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Volvo XC90 Tires and Wheels

steverstever Posts: 52,683
Looking for new tires (or wheels?). Let us know what you are riding on and how you like them.


  • Hello all. A couple of the used XC90s I've been considering purchasing will need new tires soon. I've read a lot of postings on this site complaining about the original Pirellis, but very little about what people actually like. I'll probably need to purchase new tires (17") for at least one vehicle I'm looking at, so...

    What tires are you currently driving on that you LIKE? I've done lots of research on-line for what's available in Michelin, Continental, Good Year, Pirelli, and Dunlop, but most of the reviewers seem to be driving other brands of SUV. So, are any of you driving your XC90s on a tire you'd recommend to someone else or that you'd definitely buy again? What kind of weather are you driving through? Highway, suburb or city? Are you a sporty driver or a smooth and steady cruiser? And finally, what's you tire pressure recommendation that goes along with your favorite tires? I know the basics from research, but I'm really interested in what you've experienced on your own SUVs.
  • I have put a set of 255/55-18 Continental CrossContact LX on my XC90 AWD 2.5T to replace Michelin Pilot @32K miles and like it very much.

    Very quiet ride, pretty much the same dry handling (I am not an aggressive driver, so I can not see any difference), better wet handling, SIGNIFICANTLY better snow handling.

    The wear resistance should be better too. The Conties are warranted for 65K miles, and now, after about 16K they are barely "broken in".

    They also about 50% cheaper than Mich. - $127 vs. $190 at

    And they look like "real" truck tires, while have very much highway characteristics.
  • Part 2.
    I forgot to mention that those Conti tires are available for 17" rims.
  • guyfrguyfr Posts: 55
    I just ordered Nokian WR's for my XC. It's an all season tire with a strong bias toward ice and snow performance. Many reports it perform better than most winter tires in those conditions. Rave revues on a Touareg owners discussion forum. I was also considering the GoodYear's Tripletred but finally got a better deal on the Nokian's.

    I will keep you updated.
  • city1city1 Posts: 1
    I've had the Nokians for almost a year. Handle great and seem to be holding up much better than the Mich. I'd strongly recommend.
  • I seem to be noticing that there are many XC90 owners with tire problems. the one common denominator is the car. Everyone is so quick to blame the tires. If your tires are wearing fast and uneven, cupping or feathering it is not the fault of the tire. the vehicle is either out of alignment or there is some kind of mechanical problem with the car. I have worked in the tire industry long enough to know that some cars are just designed badly and will chew up tires regardless of the brand. Look at Tire Racks reviews for the Pirelli Scorpion and notice that every XC owner experiences the same problem, however that same tire on another vehicle does just fine. Is it the tire or the car? Also my experience has been if a car dealership is willing to replace tires that have worn early or uneven it is because they know their vehicle has a problem. Usually car manufactures will just try to push tire problems off to the tire manufacturer. Bottom line is if you vehicle's alignment is not correct then your tires will not last, no matter how many times you rotate them.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,480
    This topic is for Volvo XC90 owners who are experiencing unusual tire wear, and for suggestions from them, and from the general community, on what to do about it.


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  • phl1phl1 Posts: 8
    It is the combination of the Pirelli tires on the XC90 that is the problem. Other tires are wearing normally on the XC90 and this tire has a good track record on other vehicles. Volvo likely specifies alignment with a lot of toe-in, to aid stability at highway speeds by reducing oversteer. [Any techs out there who can comment on this?] The combination of the vehicle weight and the alignment, deform the blocks on the outside edges of the tire, causing the uneven wear (cupping). This wasn't caught in testing, so there is a problem in the fleet.

    Running the maximum recommended pressure helps. The tire flexes less. However, the ride will be unacceptably rough unless the vehicle is fully loaded. Frequent tire rotation (every oil change) in an X pattern (swap LeftFront w/RightRear, RightFront w/LeftRear), should help even out the wear. Be aware that I haven't tried this rotation or read any feedback.

    This is a 4600 lb. vehicle on relatively soft tires. The tires will wear. We drive gently, so our overall wear has been good. Its only the cupping that is unacceptable because of the noise and vibration.

