By on January 27, 2014

Mike writes:

Sajeev,

Here’s a hot topic for you and the B&B. I have a 2006 Sienna LE (front wheel drive) that has been absolutely bulletproof and reliable for the past 140k miles, except for the tires. I run “all seasons” in the summer and winter tires on separate wheels in the winter. We drive about 10k miles in the summer and another 5-7k in the winter. We live in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

This thing eats any tire that I put on it.

I just took a pair of Cooper CS4s off the front that have less than 11k miles on them and they are completely worn out. I can get three seasons out of a set of 4 winter tires but the summers never last more than one season on the front. I get 20k or so miles from a set of 4. The alignment is good and the wear is very even. Rotating the tires doesn’t change the tire wear, it just delays it. Almost all of the wear occurs when the tire is on the front.

I’ve run Firestone FR710, Yokohama Avid Touring, Dunlop SP, Cooper Lifeliner; and Cooper CS4. They all are load index 98. Granted these aren’t the most expensive tire off the rack but do the ultra expensive high mile tires really last that much longer? All of the tires that I’ve purchased have a “warranty” of 60k miles or so. The CS4 is 80k.

It is a heavy vehicle (nothing mini about this van); my brother joked that maybe I should run LT tires on it. So I’m wondering, should I switch to tires that are marketed for SUVs? Tires in the same size have a load index of 102 so maybe they’d handle the weight better and last longer? They also cost 50% more; will they last 50% longer?

I know everyone has an opinion about tires, perhaps one from the B&B will be the nugget I’m looking for.

Thanks,
Mike

Sajeev answers:

Hell, if my 3200-ish lb Ford Ranger has LT tires (that wear like iron, still looking new after 20,000 miles) why not put them on a minivan that weighs 1000+lbs more???  If you are towing, carry a lot of cargo, etc. then perhaps LT tires are a good idea.

I poked around TireRack.com and found LT’s for both the 16″ or 17″ applications for similar amounts of cash as their passenger car brethren.

But one question remains: tire pressure.  Are you inflating to owner’s manual specifications?  Have you always used the same gauge?  Are you 100% sure that gauge is still accurate? I learned to not trust old gauges the hard way when a bad voltmeter (20+ years old) and the alternator problems with Fords (and lifetime warranty parts) from the 1990s ganged up to lie to me in a most convincing way.

Then again, I’ve fallen for dumber, far more obvious lies. My easily malleable life aside–and even with TPMS in mind–could this be the problem?

Buy a new gauge, the cheap ones (with the super handy magnetic end) at the service counter of Wal-Mart/Autozone will suffice. If the gauges aren’t lying, then get some LT tires.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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44 Comments on “Piston Slap: Burnt Rubber Sienna?...”


  • avatar
    banker43

    I live in the Finger Lakes area and I have the same experience. Run all seasons and winters and I never get the advertised wear out of my tires. I suspect geography. Many hills, many twisty two lane back roads. This is not the mid west. Then again, my driving style may have to do with it. The twisty two lanes are fun!

  • avatar
    troyohchatter

    Curious as to how they are wearing. Completely flat? Edges only? Or Even all the way across. I’d have a good tire/suspension guy look at the tires at about the 5000 mile mark and see what they think.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Do you do tires yourself? Maybe it’s time to go to the tire store and get the experts’ opinions. Otherwise aside from a bad tire pressure gauge, there may be another problem.

  • avatar
    Manic

    All- seasons are usually softer compound i.e. they’ll not last as well as summer tires. If you have real winter tires anyway then why not buy just a summer tires, maybe LT’s.

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      Right on! All- seasons are no good in the winter and no good in the summer and will wear quick when it is warm.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      It’s the other way around. Summer tires are usually designed to wear faster in the summer than all seasons. The tires with the longest wear guarantees are all-seasons. The tire tests I’ve seen on Car and Driver and Edmunds makes me think you’re getting a raw deal for what’s a marginal improvement in dry and wet traction by going summer tires.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    What are your driving habits? Do you coast, or do you have a foot on either the gas or brake at all times? Do you go for jackrabbit starts from a red light?

    Also, how is your brake wear? How often are you going through pads, and rotors?

    I honestly don’t know your driving style, so maybe driving a little less hard stop/go?

