Wider tire will enhance steering response

The Goodyear is very stiff, so, in the end, you may not feel a difference in ride, but you will be doing more steering to keep the car straight.

By John Mahler Wheels.ca

Feb 6, 2014 3 min. read

Article was updated 8 years ago

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I have a 2006 Infiniti G35X with Goodyear RS-A tires (P215/55R17). It is time to replace these tires.

I do not want to buy 18-inch wheels but I would like to improve the handling. My interest was caught by the new Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 reviews.

It doesn?t come in the same size but it does come in a 235-50-17, with the same diameter as the P215/55R17 ? 26.3 inches. The section width is 9.7 inches, as opposed to 9.2 for the original tire.

Can I upgrade? What advantages will there be in handling? How much stiffer ride can I expect?

There are a couple of things to consider.

First of all, your wheel width. Your OE tire size is ideal on a 7-inch wide rim. Your upgrade size is ideal on a 7.5-inch rim for maximum performance, although it can be mounted on anything from 6.5 to 8.5.

The extra tire width will not be an issue in the wheel-wells of the car. It is only half an inch wider on each side of the tire.

However the Michelin is a lot stickier than the RS-A, so that will affect tracking in ruts in the road. That will also make the steering feel heavier.

The good thing is the Michelin weighs 24 pounds, compared to 26.3 pounds for the Goodyear. That increases the steering response feel.

As to ride, I think it will be a wash. The Michelin?s lower profile should make the tire stiffer, but Michelin make fairly soft-riding tires.

The Goodyear is very stiff, so, in the end, you may not feel a difference in ride, but you will be doing more steering to keep the car straight.

I have a 2005 Ford Freestar. My door panel says 35 psi tire pressure (front/rear). My winter tires say 44 psi full load on the side wall. With a full load, what pressure should I have in my tires?

You should use the tire pressures for a heavy load. However that is not the number on the tire. That number may or may not be the same that Ford wants you to use.

On the tire pressure placard, there will be a second set of tire-pressure numbers for a full load. If it is not there, it will be in the owner?s manual. Use those numbers.

I am endlessly amazed at how many tire shops don?t understand the ?Max PSI? number on the tire sidewall. That is the maximum safe inflation for the tire when the tire is carrying its maximum load.

But the maximum load the tire can carry is much higher than what the van can actually carry. That is because of weight transfer under braking and cornering conditions, when two of the van?s tires carry a heavier load than the other two.

The tire pressure you want is the vehicle manufacturer?s heavy load numbers. They designed the van and know what its suspension needs to work properly.

Send tire questions to: thetireguy_1@hotmail.com. Mail volume prevents personal replies.

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