Which tires should I buy?

Discussion in 'Prius v Fuel Economy' started by TimberLong, May 11, 2015.

  1. TimberLong

    TimberLong Junior Member

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    We currently have Continental Extreme Contact DWS 215/50-17 tires on our 2012 Prius v Five with about 95,000 miles on the car. The tires were on the vehicle when we bought it and they were near the end of their life. We have not had any problems with them and have enjoyed the ride. Our gas mileage has been pretty good, I think better than expected.

    Now we need to replace the tires, and I am struggling to understand all the choices. We live in a very hilly/mountainous community. We daily drive on a good highway with hairpin turns and a small number of steep hills, driving between 35-55 mph for about 2 hours round-trip with a little flat-street city driving in-between. We have a few very bad, icy-road days in the winter. During that time, it can be extremely treacherous. Those days are few, but they can be sporadic off and on for the winter. I would also like to consider attaching a hitch and trailering a rack-n-roll trailer with 2-4 kayaks on it, weighing no more than 350 pounds. My spouse has not agreed to do this, but I would like to have the option.

    For me, gas mileage, safety, and noise reduction are my primary concerns in relation to the tires. I would also like a good warranty and longevity, but I suppose those are less on my priority list if I have to choose.

    I understand that our current tire is classified as high-performance. I don't really understand the meaning of that. I have also been looking at the touring classification upon the suggestion of a TireRack website agent. When I did search on TireRack and looked at the reviews, I came up with these as my top choices:

    1. Purelli Centurato P7 All Season Plus Grand Touring with EcoImpact
    2. Continental Extreme Contact DWS Ultra High Performance All Season

    On TireRack, the Purelli has the highest rank in performance and the best ratings for handling in all conditions. On that website, it wins in all but 3 categories, and then barely behind in those. It is the best on cornering, ice, noise, and treadwear, which are important to me. It is second on wet traction. The only thing that it is lower on is maximum load, which is about 170 lbs less than the other tires, which I'm not thrilled about at all since I want to trailer. The Extreme Contact tire came in first in its class, but that is a different class - Ultra High Performance All Season. The Purelli tire is first in its class - Grand Touring All Season, which is better for noise, ride quality, treadwear, etc. The Extreme Contact tire did not beat the Purelli one out in any respect except that it had 4058 reviews compared to the Purelli with only 353 (which was the second highest number compared to the next one of 454). The Extreme Contact also had a higher maximum load of 1521 pounds like most the others. And, the Extreme Contact is $540 on TireRack compared to the Centurato P7 for $552. But the Centurato P7 only has a 50,000 mile/6 year guarantee. The Extreme Contact has 70,000 mile/unlimited time period guarantee. The Centurato also has an eco-advantage to improve gas mileage like several others do, so it might improve our mpg compared to what we have now, which is already good. Or, it might not, since our current one is a high performance tire. I just don't know.

    I was also looking at the Bridgestone Driveguard, Michelin Premier A/S, Michelin Primacy MXM4, Bridgestone Ecopia EP422, and Continental Pure Contact with Plus Technology. I like the idea of the Driveguard, but don't really think I would drive on a flat tire anyway. I heard others on this forum like the Ecopia, but it didn't seem to rate as highly as the Centurato P7.

    I don't know if I am placing too much weight on the ratings given by TireRack, but doing my research there first, I am feeling that the Centurato P7 is my first choice. However, I am worried how it will perform compared to our current tire, especially in gas mileage and cornering. I think it should be better, but it is always hard to switch from something known to the unknown. And, I am worried about the warranty difference. (Mind you, I worry over everything.)

    Also, after deciding on a tire, I am wondering where to get it. TireRack? Onlinetires website? A local shop an hour away near work? A local shop in our tiny town? We do drive cross-country and a lot of miles, so getting a good deal on balancing, rotating, and road hazards might save us a lot in the long run - but only if we can utilize it. We live kind of in the middle of nowhere and drive a long distance to get anything. There are small shops in our little town, but they don't generally offer nationwide coverage. TireRack seems to have a great warranty, but Online Tires seems cheaper. Plus, how will my local shops interact with them? Will I get charged more for everyday services like balancing? Very confusing!!!

    Any illumination you can give will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    My $0.02
    If it doesn't say Michelin on the side its not worth buying.
     
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  3. TimberLong

    TimberLong Junior Member

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    Another concern my SO brought up. Even if they sell the same tire, do you get the same quality online as you do in a shop or are they seconds? We've used nationwide discount stores for our tires, but they often seem to get belt separation issues. Would the same thing happen if we buy online?

