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Buying car tires: OEM or specific brand?


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#1 of 18 DaveF

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Posted December 09 2007 - 12:22 PM

I need new tires for Honda Accord. In grad school, when my little Escort needed new tires I went to some national chain and got some affordable tires. Didn't really think about it.

Now, I've got a nicer Accord and too much time on my hands this evening, and I'm puzzling over tires. I can get Honda tires from my dealer and regular service location -- I assume they'll be the same Michelin Energy MXV4 as I have now. Survey results at TireRack.com are average.

Or I can go to Dunn and get the Yokohama Avid TRZ. They'll be a bit cheaper than through Honda. And TireRack survey gives these top of class marks, though they're a different class from the Michelin, so I don't know if I'm muddling comparisons.

What's a guy to do? Do tires really vary much; does it matter much what brand and model I get? Would Honda sell me anything inadequate? Posted Image

#2 of 18 drobbins

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Posted December 09 2007 - 01:15 PM

I drive a Ford ZX2 (2 door escort) 90 miles a day at 70+mph. The first time I got tires I purchased Big-O brand. They were rated 80,000 mile and I just replaced them a month ago with 85,000 miles on them. This time I got Goodyear tires at Wal-Mart for $100.00 cheaper including warranty & life time rotation. I have not noticed any real difference between the brands. I would almost guarantee that anything purchased at a dealer will cost more than anywhere else. Shop around. Even if you get the same tires, you can probably get them cheaper.

#3 of 18 Ed Moxley

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Posted December 09 2007 - 04:28 PM

I get my tires at Sears or Sam's Club. Whichever is cheapest at the time. If Sears has them on sale, they're hard to beat. Around here anyway.
The only tires I buy are Michelin. Every set I've ever had, lasted a good bit longer than the warranty. Keep them rotated, and properly inflated.
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#4 of 18 Bob Graz

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Posted December 10 2007 - 02:19 AM

I buy my tires at Sam's. I generally buy BF Goodrich (owned by Michelin) because I find them to be a good value overall. Good traction, treadlife at an affordable price. Over the years I haven't been happy with Goodyear. I find they don't wear well. Uniroyals seem to last but my experience is that in the traction and noise department they aren't great. I did recently put some Michelins on my minivan and they do seem to be very good.

The ratings and reviews at tirerack are very helpful. Look for people with your model car and see what they have to say. Dealers in general want to sell you the OEM tire. OEM tires aren't necessarily the best replacement. If you like them and dealer will give you a good price fine. Otherwise I would shop around for brand/price. It's not all tire price either. Some places charge much more for mounting and balencing. Sam's is a great deal because they include road hazard/rotation in the package for much less than other places charge for the mounting and balencing alone.

Lastly, when dealing with tire places, you can negotiate the total package price. There is so much competition ( it seems ever corner now has a CVS/Eckert type place and a tire shop) that most places will move on the package price. Call around and get quotes.

#5 of 18 DaveF

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Posted December 10 2007 - 03:18 AM

Thanks for the comments. I've done some more reading. The car guys -- those nutters Posted Image who have forums devoted to cars and tires -- think tires matter a good deal.

I found that the Michelins on my Honda are particularly well-liked. But a Yokohama brand gets really good comments. Even my dealer now suggested it's a better replacement for my Michelins.

I've also now learned that tires are "speed rated". So I've been trying to figure that out...

Having an expensive car is more complex than when I had my Escort. That was a go-to-the-store-and-buy-cheap-tires car. Posted Image


EDIT:

I checked with the Honda dealer and a local tire chain. Both have tires I want. Honda basically said, we can't move on price and you're just as well off going to a tire place.

Tires are easier if you don't think about it. Posted Image

#6 of 18 Jimi C

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Posted December 10 2007 - 05:51 AM

fwiw, I put Yokohamas on my last car (taurus) and noticed a huge improvement over the stock continentals.
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#7 of 18 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted December 10 2007 - 06:56 AM

Dave, where do you live? It's an important question. In what conditions do you drive?

