Tire Chatter When Cold - 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Long-Term Road Test

2014 Chevrolet Corvette: Tire Chatter When Cold

April 15, 2014

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

Our long-term 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray exhibits a judder when you make a tight turn (say, turning from a driveway onto a narrow street) when the car is stone cold. And it's completely normal and nothing is wrong.

I've observed this every time I've driven our C7 and it's never struck me as anything out of the ordinary. The first time our C7 did this I immediately chalked it up to a tight differential. When cold, a limited-slip differential can bind up and act like a spool (a locked diff), and the inside rear tire is forced to "skip" on the pavement. This manifests as the juddery "thunk-thunk-thunk" you get when you make a very tight turn at very slow speeds. Once warm this behavior goes away.

However, I've since observed that the car will exhibit this behavior whether power is being applied or not, clutch in or out, and seems to be at the front end rather than the rear. Plus, our C7, being a Z51, has an electronic differential, which ought to be fully open during such conditions. All of these factors suggest this is less a differential issue than it is a steering Ackermann issue.

The owner's manual offers no elaboration other than "it's normal":

2014 Chevrolet Corvette

Ackermann geometry pertains to the wheels doing the steering. In this case, the front wheels. In a nutshell, in true Ackermann geometry, the inside front wheel turns more sharply than the outside front wheel. This is because the inside front is closer to the center point of the turn than the outside front, and thus traverses a tighter arc.

It turns out GM built the C7 with reduced Ackermann for packaging reasons. Thus, the inside front tire skips along the pavement when subjected to a hard turn when cold. The skipping is quite pronounced and I can see where some people might think something is very wrong with their car. When the tire warms up, its carcass is better able to deform, so the skipping goes away.

Now you know.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 16,673 miles


  • banhugh banhugh Posts:

    So why doesn't hop/skip when the car is warm?

  • cobryson cobryson Posts:

    @banhugh "When the tire warms up, its carcass is better able to deform, so the skipping goes away."

  • diigii diigii Posts:

    So that means premature tire wear on the inside thread.

  • nomercy346 nomercy346 Posts:

    cool stuff, never heard of ackerman steering... probably explains the front chatter on tight turns on gravel I noticed on the Suburban. really freaked me out at the time because the first time I noticed that I was doing figure 8s and listening for the faintest noise, anything that could be broken. Why, you ask? Because I accidentally left it in 4hi on pavement, on an mountain pass, no less and I was fearing I did some real damage to the 4wd system :/ Always thought thats instant damage with a part time system but read up a little to discover that it's not too bad if you dont do it too often and most of the wear is on the tires. back on the drivetrain binding topic my old ZJ jeep with quadra trac full-time 4wd squeals on tight turns (parking garage) and you can feel there is some wind up in the drivetrain. Anyone who's driven a more modern full-time system (not on-demand type) can you still feel it's 4wd? I've only driven an x-drive BMW and it felt like RWD in a parking lot.

  • nomercy346 nomercy346 Posts:

    on the drivetrain bind topic: my old ZJ Jeep with the old school full-time quadra trac 4wd squeals around tight corners (parking garage) and you certainly feel the drivetrain winding up. Do you still feel some bind in a modern full-time setup (not the on demand types)? I've only driven a x-drive BMW and in terms of binding, in a parking lot it felt like a normal RWD car.

  • nomercy346 nomercy346 Posts:

    sry for the double post, still can't get the hang of this commenting system :/ post didn't show up, then it did, then it was gone again...

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    nomercy346, the behaviour of the comments section can be pretty squirrely. You press "Post" and nothing appears to happen. The trick then is to refresh the page and your post will go up.

  • miata52 miata52 Posts:

    Same thing when you sign in here...the sign-in dialog box just shows a bunch of code after you click sign-in and then you can't navigate away from it. Just refresh the page and all is well. This is probably the worse-maintained/run website that I visit in the interwebs.

  • The front tires on my C5 Z06 used to do the same exact thing. First I attributed it to the half worn Goodyear Eagles I bought it with. But even with new tires and alignment it did the same thing. I just figured it was normal and continued on with my life. (And yes I did RTFM and there was no mention of it in the 2003 manual)

  • joefrompa joefrompa Posts:

    I'm used to this from AWD vehicles and the binding they exhibit in really sharp turning at very low speeds, especially when cold. Heck, my 08 535xit did it just yesterday backing out of the garage and then cranking the wheel hard. It's probably much more pronounced on very wide, stiff summer tires.

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