    I work at an apartment community, and drive my personal vehicle around the property. For one of my older cars, it led to excessive outer shoulder wear on all of the tires (lots of turning, little/no straight shots of road). As Banker43 said above, maybe it is your geography?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Another thing to check is the alignment. Sounds like too much toe in. So it will be stable and handle like a minivan, but really be needlessly chewing through tires like nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That’s what I’m thinking: combination of a lot of toe (which is probably what the alignment specs call for), and cheaper tires with softer treads. A good high-treadwear LRR tire plus a lesser amount of toe-in should help.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Oddly, my parents had a 2006 Camry Hybrid and it ate tires like it was going out of style as well. They live in Richmond, VA so the terrain is much different but in 30k miles, they went thru two sets of tires and the third set was nearly toast. They always had the car serviced by the dealer and that included tire work. They could never find anything wrong with the car or its suspension components/mountings.

    They tried Cooper, Michelin and Bridgestones (originally equipped) and they all started to flat spot VERY badly and then eventually just wore out within 8k miles of flat-spotting. I’m not sure about the wear pattern but that car was a nightmare for them beyond the tires.

  • avatar
    jberger

    You need a tire that is designed and built for heavier vehicles. Try the Michelin Defender XT, it’s not available everywhere, but they are sold at Costco.
    We’ve got a Nissan Quest which is also a cheap tire eater, but these tires have held up very well.
    We had another set of michelin’s which were not up to the task and were wearing much too quickly, the local michelin rep took a look and recommended this tire instead based on the vehicle weight and type and returned the other set under the factory warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      The driving style and area roads are too much for those tires. Add in almost 4,000 lbs on 215mm width tire like my Mom’s Uplander that goes through the Amish country in Ohio and you’ll right them like she did.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    Are the rims and tires that are going on in the summer the same size/weight rating that the OE has specified for the vehicle? I’m guessing that the summer set of rims are the what came on the vehicle, but if a smaller tire was put on that might be the cause of the wear. I don’t think tire pressure is that big of an issue, otherwise they would be wearing funny. You might also try inflating them above what the door sticker recommends, just as long as you stay below the max psi on the sidewall. Doing so would give you more weight capacity, however the ride would suffer a bit. Truly a curious problem, as it sound like your doing everything right.

  • avatar
    S197GT

    How do you know that the alignment is good? Where did you take it to have it checked? When? Did you get a printout?

    Go somewhere good. Tell them your issue. Tell them you want a printout of the specs. If you have a decent place they will spend a few minutes with you to discuss it and go over the specs. Even if it is within factory specs it could be at an extreme end and they might be willing to make some adjustments. (Specifically check toe-in.)

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Knowing a good frame/suspension shop is a Godsend. So much so that I try and get serious suspension check ups done at my old hometown shop whenever I am there, because I know their quality of work. Doesn’t hurt that the owner remembered me after a three year hiatus, either.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Firstly, there is something seriously wrong with chewing through tires at such a rate without an obvious alignment problem. I’d go a good toyota dealer or an alignment shop. Dig around on forums as well to see if others have a similar issue.

    I’d stay away from LT tires on a van, they will seriously affect ride quality. They’re meant to be put on trucks, and for good reason.

    I’d suggest finding reasonably priced tires at Walmart, signing up for their “unlimited rotations and balancing” warranty (not very expensive), and keeping receipts of all of your timely rotations (5-10k). When the new tires wear out short of the 60k warranty, Walmart will honor the manufacturer’s warranty and hook you up with new tires. No guarantees but I’ve found the Walmart to actually be pretty stand-up about honoring these warranties. Costco runs a similar deal.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      It’s not Wal-mart that honors the warranty actually, it’s the tire manufacturer. Basically any reputable tire shop will honor tire mileage warranties, so long as the customer has their above mentioned tire rotation records etc. The tire shop in turn sends the tires in to the tire manufacturer, or one of their reps, and are later reimbursed.

      As far as the OP is concerned, this sounds like a case of a heavy passenger van on cheap tires with a poor alignment. A nice set of Michelins might set you back a bit more, but they generally ride nicer, quieter and last longer. You get what you pay for sometimes.

  • avatar
    raph

    How often are the tires rotated? FWD vehicles can water the front tires up to 3 times faster compared to a RWD vehicle in the same situation. Also air pressure as suggested is very important. Running 10% low is considered under inflated and 20% is considered critically under inflated.

