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Follow up on car vibration

Published:

Last Edited: April 23, 2007, 5:20 pm

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.

Sun Smiley

Entry #54

Comments

1.
SirMetroComment by SirMetro - April 23, 2007, 5:28 pm
Perhaps you can get some of the same material they use in the beds they advertise which asorb motion. It's kinda like foam, I will post the name when I remember it. I only remember they advertise how it was "developed for NASA". The small amount of seperation of your body from the car seat could help you some.
2.
SirMetroComment by SirMetro - April 23, 2007, 5:28 pm
Perhaps you can get some of the same material they use in the beds they advertise which asorb motion. It's kinda like foam, I will post the name when I remember it. I only remember they advertise how it was "developed for NASA". The small amount of seperation of your body from the car seat could help you some.
3.
Comment by pacattack05 - April 23, 2007, 5:34 pm
I just had the tires rotated and re- balanced in the van I use for work, but it still isn't that much better. I told the boss and he said that the drive shaft might need to be re-balanced. I never knew dive shafts were able to be balanced. Maybe you shoud check into that.
I doubt that the drive shaft is the problem in your case, considering the van I use is a 2003 GMC Safari, with almost a half a million miles on it.
4.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 23, 2007, 9:21 pm
Sir Metro - I was in the furniture business. You are talking about viscous elastic foam, commonly referred to as memory foam. I wonder if something like that will help. Thanks for thinking of it. I still wonder why it got so much worse AFTER the wheel balance and alignment.

Pac, my car only has 23,000 miles on it. I bought it in Nov with 18,000 miles (it's a 2006) It is under warranty so I need to do whatever the dealer suggests or I'll void the warranty. Since a Camry gets such great reviews, I have to believe it has something to do with the crummy tires.
5.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - April 23, 2007, 9:23 pm
Whom ever traded in the car could have done a swap out on the tires that you replaced with another vehicle that needed better tires.

6.
JAP69Comment by JAP69 - April 23, 2007, 9:35 pm
Hi,
I done a quick search and found this site. Maybe you can find info there.
http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.ee9e769
7.
SlingKingComment by SlingKing - April 23, 2007, 11:56 pm
Her car is most likely front wheel drive, therefore no driveshaft.
If she bought the car from enterprise, they wouldn't waste time with switching the tires. But on another note, i wouldn't recommend buying a used rental car. The amount you save is not worth the hard miles put on the car.
I can't stand cheap tires! They don't ride good, they don't grip the road good, they don't stop good, they go flat easy, they wear out fast. To sum it all up, cheap tires are dangerous. Replace'em asap.
8.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 24, 2007, 12:06 am
Thanks, JAP69. Good point, but this was not a trade. I made sure of that when I bought it. I didn't want a trade-in. If someone traded in a car less than a year old I'd wonder why. Anyway, I asked for a detailed CarFax report on the VIN and it had never been titled to anyone. However, it is possible that the Enterprise location it was transferred from used switched out the tires for another customer or rental. I've purchased vehicles from rental places before, however. The Oldsmobile I bought in 94 was from Budget and was a great car. Saved a lot of money. I don't want to sound naive or gullible, but the people I bought my Camry from went out of their way to make it right for me. They even sent a touch-up specialist to my home to touch up the bumper since I live 45 minutes away. It's only been 5 months so I might call them up to ask if they can suggest anything, but as I said before, the car was okay for months. I had no trouble driving hundreds of miles Christmas weekend. I'll checkout the link.
9.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 24, 2007, 12:20 am
SlingKing - I was typing so I didn't see your comment. I know you're right about cheap tires. Regarding the rental, in this case you might be right but the last one I bought was fine. I never noticed all the dings and scrapes on the wheel covers and the paint when I bought it. Hope I don't have a bent rim, but I think the Toyota dealer would have noticed that. They had much better deals on Malibus and Impalas, and some only had 10 or 12,000 miles, but I still got my Camry for under Kelly Blue Book suggested retail and Camrys hold their value. I do agree that Enterprise wouldn't have switched the tires, but it's possible the tire place threw on their budget tires and they're riding lousy. I feel as if they aren't even getting any traction, yet they only have about 5 or 6,000 miles on them.

Thanks everyone for your input.
10.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 24, 2007, 2:24 am
One more note - just went to the Tire Kingdom site. These tires are not the cheapest they sell for my car. They are definitely not expensive tires, but they had 3 other choices that were cheaper. Still, it looks as if decent tires run around $100 each.
11.
Rick GComment by Rick G - April 24, 2007, 7:49 am
Speaking of tires, my friend just got a set for 100 bucks apiece. They have a layer of "gel" - the same material they use for Dr. Scholl's shoe inserts. He says the ride is noticeably smoother and quieter with the new tires.

Considering the amount of miles you put on a car, it may be a good investment to go with a higher quality tire when you do change them.
12.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 24, 2007, 10:37 am
Thanks, Rick. I'll look for that kind. Unfortunately, I just bought the car in Nov so I'll try to live with this problem. Later this year I'll need to spend $300 or more on the 30,000 service, so I am very disappointed I didn't notice this before. It does make sense that the tires are just cheap and I need better ones. The shop foreman said there's never any guarantee that will make a difference. I'll try to live with this for now, although sometimes I really hurt after only a short ride. I wonder if after changing tires if I would need to start all over again with the 4 wheel balance and the alignment which I just paid for last week.
13.
angelmComment by angelm - April 24, 2007, 10:50 am
Came out of work yesterday-my tire was flat to the rim-Mondays are never good fo me!!
14.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 24, 2007, 10:56 am
So sorry, Angel. Hope you had a spare and could get it fixed. Last last year I bought 4 new tires for my Hyundai. Wish I could have taken them off the car and saved them (but I don't have a garage)

Hope your week gets better.

By the way - regarding the tire comments & price. I just looked at my tires and they say Sigma Shadow (black) and run about $65 each. Looks as if they are made by Cooper. Not sure.
15.
truecriticComment by truecritic - April 24, 2007, 2:15 pm
I have never had a problem with Cooper tires.   Doesn't mean yours are not bad, just that I was always satisfied with the Cooper brand.

Tire balancing is always needed with new tires. Alignment should be OK, assuming no major pot holes from now until you get new tires.
16.
justxploringComment by justxploring - April 24, 2007, 6:13 pm
This is a mystery to me True Critic. I just got home and I feel as if I was on a roller coaster and my body is really hurting. I made an appointment with a tire place in Naples. He's a really nice guy who sold me tire for my Hyundai and was very honest. He said he'll take it for a test drive. I still think something is wrong with the car and it needs an adjustment. Today I had a lot of trouble braking. I was sitting at a light and the car wouldn't stay in one place. It jerked forward and I had to use 2 feet. I don't like this car. Funny how you wish for something and when you get it, it's not what you expected. I've had beaters that felt better. Hope it's only the tires.
17.
justxploringComment by justxploring - May 6, 2007, 7:40 pm
May 6 - just added 5 pounds of pressure to each tire and the ride feels much better. The sidewall indicates that 44psi is max pressure and the Toyota guide suggests 29psi. I brought the pressure up to 35psi and it feels more stable. I don't want to overinflate the tires, since that would be unsafe, but I am not concerned too much at this time about the wear since my main problem is comfort. Funny - most people say adding air makes the ride stiffer, but I am experiencing the opposite reaction.

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