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Help! Alignment Issues And I Need Some Advice!


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#1 lexusIS72

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:15 AM

I need some advice from ANYONE who has heard anything similar about what I am going through with my IS250. I have had problem after problem with this car and I am about to pull my hair out!! The car is an '07 with 27k miles on it. I am currently in need of my THIRD set of tires on the front and am on my second set on the back. Let me first mention that I do not drive this car hard.....never over 70mph and I baby it to the point of ridiculousness. Anyway, we took the car back to the dealership when it had less than 10,000 miles on it because although there was very little wear on the back tires, the front tires were cupped so extremely that the road noise was horrendous and it felt as if the vehicle was out of alignment. Anyway, the lexus dealership argued that the vehicle met specs, and it could not be an alignment issue. They suggested that we contact the tire manufacturer because the tires were probably defective. We argued back and to make a long story short, lexus put two new tires on the front and "fixed" the alignment problem (that they originally said did not exist). We've heard the whole "they are sport performance tires, so don't expect them to last much more than 15,000 miles" but I just took the vehicle by a shop yesterday and once again the front two tires are not worn excessively, but excessively cupped unevenly and need to be replaced. This repair shop checked the alignment and although it read to be within lexus's specs, we were told that it is so close to being out of spec that I will never be able to keep tires on the car because of the camber (not sure if I am explaining this just right). They also told us there is no way to repair this issue by just "aligning" the vehicle. Now I am in the process of contacting Lexus again, but I am afraid that what I'll hear is....the vehicle meets specs, end of story. I am just SICK thinking that my first "luxury" car will be one that will cost me a small fortune in tires and drives worse than our Chevy Pickup that has 200k miles on it!! Not to mention I've had MANY other trips to the shop with this thing.....squeaky dash that had to be removed, rotting trim around windshield, etc. If anyone can give me ANY advice on what to do at this point I would GREATLY appreciate it! Thanks in advance!

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#2 tex2670

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:26 AM

Wish I could help, but I cannot. But--I just can't believe you have never driven it over 70! I have a hard time staying under 85 on the highway. LOL.

Good luck.

#3 clay1

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:32 AM

Now I have had my fair share of issues with the car. But none of the ones you are speaking of. I have an 07 250 AWD. All stock rims with original factory Dunlop Tires. I too understood (after I bought the car) that the tires might only last 25K. But the surprise is this. I drive 80% highway and baby the thing like you. I have 48,000 Miles on the original tires and it looks like I will get to 60K. The only reason I had one replaced was a blow out on a pot hole (yesterday). I have had two alignments, but mostly due to pot holes again. So in short, unfortunately, I think there is something seriously wrong with your car. If you are in-warranty and the dealer is giving you blow back, go to a different dealer. The service department at my dealership had been very responsive to the variety of other issues that I have had with the car.

#4 lexusIS72

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:43 AM

Wish I could help, but I cannot. But--I just can't believe you have never driven it over 70! I have a hard time staying under 85 on the highway. LOL.

Good luck.



No seriously, my children call me the "grandma" driver.....I'm a female, a teacher, and my husband laughed when I wanted this car!! I just like the looks of it..... ;)

#5 bartkat

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:59 AM

Cupping and flat spotting can be the result of shock or other suspension problems that let the tires bounce on the highway.

#6 lexusIS72

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:27 PM

I need some advice from ANYONE who has heard anything similar about what I am going through with my IS250. I have had problem after problem with this car and I am about to pull my hair out!! The car is an '07 with 27k miles on it. I am currently in need of my THIRD set of tires on the front and am on my second set on the back. Let me first mention that I do not drive this car hard.....never over 70mph and I baby it to the point of ridiculousness. Anyway, we took the car back to the dealership when it had less than 10,000 miles on it because although there was very little wear on the back tires, the front tires were cupped so extremely that the road noise was horrendous and it felt as if the vehicle was out of alignment. Anyway, the lexus dealership argued that the vehicle met specs, and it could not be an alignment issue. They suggested that we contact the tire manufacturer because the tires were probably defective. We argued back and to make a long story short, lexus put two new tires on the front and "fixed" the alignment problem (that they originally said did not exist). We've heard the whole "they are sport performance tires, so don't expect them to last much more than 15,000 miles" but I just took the vehicle by a shop yesterday and once again the front two tires are not worn excessively, but excessively cupped unevenly and need to be replaced. This repair shop checked the alignment and although it read to be within lexus's specs, we were told that it is so close to being out of spec that I will never be able to keep tires on the car because of the camber (not sure if I am explaining this just right). They also told us there is no way to repair this issue by just "aligning" the vehicle. Now I am in the process of contacting Lexus again, but I am afraid that what I'll hear is....the vehicle meets specs, end of story. I am just SICK thinking that my first "luxury" car will be one that will cost me a small fortune in tires and drives worse than our Chevy Pickup that has 200k miles on it!! Not to mention I've had MANY other trips to the shop with this thing.....squeaky dash that had to be removed, rotting trim around windshield, etc. If anyone can give me ANY advice on what to do at this point I would GREATLY appreciate it! Thanks in advance!