The auto makers have their own list of qualities for tires. They may include wanting a smooth and quiet ride on the freeway, high mileage, and not getting sued when someone has a wreck in the snow. So they generally put "all season" tires on "basic sedans" like the Accord, whereas Porsche puts more performance-oriented tires on their cars.

Often, of course, PRICE makes a big difference to the auto makers. Don't assume that they pick the BEST tire to OEM for the car.
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#8 of 18 KurtEP

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Posted December 10 2007 - 07:12 AM

From my experience, the type of tire can make a tremendous difference in ride quality, noise, traction and such. OEM tires on something like a Honda are probably a decent compromise for a lot of situations, but I'm sure you can find better if you want.

Also, Like Dennis mentioned above, they are not something to take lightly in a place where you'll get snow or other bad conditions. I just put a set of snow tires on my car for the winter (Michelin performance tires, forget the exact type). I noticed a huge difference on my car (which has a very sophisticated AWD system) compared to the normal all seasons (Bridgestone Potenzas) after the first snow here. I've had similar results with my last car. Snow tires turned it from a barely drivable death trap in the winter into a mere death trap. Amusingly, compared to the normal tires I've used, snows ride much better and are even quieter. Posted Image Of course, if you live somewhere south, you probably don't have to worry so much about this particular issue.
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#9 of 18 DaveF

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Posted December 10 2007 - 09:04 AM

I'm in NY, and we get a good bit of snow. But, I'll confess, I've never owned snow tires in all my years here. After I get these tires, I'll see how they work this winter and decide if I finally want to pay for snow tires too.

#10 of 18 Garrett Lundy

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Posted December 10 2007 - 09:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
Thanks for the comments. I've done some more reading. The car guys -- those nutters Posted Image who have forums devoted to cars and tires -- think tires matter a good deal.
Tire choice is more critical on high performance cars and in snow.
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#11 of 18 Dennis Nicholls

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Posted December 10 2007 - 11:29 AM

Dave,
Also what SIZE are your tires? I'd guess a 205/60VR-16 for a late-model Accord. Tirerack says your car (I guessed a 2004 Accord LX V6) may have come with Michelin Energy MXV4 S8 in that size as OEM.

You may get by with HR rated tires rather than the VR and they probably will last longer and be cheaper.
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#12 of 18 DaveF

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Posted December 10 2007 - 12:46 PM

Dennis, you got it, it's a 205/60R/16 91V tire. I asked the parts / tire guy at my Honda dealer and he recommended staying with the V-rated tire. I asked at accorddriver.net (a Honda Accord forum!) and got split answers on whether to drop below the car's specified speed rating on tires.

I decided to stay with the V-rating, being profoundly ignorant of such things. I'm getting the Yokohama AVID V4S. Had I ignored the speed rating, I would have gotten the Yokohama AVID TRZ. Fortunately V4S isn't much more expensive than the TRZ. And at least I'll be able to drive 141 mph with my V4S! Posted Image I'll go in this weekend or next week and get them.

#13 of 18 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 10 2007 - 04:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
I'm in NY, and we get a good bit of snow. But, I'll confess, I've never owned snow tires in all my years here. After I get these tires, I'll see how they work this winter and decide if I finally want to pay for snow tires too.
You don't just live in New York, you live in Rochester as I recall. That's lake effect territory. When I spent my one year at RIT, my buddy would take me out in his car after a big storm when no one else but the plows were on the road and we'd have a blast slip sliding all over the place.
As someone who took out a headline on my last car after hitting a patch of black ice in Albany (where conditions are far less extreme), I'd recommend traction as a priority. But then again, if you've been driving fine on your summer tires you're probably just used to it.Posted Image Since that accident, I've stopped speeding in the winter and haven't had a problem since.

#14 of 18 DaveF

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Posted December 10 2007 - 11:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt
You don't just live in New York, you live in Rochester as I recall. That's lake effect territory. When I spent my one year at RIT, my buddy would take me out in his car after a big storm when no one else but the plows were on the road and we'd have a blast slip sliding all over the place.
As someone who took out a headline on my last car after hitting a patch of black ice in Albany (where conditions are far less extreme), I'd recommend traction as a priority. But then again, if you've been driving fine on your summer tires you're probably just used to it.Posted Image Since that accident, I've stopped speeding in the winter and haven't had a problem since.
Yep, Rochester. I'm just a few miles from RIT now. Snow tires would be a rational decision. Posted Image But I survived this long...

