Tread Squirm or Thin Side Walls?

Messages
132
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Hi everyone, Can anyone tell me how to tell the difference in car movements caused by tire tread squirm, resulting from tall treads in a new tire, and thin sidewalls? This has a lot to do with the Falken Ziex 512s I bought earlier late last year to replace my stock Michelin HXMXM4s. I had the OEM Michelins inflated to 45/40PSI front/rear, and have the 512s inflated to the same pressures. With the 512s, I found turn-in initiation to be exceptionally poor. On the highway, the car feels like its fishtailing when a turn is initiated and finished. I get the feeling like the car is drifting and wandering around, especially when a sudden lane change is required. This is a very annoying feeling which has made me regret my purchase. Other than this trait, the tire does have redeeming qualities. Off the line the tire hooks up well in both dry and wet pavement. Also, aside from the initial turn-in, the tire hangs on during cornering very well with little to no squeal. Best of all the tire NEVER hydroplanes. What is escaping me, however, is the cause of the soft mushy initial turn-ins. Is it caused simply by the tall new treads, thereby causing tire squirm, or is it because of thin sidewalls? If it is the tall treads, can I expect the squirminess to diminish as the tire ages? The stock OEM Michelins, that the 512s replaced, were barely adequate on dry, however, were horrible on wet and snow, and had that annoying chirping/squeeling that we've all come to know. IMO, at least they felt more sure in the beginning and end of turns and gave me a somewhat more confident feeling during high-speed lane changes. I've had the 512s on now for 11000km. I'd like to reserve judgement until I've had a chance to digest your comments. Has anyone had these experiences with the 512s and can anyone comment on the sidewalls/tire squirm issue? Thanks! Regards, AJW
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,959
Location
The Motor City
Your post reminds me of an advetisement I saw in a 50-60 year old magazine, where the tire manufacturer claimed that during acceleration, the tired tread would bunch up and form a zig-zag pattern for more traction in the forward direction. Same for braking. I believe it's normal for a car to behave squirrely as you described, when going from worn tires to new treads. I think this is discussed on Tirerack.com.
 
Messages
23,591
Tread squirm is mostly due to the deeper tread depth of new tires. Sorta like wearing high heels versus sneakers? [Wink] The other factor is that new tires have no yet broken in. The tread block will adjust themselves over time. That's why mounting a tire so that it will rotate in the other direction will cause higher wear until, the tread blocks once again adjust themselves to the new direction of rotation.
 
Messages
783
Location
Austin Texas
Is your inflation pressure really 45F/40R? Is this hot or cold? This seems really high (if cold)--I like to come off the race track with 40 PSI in my tires, and this leads to a cold tire pressure of 33 PSI for my S03s. If 45/40 really is the tire pressure, you might be running only on the centers of the tread. Is there some reason a lower tire pressure won't work?
 

ajwan

Thread starter
Messages
132
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Don't know how many plies the sidewall has as the website (www.falkentire.com) does not specify. I have these tires mounted on my 2002 Acura RSX Type-S. Tire size is 205/55/R16 and is V-rated
 
Messages
102
Location
WI
I commend you for having the patience of going 11K km on those horrid feeling tires. I only endured less than half that; slooooooooow turn in, unstable feeling during cornering and just plain yawing, whether on straights or turns, what made me get rid of them. Never again will I buy tires recommended by Consumer Reports. You get what you pay for. Oh yes, it's sidewall flex. Go to a tire shop and squeeze the sidewalls of unmounted 512s vs. other brands of the same size and see what you think. [ May 04, 2006, 06:20 PM: Message edited by: ccs2k1 ]
 

ajwan

Thread starter
Messages
132
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
quote:
I commend you for having the patience of going 11K km on those horrid feeling tires. I only endured less than half that because of slooooooooow turn in, instability sense during cornering and just plain yawing whether on striaghts or turns that made me get rid of them. Never again will I buy tires recommended by Consumer Reports. You get what you pay for. Oh yes, it's sidewall flex. Go to a tire shop and squeeze the sidewalls of unmounted 512s vs. other brands of the same size and see what you think.
So what did you end up going with for replacements? What car do you have and size are you running? Any comments about your replacements?
 
