OEM tires are ready for retirement by the time that they get to 30k miles–or maybe even earlier.

And, this phenomenon is not a new thing. The BF Goodrich Silvertown tires that came with my father’s '66 Ford Galaxie 500 were worn out (evenly!) by a little more than 16k miles. That is the most extreme example that I have ever seen, but the OP should be aware that 30k-35k is the point when most OEM tires are ready for replacement.


yes the 38 psi is on the car front door

Thanks, everybody for all the tips. I guess my expectations for mileage on the tires were a bit too high.

One more point - at 38 psi you might still be getting more miles, even though the center is more worn. At, say, 35 psi the tire might wear more evenly, but faster because tires heat up more at lower pressures, because they flex more.

You will also get slightly better mpgs at 38 psi, and slightly sharper handling, but not as smooth a ride. I could tell when my tires were worn by the noise they made.

The image below is from the Volvo site, showing what’s on the placecard for the 2021 XC90.
Does your placecard look like this?
Are you running a max load in your car?


You would think tech would notice uneven tire wear during tire rotations.

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Good point on tech should have noticed on rotations. I’m putting that on my reminder list for the next rotation

First, overinflation does NOT cause thumping.

The thumping is likely from irregular wear - which is usually caused by mis-alignment. I don’t know why the dealer didn’t point that out - other than maybe the car has some sort of weird non-adjustment that he knows is an issue, but he doesn’t want to deal with. Easier to blame it on uneven wear across the face of the tread.

Second, I’ll bet those were the original tires - and they were likely designed for rolling resistance rather than good wear. And one way to get good RR is to take rubber out of the tread - which might cause the center of the tread to wear out first.

So I’m guessing you didn’t put the same tire on as OE tires don’t stay that long in production.

My advice would be to get an alignment at an independent shop and get the printout.

Just an FYI: Most published factory alignment specs are too wide - by half. That is, the target value is OK, but the allowable deviation from that value is too generous.

Also some cars don’t have factory built-in adjustment. You have to add a camber plate or an eccentric bolt to get the alignment is spec.

So BEFORE you agree to the alignment, be sure to ask if your car has adjustability, and request that they use whatever is necessary to get the alignment in the middle of the range. You will, of course, need to pay extra for those parts, but they might be required to get the alignment where it needs to be.


I’m thinking Mustangman above is correct, the tires that came new with the car were a compromise between their cost to the manufacturer, and their performance & longevity to you. A good set of replacement tires should solve the problem. Suggest to research what Consumer Reports recommends for tires, brands and models that fit your Volvo. They publish a tire report each year, in the fall as I recall. You can probably obtain a copy of the report from their website for a small fee, or free from your local public library. As mentioned above, the tire pressure should match the numbers on the sticker you can see when you open the driver’s side door. The manufacturer has tested the car to those pressures for the best suspension stability and safety.

He probably did, but it is normal, no correction needed. What was the difference in tread depth across the tires?