OK...we just talked to lexus. They pulled the file on the previous problems with the car, compared the specs we got yesterday with the last specs they had on the alignment, and simply said, "Bring it in, we will check it out thoroughly, and we will replace the two front tires again." In my opinion, if they put up no fight whatsoever in replacing the tires, then they must believe that there is truly some issue with the vehicle. Not sure if this is good or bad, but I guess we'll see. Also, they said while the vehicle is there they need to replace another part that has been RECALLED!! Something about fuel pipes that are eroding due to ethanol in gasoline. So.....if you have an IS, you might want to check this out...........

#7 lexusIS72

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:31 PM

OK...we just talked to lexus. They pulled the file on the previous problems with the car, compared the specs we got yesterday with the last specs they had on the alignment, and simply said, "Bring it in, we will check it out thoroughly, and we will replace the two front tires again." In my opinion, if they put up no fight whatsoever in replacing the tires, then they must believe that there is truly some issue with the vehicle. Not sure if this is good or bad, but I guess we'll see. Also, they said while the vehicle is there they need to replace another part that has been RECALLED!! Something about fuel pipes that are eroding due to ethanol in gasoline. So.....if you have an IS, you might want to check this out...........
[/quote]


Here is more info that I just found on this recall...

http://pressroom.toy...ety-recall.aspx

#8 nick07

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:24 PM

I have a IS250 that had a front end alignment problem also. The lexus service people said that the front end is aligned for handling and performance. The front tires were wearing on the inside edges. They did the alignment under warranty but I had to buy two new front tires. This was done back in November and so far the tires still look good. The car has about 21k on it now.

#9 gordonw

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:37 PM

If Lexus or the Lexus dealer is willing, I would recommend having them put on different tires, preferrably non oem. Not sure what you have, as the car came with either Bridgestones or Dunlops.

#10 smooth1

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:27 PM

I need some advice from ANYONE who has heard anything similar about what I am going through with my IS250. I have had problem after problem with this car and I am about to pull my hair out!! The car is an '07 with 27k miles on it. I am currently in need of my THIRD set of tires on the front and am on my second set on the back. Let me first mention that I do not drive this car hard.....never over 70mph and I baby it to the point of ridiculousness. Anyway, we took the car back to the dealership when it had less than 10,000 miles on it because although there was very little wear on the back tires, the front tires were cupped so extremely that the road noise was horrendous and it felt as if the vehicle was out of alignment. Anyway, the lexus dealership argued that the vehicle met specs, and it could not be an alignment issue. They suggested that we contact the tire manufacturer because the tires were probably defective. We argued back and to make a long story short, lexus put two new tires on the front and "fixed" the alignment problem (that they originally said did not exist). We've heard the whole "they are sport performance tires, so don't expect them to last much more than 15,000 miles" but I just took the vehicle by a shop yesterday and once again the front two tires are not worn excessively, but excessively cupped unevenly and need to be replaced. This repair shop checked the alignment and although it read to be within lexus's specs, we were told that it is so close to being out of spec that I will never be able to keep tires on the car because of the camber (not sure if I am explaining this just right). They also told us there is no way to repair this issue by just "aligning" the vehicle. Now I am in the process of contacting Lexus again, but I am afraid that what I'll hear is....the vehicle meets specs, end of story. I am just SICK thinking that my first "luxury" car will be one that will cost me a small fortune in tires and drives worse than our Chevy Pickup that has 200k miles on it!! Not to mention I've had MANY other trips to the shop with this thing.....squeaky dash that had to be removed, rotting trim around windshield, etc. If anyone can give me ANY advice on what to do at this point I would GREATLY appreciate it! Thanks in advance!


