need some advice on tires

backspaceJanuary 13, 2006

I like to replace two of my Michelin MVX tires with something that have better tread wear.

The MVX tires are not cheap. I can actually get 4 BFGoodrich® Traction T/A H instead of just replacing the two front tires. So I may just replace all 4.

I don't know much about tires. Are there any difference between a $130 tire and a $80 tire such as the MVX and Traction T/A? I know both are made by Michelin. I don't want to sacrifce too much quality and get some really lousy tires. Any site has review on tires.

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It's always best to replace radial tires (the kind you have) in sets of four. Otherwise, the handling of the car could become unpredictable at higher speeds or in emergencies.

There are three things you want to find out about each tire you're thinking about buying:

- Warranty: Obviously, a tire with a 40,000-mile warranty is not likely to last as many miles as one with an 80,000-mile warranty. Maybe you'll pull 82,000 miles out of each of them anyway, but generally a longer warranty indicates longer mileage.

The UTQG rating: a number and some letters, right on the sidewall of the tire. The letters indicate how strong the tire is; A is best. The number is a rating from the tire manufacturer that compares that tire's expected mileage with other tires that company makes. The higher the number, the more mileage the manufacturer expects the tire to provide.

Note, however, that you cannot compare this number between manufacturers; Michelin's 400 rating is not comparable to Goodrich's 440 rating. (I will note that, while Michelin owns Goodrich, they are not the same tires made the same way. The same goes for other tire companies, too. I'm not picking on Michelin).

The load rating of the tire: Your car's owner's manual specifies the load that the tires must be able to handle safely. This will be a number with a letter (like 91H, 89T, 80S); it's right on the sidewall, too. When you buy new tires, they must have a load rating at least as high as the one the manufacturer specifies. In some states, it's illegal to sell you tires which do not meet your car's load rating.

Finally (I know -- thank goodness he's almost done!), there are differences between cheap and expensive tires. More expensive tires generally are built better (Michelins, for example, have a reputation for being round within very tight tolerances), have longer warranties (or even have warranties), etc. Some of the differences you may not care about, like special high-traction tire compounds or high advertising costs because they sponsor blimps and racing teams. But there are good lower-priced tires and there are manufacturers who charge more based on a reputation that may not be completely deserved.

A very good Web site to visit (and good people to buy from if you cannot find the tire you want locally) is Tire Rack (link below). They test the tires they sell and let their customers rate the tires they buy. You might want to read some reviews once you have narrowed down your choices.

Hope this helps....

Here is a link that might be useful: Tire Rack Web site

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 4:43PM
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The federal excise tax on a tire is an indicator of how much rubber is in a tire. Can be useful for comparisons.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 6:43PM
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Both Michelin MV4 and BFGoodrich Traction have 94H loading rating for the same size tire 205 65HR 15.

Michelin tires have a limited warranty which covers defects in workmanship and material for the life of the original usable tread or for 6 years from date of purchase, whichever occurs first. I can't find what Michelin considers usable tread for the MV4 tho. The BFGoodrich tires have 60,000 mile warranty.

I got 4 MV4 in 2002 but I had to replace two of them in 2003. The older MV4 tires are probably close to the minimal 2/32", still have a few more months. I have about 30,000 to 40,000 miles on them. Is that reasonable wear? Seems like these tires only last about 3.5 year. Even if I only get half of the 60,000 miles from the BF tires, it is about the same wear at half the price.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 7:00PM
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Shopping for lowest cost per mile may not be the best approach. Good traction is a safety item and should be weighted highly. Suppose there were a tire having traction rating -A- but with only 40,000 mile life and a second tire with traction rating -B- and life of 60,000 miles. Which is the better choice? If traction is more important than mileage, then the 40,000 mile tire is the best bet.

Tire life is affected by the tread design. A mud and snow design with large spaces between the blocks will have less life than an all season tire with smaller spaces simply because there is more tread material.

A third factor is noise. I once had a set of Goodyear Wrangler tires with agressive treads and my ears soon grew tired of these on long trips. I was much happier when I switched to a set of all weather Michleins. This would have not been a factor had most of my driving been at slower speeds on dirt and gravel roads, but it was not - it was on paved roads at freeway speeds. Dry traction and traction on wet pavement plus noise were the prime parameters in this case.

As a side benefit, the Michelins have stayed round and in balance after 20,000 miles.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2006 at 5:59AM
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I got 4 MV4 in 2002 but I had to replace two of them in 2003. The older MV4 tires are probably close to the minimal 2/32", still have a few more months. I have about 30,000 to 40,000 miles on them. Is that reasonable wear? Seems like these tires only last about 3.5 year. Even if I only get half of the 60,000 miles from the BF tires, it is about the same wear at half the price.

