2018 Prius Four Touring 17" uneven tire wear

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by pianewman, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. pianewman

    pianewman Member

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    2018 Prius Four Touring, purchased used 22k miles. Bridgestone Ecopia Plus 215/45 X 17.

    This question is for owners with the 17" tires. I understand there aren't very many Prius owners that purchased this upgrade, as it defeats the whole MPG ethic.

    Car can drive at 80mph, tires very well balanced.

    All four tires show "feathering", both inside and outside edges. Rears are bad enough that they make a rapid "drumming" sound between 54-65 mph, but no wheel hop, or balance issues. I've tried increasing psi to 45/43 f/r, then 40/38f/r, finally back to the suggested 33/32 f/r. (as expected, MPG increased dramatically with increased PSI, with minor comfort decrease).

    Tires have plenty of tread left, and the "feathering" can't be seen, but can be felt on the surface.

    Discount Tire inspected them, saying the uneven wear/drumming will only get worse. Reversing the direction of the tires wouldn't change anything.

    QUESTION: What possibly caused the uneven wear? Underinflation? Frequent rapid cornering? Records show tires were (supposedly) rotated approx. every 5k miles.

    Wondering if this tire just isn't a good fit for this car? Is 33/32 f/r psi too low for even wear? I'd be very happy to keep them at 45/43, as MPG increases dramatically (3-5mpg), and comfort isn't seriously impacted, but the noise is deafening at times..
     
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Have you had a wheel alignment? I'd suggest trying that first and seeing what the before/after measurements are.

    The other thing you suggest "Frequent rapid cornering" - can indeed cause this - particularly if the alignment isn't exact.

    Changing the direction of rotation isn't generally recommended on modern radial tyres.
     
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  3. pianewman

    pianewman Member

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    alanclarkeau: Good advice. I'll be taking the car to an independent Toyota/Lexus shop for an alignment tomorrow. I won't put new tires on w/o making certain about the alignment.

    I also figured hard cornering could be the cause. ALL FOUR tires are feathered, tires were rotated every 5-6k miles.

    I was a new driver during the advent of radial tires, in the early 70s. Early radial tires could possibly have belts separate if the direction was changed. This is no longer the case. In fact on some cars, tire rotation in an "X" pattern is recommended for even tread wear.
     
  4. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    In my experience, reversing the direction of feathered tyres actually makes the noise worse and some tyres are directional so you can't anyhow. Have you checked the tyre pressures, I find at the recommended pressures there appears to be more wear at the edges, especially on the front wheels. I run mine at around 3-5 psi over to counter this.
     
  5. pianewman

    pianewman Member

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    Non-directional tires. I've changed PSI, all the way up to 45psi (51psi is the limit on the sidewall), MPG increased, but noise got worse. I honestly thought a few hundred miles with higher PSI might shave off some ot the offending surface.
    Thanks for your experience about reversing the direction and the noise getting worse.
    Hopefully I'll find the alignment is out, so at least I have an answer.
     
  6. pianewman

    pianewman Member

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    Dealer says alignment was out, but probably not enough to feather the tires. I'll get the numbers next Tuesday.
    They DID find a bent rim, RR, on the inside. When they installed the new tire, it wouldn't seal properly, so it will be replaced under the CPO warranty.
    New tires are smooth, no "drumming" sound. I've got the bent rim temporarily until next Tues...it isn't leaking enough air to be a problem, no major trips planned.
     
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  7. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Today, they don't fly apart, but apparently get a wear pattern for the direction, and I've read that they get a "memory" for which direction they're rotating.
     
  8. pianewman

    pianewman Member

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    ...which is why tires need to be rotated...
     
  9. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Generally keeping the same direction of rotation - though my manual has a cross rotation for cars with a full-size spare - unusually, because a FullSize spare isn't available!!!
     
  10. kithmo

    kithmo Couch Potato

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    I rotated the tyres on my old Gen 3 and it was noisy, didn't on the Prius+ and it was quiet, haven't on my Gen 4 and it's quiet.
    It could be a coincidence, maybe the Gen 3 was inherently noisy.
    Here in the UK we don't normally rotate tyres, the consensus is that more tread on rears is safer.
    Because the fronts wear faster on a front wheel drive car, what we usually do is wear out the fronts, then move the rear tyres to the front and put new tyres on the rear.
    This also has the advantage that we only have to buy two tyres at a time.
    The disadvantage is we sometimes don't have the exact same tyres on the front as on the rear as even same brand and type sometimes change over time, e.g tread pattern, or sometimes the ones you had on are no longer available if you do low miles like me.
     
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  11. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Precisely what I have done for maybe 30 years, definitely safer with the best tyres on the back. But TOYOTA dealer insisted on rotating. FORD Dealer was quite happy to not rotate. I was tempted to un-rotate them, but ... too lazy.
     
  12. pianewman

    pianewman Member

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    I'm 65, owned lots of different cars, tires. I've rotated criss-cross, front/back, or simply ignored the rotation. Every time I ignored tire rotation, especially on FWD cars, I've had to replace tires because of uneven, NOISY tire wear.
    We do a lot of sustained highway miles, and the slightest bit of road noise gets really annoying, and with uneven wear, sustained high speed driving really chews up the tread.
    Rotating tires keeps all the tires happy, wear evenly, and they last longer. FWD cars chew up front tires more than RWD cars.
    I prefer to replace all 4 at once, maybe because I'm OCD????
     
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