CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Why does the ride feel so different after my tires were replaced?

At 35K miles my Toyota dealer recommended replacing the 4 tires on my 2006 Toyota Avalon. They replaced the 4 tires and the ride of the vehicle was instantly worse and difficult to steer. At home, the tire pressure measured between 26 and 28 psi with a tire pressure gauge. The tires specified air pressure of 51 psi. I increased the tires to 51 psi each and the car rides like it has no shock absorbers at all. Did the dealer install the wrong tires or is it time to replace my shocks and struts? Thank you.

That 51 lbs is not what the tires should be inflated to . That is the maximum pressure to seat the tire to the rims . On your drivers door there is a plaque that says what the tire pressure should be.

4 Likes

The recommended tire pressure should be on the door frame or in your owner’s manual. I’m pretty sure it’s 32psi. As for the car’s ride, unless the dealer’s shop installed tires identical to your old ones you’ll probably notice a difference. You can go back and tell them what you told us and it’s possible they can install a different set. They can also inspect your shocks/struts to see if there’s a problem there. If you’re still not happy at that point, you can take your car to another shop for a second opinion.

Thank you for your response. It was very helpful.

What pressure did you use in your previous tires? If they were also grossly overinflated, you’d certainly feel a major difference from the new tires with 27 PSI.

26 to 28 psi is too low. That could result in poor steering. Inflate to the Toyota recommendation on the door sill sticker and see how it rides.

1 Like

Tires vary a lot from model to model. There are so many different performance criteria, and each model has its own unique combination. Even if the exact same model and size are on there now, they have a thicker tread and they are squishier, more shock absorbing, and heavier than the used tires you have become accustomed to. They are different and they feel different. Congrats on noticing!

What tire brand and model came with the car, and what do you have now?

640px-Triple-facepalm-picard-812

Oh boy…What the tires specify is largely irrelevant. What is the specified air pressure for the car? It’s a near certanity that 51 psi is way above the proper pressure for the car. I would wager that it should be around 30-33 psi.

It’s possible that you were just used to the old tires, it’s possible that the new tires do ride firmer, it’s possible( though unlikely) the the wrong sized tires were used. You can check for yourself if you look your door jamb placard/sticker and see what the OEM tire size is and then compare that to what size tires are on the car. The steering response at 26-28 psi might be somewhat noticeable over the recommended PSI, but it won’t be a night and day difference, especially if it’s something you’re not actively paying attention for.

What kind of tires (make/model/size) were on the car when you brought it in and what kind of tires are currently on the car. It’s unlikely you would need new shocks/struts at just 35k miles.

2 Likes

Just to clear up some technical points:

The 51 psi is the MAX cold usage pressure for the tire. That is hardly ever used as the specified pressure (by the vehicle manufacturer on the driver’s door frame sticker.)

Plus, ride quality can vary a lot by make and model. For tires designed for crisp handling, the ride is sacrificed.

It is pretty common for folks to come into a tire shop with tires that don’t have enough pressure - and if they leave with the specified pressure (higher!), the tires are going to ride harder.

And - as a general rule - the ride quality of replacing worn tires with otherwise identical new tires results in a better ride because of all the additional rubber.

1 Like

Exactly!
To put this in human terms, if the OP’s doctor stated that he didn’t want to see the OP’s blood pressure any higher than… let’s say 140/85… that doesn’t mean that the doctor considers that to be a desirable blood pressure reading. The OP needs to understand the difference between maximum tire inflation pressure and the tire pressure that is actually specified for his particular make and model.