    The method of measuring tire pressure is important as well. The vehicle placard or owners manual lists a cold inflation pressure. If the vehicle is driven more than a few miles the cold inflation pressure is/no longer applicable when checking air pressure.

    Its best to measure the pressure after the vehicle has sat overnight or 8 hours or more, record the pressures then adjust accordingly at the pump irrespective of the actual pressure after driving for a few miles. If that isn’t possible then adding 2-4 psi over the recommended inflation pressure is the next best solution then let the vehicle sit over night and adjust accordingly.

    Finally it might be/prudent to set pressure based on load. If the vehicle is being habitually overloaded in some fashion then the/tire pressure would need adjusted to compensate for the increased load if the tires are rated for it. If the load exceeds the maximum rated pressure for the tires then something else is called for.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m going to agree with your brother. Try something like the Bridgestone Dueler Rev2 as your all-season and look for a winter tire with a slightly harder compound. Winter tires are made soft to give grip on ice and snow, so they’re guaranteed shorter lifespans than AWs. You’re already playing it smart by having them on separate wheels so swap-out is easier. You might try waiting to swap them until the first snowfall and then a little sooner in the spring.

    The Duelers I mentioned are riding under a Jeep JK Wrangler with about 20K under them right now and still look practically new. Granted, I don’t treat them roughly, but they also take the Jeep off-road on occasion and have still held up well.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      And, if you are going to LT tires, they have just as much variety as passenger car tires by way of summer, “all-season” and winter.

      I know based on size, my brother has Nokian WR G2 “SUV” tires on his 08 Avenger, (17″ rim, tall sidewall). They have worked out well even though they are SUV tires on a car.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Gravel roads eat tires compared to paved roads. I used to be in the tire business, and the only people that ever collected on tread-wear warranties were folks that drove on gravel. Even a gravel driveway or a half mile of gravel road leading to a house was enough to chew through tires that were properly mounted, aligned and inflated.

    All season tires generally last longer than summer tires. They’re made with harder compounds to keep the tread from overheating in spite of the greater void areas that distinguish them as being all-season. The tread-wear index printed on tires is useful for comparing tires within brands. Between brands, it doesn’t mean much since the manufacturers rate the tires themselves. I don’t scrimp on tires. Most Michelins, certain Bridgestones and certain Continentals are the only tires I’d bother with on the street. Discount Tire Direct gives great service and will match Tire Rack’s prices. Make sure you get a tire that comes with a manufacturer tread-wear warranty and they’ll replace them if they wear evenly but prematurely.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Some good advice here. I just default to Michelins now – Pilot Super Sports, Cross Terrains, Latitude Tours, LTXs, etc. – after always regretting going with the budget/value option a few times in the past.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      If you worked at Michelin, there’s a good statistical chance you’ve spoken to me. When I worked help desk, I got a chance to speak to a lot of great people there.

      Unless you were that sales guy in Earth Movers. Apparently reputed to be their number one sales person in North America. He probably single handedly moved $100M a year in tires, but was totally abusive to the frontline staff. I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with his N number much during most of my time there.

  • avatar
    IndianaDriver

    I always overinflate tires by 4-6 lbs. during the Winter to deal with the cold air changes and lower pressures that go along with it. It helps keep the tires up to prevent excess wear and flats from potholes. In a cold climate, if you go with the long wear tires, you will get rubber that gets hard and slick in the Winter. I found a good balance with Michelin LTX M/S tires. I know they are mainly for SUVs, but you might be able to find your size for the Sienna.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I second the SUV/crossover tire recommendation. We recently put a set of Firestone Destination LE2 on our 2011 Odyssey after suffering through over 40K on the OE Michelin touring tires. It’s louder inside, but it also handles better and has far better wet traction. Had the same Firestones on our Pilot (which is a minivan plus marketing after all).

    Did your tires wear evenly? Ours did not, but the tire shop said that they could not get the camber back to spec on their alignment rack.

