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Road seams make Insight dance all over - what to do?

2434 Views 12 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Willie Williford
OK, I've had my 2000 Insight for about a year now, and I'm pretty much happy with it except for one thing. For some reason (I think it's the different wheel track between front and rear) the car gets kicked around pretty badly by pavement seams or ruts in asphalt surface. Naturally a lot of these are on the freeway, and it's not just an inconvenience, it's downright dangerous when the car is wanting to fling itself to one side or the other.

Admittedly I've been lax on checking my tire pressures, but I haven't noticed much of a difference either way (i.e. full or "ignored"). I never had problems like this on previous cars.

What should I do? Replace the tires? Are there tires that will make a SIGNIFICANT difference in how it tracks? Like, as good as a "regular" car? I don't suppose there's any affordable way to get the wheels lined up.

I'm kind of thinking of selling it and getting a Prius - I could use a back seat, cruise control and, well, a car that drives straight. But I put $1000 into the stereo (subwoofer & amp, etc.) and it irks me to give up on it.


- Bob
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i never got a chance to drive on the oem tires, since they were worn out when i bought my insight. i have heard many bad things about the oem rubber, including their propensity (theres a good one!) to wander all over the place, and lousy grip when wet. i ended up getting a set of Sumitomo HTR200s. they track like any other tire i have used on "normal" cars. they handle well, but i am giving up about 8 mpg to have all-weather tires.

if you live near another insighter, maybe a swap could be arranged to see how a different tire works on your car.

andy g.
Hi Bob,

Too much toe-in will also contribute to "wander". But the biggest difference will be tires. So in this case you can approach the problem in 2 steps. First get an alignment done and then see how much improvement was possible. Second get some different tires. The MPG hit without the OEM Bridgestone LRR's will limit hyper MPG by about 12% (less in lower MPG situations).

HTH! :)
It's pretty much a normal condition for the width of the tires used on the Insight. The small foot print it is more easily manipulated by road grooves.
Like several already mentioned above;
changing to wider tires such as 185/60R14 will reduce the "tramlining" you are experiencing and make the car feel so much more comfortable and stable that you will swear you are driving a different car.

It will also help if you go to a specialty alignment shop (that only does alignments) and tell them you want your car to feel more stable in a straight line.

"toe in" improves straight line stability
"toe out" reduces staight line stablity but improves turning ability :twisted:
Insights usually come with almost zero toe to reduce rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency.
Yup Guillermo's correct. And I got my Innies and Outies mixed-up. Haven't seen him oops in a suspension related post yet :!:

Thanks for the correction. :)

Guillermo said:
Insights usually come with almost zero toe to reduce rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency.
And since the OEM tires wear both edges regardless of overinflation you wouldn't want toe adding wear to the edges. :twisted:
Dump the RE-92's if you want improved handling, traction, smoother ride, etc. You will take about a 10% hit in fuel economy, but hey, 60 mpg still has you laughing at all the other hybrids - still in 2013!
Actually, a lot of the advice here seems dated. The narrower track width is the primary culprit. I have a friend who installed spacers at the rear wheels, I think about an inch per side. That stopped the tram-lining or what have you, the wandering... Also, toe can make the car darty or not, but it's front caster that gives the car its on-center feel. Increase the caster if you want the car to feel like it has a strong need to go in a straight line...
I have slightly wider Conti Eco 5's. the improvement in handling and wet grip is huge. I can now literally throw it into corners sideways, and it is a stable as any car I've ever driven.

Straight line driving is much better as well. If I leave off the steering, the car drives perfectly straight and true.

Plus I'm still getting good fuel economy. Last tank was 68mpg.
Last tank was 68mpg.
If I assume that's 68 mpg(imp.), that would be 57 mpg(U.S.) which could be a bit on the low side (depending on all sorts of variables). But compared with the OEM RE-92's, any tire seems to result in lower fuel efficiency.
"I'm kind of thinking of selling it and getting a Prius - I could use a back seat, cruise control and, well, a car that drives straight." From the original poster circa 2005.

Recognizing this is an Insight forum and it might be a hanging offense...Maybe some 7 yr later advice to the original poster would be 'get a Civic Hybrid':eek: But then again if our 03 Civic is any example as I have stated before it drives like an old home made wagon (kind with the front wheels attached to a 2X4 and a bolt down thru the center and you steer with your feet on each side) and it is not at all self centering (probably a failing/failed EPS)

Taken in the context of the near recent panic due to the rumor of discontinuing the RE-92, this resurrection of the old thread is timely. It just points out that about everything in life is a tradeoff...take your pick...good mpg...squirilly ride...back seat... a real interesting optimization problem.
This is the second 7 year old thread i've posted to many more can we dig up?
Reckon it is time for people being bored. Some people just have to post something or end up going to "Twitter/Facebook" hell. It's an addiction!
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