    You need good traction for safety, so don't look for the hardest tires you can find. You'll be trading away some of the (impressive) capabilities that can keep you out of trouble. This dynamic safety almost certainly factored into your decision to purchase this particular vehicle.

    Its telling that Volvo/Pirelli have a new tire, replacing the Scorpion on the 2007 XC90.
  • zeenzeen Posts: 401
    I posted this on the problems board as well:

    I have an '04 T5 with about 28k miles
    It has been relatively trouble free. Lately however, I am getting a fairly loud whining/humming noise when I'm cruising in the 30-50 mph range. It sounds like I have snow tires but I have the original Michelins that came with the vehicle. Not sure if it's tires or transmission. Tires are wearing but look ok.
    Any ideas?
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    Rear wheel bearings.
  • I havee a 205 XC90 with about 21k miles. I was told that I would need new tires in about 4000 miles. I also hear a whirring noise when I drive I asked Volvo about that and was told that all XC90 make this noise that it has something to do with the type of tires. Does anyone else have this noise? Also when I took my car in for service there was a recall that I had no knowledge of regarding outer tie rods and windshield wiper arms. these were replaced during the service but I was never notified of any recalls.
  • I have uneven wear on my tires but am not sure if it is uncharacteristic. I have an XC 90 with about 23,000 miles. It is a 2005. The front tires, along the edges, look all worn out, but the rest of the front tires, and teh back tires look okay. I also had to have brakes replaced at about 15,000 miles. I have had so many problems with this car, that I haven't paid much attention to the tires. I'm just fed up with Volvo at this point.
  • Hey I had this same problem on my XC90. turns out the wheel bearings had gone on the back wheels.
  • I had my first set of Pirelli's replaced at 15k miles. At 9k I noticed a problem with bizarre wear and noise. I took it in and they said it could be "blah, blah, blah" and checked the alignment etc. Of course they knew the problem. The agreed to replace them at 14k miles but only ate half the cost, saying Pirelli would have replaced them if I had less than 9k miles. I wll never buy anothe rVolvo and I will never go to Crown dealership in NC again. THey screwed up more than they fixed each time i brought it in.
  • rashidirashidi Posts: 18
    I have a 2005 xc90 v8 with 22k miles. I noticed uneven tire wear from the 1st week of ownership. the dealer has performed 4 alignments in one year. Two tires (primarily front) need to be replaced and the rear ones are almost done, since all have been rotated several times. The uneven tire wear is NOT normal and there is a defect.

    Unfortunately, volvo will not admit to a defect. The tire wears out at the edge (called feathering) and I also hear whinning/humming noise.

    I had the exact same problem on my new 1997 camry, and they finally replaced the front suspension at 40k miles.

    I love my volvo, however, can't imagine buying new tires every year.
  • robrizrobriz Posts: 12
    We recently decided it was time for new tires on our '05 T6. The Michelins were good for 25K miles but we were approaching 30K and there was very uneven wear - the outside tread band was bald on 3 tires. We first took it to our dealer for scheduled maintenance who informed us about a recall on the alignment/suspension. We purchased 4 new Pirelli Scorpion Zero's for the car from NTB and then went back to the dealer for the recall work. Anyone else heard of the recall? I agree it is the car and not the tires - unfortunately, there are not many tire options for this car - and it is even more disappointing that the V8 model did not offer a different size to correct this problem.
  • My wife picked up a nail on her 2006 XC 90. I looked at the front tire and noticed significant tread wear. The car has 14,000 miles on these tires and I doubt they will lat to 17,000 miles.

    Needless to say I am not getting these Pirelli Scorpions again. ANyone have any recommendations on some good replacement tires. Durability is my primary consideration. My wife could drive o ver a mine field and not notice the bumps.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
  • The michelins worked much better for me when i had my pirrellis replaced.
  • jtlajtla Posts: 373
    You can find many choices at Personally, I will consider Bridgestone Dueler G/L Alenza or Yokohama Geolandar. Both are inexpensive and have got some good reviews from XC90 owners.
  • rashidirashidi Posts: 18
    2005 XC90 V8 w/ michelins -- 22k miles -- uneven tire wear on outer edges.