    Should mention that the van spends most of its time in Florida, YMMV.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Something is definitely wrong with your van. My buddies 2005 4500 LB Buick Terrazza has used the same Cooper CS4 tires and went nearly 50k on those with normal 6-8K tire rotation and we live in similar extreme cold Winter and hot Summer conditions.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I’m going to jump in here as we bought my 83 year old Mother a used Sienna to haul my walking challenged stepfather. A low miles 2004(?) that we ran through the Toyota maintenance list – timing belt, water pump, new wheel bearings, rotors, pads, shoes, alignment, etc. The new Toyo’s were the last piece. Twenty thousand miles later, they looked as though a drag-racing teenager had owned the car. I have schooled (and paid) the local full-service station to check air pressure once a month and all others as needed. It took them 38 months to put 20,000 miles on it, yet I wouldn’t pay low book for it now, even though I know it has been babied.I live in temperate Oregon, while Mom lives in frigid southern Alberta at 4000 feet elevation. Any suggestions will be appreciated by the elderly Canadian faction.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      If this is a systemic issue with that generation Sienna, it could indeed be a factory toe spec to blame that essentially causes the tires to scrub while driving. The BMW E39 had the same issue in the rear due to the factory toe spec.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’m running Cooper all-seasons on my Element, can’t recall which model. They’re warrantied for 70,000 miles, now at nearly 60K they’re still in great shape. And that’s without regular rotating, as the shop I bought them at closed down a few years ago. Granted your Sienna is heavier, but something ain’t right.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I don’t always trust alignment shops. Best to verify to some extent. You can take rough measurements yourself to see where your toe and camber are at. I had done it myself on a Lexus IS I had that would not keep a tire more than 10K miles. The specs were super aggressive on the camber and toe and sure, it handled like hell but chewed up tires like crazy. Every shop said the alignment was ok (for drifting!) and that they were set per manufact specs. So I did rough measurements on the toe and camber and then went back to the shop and asked that both of these adjustments be more “neutral”. While it didn’t handle like it did before at least it didn’t chew tires like it did.

    I used fishing line for the toe and a level for the camber. Not exactly scientific but I was able to see a problem.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Doesn’t make sense.
    The treadwear rating is 780 meaning it should go to the 80K warranty distance.
    Likely alignment issues.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    There could be a huge list of possible issues:

    * Your list of tires aren’t exactly premium, softer compounds that typically wear faster (although the Cooper CS4 and the Yoko Avid Touring aren’t crap)

    * Tire pressure, under or over-inflated tires wear faster – what is the wear pattern? Under inflated tires will wear prematurely on the outer edges (the inner part of the tire pulls “up” off the road) while over inflated tires will wear at the center (the tire bulges).

    * Rotation interval, as a FWD van naturally most of the wear will be on the tires up front. Increasing the rotation interval will help with this. Are you just seeing wear, or are your tires also cupped? Excessive wear coupled with cupping on the drive wheels can indicate not rotating enough (some tires tend to cup a lot more than others)

    * Rotation dynamics, lots of toe in will eat up tires

    * Does your steering feel sloppy? Does the nose “bounce” like a boat over bumps? Your alignment could be good (relatively speaking), your rotation could be proper, your pressure could be right, but if you’re struts, springs, bushings, suspension hard points, or steering rack (or combination there of) are shot, it will eat tires. Do you have squeaks, groans, struts topping out over bumps and potholes, or other noises that indicate something is worn out? An eight year old suspension is going to start get tired regardless of manufacturer and the impact is insidious, it changes so subtlety over time you may not even notice there is a problem until after larger repairs are done. A search on the internet shows a handful of complaints of premature wear on tie rod ends for the ’06 Sienna – it is the internet, take it with a big grain of salt as there are likely many other Siennas without the same problem. Again, uneven wear, cupping of the tread, can indicate larger issues up front.

    * What surfaces do you drive on? There are regional impacts based on surface, temperature, and road conditions that will wear out tires faster than other settings

    * How do you drive? Even if you’re not laying rubber at every traffic light, aggressive braking, turning, and pedal to the floor starts adds wear on everything

    * Are you the only driver? Is the van shared with others? If it is are you sure THEY aren’t driving it hard?

    * Are you doing severe duty? Frequently carrying seven humans and their stuff, pulling trailers, delivery work under load, or other activity that adds weight to the Sienna?

    If I were to bet on this list – I’m going to guess something bigger is wrong with the suspension – either lots of toe in on the alignment or something wore out prematurely and you’ve been “working” around it or not noticing the play in the front suspension.

