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tlapointe

Poor Driving Performance - Need Advise

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2004 ES 330 - 2nd owner - bought it with just over 50k miles in 2007. Drove like a dream... I really love this car - it fits me perfectly.

I have a big continuous problem though and no one has been able to help me:

after 10k miles of usage, I purchased new tires - (not michelin - but a decent grade V touring tire) - 4 wheel alignment checked out fine. After 10 - 12k miles and 3 rotations later, I noticed the car wasn't driving as smoothly and it was a little shaky. Tires were off balance and the tire guys told me that the alignment must be off. I took it to a different place and they told me alignment was fine... both places had given me computerized printouts. Well, it got worse and worse over the next 20k miles and every time I had the tires rotated, they had to be balanced and wore unevenly, etc... the tire guys SWORE it must be a bad alignment. Other people suggested maybe it was a slightly off round set of tires.

Last year, I had another set of tires put on - Firestones - highly rated... I went to a more reputable place - they said alignment was fine when the installed tires .... took it out on the road and immediately noticed the car STILL didn't drive as posh as it did when I first bought it (or when I first changed out the tires the first time around) ... so now I am only 10k miles into the tires and already they are showing signs of uneven wear.

I haven't had a nice smooth ride since some point in 2008... I do love my car, but I bought it for the quiet luxurious ride and I miss it. I haven't brought it back to the Lexus dealer because I figure they will just tell me it is because I didn't buy Michelins and send me on my way. Any ideas? Thanks.

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Its the tires. I cannot think of a single Firestone tire model that would be appropriate for the car, what model did you buy? What PSI are the tires aired to?

Tires are very important to the ride of a Lexus, and all tires are not created equal. In my experience, lots of less expensive tires start out okay, but then as they age they get rough, out of round, and loud. This was your experience as well.

If you want the best ride...you have to pay for the right tires on this car. The car rides VERY differently depending on the tires, I know I had the same car for 155,000 miles and had a lot of different tires on it. The ONLY tires that made the car ride the way I felt it should ride were Michelin MXV4s.

The common denominator here is the tires.

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Its the tires. I cannot think of a single Firestone tire model that would be appropriate for the car, what model did you buy? What PSI are the tires aired to?

Tires are very important to the ride of a Lexus, and all tires are not created equal. In my experience, lots of less expensive tires start out okay, but then as they age they get rough, out of round, and loud. This was your experience as well.

If you want the best ride...you have to pay for the right tires on this car. The car rides VERY differently depending on the tires, I know I had the same car for 155,000 miles and had a lot of different tires on it. The ONLY tires that made the car ride the way I felt it should ride were Michelin MXV4s.

The common denominator here is the tires.

My first set was not Firestone - - not sure what they were though.. I found the 2nd set (Firestones) by looking at consumer reports for V rated touring tires and Firestone came up as #2 with very good reviews. I don't know what model they are. The fact that I had the exact same experience with two different sets of tires (and the last set worked marvelous at first - - I was floating down the road, so all seemed perfectly good ..) the ride slowly progressively got worse and worse and the 2nd change of tires made no difference at all ... not even on the first day. This is why i don't believe it is just the tires - - I was expecting at least a temporary improvement when I had the tires changed this last time around, but I drove it off the lot bad .... and the guys at the shop asked me to leave out my owners manual when I dropped it off, so i presume it was to gauge the proper tire pressure, etc.

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I don't know what model they are

Can ya go look? Check the PSI of the tires too while you're at it.

Consumer Reports have never impressed me with their tire ratings, and different tires react differently on different vehicles. Really what you need to do is get the firsthand experience of people who own your exact car. I've driven Lexus sedans for 13 years and have put well over 300,000 miles on them, 160,000 of those miles in the ES. I'd consider myself a pretty good resource. Believe me when I tell you, the wrong tires will make you think your Lexus rides like a dog. The right set of tires will consistently impress you.

Other than tires it could be worn ball joints...but my ball joints were about ready to come apart on my ES before I had them replaced...and I noticed none of what you are experiencing. Could be a bad motor or tranny mount...but I had a falling apart dogbone mount and experienced none of what you are experiencing. Have you tried having them road force balanced? If the ball joints are fine, the mounts are fine and the road force balancing shows nothing and does nothing...it must be the tires. The gradual declination of the quality could come from the aging of the tires, which was my experience with several other tire brands on the Lexus, including Bridgestone which is the same company as Firestone.

Firestone makes a sh!tty tire, and sh!tty tires are very hard to balance and keep in balance and balance is incredibly important to how a Lexus rides.

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