    Volvo Customer service can be reached at 800-458-1522. Please call to complain, maybe something will get corrected. The lady said Volvo definitely would like to hear from disatisfied owners.

    I had the regional Volvo rep look at my '05 V8 XC90 twice because of my tire complaints. There have been four alignments in one year, but uneven wear continues. I will end up spending ~$1000 for michelins + alignment within 1.5years of owning the vehicle. That's $55/month just for tires!

    I love the vehicle, however, the excessive tire wear (bald on outer edges, front tires) is unacceptable.
  • The right number for Volvo is 800-458-1552.
    Pirelli contacted me regarding this issue. My car has 25.5k miles so they'll give me 50% prorate. I am not sure what they are replacing them with nor how much will be out of pocket. I'll update once it is all done.

  • If you learn anything, let us know. Volvo hasn't fessed up to the many of us with the same issue. I am on my second set of tires and 4 alignments later with excessive outer edge wear on two different sets of Pirelli tires. I know it is not the driver since prior vehicles and SUVs have never had this happen. The car is driven at low speeds around town (averages 20mph) by a mom with two kids in the car. My solution is going to be simple. Sell the Volvo and buy the Audi Q7. This will be my last Volvo for awhile.
  • OK, I just picked up my XC90 from the dealership. They replaced all 4 tires with new Pirelli Scorpion Zero. Out of pocket AFTER the 50% prorate....$488!!!!! What a rip off. I don't even know why I did it. I had already bought 4 Bridgestones for $560 from tire rack plus about $100 to get them installed. Now I am going to return them so my savings are minimal. I'll keep a close eye on these ones. They also did the 2 recalls. We love the car and now with the new tires it feels great again, but they have to do better than this to keep us buying back from them. Good luck all!
  • rkvrkv Posts: 8
    I have been thinking of upsizing from stock 235/60-18 to 255/55-18 as you appear to have done. My dealer, of course, has recommended against this and warned of adverse handling characteristics and transmission issues with XC90's. I have generally been happier with such upsizing on other vehicles I own. I see one post from someone who appears to have done this. Anyone else have any experience with changing the width and profile of the stock tire?

    My leading candidates for tires are Blizzak LM-25 4x4, Nokian WR SUV, and Kumho ECSTA STX for summer.
  • volvomaxvolvomax Posts: 5,274
    the only issue you may have is rubbing in the wheel wells, but even that is doubtful.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    Well we have our first storm this year. Icing rain, sleet, snow. The Wr's are excellent considering they are a 4 season tire. Much much better than the original Michelin Synchrone and as good as the Pirelli Winter tires I had on the last 2 winters.
  • rkvrkv Posts: 8
    I went with Nokian WR 255/55R18. They are far superior to the Continental OEM tires. They are a bit harder than the stock tires but this improves steering response and ride. With respect to ride comfort you feel some smaller things but they are much better on larger bumps, road surface seams and directional stability than the OEM Continental tire. No issues with the larger tire size except at full wheel lock turn. I've noticed that the XC90 sport will have 255/50R19's, so I will probably go with those and new wheels as my summer tire. I have run Pirelli Scorpions and Yokohama AVS on my other SUV and like the Nokian WR better though it is a different type of tire. Lastly, the wet traction of the WR is quite impressive. I strongly recommend for cold wet winters. No heavy snow experience but suspect a dedicated snow such as Blizzak or other Nokian is likely to be better in heavy snow.

    Thanks to those in this forum who pointed the Nokian WR out to me. I hadn't looked at it until I ran across it here.
  • Update. Had front tires replace in early November with Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus. Odometer at a whopping 14,600 miles. My daughter's best friend's father is a manager at discount tire. He did not have kind things to say about the Pirelli Scorpions. Will probably replace the rear tires after Xmas.

    I just can't believe an SUV with a $40K sticker has tires that won't even last 16,000 miles.

    It will be a cold day in ____ before I ever buy a car with Pirelli tires on it.
  • Had the same problem at 55k and 6 months left on my lease. I'm not happy with the $900 repair bill along with the news that the vehicle is ready for its 3rd brake job. Also replaced tires at 25k. Can't wait to get rid of it.
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