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Car feels wobbly after new tires

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by derekt75, Dec 5, 2013.

  1. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    The service center just replaced my rear tires (21" Continental Extreme Contact DWs)
    My car now feels unsettled, like it wants to go in any direction other than straight. It's not the shaking of a badly balanced tire: there's no discernible periodicity to the wandering.
    Higher speeds feel more unstable than lower speeds, but the wobble is present at all speeds.
    It's unsettled when not accelerating. (It's more unsettled when stomping the go pedal, but that's not really new.)

    The tire was replaced after my wife had a flat tire. She said she didn't hit anything, there was no reason for the flat, and she pulled over as soon as the tire sensor came on. I've never known my wife to lie to me. The tire was completely flat.

    Some possibilities that I've thought of:
    1) something hasn't quite settled. wait a week and hope it goes away
    2) the service center didn't tighten something properly
    3) the service center messed up on the install (including bad balance?)
    4) the rim is goofed up
    -the cause of the flat could have goofed up the rim
    -the result of the flat could have goofed up the rim
    -the service center could have goofed up the rim
    5) the alignment is bad
    -the cause of the flat could have goofed up the alignment

    Any thoughts?

    Do we know if the service centers do "road force balancing"?
     
  2. lloyds

    lloyds Member

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    Does the car go straight on a straight road? That would be a relatively easy test for alignment.

    or it could be improper balancing. Take it back to see what they say.
     
  3. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    The car doesn't predictably pull to one side or the other. but it doesn't go straight.
     
  4. youlikeadajuice

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    I've noticed this since my last service when they rotated the tires. Same symptoms, more noticeable at a constant speed than during acceleration. Does anybody know if rebalancing occurs as part of tire rotation? I have an appointment tomorrow to have service look at my TPMS which isn't working, I was going to ask about the as well.
     
  5. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Summer tires commonly "hunt," which sounds like what you're describing. The stickier the tire compound, the more it tends to follow the design of or ruts in the road. It may be that as your tires aged they did less of it, and then when replacing them it's suddenly worse again. Do you recall anything similar when the car was new?

    If not, check your tire pressures. If they're not consistent, unequal tire pressures cause all kinds of weird behavior. If that's still not it, take it back to Tesla and describe the situation. If you don't trust them, take it to an independent shop and have them put it on the rack.
     
  6. Zextraterrestrial

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    I thought my Hankooks were terrible on the Bay areas Concrete paved freeways with the grooves. It wanders all over the place and was really hard to keep it straight. That was when they were pretty new though and I haven't really been down there since Teslive
     
  7. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Even the stock MXM4s do this quite a bit on those grooved surfaces.
     
  8. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    1. Check the tire pressures.

    2. Try to rotate the tires so that all four wear out at the same time. Bear in mind that tire manufacturers change the compounds silently. Tires made in one week might not be the same as tires made another week.

    3. Because the front and rear tires don't have the same tread depth, put an addition 2-3 psi in the rear tires (assuming #1 didn't solve the problem).
     
  9. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    Guys, go outside right now and torque your lugs to spec. I had a tire rotation over the summer and experienced some ridiculous vibration and play. I found most of the lugs could be tightened with my fingers. Needless to say I was not happy to find this after driving my kids around.
     
  10. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    Yikes! Any reason to believe they were undertorqued after the rotation? I've checked mine periodically and they haven't loosened off at all.
     
  11. justaddsun

    justaddsun Member

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    That's what I meant! It happened half an hour after the rotation. Just human error, but a bit scary to find out.
     
  12. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    That's the first thing I do after ANYONE works on the wheels, brakes etc. of any of my cars. Even though I always specify "hand torque" on any service order where the wheels come off, quite often they are put back on with some lugs tight, some loose and none at the specified torque.
     
  13. If the Conti's are brand new, they will still have some remaining oils and release agents left on them from the manufacturing process. These oils will make the tire feel slick and make the tread blocks feel like they squirm, and the squirm will be more noticeable with a full tread depth tire (compared to what you were used to).

    To be sure, it never hurts to check lug torque as referenced above for peace of mind. I'd take the car out for a nice long highway drive for a half hour or so to get the tires up to temperature and try and burn off the remaining release agents and see if the issue tapers off. See our tech article on breaking in tires here !
     
  14. pimp-boy

    pimp-boy Member

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    I had vibrational issues after I replaced the front tires from a bubble developing in one. I had "California Wheels" do a "roadforce balance," but it didn't work since they didn't use the machine properly. Seemed ok for the first few miles and then the vibration came again. If all the people's suggestions don't seem to fix it, I did "Force matching" on the tires using my Hunter GSP9700.

    Basically, it measure the high and low of the rim and tire. You rotate the position of the tire to match the rim based on the high and low spots to cancel it out. Afterwards, the car drove silky smooth. No regular balancer would have found it.

    http://www.gsp9700.com/videos/index.cfm?cat=3
    You can see the "Why does my car still shake?" video.


    Good luck!

    - - - Updated - - -

    @Derekt75: More shops have them, but alot of them don't use them properly or the features to give the best ride. They just use them for basic balance. If they properly roadforce balance to eliminate as much of the vibrations as possible, it would cost the tech too much time. It's sad... Spend so much for a machine, but only use maybe 50% of the features.

    Do we know if the service centers do "road force balancing"?[/QUOTE]
     
  15. tezco

    tezco Sig P85

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    #15 tezco, Dec 6, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
    For such a large and heavy sedan, my S is very susceptible to wavy pavement grooving with either the summer 21's or the winter 19's. My Leaf is similar, although it is lighter and has a shorter wheelbase. My old Audi A8 is rock solid.
     
  16. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Did you see my thread? I had a similar issue, though mine went away at higher speeds and ended up being a balance issue:
    New tires, now 'crabbing and lower efficiency
     
  17. derekt75

    derekt75 Member

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    yeah, saw it after I had posted this one.

    ...

    I took my car to the service center on Saturday. They confirmed it felt weird. I had seen Evan's thread, so I mentioned that maybe it was a balance issue.
    They said that it didn't feel like a balance issue, but they checked anyway, and it was fine. They tried tightening some things in the suspension. The service advisor said that they turned a few bolts a negligible amount, but the tech tried driving it afterwards and it was the same. They tried swapping the new tires to the front and put the old tires on the back, and they said that didn't fix the problem. They tried an alignment and said that didn't fix the problem. They tried loading new firmware (both a 5.8 variant) and said that did fix the problem. I've got my car back now, and I agree that the problem is gone. Nobody believes that loading the firmware could fix the problem, but they said that was the only thing they changed between it being bad and it being good.

    Tesla service treated me great.
     
  18. jthompson

    jthompson JThompson

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    Tesla had to replace my drive unit, and in order to do that the entire rear suspension was removed. When I picked it up it pulled to the right (which it did not before). Rechecked the alignment and it was right in the middle of the specs for all four wheels. But they adjusted the camber some on the left rear wheel towards one end of the specs, and the car tracked perfect. The Service Centers are getting better at knowing what to tweak to make the cars track straight.

    BTW, sounds to me as if your caster is off on one of the wheels.
     
  19. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    One other thing to be aware of, one of my tie rods came loose. The car was squirrely under acceleration/deceleration at highway speeds. It was a quick fix.
     
  20. Forty Creek

    Forty Creek Member

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    And also seems to be knocked about in winds more than I would have thought.
     

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