Welcome to the LOC.

I'm sorry your having these issues, but I think I can help.

When you say cupped, or feathered? or ribbed? Do you or the person who told you they were cupped know what the differences are? Or are you using this word just as an adjective to describe what you see on the tires? Can you take a pic of the tires and post it so I can see? The reason I ask this is because each one of those are caused solely by on setting or another. And when you add in the tire pressure and how high or low can effect those, then by looking at the tire, l would be able to tell you exactly what the problem is. For example, if it's feathering the tread, that would point to a toe in issue, and should just be adjusted in the alignment settings. But if you check the specs, and it comes up within spec, then that would suggest that the bushings in the front suspension were beginning to fail. As when the car is at rest, theres not any load on the suspension,(would read within spec.) but as the car was accelerating and braking causing the suspension to over sag, and dip.(Now out of spec most of the time) If it was indeed cupped, then that's not an alignment issue and the dealer is correct in saying the car is within spec. Cupping comes from issues with any one of or combination of spring, shock, ball joint, wheel bearing, etc. So checking and rechecking the alignment for a cupping issue is pretty useless.

#11 smooth1

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 08:08 PM

My wife's 2006 IS250 came with Bridgestone Potenza's. They were cupped before 20K miles. The dealer rebalanced them every 5K miles, but they made noise. I left them on until 37K miles. There was some abnormal wear on the passenger side and more abnormal wear on the driver's side. I decided NOT to have an alignment job done since the abnormal wear was not bad and the steering was perfect.

My wife is a very easy driver, and 90% of her driving miles are on the freeway. This car has been meticulously maintained, and we don't have bad roads here that she drives on.

It's ridiculous that this vehicle has a problem with alignments or tire wear!! These vehicles are a luxury sport -4-door sedan, NOT a race car for the track. It's absurd that Lexus would put tires on street vehicle that only get 15K to 20K miles before there's a wear problem!! Now, if you are driving into curbs and over pot holes, then you might have a problem.

In my opinion the Potenza's are terrible street tires for the average daily driver, and it's a big mistake that Lexus decided that the car needs more "traction"!!! Personally, I think it's just another way for the Lexus dealers to bend you over while they smile, offer you a bottle of water, and warm up your credit card! I would not buy another set of Bridgestone Potenzas for her car. I did a little research and decided to go with Continental ExtremContracts and they have been great so far... way smoother and quieter than the Potenzas.

What do you think is the construction difference that made the conti's better than the Bridgestones?[/code]

Because the tires cannot be rotated front to back like a car with the same size tires on the front and back, this causes some issues with allowing the tires to "balance" the wear patterns.

In my opinion, balancing these tires is critical for extended tire mileage. Bad struts/shocks can also effect tire wear, but usually it's out of balance conditions - bent rims or out of round tires, that can induce the cupping effect on normal street tires. Keeping these tires properly inflated is also critical. Your Lexus dealer should have checked the struts and determined if there is a mechanical failure in the front suspension or steering system.
[code=auto:0] You actually have this backwards. Balance and out of round issues cause vibrations. I've always thought of these as the problem, not the cause for other problems. These are easily measured by computer spin balancing, or road force balancing for roundness. But neither of these cause cupping. Bad struts/shocks are the cause for cupping.


After your Lexus dealer does their thing, I would have a highly reputable independent specialty shop check the alignment. Then have a quality tire shop do a balance job and have them check for bent wheels or out of concentric wheels. Then see what happens.

Actually, this is better advice in a round about way. Most dealers don't have a road force balancer. They aren't in the tire business, and these are expensive machines. But even the most expensive machine can only fix the correctly diagnosed problem. If it's cupping, that's a suspension component issue, and the dealer should be attending to this, but if its feathering then the tire pros should be able to dial that in as well as any dealer, provided they are good also. Keep in mind that the IS models don't even have any camber adjustments available stock. Although I think the AWD does for some reason.


I've had several tires over the years that turned out to be out of round. Once, the tire store Manager said "it's within specs"..... to that I said "I don't give a ripp'n flip about your "specs"... the tires are out of round and causing a vibration on the freeway.... I WANT NEW TIRES!!

For most consumers, it's not a big deal to them, so alot of tire shops get away with this. Frequently. I only do business with tire shops that do road force balancing. It's more work for them, as they have to mount the tire, spin it up and measure it, then in some cases, stop, dismount the tire and rotate it on the rim 180 degrees, then remount it, and balance it from there. But I'm much more involved than most I would venture to guess.


