Tire Assessment Not Black & White Folks!

by JRH

Wow, I'm shocked with the "final assessment" by tire-reviews-online individual. You question the validity of those giving positive feedback? It would be great if we could assess everything like this and come out with a pretty accurate, scientifically speaking that is, assessment of all products. However, there is a problem folks with this "scientific, evaluative tool" and I will apologize right now for the length of my response. I hope, once read, you'll understand why my "review" cannot be summed up in just a few words.

What would be the handling of a 2-wheel motorcycle that had car tires installed front & rear compared to a motorcycle with standard bike-size tires? I'm sure most would agree the handling and other factors would be like night and day? What if you placed 14-inch tires on a Chevrolet Silverado and compared with same rig sitting on 17-inch all terrain Goodyear tires? Again, I think most would lean towards the 17-inch tires.

There are many factors which must be considered when assessing what tires to choose including:
1. Vehicle Weight (lighter cars, even with aggressive tires will be limited in terrain with snow accumulating)
2. Type of Terrain (easier going downhill than up)
3. Average speed expected to drive (they wear faster going 90 mph vs 10 mph!)
4. Vehicle Function (family, dump truck, police car)
5. Weather Conditions (Temp, etc)
6. Driver's habit (always speeding, swerving, spinning at take off, etc)

Believe it or not, the Eagle RS-A tires on the appropriate vehicle can be the perfect prescription for optimum performance and handling! I've worked with a variety of vehicles over the years, everything from antique to exotic to work truck, in a variety of on road and off road treks, and Eagle RS-A tires are what I just purchased days ago to replace the 4 Eagle RS-A that were originally with our car! Total life, more like when I chose to replace them since they passed inspection just 2 months back, was exceptional with 38,000 miles so far on them. I'm replacing them now so I have peace of mind. I would probably wait even longer if this was my primary vehicle but it isn't. I can tell you I am demanding on my equipment, although maintained as required, and the roads in this state have pot holes that the State has considered fixing by setting up some truss-style bridge system for drivers to cross over safely. ;-)

Our car, '09 Cadillac SRX with AWD, was purchased because my wife loves them and missed the first one we had in 2004. She reminded me about how I encouraged her to get rid of it for something a bit more "economical" on gas. I have to admit I missed the SRX as well...what a rush, to truly look forward when driving into town grocery shopping. We live in northern VT so tires are a significant factor as well. Groceries or Dr's appt can mean a 30 mile average round trip easily. "Low Miles" in VT is not the same as "Low Miles" in NYC! I can assure you that cars and their equipment (including the driver) are tested up here regardless of season. The '09 SRX was built and registered in July/August 2008 so we averaged around 20k miles per year. A bit more than our norm (12k-15k) but we just returned from a 2-week, 3500 mile drive in here. Yes, car and couple survived!

"Winter tires" are specifically designed for snow unlike all season tires. You may get by depending on the depth of snow you drive thru, hills/flat terrain, etc. I found with MANY tires, not just EAGLE, you are likely to get good traction at least the first full year (4 complete seasons) here in the north but never a guarantee. Heavy snowfalls would prevent much driving from anyone with all season tires on their car. Following the first 1-2 full years of use, you may find the all seasons are still good enough for three seasons with snow tires now a must for one season each year. This all depends, of course, on all those factors outlined above. For the person with constant shaking in their wheel, balancing them 3-4 times, may find it wasn't the tires afterall.

I had a neighbor, years back, with a rare Delorean. Remember the car and the man? Anyone ever laid eyes on one realizes these are unique. The owner wanted to sell it for $10k because he could not keep tires on the car for long. As much as they tried, the alignment and change of tire brands did nothing to stop the odd wearing. Anyone in the small town knew of the issue and avoided it since most thought it wasn't worth much. The problem with this Delorean more than likely lay in the structural integrity of the car. There are specs with little room for deviation. Vehicles must have certain specs at the factory regardless if a car has a complete, partial, or no frame. Any variation results in an impact but how much will depend on degree of deviation, road conditions, speed, and miles driven to name a few. Of course, the Delorean's "For Sale" sign was removed real fast following Delorean's arrest and the end of this unique car. Those that can recall the Pontiac Fiero, early 80's, had a small problem and it wasn't tires. Front end was too light! Rear-mounted motor, plenty of "go", could create over abundance of air stream under the car instead of over. I'm sure the front tires would take a bit more impact and wear when "landing" but (again) the issue here was not bad tires?

The SRX is a sporty, cross over with all-wheel drive which handles extremely well both in long distance and short trips. In fact, we had an '04" offered to us at a really huge discount. I was one of those that believed folks should get their head check before spending so much on a higher end vehicle but was I wrong. The car was luxury, endless power (had V-8 package on the first one!), and handling like a grand prix car. Less maintenance necessary as well. I was in love with this technological, work of art (that was on steroids).

Please, consider possible factors which may be involved and effecting (possibly preventing) full 100% output before passing judgement!? Since we drive a Cadillac SRX, would this mean we're wealthy? Far from it. Both SRX opportunities came with huge discounts and, using a trade in, also brought these cars total purchase price to a "normal range" ($20k 'ish). Yet, we see some react as if we should be ashamed driving a car like this while children are starving. One, a neighbor, as they drove by in a new, fully loaded, Toyota Sienna mini-van with a price tag $35k-$40k....a minivan! Shame on us? Nothing is what it seems but these high-performance tires, when used on the right vehicle, are just what the Doctor ordered. Have a great day.

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