TIRE TALK: Turn to Hankook, Pirelli or Bridgestone for easy riding

Even with no cracks present, for your own peace of mind you may want to replace the tires. If you do you will notice increased grip and better stopping abilities.

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I recently purchased a 2014 Chevy Malibu. It came with Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires, size P245/40 R19. I really don?t like these tires. They are hard riding and very noisy on all but the smoothest pavement. I would like to switch to a softer riding quiet tire. Can you suggest a replacement for these tires, particularly one with a higher profile?

In order to use tires with a higher profile (taller sidewall), you would have to buy new wheels and obviously tires. You can probably get some value as a trade-in on your newish Malibu wheels and tires at an independent tire shop.

One of the Malibu models runs on 17-inch wheels and P225/55R17 tires. By switching from a 19-inch tire to a 17-inch tire, the sidewall height goes from 98 mm to 123 mm, almost an inch. Or you could get better riding tires in 19 inch. The Malibu would look a little odd on the 17s but that?s your call.

Your Goodyear tires are a high-performance sports tire. They are an older design, so do not offer the ride comfort of some newer tires. Goodyear does make a super comfortable tire, the Assurance ComforTred, but it is not available in your size.

There are three good choices of tires with better ride quality; the Pirelli P7 Plus, the Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2, and the Bridgestone Turanza Plus. The Hankook and Bridgestone are grand touring tires, which means they are engineered with ride comfort a high priority. The Hankook is a high-performance, all-season tire, so in theory it should not be as comfortable. But Hankook are renowned for making smooth riding tires, and this model is particularly creamy riding.

The Hankook and the Pirelli are rated No. 1 in their respective categories in many consumer surveys.

I turned 65 a few months ago and just bought my first luxury car, a 2011 Mercedes E550 4Matic. It has stock Pirelli Zero tires, P245/40R18. Rather than having to buy an expensive set of winter rims, I am contemplating just changing the tires (60,000 km on them) over to all-weather types.

I am not a fast or spirited driver and put on about 18,000 km a year, including about 5,000 km to and from Florida. Any recommendations that have a balance of price/wear/quietness?

There is only one all-weather tire available for your new car: Nokian WRG3. It is the correct load rating and speed specification for the MB. It is an excellent product. They are sold in Canada only at Kal Tire. List price is about $275. They will have a life expectancy of about 80,000 km. All-weather tires will be fine in moderate snow. In summer their only downside is that they make a bit more noise than a comparable summer tire. But the Benz is well-insulated, so give it a shot.

In one of your columns, a reader asked whether his tires should be replaced. The tires were showing little or no apparent tread wear, though they were older than the ?recommended? lifespan.

I have been experiencing this issue for the last two years. During my tire changeovers, I have asked Canadian Tire whether I required new winter tires. I have been told, No not yet, there is very little tread wear. Basically the same answer from Toyota when I take in my Corolla for the every six months maintenance checks. These tires are more than five years old. Should I be taking your column in, along with the tires for my next changeover in November?

Your experience is one for the record books, a retailer not wanting to upsell a client! Usually they are trying to sell you stuff you don?t need. So you have had some good luck with service departments.

As you know, tire life can be as long as seven years, under ideal conditions, and our climate is far from ideal. If the tires are indeed past their fifth birthday, I would seriously consider replacing them. At least have them inspected with a flashlight shining down into the grooves. Look for cracks at the base of the tread blocks. If there are cracks, the tires are done. Same thing if there are any small spider web type cracks anywhere on the sidewall.

Even with no cracks present, for your own peace of mind you may want to replace the tires. If you do you will notice increased grip and better stopping abilities.

Got a question about tires? Contact: Personal replies cannot be guaranteed because of the volume of mail.

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