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Tire Guide

Summer tires needed for duration of a lease

Got a question about tires? We've got the answer.

Published May 9, 2012
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Q. I drive a 2005 Ford Focus Wagon SE ZXW. It is leased, with 3.5-years remaining. I have four Firestone Winterforce tires. What summer tires could I have installed for my remaining lease time? I live in the country, use mostly paved roads and drive about 15,000 km. yearly.

A. Since you are using winter tires, you should not have any problems getting the rest of your lease done on one set of summer/all-season tires.

The best value for money right now is the General Altimax HP, followed by the BFGoodrich Traction T/A.

If the mileage side is important to you, look at the new Yokohama ENVigor. It is the latest technology. It has a higher wear rating, will probably use slightly less fuel, but costs a bit more than the other two.

Q. I recently purchased a 2006 Pontiac Torrent AWD with the original Bridgestone Dueller P235/60R 17 tires with very little tread left after 60,000 kms. I find these tires very noisy. I would like a year-round tire. I live in Calgary with the odd snowy day but have always driven on all-season tires. I am finding very limited options with this size of tire. I mainly use my vehicle for city driving.

A. Your Pontiac tires are an unusual size so you keep returning to your GM dealer. However, there are two excellent tires available at independent tire dealers — the Goodyear Fortera TripleTred and the Toyo Versado CUV.

They are both great products but are quite different. The Goodyear (if you choose it, it must be the TripleTred, there are many Fortera models) will provide better winter traction. It is, however, noisier than the Toyo.

The Toyo has a less aggressive tread pattern but is very quiet and smooth. For your Calgary winters, I would lean toward the TripleTred.

Q. John, I would like to hear your opinion on buying rims for my Toyota 4Runner on the Internet? The Canadian Dealer price is $600, the U.S. dealer price is $400 and the independent website price is $165.

A. I would be very careful in dealing with this Internet company. I Googled the site you mentioned. If you add the word “scam,” you will find lots of negative reviews. I cannot imagine that those are real OEM Toyota wheels at that low price. They may be OE.

There is a difference: OEM means that the wheel was manufactured by the company that manufactured the wheel for the factory. OE just means it fits and looks like the factory wheel but was made by another company, so it is a copy.

Nothing wrong in a copy wheel per se, but the build quality and strength may not be there. With wheels, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I have seen a number of copy OE wheels fail under high stress loads resulting in thousands of dollars damage. In one instance, it made the car a total write-off.

Q. I have a question regarding downsizing of tires. I have been offered some 2-year-old Michelin P195/65R 15 tires. My 2003 Buick Century has just turned 100,000 km. Although the tread on the Buick looks as though I could get a couple of more years out of its tires, I realize from reading your articles they should be replaced because of their age. The Buick tires are original, General P205/70R 15. I realize the Michelin tires would look a little narrower. Would this be okay?

A. Your Buick’s tires are 26.3 inches in diameter. The Michelin tires are only 24.9 inches in diameter and they are 10 mm, almost a half inch narrower. Therefore, the bottom line is that the switch will not work. Your Buick’s engine will have to run at higher RPM’s to compensate for the smaller tires. That means more wear and tear and, most important, higher fuel consumption for the Buick.

You are right about the tire looking narrower, but more importantly they would look small in the wheelwell as well. The most important factor is the load ratings of the tires. Your OE tires have a load rating of 1,367 lbs. at 29 PSI. The Michelin tires have a rating of just 1,168 lbs. at that pressure. That is not an acceptable change from a safety point of view.

Got a question about tires? Ask John Mahler at thetireguy_1@hotmail.com Because of the volume, no mail will be answered personally.

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