There are so many factors to tire wear it would be hard to say: the kind of driving you do (highway versus city; gentle starts and stops versus floor it/stomp on it [sometimes traffic makes that decision, not you]; how well you keep tire inflation at the right levels and rotate the tires; etc.). Not really knowing any of these things, I'd venture that 30-40,000 miles is maybe on the lower side of what you could expect for mileage on that model of tire, but it's not unusually low.

Keep in mind that even though a tire is warranteed for a specific mileage amount, what they'll give you if the tire does not meet that mileage makes a difference. I haven't read the warranties for either tire, but it's not uncommon for them to prorate your mileage, so if you got, say, 50,000 miles on the Goodrich tires and you were supposed to get 60,000, their warranty may only give you 17% of your money back since you missed only 17% of the guaranteed mileage (50,000 divided by 60,000). Again, use warranties as guides.

If you've been happy with the Michelins on the car now, I'd go ahead and get another set. Yeah, they're twice the price, but that's not tons of money compared to what you'll spend maintaining the car over the next 3-4 years. If the Michelins are what came with your car originally, then they're the best bet as replacements because the car has been fine-tuned for those particular tires. But if you think the Michelins could have done better in some respect or another, or you really need to save the $$ right now, the Goodriches are not a bad choice at all. I'd say you'd probably get somewhat better handling out of the Goodriches with the potential for a slightly shorter lifetime.

Hope that helps....

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 3:54AM
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Excellent advice from both Jem and Steve on this forum.
Buy the tire that best suits your driving climate and "style".

Having two sets, one for winter, one for summer is better if one lives in the northern climes.

Here in SE PA,(and the "in-between" area) probably all season is best; and then, just "summer" tires for the rest of the country..
All season tires do not recieve good press from the "experts"..
Also, I am leery of the 80,000 miles thread-life, I consider traction, particularly in the wet, to be more important..

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 7:02PM
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First of all, thanks for all the advice.

The Michelin tires were not the original tires on my car. I just brought whatever fitted my car at the time. As far as comparing them, I was suprised to see BF tires have better rating on practically every catagory. Even though I am concerned about cost since I already spend a lot of money last two months on car maintenance. I also like to be spend them wisely. As far as actual cost, it is about the same for me either two MVX tires or 4 Goodrich tires.

Because the sale at Costco runs until end of month, I still have a more week to ponder this. I just want to make sure I got the right tires since they have to ship them to my store.

BFGoodrich Michelin
Traction Energy Blackwall
T/A H MXV4 Plus

WEAR 8.1 7.2

BTW, I don't have snow where I live. So it is mainly for wet and dry driving.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 8:55PM
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The worse tires I ever owned were the most expensive. They were wide, low profile, high performance Goodyear tires that came standard on my '87 T'bird Turbo Coupe. They were something like $175 a tire. In rain or snow, they were dangerous and got horrible traction. I wrecked the car on snow and the tires were at least partially at fault. This was a rear wheel drive car with no weight in the rear end. It really depends on the car, your driving style, the size of the tire, weather in your area, etc. as to what is best. For my Taurus, I buy all weather tires at Farm and Fleet and have great luck. I get at least 60,000 miles on them and have never had problems. I can replace all 4 tires for around $300 installed. Of course, with a Taurus you can guess my driving is fairly conventional. No high speeds or drag racing or anything like that. Just basic transportation. You can get good tires at Sam's Club and places like that. I don't believe in spending big bucks for tires, particularly after my T'bird experience. Also, some of the car owner's manuals call for tire rotation in excessive amounts. I rotate mine at half life of the tire and that is it. What is the sense of spending $60 each time and rotating your tires 5 times during their life when the same money will buy you a brand new set of tires. Unless rotating tires doubles their life, which it does not, you're spending too much money rotating them.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 9:50AM
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Backspace, buy summer tires then and enjoy superior traction, excellent thread wear, and predictable handling in the wet and quietness...
Forget all seasons..
Pay a visit to the Tire Rack. I agree with worm on the tire rotation deal, rotate and inspect - that is enough work...

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 4:32PM
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As far as actual cost, it is about the same for me either two MVX tires or 4 Goodrich tires.

One thing to think about: if you buy just two more Michelins, what will you do in another year or so when the older two of that set wear down? If you want something with better tread wear, here's your chance to do it by buying the Goodrich tires since it won't cost you more than it would to buy just two more Michelins.

As for "summer" tires, they do provide better traction, but I would argue that most do that with a softer tread compound and are unlikely to offer 40-60,000 miles of wear. If long life is the primary criterion and the location is temperate (California), and the driving moderate, all-seasons cannot be beat.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 8:45AM
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I have 3 cars in the family. 2 adults and 2 teens. all 3 cars use the same size tire. 225/60R16. fairly common size nowadays. I had the opportunity to replace ALL the tires in 1 yrs time. the cars are all similar in size/weight and I get to drive all 3. I went with 3 different tire choices so I have a good idea of what works. I did get some BF Goodrich traction T/A tires. they are ok in snow and fine in summer/rain. I got some Fuzion HRi tires for another car. they are made by bridgstone. kind of a sporty tire but they have great winter traction and are quiet. only 40k warranty though. than i bought some no-name tires and they are terrible in snow. since I live in MN that is a big deal. I also have a set of blizzak tires for the winter that I put on MY car. might as well treat me right. I had Michelins on 1 car before and I loved them. a bit pricey though. thinking back on it, I would have went with a new set of Michelins. the extra price is worth it.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 1:03PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I decided to replace all four tires. And the Michelin is way too pricey. So I got the BF Goodrich Traction from the Big O. After price match, it is the same price as replacing two Michelin. I think I am better off to have 4 new tires every couple years instead of rotating two new tires in.

