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Tires – Feel Squishy?

Written by maryp posted on Saturday, August 27th, 2011

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Just today, we had a query why tires on a Mercedes would feel “squishy” when making turns. BTW, in the car world this is often called “side wall flex”. There could be several reasons, but here are the most common situations that could cause side wall flex during a turn.

You wouldn’t try to run a marathon in a pair of high heels would you? Or would you mountain climb wearing slippers? That would be crazy! Your car is no different.

  1. It is critical that you use tires that are the correct size and meet or exceed the load and speed ratings from the manufacturer for a particular vehicle, year and model. So, the first question is; does this Mercedes have the correct tires for this year and model?

    Most of the European cars on the road today are using low profile tires, which means the sidewall is not as deep as let’s say tires on older SUV. Check out a few cars on a parking lot and you might notice that some tires some are looking more “squat” than others. The “squat” tires are usually a low profile tire. The tread part of the tire is wider, bringing down the amount of sidewall. The less sidewall, there is less sidewall to flex under optimal conditions.

    If you want to deviate from the original tires that came on your BMW, Mercedes, or MINI, and if price is your main concern, please ask a professional tire dealer such as Tire Rack or a reputable independent BMW or MINI shop. It is most important that your car be equipped with the correct tire for your vehicle for safety reasons. If this Mercedes does not have the proper tires, that could explain the squishy feel, (side wall flex).

  2. Is there enough air in the tires on this Mercedes? Always check the door pillar on the driver side of the car and have the tires inflated to the recommended pressure(s). Improper tire pressure could also cause the squishy feel during turns.

    It is not uncommon to have different PSI settings from front to back. That is why it is important to read and use the recommended tire pressures on the door pillar from BMW, MINI, Mercedes or other manufacturer.

Side wall flexing of your tires can be a hazard, especially at freeway speeds. Do not guess when it comes to your tires. Always purchase from a reputable, trusted tire dealer or independent shop that has the experience and the correct information for you.

The Tire Rack has a unbelievable amount of tire information on their site. They are a great source for research and for tires at good prices. Note that most tires come with warranties, too. The warranty that is offered may be another consideration for you when you are comparing your appropriate options.

Remember your tires are a very important safety feature of your car whether it be a BMW, MINI or a Mercedes. Enjoy the road!

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