By on April 28, 2017

Mercedes-Benz 450SL; Image: benzinsider.com

TTAC commenter Felix Hoenikker writes:

Sajeev,

I am in the process of replacing at least two tires on my ’74 Mercedes 450SL. The current tires are P205/70R14 Bridgestone RE 900 performance tires. They came with the car when I bought it privately in the summer of 2001.

I’ve been slowly — and I mean slowly — restoring the SL, and have only driven it about 10,000 miles since taking ownership.

Recently, I discovered the front left tire is wearing down much faster than the other three.

The three good tires have about 75 percent of their tread left. I have since rebuilt the front suspension and replaced the subframe bushings and motor mounts per the advice of a local indie Mercedes-Benz garage. Now, it’s time to do something about the front tires.

I was hoping to buy just one identical replacement for the worn front tire but Bridgestone doesn’t make that model tire anymore nor a successor in that size. To make matters worse, it seems like none of the major tire makers sell 14-inch performance tires, and the nearest substitute I can find are all-weather “high-performance” tires. I don’t need all-weather tires as this car is a toy and never driven in the rain let alone cold weather.

Here are the options that come to mind.

  1. Buy four now all-weather tires of the same size as the OEM tires.
  2. Buy four 15-inch summer tires and new wheels.
  3. Buy two new all-weather 14-inch tires for the front and keep the current rear tires.

I’m ruling out option 2 because I like the car’s color matched, chrome OEM hub caps and steelies, and I’ve managed to keep the car OEM up to this point. That leaves me to pick from options 1 and 3.

Four new tires make the most sense from a tire purist’s (or tire store’s) viewpoint. However, I really hate waste, and throwing away two barely worn tires is the definition of waste to me.

The reason to replace the good rear tires would be age. I checked for a manufacture date but could not find any. All I know is they are at least 16 years old. Still, the tires lose very little air, only needing to be pumped up about twice a year, and have no cracking on the side walls. The SL is garaged and only exposed to the sun when I’m driving it, which isn’t all that much. For these reasons, I don’t see a pressing need to replace them due to their age. That would make option 2 the most economical as well as planet friendly fix.

What say the B&B?

Sajeev answers:

Option 1 is best since I get the feeling you’d prefer to be a purist. Option #3 is unacceptable because tires dry out and go bad with age, even if they don’t crack from sun exposure.

While the 450SL is no slouch in the corners, neither is my modded five-speed Ranger after receiving a set of General Altimax RT43 tires. That’s not a completely stupid analogy. I once parked next to a Ferrari 308 wearing the same rubber. If it’s good enough for a Ferrari, it’s totally good enough for a Ranger.

Tire technology has improved mightily (technical term) since your ride got new rubber. I betcha the aforementioned 308 puts down similar numbers with new General Altimaxs than it could back in the day on the finest Michelins.

Speaking of, there’s a good Michelin tire for your needs at a respectable price, too.

Let the Bridgestones go, and recycle them into something needed in our society.

[Image: benzinsider.com]

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77 Comments on “Piston Slap: Time to Retire Those Tires?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Felix,

    I am in the same boat with my Volvo 244, 2009ish tires I never changed when I bought in 2012 but with only a few thousand miles on them. After tiring of pumping up a rear one, I take her to the tire shop to learn all four have dry rotted and the steel wheels have corroded to the point where the bead of the seal is likely to not hold very well. I thought the same on “keep the best two and replace two” tires but I am being advised if I want to not pump them up every so often to simply replace all four and ideally obtain better condition wheels.

    Additional: Very, very nice Benz. If I was to take the Merc plunge, it would be either an R107 or W126 (or if possible a W113)

    • 0 avatar
      sayahh

      If there’s anything we learned from Paul Walker’s death is that you should buy new tires, regardless of how many miles are on your tires:

      http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/26/local/la-me-ln-paul-walker-porsche-outdated-tires-crash-20140326

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Get some new tires and cheap steelies! The factory-installed tires on my 2009 car were in the early stages of dry rot back in 2015 (and I replaced them).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The closest yard in these parts wants $50/wheel for steelies, and here steelies corrode so they are probably no better than mine. My guy is working on getting some 242 turbo wheels off of someone for what will prob be too much money.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          You can get new steelies for $50 each.

