What Is Tramlining & How To Solve It On Your S550?

Kevin Cassar
November 6, 2020

S550 Mustang Tramlining

When it comes to the 2015-2021 Mustang, it has the most ingenious innovations of any Mustang generation since the original came to be in 1964. While Ford implemented more sophisticated suspension, braking, and drivetrain technology, it is the first among Mustang to have the ability to have tires from the factory with at least a 305 series wide tires. Well, you're probably asking what could be wrong with having a tire that wide on the front wheels of your S550 Mustang? If you're driving on the highway or the street at a mid-range speed of at least 55 miles per hour, you will start to experience what is known as tramlining. Tramlining is when your vehicle tends to follow the ruts and lines within the road.

How can this be a problem for your S550 stallion? It can be an issue for your Mustang because it will eventually change how your steering behaves while driving on the road. Instead of you having total control of your vehicle, the grooves and large tread pattern in your tire will follow the lines in the street, causing it to steer uncharacteristically than if the contact patch wasn't so large. Furthermore, it is often found most common in these two S550 Mustang models in the GT Performance Pack Level Two and the Shelby GT3550/GT350R. These two models come equipped with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup Two tires that are very close to a racing slick tire. It can be a problem because the tire does not have much of a tread pattern to coincide with the road surface grooves to meet.

Mustang Tramlining

Causes Of Tramlining

To understand the causes of tramlining, you need to understand the definition of what tramlining is. tramlining is when your S550 Mustang is driving on an old patch of asphalt on the highway, where it might tend to follow the ruts and grooves in the roadway. This causes an issue especially at high speeds on the highway when road conditions and weather are not optimal. What will occur is your wide tires will tend to pull left or right depending on the road conditions affecting your steering input, which can be dangerous and have wear on your steering components. There is much reason for this to be an issue, especially at high speeds on the highway when road conditions and weather are not optimal for efficient operation. What will occur is your wide tires will tend to pull left or right depending on the road conditions affecting your steering input, which can be dangerous and have wear on your steering components.

When it comes to your S550 Mustang, tires can have a significant part in why tramlining can have such a substantial effect on the way your stallion performs on the street. On the contrary, when you're on the racetrack, your Mustang won't have this issue because most racetrack surfaces are better maintained. If you own an Shelby GT350R, they come standard with low profile tires; tramlining is caused significantly by a wide contact patch and the tire's low profile sidewall. They tend to follow the grooves in the road because of the design and the wheel; they are more prone to tramlining versus a smaller tire with a larger sidewall.

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How To Fix Tramlining?

More often than not, if you're experiencing these issues, it can be more than just your tire size and low profile sidewall. If you don't properly maintain vital components and ensure that they are up to manufacturer specifications, your S550 Mustang will be more susceptible to tramlining. To ensure this doesn't happen, you will need to look at the following areas to offset these concerning issues that can affect not only your steering but many other vital systems on your 2015-2021 Mustang. Furthermore, Steeda has a way to help you fix tramlining with our two-point or four-point G-Trac braces that will assist in solving it.

  • Worn Out Suspension Components:
  • Like any other system on your S550 Mustang, whether it would be your engine or transmission, they need proper maintenance; otherwise, you can kiss goodbye the performance you're accustomed to experiencing. The same goes for your Mustang suspension and how it will manage grooves and ruts in the roadway. If many vital suspension components such as ball joints, bushings, and suspension mounts are not properly maintained, they will cause your Mustang to experience dramatically more tramlining. So you will want to ensure your suspension parts are always properly maintained.
  • Over Inflated Tires:
  • A lot of enthusiasts overlook tire pressure when it comes to their S550 Mustang. You will always want to ensure that your tire pressure is to the correct manufacturer's specifications. When you run a high tire pressure in your Mustang, it will tend to stiffen the tires and reduce the suppleness to absorb the shocks that, in turn, increase tramlining.
  • Improper Alignment:
  • If you're S550 Mustang doesn't have a proper alignment, your tires will not wear appropriately to manufacturer specifications; it can result in an increasing amount of tramlining. Not only will it disrupt your Mustang handling characteristics, but you will also have to take into account where the camber and toe setting are within your alignment to get the most out of your 2015-2021 Mustang.
  • Increased track Width:
  • Sometimes, increasing your Mustang's track width with a wheel spacer can increase tramlining as the track width is stretched farther than intended from the manufacturer.

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Image Credit: Road & Track




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