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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 2003 EX 4wd Element has 4 Dueler H/L Alenza 215/70R16 tires with 35,000 miles on them. I do a mix of 40% city and 60% highway driving. I'm bad because I hardly ever check the tire pressures until last week and they were:

Front tires - 32 psi
Back tires - 34 psi

1. Why do they recommend lower psi for the front tires, rather than uniform pressures on all 4 tires?

2. I am thinking about inflating all 4 tires to 35 psi. Good or bad idea?

3. During the summer with temps in the 90s, how much psi do you think is in the tires when driving if they are filled to 35 psi when "cold"?
 

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It all depends on how frequently you check your tire pressures. Ambient temperature makes a much bigger difference in tire pressure than anything else. Check your tire pressures frequently, and adjust them at least every season.

A "cold" tire (i.e. steady state, say after sitting over night) versus a "hot" tire won't cahnge by much more than 4 psi or so when run at highway speeds for a while.

The big thing is that you don't want to run 36 psi in the winter time, have it warm up 40 degrees (which will yield ~40 psi or so "cold"), and then have it add that extra 4 psi to 44 (although it'd probably be fine still).

Check the sidewall of your tire, it should state max inflation pressure. Most tires are rated to at least 44 psi, the tires I have on my mazda are rated to 50 even.

The only other thing is to understand the effects of increased pressure (positive and negative). You will tend to get better gas mileage due to the lower rolling resistance. You will tend to handle a bit better in the corners (due to the tires sidewalls being effectively stiffened). Your ride will be a bit harsher. You will have an infintesimally increased risk of blowout (this is the only real drawback).

To me, 36 psi just feels better. I check my pressures often enough with temperature change that its not a problem, and i like the better gas mileage. I know how to react to a blowout (DON'T TOUCH THE BRAKES).

Honda recommends what they do b/c of lawyers, and b/c most people are so clueless about tire pressures they consider it to be a warranty issue.
 

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I agree with Blue Devil.


Some other thoughts...


Check 'em more often. :wink:

Lotsa people here on the EOC are happy with the ride and handling at 35psi all around.

I like 40 all around (assuming the tires are rated for that much....some popular E size tires are rated for 35max, other 44 max)

Try it...if you're not happy with the ride and/or handling you can always go back....not like you're getting a "35PSI" tattoo. :wink:
 

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I think there was some talk at one point that the lower front PSI might have to do with the rt4wd but no real confirmation has been given.

I run 40 psi on my tires and they are rated at 44 max psi. This is the COLD psi as all tire pressure is rated at cold levels.

Play with them to get the feel you want. Just stay below the tires indicated max psi.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I admit I was clueless about tire pressures until I started reading about tires on this forum. My Element started shaking at 60+ mph so had my tires balanced and one tire was off 5 ounces according to the mechanic. He said I should have felt it shaking at lower speeds with that much off balance. So anyway I bought a cheap pen shaped tire gauge from Wal-mart so I'll start checking tire pressure more often.

The main thing I'm trying to do now is increase gas mileage without sacrificing safety or ride comfort. I have a 500 mile trip later and I'll see what 35 psi on all 4 tires does for my mileage.

I rotate my tires every other oil change but I will start rotating them every oil change about 5,000-7,000 miles. :)
 

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If the tire was off five ounces it was not do to underinflation. Something is wrong w/ the tire , wheel or he is scamming you.

Take a look at the wheel weights on your wheels.

Fred
 

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I think there was some talk at one point that the lower front PSI might have to do with the rt4wd but no real confirmation has been given.
Mine was giving some serious issues with highway driving - wandering around the lanes, etc - until I noticed the need to have the fronts at a lower pressure than the rear. I finally got the best handling on the OEM NotverygoodYears at 35 front and 38-39 rear. 3-4 psi lower in front makes a dramatic change in higher speed stability. A couple extra psi also makes a big difference in how much the tires warm up on the highway but how much depends on the tire. My fronts went up from 35 to 39 on my last trip (about 80 miles on sunny 80 degree day, blacktop) and the rear went from 38 to about 40. Part of that was probably loading.
 

