Tire rotation - oops

I didn’t have my 2004 Vibe’s Continental tires rotated until 15,000 miles, last summer. My bad. They make this thumping noise. Uneven wear means new tires and alignment, says my mechanic (not the guy who rotated them), but not unsafe. True? Tirerack reviews were unanimous in hating these tires.

I got stuck a lot this past winter, no wonder.

Any advice?

The noise you are hearing is likely the result of feathering or ‘chop’ on the tires. Those Continentals are notorious for developing that problem if they are not rotated fanatically, like every 3000-5000 miles. It is unlikely you need an alignment unless something happened to the vehicle to knock it out of alignment, like an accident or slamming a curb. The noise may go away with time as the front tires smooth out, but as long as they are still structurally sound, they are okay to drive on as long as you can put up with the noise and so-so traction they provide, per usual with those tires in general. I would also have a good tire shop check them for slipped or broken belts, too. Those tires are notorious for that. By the way, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club are NOT good tire shops. They are in the business of selling tires, nothing more.

Basically you are getting symptoms of ignored tire maintenance. Most tires can take it however I agree with other poster Continental’s are prone to getting noisy without regular rotation.

Replacing tires will take care of thumping. I would have the alignment checked during the tire installation. Some (real tire) shops free to check others charge a nominal fee and a bit more if needing a true alignment.

Alternate live with it. Myself I despise noisy and also poor tires, so I keep them rotated every other oil change and buy quality tires(Bridgestone/Michelin) from decent (independent) tire shops.