The main reasons behind car swaying after new tires are loose lug nuts, overinflated tires, incorrect wheel alignment, tire defects, uneven tire pressure, unbalanced wheels, and using different types of tires.
More often than not, you can solve this problem by tightening the lug nuts and adjusting the tire pressure according to the recommended settings in your owner’s manual. But sometimes, you’ll have to look deeper to find out why it’s happening and how to fix it.
Don’t worry, keep reading this guide to find out how you can stop your car from swaying in detail. We’ll also discuss what you should do when you’re breaking the new tires in. Let’s dive in!
Why Car Swaying After New Tires [Reasons + Solutions]
Are you wondering car feels floaty after new tires? Let’s look at the most typical reasons behind it in this section.
1. Loose Lug Nuts
If you have your car swaying side to side, a common reason behind it is not tightening the lug nuts properly. Mechanics often rush through the jobs when changing the tires and it’s a result of that. Inspect the tire to see if there are missing or loose lug nuts.
Go back to the shop where you replaced the tires. If they made a mistake when doing the job, they’re bound to fix it for you. Have them tighten the lug nuts and that should end the car swaying left and right problem.
2. Overinflated Tires
Bad mechanics will often advise that you need to inflate your tires to the maximum capacity. If you hear that from a mechanic, you should never go to him again as he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
There’s a right amount of tire inflation for every tire depending on the car you drive. You should only follow the owner’s manual to judge that and not take any mechanics’ advice.
Find the inflation pressure listed on the placard of your car and compare it to the new tires. The tires you installed should have a few pounds more pressure or the same as the listed pressure. But if it’s less than that, you have found the culprit that’s causing the new tires swaying issue.
Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to overinflated tires. All you need to do is to let the air out until you have it at the right level. Though you can do this yourself, you can always take it to the shop that did a poor job inflating the tires in the first place and have them correct their mistake.
3. Incorrect Wheel Alignment
Can bad alignment cause swaying? Yes, even if you have new tires, your car can sway either to the left or right if there’s bad wheel alignment.
Some tires are also more sensitive to wheel alignment than others. They’ll sway much more when the wheels aren’t aligned correctly.
The bad wheel alignment needs to be corrected if you don’t want the car swaying back and forth problem anymore. If the issue has happened only after you’ve replaced the tires, the mechanics in the shop you went to are the ones that messed it up.
You can take it to them and ask them to fix it for you. Although you can do it yourself, there are many steps involved in it and it’s better to let a professional do this job. If you hire a mechanic, it can cost up to $100 for a 2-wheel alignment and $200 for a 4-wheel alignment.
4. Tire Defects
You must be thinking how can there be tire defects when you’ve just gotten new tires? Well, you can check it by inspecting the date code on the tire sidewall. Remember that tires harden with age even if they’re not mounted or used on a car.
So, you can get new tires in theory but if they’ve been sitting for too long, they can cause your car to sway in different directions and make it difficult to drive. Such tires will have less traction and it’ll cause even more trouble when going through wet surfaces.
If you happen to have purchased tires that have been sitting around for a while according to the date on the sidewall, you can confront the shop you got them from. They gave you bad tires and know that they’re at fault here. More often than not, they’ll replace it without causing any issues.
5. Uneven Tire Pressure
Your car feels slippery when driving after installing tires problem can also be caused by uneven tire pressure across all your tires. Many people face the problem of their car swaying at high speeds after having their tires replaced.
It happens when the pressure between the front and the rear tires is not the same. Inspect the tire pressure as you did earlier and find out if there’s a difference between the tires at the front and the back. You may see new tires vibration at 60 mph or higher speeds if it’s far from being close.
So, how can you check the tire pressure of your car? You’ll need a digital tire gauge. Don’t worry, it’s pretty cheap and won’t cost you more than $10-$15. It’s a good idea to keep it in your glovebox so that you can check the tire pressure every couple of months or so. For now, here’s how you can check it:
- Find the correct tire pressure for your car inside the driver’s door, fuel cap, or the owner’s manual.
- You need to check the pressure when the tires are cool.
- It’s a good idea to check them first thing in the morning or wait for thirty minutes after driving so that they can cool down.
- Unscrew the valve cap of the tire and set it aside.
- Press the gauge to the valve stem and you should hear a hissing sound when they’re connected.
- Hold it for a second or two and you’ll get an accurate reading.
- Note the reading and repeat the steps for all the tires.