Messages
262
Location
Michigan
Unless I'm mistaken, it should say on the sidewall how many plies the sidewall has. But at any rate, like ccs2k1 said, it sounds like sidewall flex.
 
Messages
102
Location
WI
Sorry, I can't help you there. I ended buying a second set of snow tires and replaced the 512s with a set of summer tires.
 

ajwan

Thread starter
Messages
132
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
quote:
Unless I'm mistaken, it should say on the sidewall how many plies the sidewall has. But at any rate, like ccs2k1 said, it sounds like sidewall flex.
I'll check it out tonight.
 
Messages
102
Location
WI
When you get a chance, go out to your car and just push sideways on the fender and see how much the entire car moves (1-2 inches in my case). Just imagine the flex at speed...
 
Messages
3,939
Location
Somewhere in the US
I'm with Mitch - too much pressure. What may be happening is that the tire is slghtly arched and when you turn in, the tire kind of rolls onto the outside half of the tread and then it grips - until the turn is finished then it rolls back - giving you an uneasy feel when that happens I suggest you take 5 psi out and see what happens.
 
Messages
102
Location
WI
My experience: nothing will happen. I tried from the manufacturer suggested 32 psi all the way to 48 psi on the 512s. At the higher pressures the turn in was *slightly* improved, but nowhere near what I deemed acceptable.
 

ajwan

Thread starter
Messages
132
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
CapriRacer, I considered your's and others theory on overinflation a while back and experimented with the air pressures. At 45/40 PSI front/rear, I'm reasonably sure that the tires are not arching based on the dust marks deposited by the tires in my garage. The whole width of the tires appears to be used. I'm witn you CCS2k1, I've also tried experimenting with the tire pressures to no avail. What summers are you using then? From what I've observed, I would suggest that the Falken 512's are good tires for the AVERAGE vehicle and probably not meant for a sports coupe. Thanks y'all!
 
Messages
40,716
Location
Great Lakes
quote:
Originally posted by ajwan: From what I've observed, I would suggest that the Falken 512's are good tires for the AVERAGE vehicle and probably not meant for a sports coupe.
Honestly, expecting sportiness/performance out of an all-season tire was a mistake in the first place. But then again, the HX MXM4 is a grand touring all-season tire as well and it appears you liked it better, so I don't know. For the ultimate sidewall stiffness and quick steering response, I would recommend Bridgestone S03. Just don't expect much in the way of comfort and long treadlife.
 

ajwan

Thread starter
Messages
132
Location
Vancouver, BC, Canada
quote:
Honestly, expecting sportiness/performance out of an all-season tire was a mistake in the first place. But then again, the HX MXM4 is a grand touring all-season tire as well and it appears you liked it better, so I don't know. For the ultimate sidewall stiffness and quick steering response, I would recommend Bridgestone S03. Just don't expect much in the way of comfort and long treadlife.
Point well taken. The only thing the HXMXM4s had over the 512s was a stiffer sidewall. In all other aspects the 512s were superior. When I lived in Ottawa ON last year, I had dedicated winters (Toyo Observe Garits) that I had on my car for a good 4 months of the year. I've since moved to Vancouver, BC where the winters are much milder. Here, I had the Toyos on for only 1 week during a brief spell below 32F(OC). It rains here a lot, hence my need for a good responsive 3 season tire. Regards, AJW
 
Messages
102
Location
WI
QP, honestly, I think it's irresponsible for Falken to call the 512s UHPAS. This tire barely qualifies as an all season touring. If you want all season, these are a few tires people seem to have had good results (though not my own experience): Toyo Proxes 4 $ Bridgestone Turanza LS-V $$$ Michelin Pilot Sport A/S $$$$ ajwan, because of having to buy a set of winters, I went "cheap" with Fuzion ZRi (I spent about US$1700 in wheels and tires in a 5 month period, but "recovered" $250 by dumping the 512s...). For the price, they have provided grat value, and my only complaints are that they have a very noisy drone below 45 mph and the tramming over every road imperfection.
 
Messages
40,716
Location
Great Lakes
Thanks for the link. Yeah, that's odd. But then again, unless there are some strict standards and metrics that stipulate what constitutes a UHP tire, it's still just realm of marketing. I haven't owned the 512, but from all I've read and heard, it doesn't appear to be anywhere close to tires like Michelin Pilot Sport A/S which is in the same general category.
 
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