Unstable driving during a windy day [30 plus ]

I bought a 2008 Toyota Avalon, nice car except that on a windy day [30 plus mph] the car is all over the highway. I’m doing 60-70 mph. I checked the tire pressure. They had over 36 lbs. in each tire. I dropped it to 31-32 lbs of pressure and it made a slight difference, but not acceptable. My wifes car is similar in size and weight, a 2007 Hyundai Azera with P235/55R17 tires. I have no problem with it on windy days. The Avalon has P215/55R17 tires. Could the tire size have something to do with the instability of the Avalon? I haven’t talked to the Toyota people yet. I would like your opinion 1st, as I respect your down to earth approach.

It is very doubtful that the minor difference in tire sizes is responsible for the problem. More likely, it has to do with the design of the suspension on the Avalon, which is oriented much more toward ride comfort than toward handling ability.

However, there is also the possibility that something could be amiss in the suspension. Have the suspension checked to be sure that you don’t have a damaged or disconnected anti-sway bar on the front or the rear suspension.

Incidentally, what tire pressure does Toyota recommend for the Avalon?

Some cars really don’t like windy days. I would not be able to guess about the tires but would agree that they could be a cause. Talk about a wishy-washy opinion. I’m full of them today. Maybe Toyota has a technical bulletin on that. I’m gone for good but will check back here for the answer.

Plug the make and model of tire in at tirerack.com, odds are you will find hundreds of owner reviews for these tires. And the folks at tirerack might have tested the tires on their test track.

Are there very many complaints from owners about lousy handling from these tires

Do the same for the Azera tires.

I have a friend who complained that his '97 Taurus was hard to control in the wind. Hey, where we live it blows all the time. 30 MPH is just a breeze. I’ve driven a lot of Tauri. The '96 to '99 models are VERY aerodynamic. My suggestion to him was to have his front end alignment checked. He did, and was told that he had a bad tie rod. The passenger side was worn out on the inside end. That MAY be the situation with your Toyota, although I’d hope not unless you put a lot of miles on it in less than a year.

you say you dropped the pressure. did you consult the name plate on the inside of the door frame? THAT is where you should get the PSI #s from.

check to see what speed rating your tires are/ and should be. it is NOT unheard of for dealerships to swap cars rims (with the attached tires) between cars. it is possible you got a lower rated tire. check it out. you should have a V rated tire. look in the sidewall for a SR V indication. if its something else go to the dealership and start barking.

Knowing if the car was purchased brand new and if there is a history of any large potholes and curb strikes would help also. One good pothole or curb hit knocking the alignment out could also do it.

If everything is clean there then one would just about have to suspect the tires.

And just because a car is new does not mean the alignment was ever spot-on to begin with. Other than a factory slip-up, I’ve seen a few damaged cars caused by the transport truck drivers. Some of them come down the ramps at a pretty good clip and one guy at the Chevy dealer next door ran a brand new Monte Carlo right off the side of the ramp and onto its side, totalling the car out.