          There are also a bunch of 740/760 alloys on eBay that would probably fit your 240.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            From where, do you happen to have a link?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Look around for Cragar 83-4414 or Pacer 83B-4414. The offset may be a tiny bit too far inboard but they should fit.

            For instance: https://www.summitracing.com/parts/crr-83-4414

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            740/940 Alloys and steelies will fit no problem, as will some 760/960s, their 15 inch wheels are a good upgrade if you’re still rolling 14s (wider tread, doesnt impact ride at all).

            Turbo wheels look nice but they are certainly NOT worth the premium, blech, for that matter most turbo bits arent worth their premiums.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @DAL

            Thanks man.

            @Ryoku

            We’ll see how clean these ones are assuming Chuck can even get them off dude. In the meantime I will troll the usual sources for 900 wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            FuzzyPlushroom

            Good call. Any post-Amazon RWD Volvo wheels (aside from ’95+ 960/S/V90) will work just fine on a 240; I’d be on the hunt for 15×6″ ‘Draco’ alloys from a 740 Turbo, myself, as they’re (said to be) ugly and aren’t particularly desirable. I don’t mind ’em, but my 245 still wears 240 Turbo ‘Virgos’ ’cause it came with a set and a half when I bought it.

            I’d really like to get the ’83-84 ten-spoke ‘Sirius’ 15x6s refinished and mounted, though. They’re from an early 760, but came with my old 745T; I think they’re quite sharp, and they’re light (not that you or even I particularly care).

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Hit the junkyard, a good one will sell you some nice steelies/tires at $20 a pop.

      I’m not joking when I say new tires are some of the best upgrades you’ll ever do on an old car.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      Recently had to buy new 185/60/13 tires … no major tire makers make those anymore. It was either cheap Chinese brands, cheap Japanese brands, or expensive Hoosier racing tires.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    This is the flip side of wheel size inflation. There are just about no “performance” tires under 17″ anymore. The only exceptions are a handful of sizes for S2000s and Miatas.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      16s still have some options. 15s and below, well, that General Sajeev references is calling your name.

      I’m in sort of the same boat with my Acura Legend. The tires aren’t that old (they date from 2015) but they’re the worst Wal-Mart Chinese crap. Normally I’d want to put on something like DWS06s. But tires in the performance all-season category just don’t exist in the OEM 15″ size. (The car does get driven in cold weather a lot, so pure summers aren’t an option.) I haven’t been inspired to buy a set of higher-quality but still mushy “touring” tires. So I’ve stuck with the Wal-Mart Chinese crap for now, even though they’re not perfectly round and the car has about the grip of a cue ball.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      I absolutely hate wheel size inflation, and I always try to get a smaller wheel size when possible.

      More sidewall = better ride quality. Give our nation’s decaying infrastructure, large wheels don’t make sense.

      I’m stuck with 20″ wheels on one of our cars (because I’m not going to shell out money to replace perfectly functional wheels), and I’m not sure which is more annoying: the price of tires, the limited selection of tires, or the diminished ride quality.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I assume that 2017 vintage sporty all-seasons are equal to or better than almost any roadgoing tire that was available 16 years ago, much less in 1974.

    And that’s not even accounting for the ones you have now degrading after 16 years of existence.

    I suspect that if Felix cared much about the minute details of tire performance he would not consider running 16 year old tires for even one second.

    Therefore, just get some modern high-performance all-seasons and call it good.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The design criteria for available tires has changed greatly during that time. 205/70VR14 tires were cutting edge performance tires in 1974. They weren’t meant to last long, only to grip the road in warm conditions and provide a firm sidewall to keep the car stable at sustained speeds over 130 mph. 205/70R14 T tires available today are meant to provide low rolling resistance, all season mediocrity, and service lives three and four times what a 1974 VR tire was expected to deliver. Sure, the tire makers could make a much better 205/70VR14 tire for antique performance flagships if they wanted to and there was a big enough market, but they don’t care.