  • avatar
    Rday

    the sienna will not get you good tire mileage. the way the suspension is designed is the problem. My dealer told me that the suspension is designed for soft ride which is just great for me. tire wear is accelerated. Said 20-30 K is about normal no matter which tire you buy. His advice was to not buy the most expensive tires for the Sienna.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    I think there must be more to this story. Rotation every 5,000 miles is a must and with non-directional tires, a forward cross pattern is usually best. The first thing I’d do is get a BETTER alignment guy. I’m just northwest of you in the Buffalo area and a lot of the Dunn Tires have techs that do alignments by the thousands and practically know the specs in their heads.

    I’ve got 45,000 on the Pirelli Scorpions on my wife’s VW Tiguan with the 5K/forward cross mentality and they are still at 6/32nds. LT tires are an idea to be considered, however. 50,000 miles on my Michelin LTXs on my Ridgeline and still at 6 to 7/32nds. Also Toyo Open Country H/Ts are a good LT tire with excellent wear.

    I still suspect some type of alignment issue. I doesn’t take much to effect tire wear.

  • avatar
    AllThumbs

    My wife has an 05 Sienna. We bought it used and put 20k on the old tires without much problem. Then we replaced them and the front ones were quite worn after only 10k miles. With rotation and realignment, the wear on the “new” front tires seems back to normal. Still, it’s clear to me, anyway, that the car does go through front tires fast. The only thing I’ve seen like it is back tires on my BMW…

    We bought our tires at Costco. Mystery to me why anyone would buy anywhere else if a reasonable tire is available, since they offer every kind of guarantee, free rotation and repair, and they’re much cheaper than even mail order tires.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    I have seen steering in a smaller radius to have a big influence on tire wear.

    First take into consideration that in tight corners the radius of the two tires may not be correct due to the steering geometry. If that is the case then the two steering tires are working against each other in sharp turns resulting in scrubbing the tires. Did you ever hear someone parking using a tight radius and you can hear the tires lightly squealing? What to do? Plan your parking and driveway turns to widen the turn radius. This also makes CV joints live longer.

    Second, you should never turn the steering wheel unless you start moving. Then turn it slowly. So not having the vehicle moving and turning the wheel will also scrub the tires.

    The wife would drive the car in this manner around town and I went through front tires regularly. We then gave the car to my son for college and he drove it long distances on the highway. The tires lasted 4x better than before.

  • avatar
    MGS1995

    OP here; Wow, a lot of good information. I think the factory specs for toe-in might the nugget. As a few of you noted, this van does potentially have some issues. You don’t have to search very far in the Sienna forum to realize that the Sienna might have a chronic tire wear problem. The AWD with 17″ run-flats is worse but many FWD owners also report excessive tire wear.

    First some answers:
    The wear is very even. If you squint, you might be able to convince yourself that the outside wear is a bit more. Perhaps a 32nd or so.

    My wife drives it most of the time; she doesn’t do smokey burnouts but she doesn’t get in anyone’s way either. So driving style could be a small component.

    I’m using 8 OEM steelies with the OEM tire size of 215/65-16. Most of the tires that I have tried have a load index of 98; that’s higher than the factory recommended 96.

    I’ve been running the recommended 35psi. I have a few very good gauges and their readings all agree. Perhaps I should try 38 or 40.

    I’ve never looked at the numbers but have had it aligned, most recently when I replaced the struts when one started leaking at around 100k miles.

    So, this spring I’ll buy 4 new tires (not sure what but it will have a 102 load index) and have an alignment done with special focus on setting the toe-in at the lower end of the spec.

    Thanks to all!

  • avatar
    css28

    The effective toe-in on front drive cars can vary substantially with the dynamics of driving. Accelerating tends to pull the control arms forward, toeing in more–decelerating is the opposite.
    Can the bushings in the control arms be replaced with stiffer ones? It might help.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Will also reiterate the “Siennas eat tires” comment. I have a coworker with a pretty big family and an 06ish FWD Sienna and he hasn’t ever made a tire last the tread wear warranty period. My local tire shop said the rear suspension on Siennas doesn’t hold factory spec very long, and he deliberately puts them at the edge of spec against the usual wear patterns.

