Did I buy the right tires?

Discussion in 'Gen 4 Prius Main Forum' started by MichinokuDriver, Dec 22, 2020.

  1. MichinokuDriver

    MichinokuDriver New Member

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    First post here; in fact, I created my account to ask this (and since I own a 2016 Three). Last week, I got unlucky and picked up a nail in my left front tire that couldn’t be repaired.

    One $575 tire bill later (and after a bit of discussion with an America’s Tire salesman, alongside a tiny bit of research on here), I put a set of Michelin Defenders on the car.

    I’m noticing a significant drop in MPG; whereas I could get 53-56 on a tank, now I’m averaging 45-48, with 50 if I’m doing a ton of surface street driving. On top of that, the engine and hybrid system seems to be working more and harder.

    I drive in Sacramento, no snowy weather driving, 70/30 split between freeway and surface street driving (I drive Uber full time). 70-80,000 miles a year.

    So, my question is, did I buy the right tire? I had planned on buying a set of Ecopia 422+’s, but was sorta led into the Defenders.
     
  2. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I'd drive it for a week or 2 - then see what they're like. New tyres need running in - they used to say 1000km.

    Do they grip better - more sporty? Possibly you're "enjoying" the new feel and driving a bit more aggressively?
     
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  3. priusman09

    priusman09 I used to be a TDI

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    If getting the best fuel economy is key (and that’s why I bought the car) it is not the right tire. The defender is a good tire but it is not a low rolling resistance tire (LRR). A Michelin Energy tire or the Bridgestone Ecopia’s would be a good choice to maintain the fuel mileage you car was designed to provide. I have the Ecopia’s on my Prius Prime and have been very pleased.
     
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  4. pianewman

    pianewman Active Member

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    Did you change tire size? What brand tire did you replace?

    The tire shop might have a return/exchange policy. I wouldn't hesitate to ask, now, before you put more miles on the tires.
     
  5. MichinokuDriver

    MichinokuDriver New Member

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    There was an odd mix - Michelin Green-X on the rear, and then some off-brand eco/lrr tires on the front. EDIT: Accelera Eco Plush on the front, from what I can see from the one picture I took after buying the car to post on Facebook.

    I didn’t change the tire size.

    I don’t think I’ve been driving any differently than before - on the freeways I’ve got the cruise control set at 70, and I’m not exuberant when it comes to pulling away from stoplights or stop signs. On surface streets I’m trying to use the hybrid motor as much as possible - so using the ICE to get up to speed, then temporarily lifting to shut the engine off, then gently pressing the gas pedal to run on the hybrid motor and sustain roughly whatever the speed limit is.

    The new tires do feel like they grip a bit better, but I’d put that down to the tires being brand new (and thus, full of grip, especially compared to the other tires, which were close to the wear bars).
     
  6. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    There is a very small change in rolling radius between various tyres - you can check if your speedometer has changed by checking it against a GPS (or smartphone). I've had up to 2km/hr difference between old tyres of one brand to new tyres on another brand (not on a PRIUS, an old VOLVO). Which would have a small bearing on l/100km.
     
  7. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    The weather where you live has gotten colder recently, right ?
    Pay close attention to your tire pressure and consider running them about 4 psi higher.
     
  8. AldoON

    AldoON Junior Member

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    Your current tires might be a good choice despite impact on fuel efficiency.

    Consider that the Defender is rated for 145,000 km and the Ecopia 110,000 km.

    Also compare the price of Defenders vs Ecopia. I'm not sure but I think the Ecopia will be more expensive.

    Lastly compare the performance of each tire. I can't find a direct comparison test between the two but my guess it's that the Defender will have better traction than the Ecopia.

    If you look at the big picture it's likely the Defenders will be more economical and safer. Environmental impact will be hard to assess but you could make the argument of less waste with the Defender due to not replacing tires as often. Yes, you will lose bragging rights with your friends on MPG.
     
    #8 AldoON, Dec 24, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  9. Gokhan

    Gokhan Active Member

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    I am very happy with the Dunlop Enasave 01 A/S tires that came with my 2021 Prius Prime Limited Blue Magnetism. They are very energy-efficient and the handling is excellent. I've been consistently getting 77+ mpg in HV driving (84+ mpg before taking the ~ 4% drop in the SOC into account).

    According to Consumer Reports, these are the tires with low rolling resistance:

    Vredestein Quatrac 5 (62 points, performance all-season)
    Kumho Solus TA11 (61 points)
    Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus (60 points)
    Firestone Champion Fuel Fighter (58 points)

    Michelin Defender T+H (67 points) is rated second only to General Altimax RT43 (T) (70 points) among all-season tires, but its rolling resistance is middling. General Altimax RT43 (T) has better rolling resistance.