      A T-rated tire has a soft, flexible sidewall that would overheat if pushed along at speeds over 118 mph. That also means it doesn’t return any steering feel because it filters out any surface information like a sponge. Sure, the technology is better. The problem is what it is better at doing, and it isn’t better at providing a premium driving experience.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Taking the time to properly chalk/paint these tires and increase the inflation pressure will make then grip much better, deliver proper road feel and last far longer by not heating them up at road speeds .
        .
        A properly sorted SL will easily cruise 125MPH all day/night .
        .
        -Nate

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Be smart and buy a full set of _five_ good tires, you never know how far you’ll need to go on the spare making a new one cheap insurance .
    .
    I use Michelin Defenders, affordable @ 4105 each if you shop around (I think retail is now $127) .
    .
    I doubt you’ll ever drive it hard enough to need better, I do road rallies in my old ‘Benz and routinely run away from all the Sports Cars with fancier tires .
    .
    Remember to periodically closely inspect the front sub frame as they fail catastrophically without warning, some times when the car is sitting still . always cracks can be seen in advance .
    .
    R & W 107’s are very fun cars and handle far better than their weight and girth allow you to believe .
    .
    Once adrift they’re a handful to get back in line but fun ! .
    .
    Remember : the valves need to be adjusted every 10,000 miles or 12 months, unless YOU personally have done it / had it done it needs this desperately .
    .
    You’ll also need to replace every bit of they myriad special 7MM high pressure fuel hose before the car bursts into flames, the Mercedes Classic Center will sell you the correct hose and special band clamps cheaper than anywhere else ~ it’s like getting the shipping for free .
    .
    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I read this as: “You have to fix this, or your car will explode”

      Excellent.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Explode no .
        .
        Burn to the ground before you figure out what’s happening, _YES_ .
        .
        I’ve been a German Car Journeyman mechanic for close to fifty years and many, _MANY_ Customers refused to change all those damned hoses every two years and lost their cars as a result, some got badly burned when they popped the hood to see what was happening .
        .
        The BOSCH D-Jetronic F.I. system has a working pressure of 32 PSI, God knows how many gallons per scary moment when the hose cracks .
        .
        Because it was too delicate, the fuel pump safety relay often craps out and is by passed so when you’re driving and hear a faint “pop” followed a few minutes later by the engine dying, if you leave the key on , you will usually get a very bad surprise .
        .
        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      sayahh

      I think Michelin is phasing out a lot of 14″ tires. Even Amazon only has two left:
      Michelin Defender All-Season Radial Tire – 205/70R14 93T
      “Only 2 left in stock – order soon”
      $99.00 each & free shipping

      There are also all-season, S-rated tires from BF Goodrich, but like bumpy ii said, no performance tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Yeah, I got curious enough to go to Michelin’s website, and it said “limited availability” for 14″ Defenders. Whether or not that’s temporary or indicates they’re down to a dwindling stock, I don’t know. I’d guess the latter.

        Kudos to see Felix for sticking with the original wheels and for going with the safe and sane route of new tires from a reputable manufacturer. Mercedes really did those body-colored hubcaps right back in the day.

        • 0 avatar
          sayahh

          Tirerack has T-rated Defenders in my size but only a few left in stock. I think the newer ones are S-rated but not even sure if they’ll be around much longer.

          I remember hearing a Costco Tire technician tell another customer that they (not sure if he meant Costco, Michelin or everyone) are phasing out 14″ and 15″ tires. So I guess I’ll eventually have to get Kumho, Hankook/Laufenn or General Tires too. (Or I can get 15″ steelies and buy 15″ tires; they have a lot of those still in stock.)

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I’m not really a fan of Defenders. Designed with extra long life in mind, they compromise too much on performance. At least for me.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Why the so-frequent valve adjustments? That’s insane.

  • avatar
    jlbg

    Wow, I’m in exactly the same boat with my 380SL. My tires have a few minor cracks, but are from 2001. Finding tires in the OEM size only returns crap tires. The only thing good about them is that even the 380SL can do massive burnouts. :)

    I’m looking at option 2. My car doesn’t have cool hubcaps and I don’t have a strong love for the OEM rims. My plan is to find some 15’s or 16’s from a newer Benz that will fit, and find some tires with some better grip.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Just keep in mind that with the larger rim, your car’s speedo will under read. I put 16 inch tires on my Sable (up from 15 for all the reasons above) and the car says 55 when in reality I am going 60. I did use the plus one info on Tire Rack but still ended up with poor speedo (and mileage calculations for that matter) readings.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Beautiful Benz, Felix. A retiree in our neighborhood has two of these, one in better shape than the other. He also has a mint early 80s Ford F250 Dually in two-tone tan with a “For Sale” sign. I’d rather he sell the Merc and he may in the coming years. I don’t have the time or space to properly feed and care for an old SL, though.

