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Switching to summers = much harsher ride

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Old 04-07-2014, 10:01 PM   #1
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Default Switching to summers = much harsher ride

Hi Guys,

So, I switched to summer tires (20" sport package) and I have noticed a big increase in harshness. Almost to the point of untolerable ride. Every expansion joint and every bump is now so much more evident and transmitted through the car. I've been using my winter tires since I picked up the car in January, and in my opinion, the ride was just right.

Am I the only one who thinks like this?

I've been considering selling my 20" rims and picking up a set of lightweight 18s or 19s with a thicker profile tires.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:25 AM   #2
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What does the Owner's Manual say for inflation pressure on the 20" tires?
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:50 AM   #3
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summer tires tend to be more stiff on the material.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:39 AM   #4
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I have the 20-inch Sport Package on my A6. My OEM Pirelli P-Zeros were pretty harsh and noisy. I live in Snow Country at Lake Tahoe, but I didn't want to switch back and forth between Summer and Winter Tires. So I went to Michelin AS3 and I'm very pleased with them. The AS3 is a Ultra-High-Performance all weather tire. It is much less harsh and much less noise than the PIrellis. No regrets.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:55 AM   #5
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If you ask members here if there's any difference in ride quality between 19" and 20" wheels, invariably you get told "no" or "not much". Invariably, those owners live in California or Florida, where the roads are billiard-table smooth. Since you hail from Ontario (which is almost, but not quite, as bomb-cratered as Alberta), I think you've discovered the reality for people living in the snow belt.

I agree with your stated option - get the smallest wheels that will fit (more sidewall equals better impact absorption and pothole resistance). Lighter is indeed better, as lower unsprung weight allows the suspension to work better, improving ride quality even further. If you get decent summer tires, you won't lose much in terms of handling either.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:43 AM   #6
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Yes, Ontario got hit hard with this past erratic winter, there ar pot holes everywhere. The pressures are set to 44 and 46psi as per the sticker on the door jam. Can the pressures be lowered safely to ~ 38psi?
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superfly_A6 View Post
Can the pressures be lowered safely to ~ 38psi?
Check your manual. It will state what tire pressures are recommended for a standard load by tire size and type w/driver and one passenger. Labels on the vehicle show the max PSIs for a full load of passengers and a full trunk of stuff. I usually play with the standard PSIs a bit to find the best compromise between handling and comfort, typically a lb or 2 above the manual's recommendation.
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:11 AM   #8
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Superfly, those are max load tire pressures (5 passengers + 5 suitcases) and will yield a punishing ride, especially for those sitting in the rear. That's why I specifically asked if you had viewed the Owner's Manual where you WILL find comprehensive info.

(I thought Canadian cars got a hybrid version of our B pillar sticker that containted more info ???)
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Old 04-08-2014, 09:13 AM   #9
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+1:

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Originally Posted by snagitseven View Post
I usually play with the standard PSIs a bit to find the best compromise between handling and comfort, typically a lb or 2 above the manual's recommendation.
^^^This is the same strategy I use. Normal load + 2psi.
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DeerHunter View Post
Since you hail from Ontario (which is almost, but not quite, as bomb-cratered as Alberta), I think you've discovered the reality for people living in the snow belt.
Another factor could be the cold temperature.
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Old 04-08-2014, 01:58 PM   #11
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I've checked the owner's manual. Under "normal operation" the recommended pressures are 38/36 F/R. Although odd (the max tire pressures dictate 46/48 F/R), I've adjusted to 39/38. The ride seems to be better, but not as smooth and compliant as the 18" winter setup. Harshness from expansion joints are still there.

Also, I've noticed that acceleration has suffered a bit after switching to 20" summers. This is due to the fact that the 20" setup is most likely heavier and there is more rotational inertia. Something that was to be expected, but more that I thought. Perhaps a light weight 18" setup for the summer is the way to go. Current setup of 255/35/20 are 27.02" in diameter. A 255/45/18 would be 27.03" in diameter. No issues with the speedometer being off. That being said, does anyone have some pictures and recommendations?

BTW: Ontario (Toronto) is not that cold its 14C right now. This is not the boonies of Canada.
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superfly_A6 View Post
That being said, does anyone have some pictures and recommendations?
These are the 18" wheels that came with the early A6 sport package.



Quote:
BTW: Ontario (Toronto) is not that cold its 14C right now. This is not the boonies of Canada.
While 14*C (55*F) is not freezing, it is on the cold side for summer tires. They might loosen up a bit when it's warmer out. I'm south of you across the lake and tonight's forcast is "Rain / Snow Showers Late".
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:56 PM   #13
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Yes 20" tires are a triple whammy when it comes to ride comfort:
1. Less sidewall
2. Low profile tires generally need to run higher tire pressures to meet the load rating, which makes them firmer
3. Most of the tires available in the right size will be high-performance tires with stiffer construction for a more sporty feel

I learned to stay away from low profile tires after my last car.

