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Whussup With Car Tires.

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Click here for a timely on-line article from Popular Mechanics.

I knew time was running out for my 2 remaining OEM 16-inch radials on my 2002 PT Cruiser from sheer mileage on the car (~60,000), not to mention a deteriorating quality of ride. (The other 2 are still OK -- bought as replacements when the car had gone about 35,000 miles.)

What I didn't know was how badly worn -- as in totally worn out -- those 2 original tires were.

Then I noticed some little wires sticking through the outer edge of the rubber tread area -- actually, exposed wire mesh of the steel radial belts that reinforce the skeleton of the tire. No way tires should wear down that bad & still be on the car.

While I was mulling over whether to get exact replacement BridgeStone tires on the 1 hand or on the other hand to get some decent-quality replacement tires from Price Club, etc., an offer I couldn't refuse materialized out of the blue.

I was minding my own business over at the parking lot in front of the hardware store when this guy approximately my age compliments me on my car. "Nice PT Cruiser," he said. "Looks just like mine." He motioned in the direction of his, much like mine except with bumpers painted bright silver instead of dull grey. "What year is yours?"

"2002," I said. "Yours looks newer."

"Mine's 2004. Say, I have a set of chrome wheels that were original equipment on that car. Would you be interested?"

"Maybe," I said. "What size?"

"I don't know," he said as we moved over toward his car. "I've had'm in the garage ever since I got satin-finish alloy wheels, which I like better than the shiny chrome."

I bent down & looked at the numbers on the sidewall of a rear tire on the guy's car. "17-inch," I said. "What size are the original wheels you took off?"

"I don't know," the guy said. "Here, take my number. I'll be home in about 30 minutes & I can check."

I mislaid the guy's number but didn't completely forget. For 1 thing, any time I drove the car, I got a tactile reminder -- as if I needed 1 -- that the front tires were shot. The back tires were OK, but that's no help for the front tires.

Several days later I asked the Chief Of Staff if she had seen the piece of paper on which I had written the number of the guy with the set of 2004 PT Cruiser OEM chrome wheels. She found it pretty soon & I called the guy. I reminded him of our parking lot conversation about his wheels. "Yeah," he said. "The originals are also 17-inch, & the original set of tires are still on'm -- they've been driven about 25,000 miles."

Whoa ! Wheels and tires. I thought he was just offering wheels -- meaning if I bought his set of 4, I'd need to buy 4 tires to fit. But he was actually offering wheels with tires already on'm.

"I paid $600 each for the satin finish wheels," the guy said, "but I really need to clear out the garage. So if you're interested, just throw out a number.

I paused maybe 3-4 seconds -- seemed longer, but telephonic silences seem longer than they really are -- then I said, "$200."

"Sold," the guy said. "When can you come over?"

"Shux, I can come over now if that's OK. What's your address?"

After I got all those details squared away, we -- The Chief Of Staff & I -- fired up the PT Cruiser & drove on over. The Chief Of Staff was plenty dubious -- all the more so when she learned $200 was the number I had thrown out.

The guy had the tires on wheels stacked up neatly with corrugated paperboard separators preventing metal-to-metal contact between the wheels & preventing metal-to-concrete contact between the bottom tire & the garage floor. The wheels looked semi-dirty, but not nearly as dirty as the super-cruddy 16-inch OEM alloy wheels on my PT Cruiser. The 17-inch tires looked OK -- OEM radials that looked like they'd gone 25,000 miles or so.

The Chief Of Staff eyeballed the lugnut pattern & spacing & declared that the 17-inch wheels would fit on our car in place of the original 16-inch wheels. I whipped out 2 Benjamins & loaded the guy's tired into the back our our car.

I bought some no-scrub spray-&-rinse alloy wheel cleaner & used that, twice -- plus a brush -- to get the 17-inch 2004 wheels reasonably cleaned up. Then I let'm dry overnight before bracing myself for the task of taking off the old set of 16-inch wheels & installing the newer set of 17-inch wheels.

Then I had a blinding flash of inspiration. I called up the guys at the local independent former Texaco auto service station & asked how much they'd charge to swap out the tires. "$25," they said.

"I'll be right there," I told'm, then dropped off the car at the ex-Texaco place while The Chief Of Staff & I went into Washington DC in the other car & got all the diagnostic information & treatment recommendations from my urologist. (But that's another story.)

After absorbing the medical news, we picked up the PT Cruiser on the way back. It looks great & drives great -- for only $225 total.

