Piston Slap: Time to Retire Those Tires?
TTAC commenter Felix Hoenikker writes:
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.
- Buy four now all-weather tires of the same size as the OEM tires.
- Buy four 15-inch summer tires and new wheels.
- 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?
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.
Let the Bridgestones go, and recycle them into something needed in our society.
Also, if your tires suck and you’re shopping for new tires, help support TTAC’s work by doing your research at TireReviewsandMore.com.
[Image: Shutterstock user Carsten Schlipf]
More by Sajeev Mehta
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
- Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
- Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
- FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
- Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.