That's just my worthless opinion.



#12 greentingray

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 08:27 PM

You are correct this car is a real lemon, I have 07 is250 awd 31,000 miles third set of tires. They wear out on the inside, and the dealer tries to tell you it a performance car bull. This car is poorly designed, thats why there are so many complaints on this site, brakes, tires, transmission, rattles. My newest problem is that when its cold outside below freezing the engine sounds like its going to blow up, tappit noise it really bad. Thankfully its a lease and there is not much more to go, just got my recall notice, I would never buy a foriegn car again.

#13 paradigm

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 11:16 PM

You are correct this car is a real lemon, I have 07 is250 awd 31,000 miles third set of tires. They wear out on the inside, and the dealer tries to tell you it a performance car bull. This car is poorly designed, thats why there are so many complaints on this site, brakes, tires, transmission, rattles. My newest problem is that when its cold outside below freezing the engine sounds like its going to blow up, tappit noise it really bad. Thankfully its a lease and there is not much more to go, just got my recall notice, I would never buy a foriegn car again.


people that don't have problems don't usually post. i would hardly consider a handful...even a dozen complaints on a few sites an accurate representation of the tens of thousands of vehicles sold. sorry you've had issues with your 250. it sounds like you've made up your mind to go domestic...hopefully you find what you're looking for. enjoy!

#14 bartkat

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 12:37 AM

You are correct this car is a real lemon, I have 07 is250 awd 31,000 miles third set of tires. They wear out on the inside, and the dealer tries to tell you it a performance car bull. This car is poorly designed, thats why there are so many complaints on this site, brakes, tires, transmission, rattles. My newest problem is that when its cold outside below freezing the engine sounds like its going to blow up, tappit noise it really bad. Thankfully its a lease and there is not much more to go, just got my recall notice, I would never buy a foriegn car again.


That noise is the timing chain and is covered by a TSB that's been out for a long time now.

But you are right, in 50 years of owning new cars I never had a minute's trouble with a Ford or Chevy. :rolleyes:

#15 smooth1

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 07:12 AM

Hi Smoothie,

Tire differences...?

I assume by the tread life ratings, that the Contis are a slightly different compound and have a better wear factor. Also, there is a difference in the tread pattern. But, so far, there is a distinct difference.

This was just a genuine question.



"Actually, this is better advice in a round about way. Most dealers don't have a road force balancer. They aren't in the tire business, and these are expensive machines. But even the most expensive machine can only fix the correctly diagnosed problem. If it's cupping, that's a suspension component issue, and the dealer should be attending to this, but if its feathering then the tire pros should be able to dial that in as well as any dealer, provided they are good also. Keep in mind that the IS models don't even have any camber adjustments available stock. Although I think the AWD does for some reason. "


I am not a tire expert by any stretch, but I have had lots experience with tires (40+ years). I have had tires "road force balanced" and the balancer will not cure an out of round tire. In fact, it's usually been a tire tech or store manager, trying to convince me that somehow their fancy tire balancer is going to magically balance my tire. Road force balancing will NOT cure a problem with a tire or wheel that is defective or its dimensions are outside of the physical requirements for simply balancing the tire on the wheel. It certainly doesn't take an MIT graduate to look at the tire and the wheel while it's spinning on a typical balancer to see if the tire and wheel are out of round or abnormal movement that would cause a problem.

You can balance a square tire while its' spinning. So even if you put an oval tire on a balancer, I can spin balance that thing well back into spec. The spin balancer has no clue nor does it care what shape the tire is. You would have a ridiculuos amount of weights on the rim, but the spin balancer would read it's good.


In my experience, cupping is NOT just a suspension component issue. I've had multiple sets of front tires on my trucks start to cup after 7K or 10K miles. In that case, the cupping is caused by the tread lugs. The spacing between the lugs allows them to "squirm". That condition of tread wear apears to be fairly normal for larger lug truck type tires. And yes, the suspension system and wheel alignment were fine and the tires were religiously rotated and rebalanced every 7K miles. I am anal about vibrations.