Next problem is what to do with the old wheels & 2 OK tires & 2 worn out tires. I scrubbed up the old wheels as well as I can so that they look OK -- no better than OK, but at least OK. Next step is to put'm on Craig's List & see if anybody wants to spring $100 or so for a set of 4 OEM alloy wheels + 2 OK tires & 2 non-OK tires. (No sense having the non-OK tires de-mounted on spec.)

Something interesting is going on around here practically all the time.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

Passepartout

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Alan, are the 'new' 17" close to the same height as the OEM tires/wheels? If not your speedometer will be inaccurate. Taller and your actual speed will be faster than indicated, lower....well, you get the idea. You can check your actual road speed by driving (on a fairly level road) at a steady speed- I like cruise control for this- and time the mile markers. Divide the number of seconds between mile markers into 3600 (the number of seconds in a hour). This will give you the average speed to cross this distance. It's more accurate if you go more miles, just increase the number you divide into accordingly. It works whether you are checking the speed of a turtle or a 747.

Anyway, if the speedo is too far off, most competent shops can plug their computer into the car and re-set it for different tire sizes.

Congrats on the good deal on the 2-year updated look for your car and delaying having to shell out big bux for something as trivial as tires that could save/cost your life. But mostly for getting the ones off the car that had cord showing. That's waaaay too long to run them. When the solid bars in the tread are down to smooth between the longitudinal grooves, replace 'em.

Jim Ricks
 
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Mosca

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Click here for a timely on-line article from Popular Mechanics.

(edit)

Next problem is what to do with the old wheels & 2 OK tires & 2 worn out tires. I scrubbed up the old wheels as well as I can so that they look OK -- no better than OK, but at least OK. Next step is to put'm on Craig's List & see if anybody wants to spring $100 or so for a set of 4 OEM alloy wheels + 2 OK tires & 2 non-OK tires. (No sense having the non-OK tires de-mounted on spec.)

Something interesting is going on around here practically all the time.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
This is how I wound up with two sets of wheels and tires for the Miata, and THREE sets of wheels and tires for the Subaru!
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Big Wheels Keep On Turning. (Proud Mary Keep On Burning.)

Alan, are the 'new' 17" close to the same height as the OEM tires/wheels? If not your speedometer will be inaccurate.
I can't be sure, but I have an impression that the 17-inch tires have a slightly lower profile than the 16-inch tires, so that the distance all the way round the outside is the same on both sets.

I could get out a measuring tape & check if I weren't so bone-lazy. Or I could simply note the respective tire size numbers molded into the sidewalls & do some checking via Internet.

If my speedometer turns out to be inaccurate, then it'll at least match the digital clock, which has been slightly off since Day One (gains time).

At this point, it is what it is & I'll try to live with it mox nix.

BTW, as punishment for letting 2 of the old tires wear down so bad that some steel belt wire mesh was poking through the rubber in places, I got a nasty cut on my right ring finger off 1 of the exposed wires when all I was doing was setting the wheels upright after doing some cleaning & rinsing. To guard against more accidental cuts -- on me or on anybody else -- I used duct tape to cover up the worst places where little wires poke through.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

Tacoma

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Too bad you don't live in a northern state or Canada. Lots of people have extra rims with snow tires on them making it easier to switch over twice a year. Wish I had an extra set of rims myself so I would drive winter tires and not all season radials. Winters are safer. You got a super deal but now you have tha same problem he had a storage problem.:D

Joan
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Simplifying Snow Tire Storage.

Too bad you don't live in a northern state or Canada. Lots of people have extra rims with snow tires on them making it easier to switch over twice a year. Wish I had an extra set of rims myself so I would drive winter tires and not all season radials. Winters are safer. You got a super deal but now you have tha same problem he had a storage problem.
Back in the olden days before we had all-season & all-weather radials on our family cars, we figured out how to work it so we just had 1 off-season tire to worry about storing -- 1 per car, that is.

In those days, the spare tire was full-size, mounted on a 5th full-size rim -- unlike today's "donut" spare tires mounted on dinky spare-only rims.

In winter, we had 2 snow tires on the rear wheels, 2 regular tires on the front wheels, & 1 regular tire in the spare-tire well in the trunk. The 6th wheel, with the 4th regular tire mounted on it, was stored down in the basement or out in the garage.

In summer, we had 4 regular tires on the car & 1 snow tire in the spare-tire well in the trunk. The other snow tire, mounted on the 6th wheel, was stored down in the basement or out in the garage.

