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Volvo XC90 Tires and Wheels



  • jfgxc90jfgxc90 Posts: 7
    This my 3rd Volvo, so I am not used to cheap tires, BUT the rear tires on my XC90 completely burnt up in a matter of 3,000 miles. No...I am not a road warrior. I commute 10 miles a day back and forth to work.

    The volvo dealer says that it is an alignment problem, but I find that hard to believe since the excessive wear is only on my rear tires. Oddly enough, this wear did not start until after my last scheduled service which was 3,000 miles ago. At that time, the dealer replaced a brake booster and rear spring isolators.

    Does anyone have any thoughts as to what may have caused this sudden wear on my rear tires? The front tires have very little wear and I have the tires rotated every 3,000-4,000 miles.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    Hmmm... no strange noises or vibrations? I would look into the bearing issue stated above. They are a common failure on the XC90s.

    The dealer isn't completely off... you CAN have rear wheels out of alignment independent of the front wheels. But I think it would be odd.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • jfgxc90jfgxc90 Posts: 7
    When I picked up the vehicle from the last service, I noticed right away that the suspension seemed looser than it had been. They told me that it could be the air in the tires, but I checked the pressure, and it was ok.

    I did have a noise which the dealer identified as a sway bar. I had that replaced yesterday.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    On most vehicles with independent rear suspension (like the XC90) the rear wheels can be out of alignment and the front ones in alignment.

    Is this a FWD or AWD XC90? What was the wear pattern on the worn rear tires? That is, were they worn preferentially on the inside edges? the outside edges? all the way across? cupped?

    Has the vehicle been towed recently? On this forum, I believe, there was a case of suspension components getting bent due to improper securing of the vehicle to a tow truck. In that case the towing company reportedly paid for the damages.
  • jfgxc90jfgxc90 Posts: 7
    The wear relatively even all the way across, although the outer edge is slightly worse. I have not ever had the car towed, but I am curious if something could have been damaged while they were doing one of the other repairs.

    I just have difficulty with the thought that the car could have suddenly went out of alignment and chewed through the tires in a matter of 3,000 miles - especially when the majority of those miles were driving at speeds less than 50 miles/hr. All while there is no noticeable change in the steering of the vehicle (ie no significant pull in either direction).

    I get that it is POSSIBLE...but is it LIKELY...
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491

    Is this a FWD or AWD?

    If FWD I have no idea other than misalignment of the rear wheels, e.g. excessive toe in of the rear wheels would scrub the rear wheels and maybe selectively wear the outside edges of the tread.

    There are implausible ideas like the front brakes are not being applied strongly enough so that too much of the braking is with the rear brakes. But the diagnostics should detect that.

    Take it to the dealer for an alignment or to an independent alignment shop.
  • jfgxc90jfgxc90 Posts: 7
    We might be getting somewhere...I had my front pads and rotors replaced on my last service as well. How do I find out if the brakes are applying correctly?
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    The on board diagnostics should indicate if the front brakes were not working, and you would notice a huge increase in stopping distance. Maybe 80% of the braking forces are suppplied by the two front tires and brakes. And if all the braking were being done by the rear wheels, then the rear pads would show extreme wear.

    The most likely explanation is that when the rear anti-sway bar ends or bushings were replaced the rear wheels were gotten out of alignment. How many miles were on the tires when the service was done? Could it be that the tires were nearly worn out at that point and then 3000 miles later they were definitely worn out?

    Is this a FWD or an AWD XC90?
  • jfgxc90jfgxc90 Posts: 7
    Based on your response, I would not expect that the problem is the brakes. One thing I love about this vehicle, is that it will stop on a dime. I haven't noticed any change in that aspect.

    The tires were new in October and November. I have them rotated every 3000/4000 miles and the front tires that were just rotated off the back show very little wear.

    I believe the vehicle is all wheel drive - it is a T6. How do I know for sure?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    How do I know for sure?

    It'll have an AWD badge on the tailgate.

    it is a T6


    Well, I believe AWD is standard on the T6. But so is a crappy transmission. :(

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • jfgxc90jfgxc90 Posts: 7
    I've heard about transmission problems...I have experienced a couple of times were the vehicled rolled backwards while it was in drive on an incline. The dealer said they couldn't repeat the problem...Luckily my warranty doesn't run out until 100k.

    Any thoughts on that?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    rolling backwards on an incline is totally normal with an auto trans.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    The volvo dealer says that it is an alignment problem, but I find that hard to believe since the excessive wear is only on my rear tires. Oddly enough, this wear did not start until after my last scheduled service which was 3,000 miles ago. At that time, the dealer replaced a brake booster and rear spring isolators.

