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Old 12-07-2009, 09:25 PM   #1
Starduster_Sat
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Default Tire Pressures for S Series

I need to rattle a cage or two. I've had running disputes with the current Saturn of Alexandria service department, and my tire installers, over recommended tire pressures for our two SL2's. The placard says 30psi Front, 26psi Rear (cold, of course). Back when the cars were new, Saturn of Alexandria stressed the importance of keeping that front/rear balance. Over the years, we've been happy and comfy with how the cars feel running those pressures. Tire wear has been balanced, as well. One thing I've learned from Tire Rack is to set pressures with the projected low temperature in mind. We are NOT running underinflated.

What I'm hitting is... 30psi front and rear. Period. There seems to be an attitude of "Anything less than 30psi under ANY circumstance is too low." Which is confusing, and an irritation to my wife. I would love to hear from a Saturn person on this matter.

P.S. I DO know what it feels like to drive underinflated. We once did a cross-country trip with friends in their Suburban. When I got to drive, the thing felt EVIL- it wanted to throw itself off the road in any direction. Fully loaded. High speed running. On maybe 25psi, where Chevy spec'd 35psi front and rear. Guardian Angel, workin' hard for ya.

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Old 12-07-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

I run 35 cold. Anything below 30 is too low IMO

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Old 12-07-2009, 11:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

Keep in mind that the door sticker only applies to recommendations for the factory tires. You can really run in any range that the tire manufacturer states is safe with a particular tire.

With my current tires wear and ride seem best at maybe a couple PSI above the door sticker. It does seem that just a couple too many PSI in the rear will give a harsh ride.


Just be glad they are overinflating them for what you want. On the wifes Ascender it come back from the shop at about 25 PSI. I think they just lowered all pressures to a set number to avoid having to possibly inflate any of them. Moron dealer!

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Old 12-07-2009, 11:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

30 psi front, 26 psi rear. Saturn came up with that number after testing the OE Firestone tires. my summer tires are 205/50R15 with a load index of 86 instead of the OE 195/60R15 that have a load index of 87, so I use more air in my summer tires.

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Old 12-07-2009, 11:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

By the way, stock sizes. On the '97, the OE 185/65R15 Firestone Affinitys were upgraded to 195/60R15 (the SC size) to get ahold of the WONDERFUL Michelin Pilot Exaltos.

Oh, for eRic_02sc2- what pressures do you run for autocrossing?

Last edited by Starduster_Sat; 12-08-2009 at 12:02 AM.. Reason: addition

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Old 12-08-2009, 12:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

I did 34-35 front 31-32 rear.

this is when i had my SL2

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

seems like everyone will vary a bit. I tend to run 35-40 f and r but then my tires seem real noisy when around 30 and not quite so much at 35-40. over all I'd say run what the door says as a minimum

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starduster_Sat View Post
I need to rattle a cage or two. I've had running disputes with the current Saturn of Alexandria service department, and my tire installers, over recommended tire pressures for our two SL2's. The placard says 30psi Front, 26psi Rear (cold, of course). Back when the cars were new, Saturn of Alexandria stressed the importance of keeping that front/rear balance. Over the years, we've been happy and comfy with how the cars feel running those pressures. Tire wear has been balanced, as well. One thing I've learned from Tire Rack is to set pressures with the projected low temperature in mind. We are NOT running underinflated.

What I'm hitting is... 30psi front and rear. Period. There seems to be an attitude of "Anything less than 30psi under ANY circumstance is too low." Which is confusing, and an irritation to my wife. I would love to hear from a Saturn person on this matter.

P.S. I DO know what it feels like to drive underinflated. We once did a cross-country trip with friends in their Suburban. When I got to drive, the thing felt EVIL- it wanted to throw itself off the road in any direction. Fully loaded. High speed running. On maybe 25psi, where Chevy spec'd 35psi front and rear. Guardian Angel, workin' hard for ya.
I stick pretty close to whats on the stickers no matter what I drive. In the winter on the Saturns I own I run them about 2 PSI higher. Going to astronomical pressures is totally foolish and unnecessary IMO. ESPECIALLY in back on these cars where they're so light they don't warrant over 30 psi UNLESS you are a hitman and carrying a few bodies in the trunk

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Old 12-08-2009, 11:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

I find that using "what's on the door jamb label" leads to accelerated wear on the Inside/outside edges; classic signs of under-inflation. After 5 years of Saturn ownership, all I have to offer for advice is "it depends". I seem to get pretty decent treadwear by running a few lbs. higher that reccomended, especially in the rear, and a couple extra in whatever I'm driving(250+ pound driver and 200+ pounds of tools & equipment in the trunk & back seat). Some lower profile performance tires can often use even higher pressures to maintain an even contact patch, even though the look and feel fine when they're almost flat. Rotation is also important, and the more "spirited" your driving style, the more often. If you are using different pressures front & rear, you'll have to adjust when you rotate.