    LOL. So I guess your vote is for the Michelin Premier A/S - which is rated second best on the TireRack website compared to the Continental.

    More on the location of purchase - Do you think Sam's Club tires are as good as buying from a shop or online? We are considering becoming members, but wonder if their tires are seconds.

    Here is a quick summary of the ones I was looking at:
    Grand Touring Tires
    Purelli Centurato P7 All Season Plus with EcoImpact - best rated in its class, but has lower maximum load
    Michelin Premier A/S (But lower tread height of only 8.5/32 instead of 10/32) - second best, but has a higher max load than Centurato
    Continental Pure Contact with EcoPlus Technology - 3rd in its class, but possibly better mpg?
    Bridgestone Driveguard - drive flat - 4th in its class
    Ultra High Performance Tires - what we currently have
    Continental Extreme Contact DWS All Season - best rated in its class, but doesn't handle quite as well as Centurato in the ratings
     
    #3 TimberLong, May 11, 2015
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  4. schmuly

    schmuly Member

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  5. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

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    I agree with you 100 percent. Michelins are the only tires that go on my car. No exceptions.
     
  6. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Well I like Michelin as well, but for price point, you can't beat Bridgestone. Besides, your not driving a Peugeot but a Toyota, put Japanese tires on it! o_O
     
  7. TimberLong

    TimberLong Junior Member

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    Thanks for the info, schmuly. I find this interesting from a stock perspective, and I'm sure it might matter to the quality of future tires, though I'm not sure which direction (assuming down). Still, I guess it won't affect my decision right now because I'm sure the tires I find will already have been made by the Italian side. Good to know, though, when I have to make this decision again.
     
  8. schmuly

    schmuly Member

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  9. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    No it wouldn't.
    Energy Saver A/S. You're not driving a sports car, touring car or the like. Its a Prius and MPG rules. The ES/AS beats them all.
     
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  10. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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  11. TimberLong

    TimberLong Junior Member

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    I'm glad you mention those, rdgrimes. I saw another priuschat thread touting the Energy Saver A/S. I did a lot of research based on that thread. I totally understand the desire for the best MPG, and would like to get as much out of our energy-saving car as possible. Here's my concern. When I compared it on the Tire Rack website, the ES/AS did not rate Superior in any of the handling categories and only ranked Good in 3 of them - with two of those being at the very bottom of that rank and nearly a Fair rank. Since we live and drive in very mountainous terrain and daily drive on hairpin turns which regularly are wet and turn to ice in the winter, this is a huge safety concern for me - especially with 2 teenage drivers. The ES/AS was only 4th in its category of Passenger All Season, whereas the others I have mentioned above are 1st and 2nd in their class. The ES/AS has a lower maximum load - and considering I need to be able to travel with a heavy load on trips, I was concerned about that, too. Also, the ES/AS rank for handling on ice was about half that of the others I'm looking at. Since we do get ice, and I had an accident on ice 2 years ago (kind of have PTSSS after that), that is also a big concern for me. On TireRack, the ES/AS is also much lower in rank on all the things that are important to me - cornering, noise, etc. So, I just kind of forgot about it after doing that research.

    I would love to know how much difference in mpg I could expect between it and the Michelin Premier A/S or the Pirelli Centurato P7 or the ones I have now, the Continental Extreme Contact DWS. My SO told me that we are getting about 46 mpg right now. I would hate to see that go down if I choose one of the Centurato P7 or the Premier A/S tires. But, I would also hate to have an accident putting mpg ahead of safety if I go with the ES/AS. I've mentioned to SO that we might want to consider a winter and summer tire, but didn't get very far with that due to space and monetary considerations.

    Thoughts?

    Ok, now I'm kind of miffed at the guy at a local shop and confused. I just called a local place to see if they have any of the tires I'm looking at and what kind of warranty - and basically got a reprimand that none of these tires except the ones I have on now, Continental Extreme Contact DWS, are W-rated. They are all V-rated. So, the guy said that is unsafe - totally (insinuating not so gently that I was being unreasonable and irresponsible). He said that I am risking safety for gas mileage or comfort. He said that we can go up in speed rating, but never down - and refused to quote me anything except a Michelin Pilot Sport A/S and the ones I have, even though I told him I'm talking to priuschat people and doing a lot of research.

    I called TireRack, and they said no problem going all the way down to an H or V on my vehicle. They also told me that if I want the best of both worlds - handling in this terrain and better gas mileage, I should stick with what I have because the Pirelli Cinturato P7 and Michelin Premier A/S are heavier and I might sacrifice between 10-15 miles/tank or as much as 2 miles/gallon, while the Michelin Energy Saver A/S would be good gas-wise, but not as safe with aggressive driving in mountainous/icy weather.