#15 of 18 gene c

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Posted December 11 2007 - 02:48 AM

I just skimmed over this thread and I didn't see a mention of the sidewall ratings for mileage, temperature and traction. I've bought many sets of tires over the years and have found the mileage ratings to be pretty accurate. As an example, a tire with a 400 rating should last about twice as long as one with a 200 rating. This, along with the mileage warranty, will give you a good indication of how long you can expect them to last. The temp and traction ratings are based on an A-B-C system with A being best. Not sure how accurate these two are but it's something else to look at. BTW, performance tire in general don't last as long as passenger tires because they are made from a softer rubber compound to aid in road grip.
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#16 of 18 KurtEP

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Posted December 11 2007 - 03:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
Yep, Rochester. I'm just a few miles from RIT now. Snow tires would be a rational decision. Posted Image But I survived this long...

Posted Image That's the typical snowbelt attitude. I grew up in Erie, so I also take kind of a blas'e attitude to snow on the road. Biggest reason I use snows is that I drive from OH to PA a lot during the winter using I-90, and the sudden snowstorms around there can be a bear. If you find yourself off the road, you might be stuck overnight in some of the less populated areas.

Of course, being snow belt born and bred, what looks like a little snow to me looks like a blizzard to a lot of people. I can remember being in Kansas City driving around in a rented econo box and hearing on the radio that there was a level three snow emergency going on and that people should stay off of the roads if at all possible. I looked around and saw about an inch of snow, so I assumed I was on the other side of town from the storm. I later found out I drove right through the heart of it.

I also remember flying into De Moines Iowa once, and when I went to pick up my car, they told me there was a blizzard to the north where I was going. They gave me a Mustang convertible, which I proceeded to drive two hours north through the remnants of the storm after they reopened the roads. Counted over 100 cars in the ditch. Fun times. Posted Image

Edit: Something else to consider is the car itself. If you have a well balanced FWD or AWD car (like the Accord), things like snow tires are a lot less critical unless you regularly drive in severe weather. On the other hand, if you drive a RWD car without traction control, or a light FWD car with sports tires, they can be a godsend. This is especially true if the car is over powered.
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#17 of 18 Philip Hamm

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Posted December 11 2007 - 05:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveF
Dennis, you got it, it's a 205/60R/16 91V tire. I asked the parts / tire guy at my Honda dealer and he recommended staying with the V-rated tire. I asked at accorddriver.net (a Honda Accord forum!) and got split answers on whether to drop below the car's specified speed rating on tires.


.....

I'll be able to drive 141 mph with my V4S! Posted Image I'll go in this weekend or next week and get them.
Ha ha ha. Higher rated tires spin more evenly even at slower speeds so theoretically they should yield a more even ride all the time. In practice the difference is not really noticable. My motorcycle came with Z-rated tires but since I never see the high side of 100 I don't need to put them on there.
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#18 of 18 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted December 11 2007 - 06:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KurtEP
Edit: Something else to consider is the car itself. If you have a well balanced FWD or AWD car (like the Accord), things like snow tires are a lot less critical unless you regularly drive in severe weather. On the other hand, if you drive a RWD car without traction control, or a light FWD car with sports tires, they can be a godsend. This is especially true if the car is over powered.
Alignment has a really serious impact as well. The guard rail collision wasn't my only accident with that car, which took a beating well enough for me to be pretty careless. But if I failed to get the alignment fixed after an accident, the wear and tear on the tires taking the brunt of the weight would lose their tread at a surprisingly accelerated rate compared to when all four tires were taking the weight equally. When a side would wear down too far, I'd lose traction and get in more accidents that caused additional alignment problems.Posted Image Since I got a car that's dependable, I haven't gotten in accidents and I've kept it properly aligned. Tire wear and tear hasn't been a problem, and the tires on it are cheap. That said, it's sitting in a driveway in Albany for most the year now, since I can't afford a parking space in Boston.


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