I met with the shop foreman at the Toyota dealership today. He was extremely pleasant and offered to take my car on a test drive. He explained how the tires are balanced and their high tech 4-wheel alignment process. They've already balanced my tired and performed the alignment.
Without even asking me, he knew right away that the tires had come from Tire Kingdom. I suppose it's because he's in the business and recognized the name. The front 2 tires on my 2006 Camry are Tire Kingdom's generic brand and, according to the Toyota shop foreman, the cheapest as well (for my car) He never criticized Enterprise (where I bought the car) or Tire Kingdom, but said that his shop had purchased the same tires but had too many complaints about the ride and returned the shipment.
He wasn't trying to get more money out of me (if that's what you're thinking) because he suggested we go out on a test drive together in another Camry to compare. He also said he wouldn't guarantee that new tires would be a major improvement. So I guess, although my 2001 Hyundai Sonata had numerous problems and needed service every other week, the ride was very smooth! Who knows? I've never felt the road so much as I do with this car which is shocking to me. (no pun intended) I owned my 94 Olds Achieva that only cost $13,500 for 6 years and never complained about the ride.
I also noticed that the Camry is very noisy. However, a complete diagnostic checkup reported no defects in the car, so I guess it's just a personal preference or I'm too sensitive. Still, it seemed much better when I bought the car as if something has changed in the past few months. I think getting high performance tires might make a big difference, but it would be a risk. So maybe in another year I'll get 4 new tires. Right now driving this for a year seems like an eternity.
I'm honestly not being a big baby here, since my sciatica has been driving me crazy and the bumpy ride irritates it. I've also been turning the radio up so I don't hear all the road noise. Maybe it is the tires, because I've read that high performance tires can reduce vibrations and road noise considerably. These tires aren't grabbing the road well, but as long as he said they look safe and I'm not in any danger, I will have to put up with the discomfort. I cannot possibly afford new tires at this time.
He mentioned one thing I didn't think about at the time of purchase. I was too stressed out back then, but any reasonable person should have wondered why a 2006 car with 18,000 miles needed new tires. Still, there is nothing physically wrong with the car so I'm not going to start guessing, since it's possible someone drove over a nail, which is very common around here.
I don't know why I wrote this today. Just had it on my mind I suppose. I'm sure I'll adapt and everything will be just fine. At least I hope so. Life goes on and it's a beautiful sunny day.