Anyway, try dropping the pressures all the way to the minimum 38/36.

A different tire, still on your 20" wheels, may help, such as one of the softer all-season tires.

Also, what color is your car? Higher profile tires may be a little less noticeable on black cars.
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Old 04-08-2014, 04:19 PM   #14
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Yeah I'm in Toronto too. The truth is I abandoned sport packages and bigger wheel options after I went to audi from bmw now years ago. If you live where roads are great such as Germany or many parts of USA sure it may work. But here not so much. But preferences are different as I know many guys that will not have their cars without full sport suspension and tires and they love it.

Our roads are just a wreck. I find my standard 18 inch wheels and standard suspension work great. Good ride comfort and still quite sporty. Unlike bmw, audi standard setup is not wallowy.

I would get a set of oem audi 18 wheels/tires and sell your wheels on kijiji or something. You will have sport suspension but with much more forgiving rubber on smaller wheels. And as far as looks I think the 18s look great on this car.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Superfly_A6 View Post
Hi Guys,

So, I switched to summer tires (20" sport package) and I have noticed a big increase in harshness. Almost to the point of untolerable ride. Every expansion joint and every bump is now so much more evident and transmitted through the car. I've been using my winter tires since I picked up the car in January, and in my opinion, the ride was just right.

Am I the only one who thinks like this?

I've been considering selling my 20" rims and picking up a set of lightweight 18s or 19s with a thicker profile tires.

Any suggestions?
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Old 04-08-2014, 05:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmoon View Post
Yes 20" tires are a triple whammy when it comes to ride comfort:
1. Less sidewall
2. Low profile tires generally need to run higher tire pressures to meet the load rating, which makes them firmer
3. Most of the tires available in the right size will be high-performance tires with stiffer construction for a more sporty feel

I learned to stay away from low profile tires after my last car.

Anyway, try dropping the pressures all the way to the minimum 38/36.

A different tire, still on your 20" wheels, may help, such as one of the softer all-season tires.

Also, what color is your car? Higher profile tires may be a little less noticeable on black cars.
I notice the premium model comes standard with 17" wheels. I wonder if Audi would allow you to order a prestige with the 17" insead of the 18" and how do you folks feel about doing that?
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C21bill View Post
I notice the premium model comes standard with 17" wheels. I wonder if Audi would allow you to order a prestige with the 17" insead of the 18" and how do you folks feel about doing that?
It would have to be done after delivery if not an option in the order guide (per the online builds, Audi no longer offers 17" wheels for any version of the A6 in the US). IMO, 17" wheels are too much of a handling compromise for the C7 A6 not to mention they look kind of mismatched on a car of that size. I'd recommend 18" w/all season tires and pass on the sport package if ride comfort is your priority.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:29 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by DeerHunter View Post
Invariably, those owners live in California or Florida, where the roads are billiard-table smooth.
I wish.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:34 PM   #18
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Thanks for all your replies guys.

I have been searching for a nice looking 18" rim that is also light weight and so far nothing jumps out at me.
My goal is to get something in either 255/45/18 or 255/40/19 that will have a combined weight (with the tire) of my OEM winter setup .... man the ride was perfect - not too stiff, just right.

For documentation purposes, I will try to measure some rim weights tomorrow, and keep you guys posted. From the looks of things the 20 inchers must be heavy as hell.

If anyone has any pictures for suggestion, keep them coming
Thanks
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Old 04-09-2014, 05:40 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Superfly_A6 View Post
Thanks for all your replies guys.

I have been searching for a nice looking 18" rim that is also light weight and so far nothing jumps out at me.
My goal is to get something in either 255/45/18 or 255/40/19 that will have a combined weight (with the tire) of my OEM winter setup .... man the ride was perfect - not too stiff, just right.

For documentation purposes, I will try to measure some rim weights tomorrow, and keep you guys posted. From the looks of things the 20 inchers must be heavy as hell.

If anyone has any pictures for suggestion, keep them coming
Thanks
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superfly_A6 View Post
Thanks for all your replies guys.

I have been searching for a nice looking 18" rim that is also light weight and so far nothing jumps out at me.
My goal is to get something in either 255/45/18 or 255/40/19 that will have a combined weight (with the tire) of my OEM winter setup .... man the ride was perfect - not too stiff, just right.

For documentation purposes, I will try to measure some rim weights tomorrow, and keep you guys posted. From the looks of things the 20 inchers must be heavy as hell.

If anyone has any pictures for suggestion, keep them coming
Thanks
If there is that much difference between summer and winter I would think it has more to do with your temps than anything else. I've ridden in a A6 with non sport suspension that had 255/40/19's on it and compared to my S6 in comfort mode it was a harsher ride. There just honestly that much of a difference between 20's and 19's. However if your summer tires are too cold then it will be like driving around on plastic tires. You will hate the ride no matter the size.
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