    Treat it right, four new tires.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    Price of 4 tires: 300 USD.
    Not sliding slowly into an off-ramp’s concrete wall on a surprisingly cold and wet fall evening: priceless.
    (A lesson I learned on 7 year old quite OK premium rubber, luckily two feet away from learning it the hard way, thanks to motivating the VSC to kick in. Now I replace early)

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Option 4: upgrade to 15″ or 16″ wheels and have them painted/powder coated to match the body color.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Tires have a DOT code stamped on the side and the last four numbers of that code indicate an expiry date. The first two numbers indicate the week it was made and the last two indicate the year.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      True, for tires made after the year 2000. Before that, it was a three-digit number, with the first two numbers being the week of the year, and the last digit being the year of that decade.

      AND, the date code is only on one side of the tire! With my luck, 99% of the time it’s on the inboard side.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Lou,
      These tires do not have DOT date stamps. I looked before I wrote to Sajeev.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        If they don’t have date stamps they are older than the hills, it has been required since at least the 80’s. Of course the older code just had a single digit for the year because at that time they didn’t make tires that would last 80,000 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          Felix Hoenikker

          I didn’t check inside of the tire so there may be a date code there. Definitely none on the exposed side. All my other cars have date codes that are visible from the outside of the tire.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Seriously. Buy four or five new tires and move on with life.

    16 year old tires, in my opinion, are dangerous to you, your car, and others around you. If you can afford to slowly or quickly for that matter restore a Mercedes, you can afford new tires.

    I will agree with you regarding the wheels, I would not swap out to an aftermarket wheel on that car. Ever. The 450 is an iconic classic car that is not begging to be bastardized, modified etc. There are still plenty of Camaro and Chevelles left for that duty.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “I once parked next to a Ferrari 308 wearing the same rubber.”

    A few years ago this would make sense, but 308 values have been rising so sharply more recently that I’d spring for the Michelin XWX these days.

    FWIW, if the OP is feeling wealthy, the XWX is available in the size he needs.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    We have this crazy guy in our local car club with a ’71 Corvette on ORIGINAL tires….and he drives this car regularly. We have tried to discuss this issue with him, but he is truly convinced that they are safe since the rubber essentially looks good.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    It stinks that’s there’s so little variety of tires available for cars like the SL. But then, I guess it’s like we were in the 1960s, and we’re looking for tires for a 1920s M-B. What is worse is when you’re down to nothing but what Coker offers ($$$$$).

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    If you got the cash to re-build the suspension I think you got the cash for four/5 new tires, replace them and keep the other two, no law says you must throw out old tires.

  • avatar
    TR4

    Dissenter here. I’d take the taxi driver approach and just buy one new tire. Don’t worry about it not being “matched” for normal driving. After all, people drive on compact spares which are grossly mismatched to the others.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Yes, #1.

    (I’m surprised it has 14s; my 300D, two years newer than that, had factory 15s.

    {ETA: Nevermind that; the Internet tells me I can’t remember right. Probably I was confused by the way the hubcaps happened to fit on my Toyota pickup, which I would have *sworn* was a 15, but must have been a 14.}

    And as far as performance goes, remember this is a 190hp car weighing 3600# dry.

    It’s got all the performance of a 4cyl Accord, in other words, combined with a 40 year old suspension.

    It just looks more handsome doing it – and Everyday Tires will be fine for any sane use.)