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Mine was giving some serious issues with highway driving - wandering around the lanes, etc - until I noticed the need to have the fronts at a lower pressure than the rear. I finally got the best handling on the OEM NotverygoodYears at 35 front and 38-39 rear. 3-4 psi lower in front makes a dramatic change in higher speed stability. A couple extra psi also makes a big difference in how much the tires warm up on the highway but how much depends on the tire. My fronts went up from 35 to 39 on my last trip (about 80 miles on sunny 80 degree day, blacktop) and the rear went from 38 to about 40. Part of that was probably loading.
The higher pressures could be to try and increase the understeer the car has in the interest of safety, thats my guess. Perhaps the extra weight of the 4WD system in the back has led Honda to recommend the higher pressure in back to increase rear tire grip to compensate so taht they don't have to change the suspension otherwise. The stagger recommended would lead to more understeer. I'm not sure if the effect would really be "dramatic", but it might make a slight difference. You haven't done anything else to your suspension have you?

Me, I hate understeer. . . I put a HUGE rear bar on my mazda and love it. Then again, I don't race the E. . .
 

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Me, I hate understeer. . ..
Yup....me too. I think Honda had the legal department choose the tire pressures....I'd like to think the engineering department/car people would've picked something like 35-40 all around. I even tried 45F-35R to see if I could shed some more understeer, but it seemed about the same as 40F&R but harsher.

BTW...the stock tires were MUCH better at 40-42 all around than they were at Honda recomended pressures.
 

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higher pressures doesn't automatically equal more grip. There is an optimum pressure (not sure what it is). Pressures above this start to turn the tire into a donut. Pressures below this allow the sidewall to flex and rollover too much.

Legal depts definitely play a big role in determining tire pressures/suspension setups on cars. Its because most people don't know how to safely react to oversteer. Most people lift off the gas when a car oversteers, which is exactly the wrong reaction.

For those who are curious, when they told you "steer into the skid", thats one way. But the best way to correct oversteer in a FWD car is GAS.

For an illustration of this, watch this video:

http://www.motoringfile.com/2009/04/10/an-argument-for-front-wheel-drive/
 

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Gas and steer into it. That was a brilliant bit of driving. Very nice.

I have always said if you want to learn how to drive well on the streets take some race car driving lessons. You can read a book or watch a video on what to do but until you feel what is happening you won't really know what to look for.
 

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The higher pressures could be to try and increase the understeer the car has in the interest of safety, thats my guess. Perhaps the extra weight of the 4WD system in the back has led Honda to recommend the higher pressure in back to increase rear tire grip to compensate so taht they don't have to change the suspension otherwise. The stagger recommended would lead to more understeer. I'm not sure if the effect would really be "dramatic", but it might make a slight difference. You haven't done anything else to your suspension have you?

Me, I hate understeer. . . I put a HUGE rear bar on my mazda and love it. Then again, I don't race the E. . .
The only changes to the suspension were to attach the rear shocks at the bottoms. (They weren't) Everything else is straight as it was from the factory and I haven't hit 4000 miles yet.

With the oem tires at 32/35psi, it's OK at 55 and handling starts to get interesting at about 60 or so on good roads. Running up to 35/39 makes it fun at 60, OK at 65, and anything more turns into white knuckle driving. Since it only goes wild at higher speeds regardless of the road crown, I'm blaming the tires. I used to have a set of Uniroyal Tigerpaws on my GMC that acted the same way and I think the Goodyears are about the same quality and design. Switching to Arizonian Silver editions changed that truck to a vehicle you could relax in at 110-120 on a smooth track. I -SO- wish Discount Tire made those tires in a size for my Element.

What irks me is that I plan to take my first road trip with the E this Summer and this one wants to be a city car. I'm going in for some Geolanders in a couple days in hopes it'll do the 3000 mile trip faster than a dirt bike.
 
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