    Then go to the dealer and have them check the rear wheel alignment or do a full 4-wheel alignment. If you don't trust the dealer, then go to a reputable shop which specializes in alignment and suspension.
  • db2814db2814 Posts: 13
    Hello: I have a 2003 XC90 and just upsized to 255/55R18. I purchased Michelins from Tire rack. They are not the MHZ? but rather a Michelin Latitude tour HP. This is a stock tire on the toureg. So far I really like the smoothness of them and the handling. With very sharp turns you feel slight rubbing in the wheel well otherwise not noticeable. I have noticed better fuel economy already with these compared to the Stock Pirelli Scorpion zeros. So far a great tire. I do have a seperate set of tires on rims for winter. I purchased these Michelins strictly for summer/fall use. Hope this is helpful.
  • 4dimad4dimad Posts: 13
    Hello everyone!
    First of all let me apologize for asking this question which most certainly has been answered already somewhere on this site. I am looking for the new tires for 2006 XC90. I am in New England, MA, so they must be good on snow. My original Michelin dead after 42K. Another question - I notice that some people switch to 18". Would it create any problem with warranty since Volvo recommends 17" for my car? And last - where did you buy your tires from? Thank you!!!
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    My wife's 2007 XC90 came with 235/65-17 tires on the 17" wheels which I personally think is an excellent tire and wheel choice for this vehicle -- a great combination of performance, appearance, and much lower price compared to 18" tires/wheels.

    An alternate tire/wheel for at least some years of the XC90 is "lower profile" 55 series, 235/55-18 tires on 18" wheels. This size has the same outside diameter at the tread as the 235/65-17, but at considerably higher cost. To change now to 18" tires would require replacing the current 17" wheels with 18" wheels.

    The main reason to choose the 18" wheels is appearance. Some people really prefer it. People have gotten weirdly obsessed with the "look" of low profile tires.

    Maybe lower profile tires improve the performance of sports cars on smooth pavement, but I don't think they are appropriate on an SUV. The appearance of the 65 series tires is just fine, and having more rubber and air between the rim and the road is what is wanted in an SUV -- more likely to protect the wheel from impact damage. And for extra traction in winter or on soft ground you could reduce the inflation pressure (within limits) to give more traction.

    Many pickups and body-on-frame SUVs (like the Chevy Suburban) are equipped with 70 series tires which have even more air between the rim (i.e. the wheel) and the road.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    This afternoon we parked next to a Honda Pilot and I looked at the tire sidewalls: the tires were some model of Michelin in 235/70-16, i.e. 16" wheels. The outside diameter at the tread of these is 29.0", the same as the 235/65-17 (29.0") and practically the same as the 235/55-18 (29.2").

    For those who may not know:

    (1) The first number in the tire size designation is the width in mm at the widest point sidewall-to-sidewall with the tire mounted on a specified rim width wheel and infllated to some standard pressure. The tread width is less than this and depends on the tire model.

    (2) The next number is the aspect ratio. This ratio is the radial distance from the edge of the rim at the sealing surface to the outside of the tread divided by the width of the tire defined in (1) above. The decimal point is not shown.

    (3) The third number is the diameter in inches of the wheel at the bead sealing surface.

    So, for example, the tread of a 65 series tire of width 235 mm is at a distance of 0.65 x 235 mm / 25.4 mm/in = 6.0 inches from the sealing surface of the rim. Therefore, the outside diameter at the tread of a 235/65-17 tire is 17" + 2 x 6.0" = 29.0".
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    Error correction.

    For the 2004 XC90 FWD the alternate tire size in the 18" wheel is 235/60-18 (diameter 29.1") and not 235/55-18 (this would be diameter 28.2"). See TireRack.

    In a 55 series tire, 255/55-18 is required to give the same 29" dia at the tread as 235/65-17 and 235/60-18. If Volvo doesn't list 255 mm wide tires as an OE choice this could indicate that 255 mm wide tires might be wide enough to rub the insides of the wheel wells in tight turns, especially turns with bumps causing suspension travel.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    Error correction.

    The diameter of 235/55-18 is 28.2".

    It is 235/60-18 that is the same dia and is the alternative size to 235/65-17.
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    How about letting us know what you decide to get? To answer your question about source, I use Discount Tire.

    You might look at Post #94 in this thread. So you could consider Kumho Road Venture APT KL51 in the 235/65-17 as an economical alternative to Michelins (or in 235/60-18 if you decide to change to 18" wheels).

    Besides performance and length of service, an important criterion for tire choice nowadays is fuel efficency. Some tire models do allow higher mpg than others, and it seems to be difficult to find data on this. However, wider tires almost always give lower mpg than narrower ones. So the relatively wide tires in the 2008 XC90 V8 AWD Sport model (255/50-19 => 29.0" diameter at tread) should contribute to lower mpg than the 235 mm wide tires in the other XC90 models.
  • FWIW: Replaced the badly worn Michelin Pilots with Kumho Road Venture APT KL51's a few months ago and couldn't be happier. 1/2 the price and so far much quieter and seem to be wearing better. Got ours delivered to the house from Tire Rack.
  • tucktuck Posts: 2
    I am surprised at the bad experiences people mention on OEM tires. I have a 2006 AWD V8 at almost 46,000 miles with the ORIGINAL Michelins running just fine. We are moving back to NH from PA and I'm seriously considering Nokian WR's based on my research to date. I must say that the Michelins have been performed very well in all conditions, but I'm going with the Nokians as I think they are better suited to the 8 feet of snow we get in NH.