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      Sigivald,
      From what I found in the engine manual for this car, the HP is more like 210. But, that’s not the real issue. I have a 14 4 cyl Honda Accord used as a DD. It is rated at 184 HP. I can tell you that the 450SL feels like it has a lot more power than the Accord. I suspect it’s due to the higher torque at low rpms put out by the MB V8 coupled with lower gearing.
      The one mod I did to the 450SL that was to replace the Bosch electronic ignition module with a Mallory high performance coil and ignition module. It made a difference in performance plus it was a lot cheaper than an OEM Bosch coil.
      It’s kind of moot since my very inexpensive classic car insurance prohibits me from doing any kind of racing with this car. This is not a problem for me as I prefer to spend that money on golf.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Hi everyone, OP here.
    I plan to buy all new tires for this car. Money isn’t the issue. I just hate to see what appears to be good rubber go to the recycler. Since I don’t drive it very hard, I’ll go with decent all seasons. I have a set of General Altimaxes on the 97 Crown Vic, and they have a tread pattern similar to the Bridgestone summer tires on the SL. The Generals are inexpensive and meet my meager performance needs especially since I don’t drive the car in the winter. I’ll see if my local tire shop can get them in OEM size. If not, I’ll find another major brand. No Chinese specials.
    @Nate, I have replaced most of the polymer gas lines. The only leak I had was the non pressurized line connecting the fuel pump to the tank. On this year’s to do list, I will replace the hoses connecting the fuel injectors to the metal rail. Also, I did have the valves adjusted less than 2000 miles ago. You mentioned to readjust them every year. There is nothing in the engine manual about adjusting them on a yearly basis.
    The local Merc shop inspected the car with a fine toothed comb when I had the valves adjusted and said my subframe was good. I noticed the subframe had a nice oil coating on it from a previous leak in one of the valve cover gaskets. The paint was pristine under the oil.
    My big project with the car this year is to replace the timing chain and rail guides on the advice of the indie MB mechanic. I just need to get motivated and get this done before the hot weather sets in here.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      A used tire place will buy good used tires and resell them, if it’s just hatred of waste motivating it.

      (OEM size? Nobody sells HR-labeled tires anymore, at prices that are sane. I looked into it when I had my w115, and prices/availability aren’t *better* than 15 years ago for that.

      195-75R14s or such are Very Close and easily found for dirt cheap.)

      And at least as an R107 owner you’ll never know the joys of replacing a heater fan by removing the entire inside of the car… the R107 process looks like it takes about 20 minutes, as opposed to 10 hours.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      My I ask why you want performance tires for this lovely vehicle?

      I googled the size of your tire and found some ‘touring’ tires. Some were well known brands, others were the type you said you wanted to avoid.

      Tire Rack has three tires in this size, one of which is also a touring tire. Hankook also makes the Optimo in your size.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “I just hate to see what appears to be good rubber go to the recycler.”

      They won’t go to waste. They’ll be ground up and used to make roads and football fields.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        It’s also worth noting that despite appearances they are not “good rubber”. They were past their prime at least a decade ago.

        Chicken salad that’s been sitting in the sun all day *looks* fine, but there’s no sin in throwing it away. It’s not waste to trash it, it’s a reasonable precaution.

        • 0 avatar
          sayahh

          But if you don’t eat it, you’ll put emergency room doctors and nurses out of business! (Just kidding.)

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Good call on replacing the cam chains and tensioner shoes .
            .
            RE: service intervals, any competent Mechanic will tell you there’s the book and there’s reality .
            .
            I’m sure you’ll be fine however you go .
            .
            Me, I drive a lot and hard so I tend to try and keep up on the maintenance as if it were heavy duty usage .
            .
            In the long run this always saves me money .
            .
            (says the fool who blew a ’59 VW engine in Death Valley)
            .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Salmonella Surprise….. sounds funny and can be fatal

            Centuries ago before wisdom set in (no not last week) I had a stack of old tires that looked good. I sold a bunch of them to a guy that did hobby stock type stock car racing. He phoned all pizzed off because they shredded on him in a few laps. I pointed out the “as is where is” part of the deal. After that, I started looking at tires more closely.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The American performance icon the Radial T/A is still available in that size or find a HP A/S from a reputable mfg. Either way tthe traction will far exceed what you have now. If you aren’t ajtocrossong it or doing a lot of drivimg in the rain there really isnt an advantgento a summer tire for that car.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I went through this when I hit a bad pothole in my DD and bubbled one of my front tires. I swap snows and all-seasons back and forth, so my car has 86k miles but the tires probably only had ~35-40k miles on them. Ultimately I figured that the tires were 6 years old, and buying 1-2 matching OEM tires and keeping the others was less smart than buying 4 cheaper and probably better tires (the OEM Michelins are expensive and average at best).