If they don’t match the recommended settings, you’ll need to take further steps. Otherwise, uneven tire pressure isn’t the main problem in your case.
Adjust the tires you need so that they match the recommended tire pressure of your car. You may have to inflate or deflate the front, rear, or all the tires. Take it to the mechanic you got the tires from if you don’t want to do it yourself.
They’ll have an air compressor that can adjust the tires to the recommended pressure. Once the job is done, you’re good to go and you shouldn’t face any further problems when driving it.
6. Unbalanced Wheels
No two tires are the same and the wheels have to be balanced properly so that you can have a predictable driving experience.
But if that balance isn’t there, the car can vibrate and sway on one side. With time, it can lead to uneven tire wear, poor fuel economy, and damaged shocks and bearings.
The wheels can be balanced by adding small lead weights to the rim. It’s a relatively easy fix if the job is handed over to an experienced mechanic. Once the lighter wheel matches the weight of the wheel on the other end, you can drive your car without the annoying swaying.
7. Changing Tire Types
When you replace the tires, you need to get the same type of tires if you want a similar performance. RFT tires are specially made in such a way that you can drive them even if there’s a puncture for a while until you can drive to a nearby auto shop and change it safely.
If you switch from an RFT tire to a non-RFT tire or vice-versa, the car can sway in another direction. You can also find the new tires less or more responsive to the ones you used in the past.
There’s not really a problem to fix here. You can just get used to driving the new type of tires. But if it’s too much of a hassle for you, get your tires replaced again, and hopefully, you won’t face the swaying problem from there on.
Do New Tires Need To Be Broken In
There are a lot of mixed opinions about whether new tires need to be broken in to expect a smooth driving experience from them. Taking them into account, it seems like it’s not unusual for new tires to sway, especially, if they have deep treads. Here’s why it happens:
There are different chemicals like wax and lubricants that are added to the tires to protect the tire when it’s in storage. Moreover, some tires also have lubricant in the treaded area when they’re removed from the molds.
It’ll take some driving for them to scrub off. During this time, it’ll reduce their traction. The new tires cause sway and can feel slippery even in summer when it’s rubbing against the road.
The tires will be slippery at first because several antioxidants will be applied to them. They’re added to keep the tires from breaking down when facing environmental conditions like oxygen and temperature fluctuations.
The flexibility in the rubber between the carcass and the tread surface can create a bit of excess movement that you can feel while driving newly fitted tires. The deeper the tires, the more the squirm tends to be. That’s why racing tires will have little squirm while snow tires will have a lot of it.
How To Break In New Tires
Breaking your new tires in is an easy process. You can do it by driving gently, braking well, and cornering for the first 500 miles or so. It’ll prepare the tires for optimal performance. The different chemicals applied to it will also be worn off by this time.
Stick to dry roads as much as you can during this period. Also, avoid speeding too much and drive at moderate speeds. To prevent any accident, keep a decent distance between you and the vehicle in front of you as your car may require longer braking times.
Why do the new tires feel less responsive?
The older tires you were accustomed to driving had little tread depth when you replaced them and that’s why they were responsive. But the new tires have to be broken in before you can expect the same from them.
How often should you check your tires?
You can stay on top of things by checking your tires for tread depth, inflation pressure, and visual signs of wear or damage. It’s a good idea to do these inspections every month or so.
What should you avoid doing during breaking in the new tires?
You should avoid driving on wet surfaces, accelerating suddenly, speeding, and abruptly slamming on the brakes. Steering clearing of these things for the first few hundred miles will set it up nicely for long-term use.
Can damaged rims make the car vibrate?
Yes, worn-out rims can cause your car to shake excessively. If the rims in your car are made of steel, it’s possible to repair them. But the ones made from aluminum have to be replaced when they’re damaged.
How often car tires should be changed?
The correct time to replace the tires depends on your use. Generally, you should replace them every six years. If you have to do it before that, the signs will be obvious like they’ll wear out and lose traction.
It can be extremely infuriating to feel your car swaying after new tires when you were expecting a smooth ride. It’s not unusual for that to happen and now you know the main reasons behind it and how you can fix the issues.
We hope you’ll find the main culprit that’s causing trouble in your case and solve it. Remember that you have to allow time for the new tires to get broken in before you can expect a buttery smooth ride from them. Comment below if you have any more questions about why a car sways after getting new tires.
Note: You can also read our guide on why flat tire noise when accelerating and how to fix it.