    With respect to the XC90, I love this vehicle. I've owned Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, and VW over the years and I have to say this car has outperformed all. Probably key to this is the dealer support and we will miss Lehman Volvo of York, PA. Unfortunately, Miller in Lebanon NH are a bunch of incompetent crooks. Lovering in Concord is somewhat better, but can be difficult to deal with at times.

    I'd appreciate any responses on the Nokians and experiences with dealer service in NH / VT / MA.
  • I just got a 2007 XC90 with the Michelin Pilots. They are fine on dry pavement but are some of the worst all weather tires I've run on. I've had the vehicle for about a month and came from a 96 Ford Explorer 4x4. So I am used to good traction and 4 wheel drive which is very different than the Volo AWD witch is like FWD with some rear wheel assist.

    Anyway, after the first snow here in Chicago a few weeks ago I had to get rid of the Pilots. I did find a Nokian dealer local and put 4 of the WR-G2s on. It made a HUGE difference in wet & snow control! I had there perfect chance to test them the past 2 weeks of snowstorms, sleet, & rain we've had so far this December. The tires worked very well in it all. It is still not even close to what I'd try and go through with a real 4 wheel drive SUV but it's pretty good! It does feel more like a truck now as well. Very happy with the purchase.

    I know you're not in Chicago but I bought them at Suburban Tire which has about 5+ locations in the suburbs here. The service was excellent and they have nitrogen if you want it...

  • I service my car at lovering volvo in Merideth. I have had nothing but good experiences with them. Good people...
  • I had an XC90, but had to get rid of it because of the same problem. My rear tires went first, but they moved my front tires to the back and put new tires on the front. My front tires then started to wear. i had terrible service from Betten Imports, in Grand Rapids, so I went to an independent shop to ask them their opinion. I was told that the alignment was off and that Volvo sets the alignment up like that for stability of the vehicle. I went through 16 tires in 18 months! Michellin took care of the first set and then I had to pay for the rest. I contacted Volvo NA and also Volvo headquarters in Sweden, but they were no help and rude. They told me that it was a tire problem and they do not deal with tire problems. They told me that there was nothing wrong with my vehicle, it was the way I drove the car. If I were you, GET RID OF THE VEHICLE!!!! The problem will only continue and you will shell out a lot of money on tires!!! :mad:
  • jccai1jccai1 Posts: 106
    Question for you experts. I have a 2005 2.5T AWD with 18" rims. One of the rear tires must be replaced due to damage from road hazard. Right now the car has four Michelins purchased together about 1.5 yrs ago. As these tires are $250 a pop, I'm inclined to only replace the two rear tires and leave the front tires until they wear out. They still have 5/32" of tread left. The tire shop says I should replace all 4 of them at the same time, given it's an AWD vehicle.

    My understanding is that this car is FWD most of time. The rear drive only kicks in when the front wheels slip. We live in a warm climate, so snow/ice is rare. Is it going to do any damage to the drive system to run old tires in the front and new ones in the rear for 6 months or so? Thanks much!
  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    You could try getting a used tire of the same model to replace the one damaged tire. Discount Tire does carry used tires.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    They still have 5/32" of tread left.... The rear drive only kicks in when the front wheels slip.

    Well, therein lies the problem. Theoretically, the tires with 5/32" will spin at a different rate than the new tires with twice the tread. This can be interpreted by the AWD system as slippage.

    By the way, I just ordered 4 new tires for ours from Tirerack. They are General Altimax, which are rated very high in comparisons and customer feedback. All 4 are being shipped to my door for $380. I have 17" wheels, however.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • jccai1jccai1 Posts: 106
    Thank you for your input. I did some online research, which mostly indicated all 4 tires need to be replaced at the same time. Called two area dealers; one says 2 is ok, the other says must replace all 4. As expensive as the tires are, I don't want to take chances with the drive system. So I ordered 4 new Michelin Latitude Tour HP. I'm hoping they will last a bit longer than the Pilot MXM4.

    As resonated by many owners in online forums, this vehicle chews through tires like crazy. With 18" wheels, replacement options are very limited, which further increases the associated cost. Certainly the biggest frustration of owning this car for us.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,103
    I hear ya. And I've also read those complaints about the short tire life. Fortunately, ours hasn't shown the problem yet. Ours has the OEM tires (Michelin Synchrone 4x4). Can't say whether they were every replaced, but we've put 10k on the vehicle since purchase (had 23k on it and nothing in the dealer-obtained service history about new tires) and they still look new. UNFORTUNATELY, the OEM tires are horrible. So, while ours still have plenty of tread, I am replacing them because my wife has been sliding all over the place in the recent ice/snow we've had.

    BTW, I bought a G35X in May with brand new tires. I had to replace those after about 8K miles because they were nearly bald. Now THAT car eats through tires!

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

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