We are talking about vehicle geometry here. I really don't want to get all technical and start importing diagrams and charts, but trucks that expereince tire cupping are being overloaded or thier suspension is designed for heavy loads and they aren't carrying any. So the suspension system isn't loaded enouph and causing the cupping. You can't have both worlds. Ford for years used the twin I-beam suspension that was notoriuos for cupping tires, and didn't have a very good turning radius, but it was a very strong suspension set up. The "squirming" on the tread blocks that your referring to is a result , not a cause. They squirm because the suspension is flexing in and out of spec or under and overload.


If the IS250 does not have a camber adjustment, then perhaps the design is bad. Does that mean that the Toyota engineers figured out that there wont' be a problem with wheel alignment, and that camber adjustments to their genuis suspension design won't be necessary? No camber adjust is fairly common on newer front wheel drive cars, but I find it interesting that the rear wheel drive IS250 does not.

I don't really understand this desicion much either to be honest. My only guess here is in the persuit of trying to be more and more maintenance free, they decided most people don't adjust thier camber anyway, so why make it adjustable? It's just one more thing to maintain then.


Please explain what you mean by "but if its feathering then the tire pros should be able to dial that in as well as any dealer, provided they are good also". How does a tire pro shop "dial in" a feathered tire?

Tire feathering is from a bad toe in/out setting. easily adjusted on the rack when they are doing the alignment.


There a millions and millions of tires put on vehicles that work perfectly normal that never see a "road force balancer".
Because those larger sidewalls hide this issue much better. Lower the profile like we have, and you have to be alot more exact.[/quote]

What does rotating a tire on its wheel 180 degrees do?
[code] Road force balancing measures the roundness of the tire, by measuring the amount of pressure where the contact patch actually is. Most all rims are not perfectly round to begin with, and have some movement in them straight from the factory. So in essence and for the sake of keeping this relatively short, it measures the amount of movement in the rim, then tells the tech to rotate the heavier portion of the tire to the opposite side of where the rim is out of round the most to create a rounder, more even contact patch.[/quote]


"For most consumers, it's not a big deal to them, so alot of tire shops get away with this. Frequently. I only do business with tire shops that do road force balancing. It's more work for them, as they have to mount the tire, spin it up and measure it, then in some cases, stop, dismount the tire and rotate it on the rim 180 degrees, then remount it, and balance it from there. But I'm much more involved than most I would venture to guess. "


Most consumers.... What's "not a big deal to them"??


The laws of physics are fairly straight forward when it comes to balancing a tire. Although the dynamics are different when the tire is rotating down the road with a load, it's obvious that if a quality, non-defective tire is balanced properly on a typical spin balancer, then 99.99% of the time it's going to work fine on the road. However, I can balance a tire the shape of a football on a spin balancer, but obviously it's not going to be smooth on the road. Bent or out concentric wheels/rims and out of round tires can induce a vibration and cause tire tread to cup, regardless of how tight and perfect the suspension components are. That's MY experience.

I have a gut feeling that the multiple post regarding abnormal tire wear issues that have surfaced here, and with my own experience with my wife's IS250, that 1) The choice of factory tires by Lexus was stupid. 2) The suspension system on the car is way too loose or a *BLEEP* poor design.

Again, the IS250 as a top brand luxury 4-door sedan at $38,000 US dollars, should NOT have tires that wear out in 10,000 miles!!... camber adjustment or no camber adjustment!! 

[code] Sometimes you surprise me Randy. I would think you should be more familiar with suspension geometry's as you have racing in your background. Every car manufacturer has the exact same desicions they have to make, and no matter what that desicion is, there are a bunch of haters complaining and sniveling over it. The facts are, a suspension system that places the tire in a more vertical postion, ie, gets great even tread wear, corners crappy and is unstable at higher speeds. That's a law of nature that science can't overcome. A tire that is more cambered, has alot more stability at high speed, and offers alot more traction in cornering, but at the expense of localized tread wear. Every car ever built faces these same issues. so when they decide tread wear is more important, then you would be complaining that the car doesn't corner very well, understeers all over the place, and won't track, or want to stay on the line you pick with the sterring wheel. You know how some cars feel like they "wander" going down the road all the time? And your forced to constantly correct the steering? they probably get great tire wear. Just look at all those 1980's-1990's cars that get great tire wear, but all performed very poorly. Now we are starting to see some real performance for a change. And when they decide performance is the higher priority, then they have to decide how much tire and suspension wear they are willing to sacfrice to achieve the level of performance they are looking for. 15-20k miles on performance tires is common across the board. Maybe you should be driving a Volvo?

That's just my worthless opinion.



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