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Old 12-08-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by spencerforhire View Post
I find that using "what's on the door jamb label" leads to accelerated wear on the Inside/outside edges; classic signs of under-inflation. After 5 years of Saturn ownership, all I have to offer for advice is "it depends". I seem to get pretty decent treadwear by running a few lbs. higher that reccomended, especially in the rear, and a couple extra in whatever I'm driving(250+ pound driver and 200+ pounds of tools & equipment in the trunk & back seat). Some lower profile performance tires can often use even higher pressures to maintain an even contact patch, even though the look and feel fine when they're almost flat. Rotation is also important, and the more "spirited" your driving style, the more often. If you are using different pressures front & rear, you'll have to adjust when you rotate.
Far more than 5 years ownership for me and multiple cars. Have never had wear issues on any tires following running at or VERY close to door jamb. Have also used multiple brands of tires and all have been SL2 models. I am quite fanatical about rotation (following the modified X or the straight front/back on directional tires). I do not carry heavy loads though. As I indicated carrying a few bodies in the trunk one should up the pressures a little. But these are VERY light cars (especially in back) and running too much in back really screws these cars up. (Kinda like a reverse Corvair). On those they recommended (IIRC) 15lbs front. And trust me if you ran over the darn things would bounce all over the road. To me the SAturns are the same (only reversed). I have found going over 32 in front makes the SL2 skittish and severe understeer and approaching 30+ in back makes the back end very harsh and makes it feel "un-planted".

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Old 12-08-2009, 12:37 PM   #11
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

The door sticker is a safe bet for normal operation with factory spec tires. It was selected by Saturn to provide a good balance between tire life, handling, stopping, fuel economy, and ride. And among these factors the the emphasis was probably placed on braking and fuel economy. In correct balance between front and rear could effect the ability to stop straight and true at high speeds.

The right number may be a bit different for non-OEM spec tires, different vehicle loading, or unusual road/use conditions. However, unless you really know what you are doing, best to stay close to the manufactureres spec for tire pressure.

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Old 12-08-2009, 02:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

It depends on what the maximum for your tires are. Look at the sidewall. Different tires have different MAXIMUM recommended pressure.
Back in '98, the max for most tires that fit the Saturn was 35 or 36 psi with the maximum load. Since my SW2 is so light, the max pressure is too high. So the correct pressure is much less.
My summer Yokahamas has a max of 44. So I set the pressure correspondingly low.
Bottom line, right around 80% front/75% rear of what the maximum pressure says on the sidewall of whatever tire is on your car.

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Old 12-08-2009, 04:58 PM   #13
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

Below 35psi all round is underinflated IMHO. I rather liked 40psi in my 205/50's all summer. One of the 205/50's broke off the bead 'cause the stupid tire guy filled it to 26...and I had to get a new car and 1 new tire.

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Old 12-08-2009, 06:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

My Saturn dealership recommended 30 lbs. front and rear. It has worked out well. I have had problems with slow leaks. I like having a little margin of safety. I will sometimes put 31 or 32 lbs, but start feeling the bumps too much. I have a lot of blow-ups on the road close to my house.

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Old 12-08-2009, 07:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starduster_Sat View Post

Oh, for eRic_02sc2- what pressures do you run for autocrossing?
for autocrossing I run like 38-40 front and 29-30 rear.

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

I use 34 front 30 rear to keep the 4 PSI difference going between front to back. I guess it rides ok but my shocks have 180K miles on them so I don't really know. My tires in the rear don't show any wear after about 2,000 miles of driving

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

I leave them at 30 - 30 just to make rotating them easier, they get perfect contact like that, if I'm going to auto-x I plan on either dropping the fronts or raising the backs (raising the backs most likely).

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:32 PM   #18
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

the door sticker inflate pressures are taylored to that specific car & it's weight/handling characteristics. for example a car that usses the same size tires mine does & which might weigh say 1000# more than my car would have pressures higher than mine. my car says 26# rear & 30# front & that's what i use.....

as the temps drop here i have to jack up the pressure to keep it correct & maybe i will add a few extra # to compensate as the temps here contunue to drop....

Last edited by saturnsctwo; 12-08-2009 at 09:37 PM..

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

well the car says 30-26 because almost all car manufactures strive to make cars that have almost no chance of over steering (well at least non sports cars), with how this suspension is you could max out the backs and almost flatten the fronts and then maybe you could get it to oversteer.

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Old 12-09-2009, 12:41 AM   #20
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Default Re: Tire Pressures for S Series

If you maxxed out the backs at flattened the fronts, I'm fairly certain it'd understeer tremendously.

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