    Also agree there’s no need for any sort of ‘performance’ tires on that vintage SL.

  • avatar
    sayahh

    A coworker (now retired) bought a used SL convertible on the cheap. He loves driving it, and it looks like the SL that Matt Houston drove on the TV show.
    http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_141153-Mercedes-Benz-SL-R107-1980.html

    Hope your car has many more good years!

  • avatar
    rpn453

    General, Cooper, Toyo, BFG, and Uniroyal all make a tire in that size that will be far better than those old donuts. Get a set and you’re good for another 20 years.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Well ;
    .
    When you’re a Journeyman Mechanic you get to see a lot of engines and old tech valve trains tend to show up with tight (below spec. or zero lash) valves -very- consistently, even when the Customer says ‘they’re fine, I just had them checked’ . either they’re lying because they’re too cheap to do a good job or it’s one more time where I have to actually _DO_ the work some hack charged for but didn’t bother doing .
    .
    So much so that I began checking the valves of every single engine I was asked to “tune up” and Lo ! after I re set the too narrow valve gaps to proper spec. they _all_ ran better, started easier cold or hot, idled smoother on and on, blah blah blah .
    .
    There’s a whole buncha stuff one learns over the decades *if* you pay attention to both your training and experience .
    .
    Many I meet blindly “follow the book” when any of the multitude of factory training’s I’ve had, told us tips and tricks not in any book .
    .
    As far as stories, they dribble out here and there as I feel them necessary to flesh out an idea ~ I really hate seeing vehicles burned as I can buy them absurdly cheaply but often can’t even salvage the brake drums , crank shafts or tranny gears .
    .
    Sorry about my piss poor writing and spelling, I got F’s in English all through school .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    dchturbo

    You need to replace all the tires. A performance all-season would be a fine tire for this car. Summer tires would probably be complete overkill for the vehicle.

    A Michelin Defender is a great tire. However, that is NOT a performance all-season tire.

    Coker Tire has a few, as well. But they’re mostly “cosmetic” tires, not necessarily actual performance tires.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    To turn Indiana Jones on his head: “It’s not the mileage, honey, it’s the years.”

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    You won’t find a “year-made” on the tire, it’s a required DOT code you can look up online. But if you KNOW the tires are 16 years old, follow Sajeev’s advice and replace them all.

    Both ultraviolet light and ozone break down the compounds in tires, and Consumers’ Reports recommends not buying tires that are already 6 years old, even though they’re wrapped to protect against ozone in the air and kept away from sunlight.

    You may keep the car in the garage, but the ozone is everywhere. No matter how much tread you have, you’ll notice a huge improvement in ride and handling just with new tires.

  • avatar
    Cobra427

    General Altimax RT43s on a Ferrari 308?
    Where does the owner take his car for service…Pep Boys?
    General Altimax tires are fine for the Camry or the Sentra, NOT for Italian exotica.

  • avatar
    FuzzyPlushroom

    I’m glad to hear a positive review of those Generals, Sajeev. My 245 needs new shoes, and I already have one new-old-stock (never mounted, 2011, so still safe) Altimax HP in the correct size from a friend who never got to put it on before wrecking his Saab. Of course, those tires no longer exist, so I’ve been looking around, and while the RT43 aren’t all fancy and directional, I thought they looked and sounded like a decent option based on what’s left for 195/60R15.

    (Anyone with an opinion on whether the odd tire with the same dimensions belongs on the front or the rear is welcome to chime in. I’m eventually going to rotate it front-to-back or back-to-front anyway.)

    In another fun parallel, the 245 in question came with two unmounted, barely-used Blizzaks… but they’re from 2003, a couple of years before the previous owner stopped daily-driving it, so they’ve just been taking up space; I’m not about to mount 10+-year-old tires on a car that’ll see highway driving on occasion. Given their good condition (no visible cracking) and chunky tread pattern, I’m hoping to offload ’em to some local rally guy for a six-pack or two.

  • avatar
    Salzigtal

    If you have the space, for two of our vehicles we have sets of steelies with full snows, the good OEM rims with new weekend trip & vacation summer tires and sets of steelies with tires in the process of being ground down to the cords around town. Works for NV in the rain shadow. And a floor jack & spreader. We almost never have a tire leave us with tread on it.


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