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Old 02-08-2008, 06:50 AM   #1
WeeAsp
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Read First: Selecting the Best Tires for YOU

First, there is no such thing as the best tire for any particular vehicle.

The best tire is based on the driving habits of the DRIVER.

That said, there are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself:

1. How aggresive a driver are you? (BE HONEST)

2. In what sort of application are you driving? (Commuter vehicle, weekend toy, occasional track/AX use)

3. What sort of environmental conditions play a role? (Weather? Lots of snow and ice? Dry conditions? Mix?)

General Information:

When considering the above questions keep these things in mind:

Tire technology has progressed significantly over the last few years. More and more "all season" tires have come into the market. Be careful with your consideration of this class of tire.

1. The higher the speed rating of a tire is NOT indicative of how well a tire handles. It is not necessarily an indicator of superior handling.

The speed rating is a measure of how well a tire dissipates heat throughout the carcass/construction and across the tread surface.

The DOT requires that ALL new cars come equipped from the factory with a tire that meets the advertised capability of the vehicle. Simply stated, if the car is capable of XX speed, then the tire mated to the vehicle must be able to accomodate the speed. This is the reason for high speed ratings on tires for performance cars. It doesn't mean that everyone who owns them will use the car at the limit of the vehicle's capability.

The problem that a lot of us face is that we are restricted to lower aspect ratios (sidewall height- 215/45/ ? R17) which limits selections. Usually the H through Z rated tires. Identical brand/model tires with differing speed ratings handle virtually the same.

So, how often do you do 149 MPH + in a car that is drag or electronically limited to 134 MPH or lower?

The correct answer is NEVER in a street application.

So, opt for the lower speed rating and save some cash.

2. Tread wear ratings.

There is no standard for tread wear ratings or determination. These vary by manufacturer and are internal comparisons to their product offerings. This is NOT an indicator of how long a tire will last.

For example, a Goodyear tire with a tread wear rating of 20 (hypothetical) will not necessarily wear out faster than a Pirelli tire with a rating of 100 (hypothetical). Regardless of what a salesperson may tell you, it is not an accurate comparision if you are basing your selection solely on tread wear rating. Don't be fooled by this during your selection process.

3. Performance vs. longevity trade - offs.

If you are looking for a tire that has durability, then steer clear of the higher speed rated tires or "ultra performance" categories. Because of the higher speed rating, the rubber compound is softer (not stickier) and does not last as long. The grip is better - when compared to an all season, but that has more to do with overall tire design vs. rubber compound.

Conversely, lower speed rated tires are more durable because of harder rubber compounds and typically handle better in inclement weather because they are more resistant to fluctuations in temperature. They do not handle as well in in dry conditions when compared to a performance tire.

Performance and "ultra-performance" tires will leave you in awe of their grip, but leave you frustrated at how quickly they wear out. Add to that the typically underwhelming performance in adverse conditions such as rain or snow. These are, for the most part, dry weather application tires.

4. Budget.

Tires are not something to be considered lightly. Along with brakes, they are your best investment for safety. Buy the best that you can afford.

5. Care and Feeding.

Remember too that the key to getting the most enjoyment and use of your tires is proper care and rotation.

As a general rule, rotations should be done every 6,000 miles. A good way to remember is every other oil change (conventional oil).

Balancing should be done at a minimum of once per year or as needed if vibration presents itself.

_______

When you answer the questions above and balance them against the information above, it will narrow your selection process. Chances are that you will be faced with making a decision between 4 or 5 tire manufacturers that all offer similar tires instead of 20-30.

They key is purchasing the tire that best meets YOUR NEEDS!!!


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Old 02-08-2008, 12:33 PM   #2
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WOW thanks for writing that up, the last comment about YOUR NEEDS is so true, whenever anyone asks "which tire" the first thing i ask is how they drive. its soooooo important in the decision.

I somewhat disagree with the rotation interval. I will now do every 3000 because of what happened to my last set (and therefore my rear shocks). This is personal preference I suppose. 6000 is more of an upper limit.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:48 AM   #3
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Good write up :).

Some of the things I looked for when I bought mine are definitely up there.

Another one, perhaps more for long distance drivers, is noise. This vaires from tyre to tyre and if you happen to get the wrong set and do a lot of driving it can be annoying as hell. Trust me :).
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Old 03-08-2008, 02:13 AM   #4
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I lowered my ST w/FRPP suspension from mike at hilbish. I was thinking about 17's over my stock ST 16" 205 50. I figure 215 45 17". Something to think about. I really want a lightweight wheel and all the SVT wheels weigh over 24lbs. good write up
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:06 PM   #5
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+1 WeeASP ... thanks man
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:18 AM   #6
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Great Info.
Thanks for sharing
 
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:13 PM   #7
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Great post! I learned a lot here! I am off tody to get tires now and I was looking at the U.H.P. types thinking well thats what I need, I do drive Like I am on fire, but I live I the snow belt and the wfe drives this car as well, First and formost I want her and the kids to be safe! Thank you for this info and advice!!
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:58 AM   #8
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one tire that i love and have on both winter and summer rims are the bfgoodrich super sport all season. awsome tread and grip and they come in most sizes check em out. working at bj's tire center ive put them on alot of diff cars ranging from a srt4 to a mercedes slk 550 amg
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:02 AM   #9
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why are you using all season tires on two sets of rims for summer/winter? that defeats the purpose of using two sets of rims....
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:53 PM   #10
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wow plus 1 for you i had some of these questions myself at one time now others can find out easier
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