    I would have had the Dunlop Enasave 01 A/S OEM tires installed at a Toyota dealer if I were you. They are probably so–so-rated, but I like their razor-sharp handling and top fuel economy. You also get the peace of mind when you have the installation done at a Toyota dealer.
     
  10. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    I'll add these comments, but doesn't really answer the question if you bought the wrong tires.
    1) What is the treadwear rating as compared to your old tires?
    Lower thread rating typically equals lower mileage, but reduced braking distance as one benefit of lower rating.
    2) The "old" increase tire pressure trick.
    Without a pyrometer, and assuming you have a "perfect" wheel alignment can be a bit of a guess until you are able to visually notice tire wear.
    Bump up the current pressure by 3 psi and see if you like that.

    Merry Christmas wishes to all our forum co-members.
     
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  11. Gokhan

    Gokhan Active Member

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    This article discusses that non-low-rolling-resistance and/or low-profile tires are detrimental to the fuel economy and EV range.

    Moral of the story: Always replace your Prius Prime's tires with the latest low-rolling-resistance OEM tires of the size and ratings specified on your tire placard.

    Math proves big tire sidewalls are better for the planet
     
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  12. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Noticed that on Google News; my take away: low-profile and low rolling resistance are at loggerheads.

    We’re in the thick of that, with OEM 17” rims (around 24 lbs) and 215/45R17 all-seasons, vs 195/65R15 snow tires on 15” Corolla steel rims (maybe 16 lbs). The snows are neck-and-neck or better, for mpg.
     
    #12 Mendel Leisk, Dec 26, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
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  13. pianewman

    pianewman Active Member

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    2018 Prius 2, 2018 Prius 4 Touring.

    I was able to do a side-by-side comparison of 15" vs 17", OEM Bridgestone Ecopia Plus tires.

    After several months of ownership, it was very clear the 15"s delivered 58-62mpg, the 17"s 52-56. They never traveled identical routes, but in the exact same neighborhood, and similar driving styles (4 drivers sharing both cars)
     
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    You can sub 205/50R17, slight improvement I’d think. But they always seem to come in XL (extra load), which have (even) harsher ride.

    By “ecopia plus” assume you mean “ecopia 422 plus”.
     
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  15. AldoON

    AldoON Junior Member

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    I believe the original post was about low rolling resistance vs "normal" tires. Size was never in question since it was always OEM (see post #5)

    I agree smaller rims is the way to go unless you're really interested in looks. I had almost new winter tires on 16" steel rims from my old car that fit my new Prius. Tried them for a couple weeks on the Prius and ended up replacing them with the same tire but in 15" size on alloy rims. Car felt less sluggish and better MPG with the 15" rims.
     
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Low rolling resistance can be a moving target: both our OEM Michelin Pilot HX MXM4 and replacement Michelin Primacy MXM4 were embossed with Michelin’s “Green-X” logo, their LLR designation.

    The Pilots were pretty good, but when I swapped in the Primacy’s mpg TANKED. Two years later they’ve improved a bit. Bottom line: you need to take tire manufacturers’ LLR claims with scepticism, read owners’ reviews.
     
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  17. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Active Member

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    I would agree.

    Moreover, the OEM 15" wheels will out-accelerate the 17" wheels - on the same model of tires - due to inertia / rotational-mass. I've tested this on bicycles, first, then much lighter - but same diameter as OEM (IIRC, 17", but 1.25" wider, instead of going with the 20" option) - wheels for my pickup truck. What I found was later tested and proven on the same model of truck at the drag-strips.

    The only things low-profile tires are great for is for cornering hard - much harder than most Prius drivers ever take corners, and for their looks. Beyond that, if MPG or acceleration matter, the OEM 15" wheels are really tough to beat. (Low profile would also generally have a faster speed rating, but I haven't read of many - or any - folks taking off the 112 MPH speed limiter from their Gen4 Priuses.)
     
    #17 Mambo Dave, Dec 28, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Yeah, the mass is closer to the middle (less centrifugal force), tread patch narrower, and overall weight less.
     
    #18 Mendel Leisk, Dec 28, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  19. thomassster

    thomassster Member

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    Living in Colorado, I use the stock ecopias and easily get 55ish on my AWD-e, but I switch to Michelin cross climates all seasons during winter and I get about 48ish. Michelin’s were never known for good economy and more meant for good braking and longer lasting tires (generally, not all models). Keep in mind that short trips will always get lower mpg performance than longer trips and you being an uber driving, you may want to reevaluate an alignment is needed which should improve mpg and typically a great time when you just got starting to break in new tires.
     
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  20. robsnyder20

    robsnyder20 Active Member

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    I swapped my Toyos for the defender and I also got a MPG drop as well in my 16 Prius. Expect about a 3-4 MPG permanent drop but the tires do seem to hold the road much better than the slick toyos in the rain.
     
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