    Argh. Of course, the last rep thought I should be getting an entirely different tire - Bridgestone Ecopia422 or Continental PureContact. Everyone has a different opinion/authority.

    Comments on the speed rating?
     
    #11 TimberLong, May 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2015
  12. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Well I would think an H rated tire would be fine, do you plan to drive at 100 mph? What I have done is bring the rims in for a car that needed V rated tires and bought H rated tires, without the car there they will sell lesser rated tires.
     
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  13. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Ask the local guy what the speed ratings are for V and W tires. (Hint: 149 and 169 MPH).

    You aren't driving a Porsche nor on roads with unlimited speed limits.
     
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sunday driver DIY’r

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    Feed in your car info on a few sites, Costco, TireRack, this'll show you what's ok for your car.

    I'll be looking for 215/45R17, sometime in the next year or two. Not sure what I'll get, right now thinking Bridgestone EP422 or Michelin Premier A/S. The EP422 have mpg edge, the Premier better for traction, feel.

    I think.
     
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  15. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    I always look for runflats. Might lose some mpg for the extra weight but give security of changing to the spare at a more "convenient" time and place.

    MT2L03 ?
     
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  16. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    Reality check: Aggressive driving on mountainous or icy roads is unsafe on any tire. Drive within the limits of your vehicle and equipment, and any tire will get you there.
     
  17. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    What fun is that then?
     
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  18. rdgrimes

    rdgrimes Senior Member

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    Just possibly more fun that waking up in the ditch with a wrecked car and injured friends/family.

    FWIW, I've driven on icy mountain roads on my ES/AS Michelins and never regretted doing it.
     
  19. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    I get what you are saying, but why risk driving on Icey roads? No tire is designed for ice.
     
  20. TimberLong

    TimberLong Junior Member

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    No, I don't plan to drive 100. :) This particular shop won't put on any tires they don't sell, like some others. I'd rather find a shop that is reasonable and I don't have to dance around.

    Exactly. I've educated myself in only 4 days. He's had a full career. Learning about speed ratings only took about 1 minute. What is his problem? We live in the U.S., not Europe.

    Yes, I've fed in my car and gotten lots of ok tires. That's the issue. This guy says none of them are okay by him due to the speed rating being lower.

    Well, there's aggressive and there is aggressive. I'm only "aggressive" on the roads I know very well and only when dry. I take the corners at a much faster speed than the tourists or the scared old people, but still well within control. Admittedly, I am taming a more aggressive style from a more hectic time in life and learning to slow it all down. I am trying my best to drive the speed limit or no more than within a couple miles of the speed limit on straight aways and at least the speed limit or below on corners. However, this would be considered very aggressive by non-locals who tend to drive about 10-20 miles below the speed limit - either because they are lost, gawking, or afraid.

    Nevertheless, no tire will get you there on numerous days of the year, here. But, until you are already out there, you don't always know that. So, going around corners at that time can lead to huge and unhappy surprises. Thus, that is the time for the best handling tires and way, way below speed limit driving.

    :) In dry weather, my inner fearless youth would agree. However, given numerous scary experiences and numerous deaths in the paper in the past few years, and given that I have teenage drivers, I have recently eschewed my need to feel powerful and in control with my need to show my kids how to stay alive and to be responsible to their passengers and to others on the road.

    Still, on clear-sky days and dry roads, the fear of the hidden sheriff's car keeps me in line and my savings intact.

    So, true. Unfortunately, when there is school or work or medical appointments, you don't always get to stay home and they don't always know there is ice between us. A couple months ago, I was assured that all was well, but I got half way there and hit a couple spots. Kept going, thinking it was isolated and the rest would be better. It was way too late to turn around then - no place to do it. Very, very scary. But, on the way home - dry as a bone. You just can't know, and life won't always stop.

    Unfortunately, our society pushes us to do stupid things and we sometimes go against our better judgement. That's how I ended up in a slow motion, 2-mile/hour accident a couple years ago - pushed to do what I knew I shouldn't. Stupid. All for the sake of charity. No injuries at all, but could have ended very, very badly. And I hope never to repeat it.

    I totally agree. Deliberately driving on ice when you don't need to is asking for death. It's the accidental ice that doesn't cover the entire length of my trip that I am hoping to have a little better chances with by choosing the appropriate tire.
     
    #20 TimberLong, May 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2015
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