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Continental 21's: Increasing tire noise with wear?

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by Vger, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    My Continentals are wearing fairly evenly, but are now probably in the last 10,000 km or so of their life. The tread is still well above the wear bars, but now by maybe only 2-3 mm. My question is this: I seem to have noticed a significant increase in impact noise, even on smooth pavement, and especially at slower speeds. It is almost like I am hearing every block of the tread plopping down.

    Am I nuts? Is this expected? Is it an indication of any breakdown in the tire structure or of creeping misalignment?
     
  2. William13

    William13 Member

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    I have the same issue with my Continental 21 tire noise. It is actually loudest between 10 and 20 mph. This was true last year also with no alignment issues.
     
  3. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    I noticed that as well, just put new oem conti's on my 21's and much less road noise. My tires were wearing fairly well, more on the inside of the rears. I think that with new tires you have more rubber and somewhat softer rubber compared to less rubber and harder rubber with worn tires.
     
  4. meloccom

    meloccom Moderator Aus/NZ

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    I had the same problem with the continentals on my last Mercedes, quiet when new but gradually louder and louder as they wore.
    I changed to Michelin to get rid of the noise.
     
  5. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Good to know I am not imagining it! I plan on shifting to Michelin PSS when the Conti's are ready to be ditched. That will probably be by next summer season (only 3 to 4 months until winter tire season up here!)
     
  6. linkster

    linkster Member

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    #6 linkster, Jul 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2014
    No.
    Yes.
    No.

    Our high-negative camber S cars exert a tremendous amount force/pressure on the inboard shoulder rib-ring. If you rub your hand along (in a fore-and-aft manner) this inner-most set of rib blocks it will most likely feel smooth in one direction and rough in the other direction thus indicating cupping on each tread block (the additional noise that you stated you heard). I would not perform this test blindly by just reaching over the top of the tire as there could be a sharp object or exposed belts. I would perform this lying on the ground so you can see and feel the tire. I include a Left-to-Right (and of course a R to L) tire rotation on my Conti's as one of my four different types of rotations along with deploying other methods to help keep the tires even, quiet, and to increase tire longevity on my original 21 Conti's to a projected 35-40K (currently at 30K).
     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    You only have 2-3mm left? Might consider replacing them sooner than that. Tirerack at least says wet traction starts to decrease below 3mm
    http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/techpage.jsp?techid=157
     
  8. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I've had this with every tire on every car I've ever owned, so I figured it was normal. I was always pleasantly shocked at how quiet my car became when I got new tires. You'd think after 25 years, I'd expect it now :)
     
  9. jerry33

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

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    Totally normal. Tires get noisier as the tread wears down.
     
  10. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Agree.

    The conti 21"s have the "cross bars" (don't know what else to call them) so you can easily feel when the tires need replacing.
     
  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Do you find the 3mm threshold a good one to use for replacement?
     
  12. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    I am nearing the end of the tread life on our 21" continentals. The front left tire has been especially noisy. We just had them rotated so now the left rear tire is noisy. I think we have about 4-5 mm so it will not be long before we need a new set.
     
  13. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    That has been my experience with the Continentals as well. The most worn tires are the noisiest.

    Just replaced them with Michelins which appear to produce more road noise from the get go.
     
  14. jerry33

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

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    My experience with Michelin is that they tend to have less difference in noise between new and old than most other tires.
     
  15. Vger

    Vger Active Member

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    Inspired by the discussion, I just went out and measured all four tires at several locations. Actually, my (currently) front tires have about 8-9 mm of total tread depth, and my (currently) rear tires have about 5-6 mm of tread depth. So I am still quite safe, and probably good until sometime next season. It is clear, though, that I am due for a rotation. I will see if I can get that done before heading to Monterey for TMC Connect.
     
  16. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    So I have Conti's 21 extreme contact DW and around 8000 miles, the tires are wearing we'll have rotated them every 4000 miles and just in the last month I hear what sounds like a bearing or gear noise mostly at low speeds 20 to 40 and when slowing down aven at 5 mph. The sound does not seem to me from the tires and have the car in for yearly service and road tested with the shop foreman, he seems to think it is cupping of the tires. They will do some diagnostics to determine if it is tire noise or drive unit noise. The interesting thing is they gave me a Model S loaner and I drove it home not paying attention to what tires and wheels it had. The car was very quiet and when I got home I was surprised that it has 21's with Michelin Pilots with 10700 miles. Are the pilots less noisy?
     
  17. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    So the service center says the noise is from the tires and mostly because they seems to have some cupping. Not sure why this is when the alignment is good and I have rotated the tires every 4000 miles. So 8000 on the Conti's and they are really noisy. I would appreciate any input from others with this problem and would like to know if I should put the Silent 5p when I decide to replace.
     
  18. linkster

    linkster Member

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    #18 linkster, May 9, 2015
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
    Mer

    My goal in achieving an acceptable service life on the 21 Conti's is to maintain an even tread wear across the tire, and fore-and-aft of the tire. My rotations always change the tire direction which includes flipping, X, and L to R. I will NEVER rotate front to back as this only insures that all 4 tires will wear out at the same time (which is a good thing) but this will not extend the overall life of the 4 tires collectively on our heavy, high-cambered Ses and will make the 21 Conti's more noisy as mileage progresses. My tires are just as quiet at nearly 50K as they were when new. However, recently one of the fronts is making a "rewr-rewr-rewr" noise ndicating I now have slightly tweaked wheel.
     
  19. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    Dave,

    50,000 miles. That's amazing.

    Could you dumb this down for those of us who are not "car guys"?

    I've had the service center rotate my Continentals at about 5,500 miles. I'm pretty sure that they merely switched front to back.

    I'm now at slightly over 19,000 miles and to my untrained eye the tires look good. I assume that I should be considering another tire rotation soon?

    Can you describe in basic terms exactly how you would recommend my next rotation be accomplished, i.e. which tire goes where?

    I have a P85 with 21" the same size Continentals all around.

    As you know the turbine wheels have a particular orientation on each side of the car. Is this considered in your rotations to maintain aesthetics?

    Thanks.

    Larry
     
  20. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    Thanks for the info, I have only been doing front to rear. Never crossing or left to right, will do this on my next set. Maybe like Larry said you can give us your program for rotations.
     

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