I am pretty happy with them so far.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 1:38PM
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Glad to hear it. Thanks for giving us the update.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 8:51PM
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I disagree with not rotating tires.But I would never pay $60.00 to have them rotated either.I think it a good idea.It keeps them wearing more even and there is a lot more wear on the front tires on todays FWD cars.

I just bought my first new set of tires in several years.I was trading cars before the tires were worn out.But I now have a older work car that was in need.225/60R/16 so I bought all four.I went with GoodYear Viva 2 a cheaper tire available only at Walmart 60000 mile tires.I did not want to put a fortune into tires for a work car with 129000 miles on it.But it needed tires bad Abe's head was showing with the penny test.

The nice thing about buying tires at Walmart is they have the free rotation for the life of the tire.They will rotate and balance the tires every 6000 miles free.You just buy the tire and for $9.76 per tire they mount balace this includes the new valve stem and a road hazard warranty and free rotations and balancing for the life of the tire.I think Sears also offers free rotation with there tire sales.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 12:50AM
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No disagreement that rotating tires extends their life and I do think you should rotate tires. I rotate mine. My only point was that doing it excessively (like every 6000 miles) seems like overkill, especially if you're paying a car dealership big $$$ to do it per their maintenance schedule. That would be rotating tires every time you change oil. I'd be rotating my tires every 3 months. If you have a 60,000 mile tire, why not rotate it at half life (30,000 miles) or no more often than 15,000. If you're paying big $$$ for rotation and figure a cost per mile for tires, you'd be better off investing the $$$ towards new tires rather than excessive rotations.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 9:01AM
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I believe in it and sometimes go 10000 miles between rotations.But since Walmart will rotate these tires on this car at 6000 miles no charge.I will be there at 6000 miles.If you wait until the tires are at half life I would think the front tires would have more wear then if they were rotated more often.Besides I like to remove the wheels to inspect the tires and brakes and just have a look.

I change my oil at 3000 miles not 6000 miles.Thats another thing that is often debated.But I normally change it at 2800 miles.Because I would feel im neglecting the vehical if it went over.I feel my vehicals do a lot for me and maintance even if its extreme is money well spent.Even if its just a piece of mind thing.But $60.00 to rotate tires that shop would not get a chance to rip me off twice.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 4:00PM
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I guess everybody has to determine where their money goes and the value to them personally. Maybe the value is peace of mind. My Taurus has 225,000 miles and runs like a new car. Oil changes at 5000-6000 miles (Valvoline 5-30), whenever I get to it in that range. Burns no oil between changes. Nearly 100% road miles. If I wasn't driving road miles, or traveling gravel roads, then I'd be changing at 3000 miles.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 4:39PM
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I don't know about where you got your tires. But my price includes free tire rotation at every 5000 miles.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 5:58PM
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I buy my tires from Farm and Fleet. Costs me about $300 for a set of 4. Last couple sets went 60 to 80,000 miles and that is with one rotation at half life. I think you can "purchase" a maintenance contract for another $15 a tire or something like that. Maybe you get that free with a $600 set of tires. With the maintenance contract they will rotate and balance your tires every 5000 or whatever it happens to be. Even if I got free rotation every 5000 miles, I would not take advantage of it. I might go in once a year which is over 20,000 miles for me. I simply do not have the free time to go in every 2 or 3 months to have tires rotated. Rotating tires every 5000 miles on an 80,000 mile tire means you would be rotating them 16 times during their life. I'm not interested in doing that. For that you probably get an additional 10,000 miles max. To me that is not time or money worth spending. I'd rather have a brand new set of tires than worry about squeezing an additional 10,000 out of a nearly worn out set of tires. Nothing makes your car ride better than a brand new set of tires. Give me a new set of tires any day as opposed to stretching out my tire mileage from 80,000 to 90,000 miles. Again, I'm not arguing against rotating tires. I do it myself. I just don't do it 10 or 16 times for a set of tires.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 6:31PM
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Farm&Fleet is a good place to get tires also.The reason mine from Walmart seem high is because of the size.If they were going to be for my Cavalier they would have been $50.00 a piece.But 225/60/16 tires are expensive around $80.00 a piece same tires.

I drive short trips thats why the 6000 mile oil change would not be a good idea for me.

You are right new tires do help the ride and also the handleing.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 10:08PM
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