BTW, I'm not much on practical jokes but I've always thought a fantastic gag would be to get a bunch of extra "donut" spare tires on wheels & -- quietly, in the dead of night -- take the fancy alloy wheels & tires off the victim's car & replace those with a set of 4 "donut" spares.

Can't you just picture the look on the victim's face when he or she comes out to get in the car & sees it sitting there on 4 "donut" spares ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
Time For The Grand Pro To Merge Threads.

Yep, it's time to merge this Tires discussion topic with the earlier Doofus topic.

Why ?

Only because while I was out & about this afternoon, tooling along in my semi-ancient PT Cruiser with its newly installed 17-inch wheels, I got distracted momentarily & ran over a rough place just past the edge of the pavement -- where the shoulder of the road should have been if the road had been in better condition.

I hit hard. The car started pulling right because the jolt had ripped clean through the inside sidewall of my right front tire, destroying it.

Fortunately I was going slow -- approximately 30 m.p.h. -- & did not lose control of the car. I don't think I damaged anything other than the ruined tire. (We'll see, eh?)

I limped into the nearest service station -- same 1 that installed the 17-inch wheels where the 16-inch wheels used to be -- & told'm to fix me up with a new tire.

I'm expecting that 1 new tire will cost me about as much as I paid for the whole set of 17-inch wheels and tires -- instant punishment for such doofusness.

No doubt the family will be coming to take away the car keys 1 of these days -- & with my record I won't be able to complain.

So it goes.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​


 
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Passepartout

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Road hazards and debris are definitely a consideration when one goes with low aspect tires. Aspect being the ratio of sidewall height to tread width. In order to have the rolling diameter of your 17" wheel/tire combo about the same as the prior 16"ers they necessarily will have lower aspect and be more susceptible to damage.

Your older ones may have been for instance, 195-65x16, meaning a tread width of 195mm and the sidewall being 65% of that number, while your new ones might be something like 205-45x17 to achieve the same rolling diameter and wider footprint, but you have to watch out for curbs, chuck holes and junk in the road. Radial tires only have one ply of cord in the sidewall to make them ride smooth and track true, but you can take out a sidewall wiki-wiki.

I bet it looks good, though! enjoy!

Jim Ricks
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
I Blow The Money. The Chief Of Staff Brings In The Money.

OK, the penalty for my recent bonehead driving maneuver that destroyed my newly acquired 17-inch PT Cruiser tire was having to spring for a (new) replacement tire down at the local independent service station yesterday.

Then today (via Craig's List) The Chief Of Staff sold the old 16-inch PT Cruiser wheels with the old tires still mounted on'm -- 2 OK tires plus 2 more that are totally worn out with wire mesh from the steel belts poking through the rubber.

That means we don't have to store any surplus unneeded wheels & tires out in the garage. Plus, the Craig's List money offsets most of the cost of the new tire.

There's a silver lining behind every cloud, no ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
My Whole Life Is That Way (Well, Almost).

Still on a run of luck. Atlantic City next?
It's like some vast worldwide conspiracy is going on out there whose purpose is to do Good Things for me, large & small.

We even get past the occasional bump in the road OK -- so far, anyhow.

Having a daily Attitude Of Gratitude certainly helps.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​





 

AwayWeGo

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[triennial - points]
BridgeStone Turanza Tires.

What's the difference (if any) between BridgeStone Turanza EL-42 tires & BridgeStone Turanza EL-400 tires ?

Anybody know ?

All I've been able to discover via cursory (no pun intended) internet search is that BridgeStone Turanza is considered a middle-grade, OEM-quality tire. That is unsurprising, because those are what came as original equipment on our 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan & later on our 2006 Chrysler Town & Country.

With 1 set of the BridgeStones about worn out, I had a set of Yokohama radials installed on the Dodge before giving the minivan to our son & daughter-in-law out in California.

Now, with the old BridgeStone Turanza tires wearing out on the other car, I had new GoodYear Assurance radials installed on the Chrysler front wheels & I'm getting ready to have near-new BridgeStone Turanza EL-400s installed on the back -- unless there's some good reason not to.

All of the tires mentioned are the same size -- 215-65R-16. The set of 4 new Yokohamas came from an internet tire shop. The new pair of GoodYear Assurance tires came from Craig's List. The 2 BridgeStone Turanza EL-400s came from bestusedtires.com -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 
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