Individual Tire Pressures - 2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

2013 Cadillac ATS Long-Term Road Test

2013 Cadillac ATS: Individual Tire Pressures

January 10, 2014

2013 Cadillac ATS

I grabbed the keys for our 2013 Cadillac ATS yesterday because it had been months since I last drove it. It's nearing the end of its time with us and I wanted to see if the 20,850 miles it's experienced at our hands had made a difference. Driving from the office yesterday, it felt weird.

2013 Cadillac ATS

And not weird like the miles had taken their toll like they did with our 2008 Cadillac CTS. Weird like a wheel was out of round or it had a loose lug nut. The car behaved strangely on the freeway, incongruously "nibbling" on some seams and grooves but not others with hard-to-define wiggles and shimmies.

When I arrived home (lacking a torque wrench), I did a quick visual check. All seemed fine. But this morning, I checked the cold tire pressures from the menu on the instrument panel. Voila. Here's the reason: All but one tire was out of spec for tire pressure (according to the car itself). Of the three remaining, one was high, and the other two were low.

Now, we often receive test cars with all four tires consistently running about 3 psi low, because some of the companies out there that prep "press fleet" vehicles still don't set the pressures correctly. They set warm tires to the cold specification which turns out to be about 10% off, or around 3 psi assuming 32-35 psi is correct. (Don't get me started on all the reasons this bugs me). This is why there's a half-hour pre-test protocol for every car we test. But we can't blame them for our car. This time it's on us.

Armed with our portable compressor and calibrated pressure gauge, I've set the pressures correctly. I believe this will make a difference for my drive home tonight. I'll follow up with a comment here.

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 20,895 miles


  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    This is why you don't count on TPMS.

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    "Don't get me started on all the reasons this bugs me." That pressures are set wrong? or That 32-35 psi is generally what manufacturers set their recommended pressures?

  • kevm14 kevm14 Posts:

    My 05 CTS-V has a readout for all 4 tires, as well. Although based on my experience with cars from that time frame, not many did that. Anyway, my TPMS reads within 0.5psi of my fancy dial tire pressure gauge. But I know all systems are not accurate.

  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    Wow, I can't believe that after deleting the last post about the Caddilac's TPMS system and the fiasco that followed, editors talk about it again as if nothing happened...

  • flunder flunder Posts:

    They should really rotate the image CCW by 90 Deg. This reminds me of the O'neal taco commercials.

  • jasond52 jasond52 Posts:

    Wow, that left rear is only 30 PSI. (heh heh heh)

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Well, the reading comprehension problem the last time wasn't Chris Walton's - it was Scott Oldham's. Thing that gets me, though, is that even after the car showed that it was having issues maintaining tire pressures, no one decided to have a tire shop look at it to see what was up. That's what an actual owner would do, so that's what the LT fleet manager should do. And I seem to remember Edmunds telling us awhile back that these cars are cleaned and have fluid levels and tire pressures checked every WEEK - ? Right...that's obviously not happening. Can Chris comment on this, since he says he's coming back to update us on the handling characteristics - ?

  • cwalton1 cwalton1 Posts:

    The TPMS was spot-on (within 0.5 psi) in terms of reporting tire-pressure specs. I set them to the correct cold pressures, and all is well. The peculiar behavior went away and now we know how sensitive the ATS is to tire pressures, even within the allowable limits before TPMS would throw a warning up. My "Don't get me started..." comment has to do with the amount of time it takes to check, fill, recheck tires on as many as 8 cars (32 tires) on a busy test day. I know, its my job (which I love), but it's clear that somebody had precisely set the test-car's tire pressures, BUT to the wrong spec before we received the car. ~Chris

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Well, obviously he's not going to get into how it got this far out of whack in the first place.

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