Q: I purchased a double cab, shortbed Toyota Tundra SR5 with the six-cylinder engine. It gets good gas mileage, and I love the excellent build quality of the Toyota. I use the truck for DIY projects and it just turned over 10,000 miles. The problem: The ride is choppy and the worst of any of the six pickups I have owned including heavy-duty models used to haul campers. I contacted my dealer service manager, the Toyota zone office, and the company, and have not received any help in trying to obtain a more civilized ride. Any suggestions?

A: Tundra's stiff ride is a historic characteristic of Toyota-built pickups and SUVs. The common consensus is Toyota trucks are geared more toward work and hauling than everyday driving. Like all pickups, the bed is designed to haul cargo. So the suspension is engineered to ride at its best with weight applied. Put a 500-pound load in the back of the Tundra and note its improved ride quality. As far as softening the ride of an unladen pickup is concerned, it boils down to tires, shocks, and springs. Take it one step at a time. Hard to believe, but some folks are still unaware of correct tire pressure specifications, and pump their tires up to the max psi molded into the sidewall. Look up the specs in your owner's manual, or read the sticker inside the driver-side doorjamb. Then apply the correct pressures all the way around, in your case, you might even consider keeping the pressures 2-3 psi on the low side. If that doesn't help, try tires with a less aggressive tread pattern, composed of softer rubber compounds. When you look up the recommended tires for your truck with tire company software, you'll have a few choices. But the latest-generation Tundra is a tough truck, so don't go outside of the designs they suggest. It may have what you consider a hard ride after fine-tuning the tires, but after that it can get expensive, and still might not produce the results you're looking for. Check with the bigger shock and spring companies to see what they suggest to cushion the ride; keep in mind most aftermarket truck products focus on performance handling and climbing mountains. That can mean higher spring rates and more restrictive shock damping.

How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at trucktrend@sourceinterlink.com. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.

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