My expedtion has 18,000 miles on it and the steering wheel started shaking.
I took it to the dealer and they told me I needed 4 new tires because of
cupping. I saw the tire that ihas the cupping. The front driver side tire.
Do you think if I rotate the tires the cupping with fix it self. Seems
crazy to me to have to buy 4 new tires at 200 a piece when I only have
18,000 miles. Has anyone else had cupping troubles?
Btw the dealer was not very helpful at all!
My understanding is that cupping occurs due to worn out shocks/struts. If
these suspension components are not replaced - the cupping will occur again.
This is not normal tire wear due to the lack of tire rotation.
ASP since September 2000
"solace" < email@example.com> wrote in message
With only 18,000 miles I would consider replacing only one or two tires.
Obviously, the cupped tire should go and may or may not be covered under the
tire manufacturers warranty. If another tire is exhibiting any abnormal
wear, it should also be replaced and both new tires installed on the same
Tires should be rotated regularly as well as having the pressures checked at
As a sidebar.... many buy their vehicles from the "cheapest" dealer with no
regard to after sales service. While it is not supposed to happen, "loyal"
customers will indeed get preferential treatment. Dealers that offer red
carpet after-sales service build this consideration into their selling
price. While buying a vehicle from dealer X at a higher price may sound like
poor economics, one must consider the inconvenience experienced when your
concern is sidelined by a prefered customer....or the disappointment of an
uncaring service department at the cheapy dealer.
In fact, for problems such as yours, taking the thing to a nearby Chebbie
dealer who gives good service may be fruitful.
We neglected to answer one of your questions:
NO, 'cupping' NEVER fixes itself.. in fact it wears your shocks and struts.
Thank you all for the replies and info. I have done a little more research
into this matter and have found other 2004 expedition owner that have had
this same trouble and their dealerships have replaced the steering rack
and shaft and after many hours in service the trouble wasn't fixed. They
found that if they had a road force balanced done it fixed the shaking. My
concern now is that have I done damage to my steering shaft and rack? I'm
very displeased with the service I got from the ford dealership. We did
not buy the vehicle at this dealership but you would think pride in Ford
would have better service ppl
Oh and the tire with the cupping is gone, right? so no matter what I need
a new tire for that spot? I also found that this brand of tires may not be
all that great, continental tires. So now it brings me back to getting 4
new tires. Which I would love for ford to pay for. ( in my dream, eh)
sorry so long
Whether or not "Solace" comes back..
For the Record:
Road force balancing is only needed to make up for assymmetry in the tire
build. Sad that it's come to that, but overall be glad at the
price/performance of the modern tire, once you get it right.
The downside, I usually discard my tires long before they lose appreciable
traction and WAY before they get to wear bars, but still get about 50,000
out of them. With about 50% return under warranty.
Well, I have drafted a letter to send to ford. I am also going to send a
letter to NHTSA to see just how wide spread this issue is.
Backyard Mechanic, are you saying that Road force balancing isn't
something that will help my problem?
I'm NOT an expert...I'm just a guy who's had the problem, several times.
Read again what I said. The modern tire mfg process, coupled with 'tuned
suspension' on most cars will result in a high number of tire faults due to
problems hidden under the tread.
It's almost always belt separation or "thick spots" which dont flex as well
as the rest of the circumference. Neither of which will show up on a
normal 'spin balance'.
Road force balancing, IN MY OPINION, points out the problem with a given
tire more than it alleviates it. RFB might help with the 'thick'
syndrome but is useless if there's separation.
But here's what I suggest. Rather than fight city hall, though someone
should, it's easier to just take the tire back. I've never had a problem
getting a replacement even though the tire shop mgr will inevitably claim
"I've never seen that before"
It's interesting that Discount Tires, a BIG chain... doesnt have access to
"Road Force Balance" equipment. I'm thinking that they dont WANT access
to it because customers might insist and that would be a big HIT on their
margins due to refusal of product.
I wish I could take it back. But it's the tire that came on the vehicle and
Ford isn't playing nice. I love my Expedition I just wish working with the
service reps was a bit easier.
I also feel that there might be another problem that is going on here and
Ford just wanted my 800 bucks rather than do warranty work. I really hope
that isn't the case. I want to have faith in ford.
FWIW, road force balancing does work - sort of. We don't have an RFB machine
so I am working off what other techs are telling me.
I have heard stories of having to try many different tires on a particular
wheel to find a set that will work. Oddly enough, a tire that wont work on
one wheel may work on another (even though the machine is finding internal
variations in the tire). I have come across two units in the last year or so
that I couldn't get the vibration out of (not allowed to replace tires and,
as I said, no RFB machine available). IIRC, both of these were Expeditions
(though one may have been an Explorer - too many vehicles come through the
door to be sure). If your service department can't help, go up the food
chain..... be pleasant yet firm. Either Ford or the tire manufacturer should
do something to turn you into a satisfied customer.
Yes, the tire with the cupping is a goner. Some kinds of
wear are corrected or mitigated by rotation. Cupping is not
one of the problems that can be corrected unless you have
enough tread remaining to have good useable tread after
truing. Not many places even have the machine for this
anymore. I have long avoided Continental tires since the
last set over 25 years ago damn near rattled the fillings
out of my teeth. I even had problems from Continental on my
motorcycle and went back to Dunlops for it. IMHO, if you
are going to spend that kind of money on tires, you should
be looking at Michelin. An extra $100 on the set is not
that much at the prices of your tires. My second choice has
become Bridgestone although they tend to ride a bit hard. I
have never been able to keep Goodyears balanced. The BFG
although owned by Michelin are still not up to Michelin
standards. My last two sets of BFG's split in the sidewalls
and had to be replaced even though they are great for
I replaced the Connies on my '02 Escape for the same reason- hard ride,
lousy traction wet or dry, and noisy as hell! I did some comparisons from
users on the Michelin Cross Terrain SUV and the Firestone Destination LE
and, for $50 per tire less, went with the Firestones. So far, I am very
pleased- I have no traction problems, not even with loose sand on the road,
they give a firm but "cushiony" ride, and they're very quiet around town and
on the highway. Of course, the Escape is quite a bit smaller and lighter
than the Expy, but the tires might be worth looking into for you.
After 18,000 miles and no rotation I would expect cupping and a little extra
wear on the outside. Esp on a 4x4 (you didn't say). If they arent worn out I
would just rotate them front to rear and be done with it. Then at the first
sign of cupping or any other front tire type wear, rotate again. Then when
you buy new tires go somewhere where they will give you free rotation and
balance as needed. I've had good luck with America's Tire store so
far.....BTW if it shakes after the rotation/balance make them fix it. The
shaking isn't when you hit the brakes is it?
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