    My 2011 AWD Sienna chewed through those godawful 18″ Bridgestone run-flat things in less than 20k miles (when the first set was 7/8 worn, had one get a flat and had to get tires for a trip the next day, so got another set of the stock run-flats. Nearly corded out in 18k miles). The flip side is, I run 17″ Nokian Hakka SUV XL (extra load) rated snows on it, and those have more than 30k miles and are at about 6/32. They’re kind of noisy, but in the cold weather, they wear better than the summer tires.

    Another thing to note, on the 2011+ AWD Sienna, there was a quiet program to apply new GVW stickers on the vehicles with lower load ratings, and some owners with factory tow hitches and/or factory cargo cubbies in the back have received XL rated tires free. I tried that, but since my trailer hitch was aftermarket, all they would do was put the downgrade sticker on the door frame. I don’t have hard data, but I think the current generation Sienna is operating too close to its design limits off the showroom floor, so when the vehicle is loaded, it’s really overloaded. I’ve also noticed my brake rotors get “warped” (glazed) pretty easily, which speaks to being under-braked.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Another Sienna owner here, a 2008. Yes, they eat tires. Factory Bridgestone EL42′s made it 23K; the first set of Michelin HydroEdges failed between 30 and 45K; now on the second set (replaced under warranty) and they seem to be doing a little better, if not likely to make the full 80K or more they are warranted for. We’re religious about inflation and balancing, so there are clearly some issues with the vehicle itself. Mind you, I’ll take the extra tire costs given the overall reliability, hauling capacity, more than adequate power, and the relaxing nature of the Sienna’s highway ride. Still, I am on your side in that any improvement would be helpful. I’m going to have to look into this ‘toe-in’ thing…but am doubtful the load capacity is the issue. We’re losing tread, not blowing out sidewalls.

    • 0 avatar
      fiasco

      My wear is definitely toward the outer edges of the tread, the “shoulder” area, if you will. But really only with the Bridgestone run-flats. I can’t say that I’m great at keeping the pressures checked, but I could be worse. The tires do get rotated every 5k miles.

      My Nokian snows are nearing the end of their effective life as a snow tire (no abnormal wear, just miles), so I may just burn them off over the summer, get new snows in the fall and avoid the summer tire issue until 2015 (the Sienna turned 75k miles tonight — 34 months from new, but isn’t racking as many miles with the addition of a low-mileage 97 Volvo to the fleet for highway commuter duty). I do think my next set of summer tires will be XL rated.

  • avatar
    baggins

    I have a 2004 that I have had since new. I always get check tire pressure, always get aligned, rotate, etc. Tried several different brands.

    Siennas just eat those 215/65s. 20k is about all I ever get.

    That’s just the way it is.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    I am in the Buffalo area, have a 2007 FWD Limited that’s the same color as your LE. It runs 225/60-17s. I replaced the terrible OEM Dunlops with Yoko Avid ENVigors in the stock size, and got around 40k out of them, which is what I expected with a performance-biased AS tire on the heavy vehicle.

    Take it to a good alignment shop that is willing to go to the low side of the spec for toe, and run 37 psi rather than the factory-spec 35, but yes…I agree with others that with 215/65-16s, it’s somewhat under-tired. The combo of 10mm wider tread and a shorter sidewall that rolls over less and allows less squirm with the 17-inchers makes a big difference. I also notice that the 17″ tire on the 2011 MY redesign version (that is no heavier than the older version) went up to a 235 section…draw your own conclusions.

  • avatar
    JREwing

    FWIW, my 60-something parents have owned a ’04 Sienna since new. They went 70,000+ miles on the original set of 16-inch Michelins before replacing them (they’re at 88,000 miles now). They have a 3/4 mile stretch of gravel road between them and the nearest paved road.

    They’re retired, and rarely venture beyond two-lane country roads and small-town streets in their travels. They don’t encounter a lot of hills or curves. They’ve kept up with tire rotations, alighments, and checking tire pressures. They also happen to rarely have the van fully-loaded (and it’s a very lightly-optioned LE trim, so curb weight is at the low end of the range).

    Driving style and environment apparently has a lot to do with tire life on the Sienna.

    Probably the only other vehicle similarly under-tired I’ve driven was a ’88 Corsica with the V6 and 185/80R13 tires. Lighting up the front tires from a stop was obscenely easy.


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