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Tire woes

  #1  
Old 08-15-2006, 06:34 AM
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Location: Newport, Virginia
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Default Tire woes

Hi all,

New to the forum, and am really distressed about tires. I bought a used (50k) '03 Civic 5 speed Hybrid in Jan '06. Love the car. It still had the factory Bridgestones on it, which I replaced in early May with a set of Goodyear Assurance Triple Treds. I bought them at Sears, and when installed, Sears put (roughy - each tire was different) 28-30 psi in them. Driving home, it actually felt "sticky" (for lack of a better description). After a couple of days, I took the advice I'd read online regarding hybrids and put 42 psi in them. My mileage has been great, ride is good, noise is good, etc. In short, I've been very happy with my tires.

Took it to Sears a couple of weeks ago for a rotation. The guy looked at me like I was from Pluto when I said I wanted 42 psi in them. He said they were wearing more on the middle of the tread. I'm not sure he'd have seen that had I not mentioned about the pressure. Frankly, I can't see any excessive wear, but then I'm not a tire expert (and neither, I suspect, was he).

So I called Goodyear this morning. I explained the situation, and how if I run the tires at 35 psi, my mileage goes down to or below what I got on my 1994 Civic, defeating the entire point of buying a hybrid. Her response was "sorry, your car should have 30 (!!) psi in the tires" and "sorry, but you've already established an abnormal wear pattern that will not correct itself, and we won't honor your tire warranty."

Excuse me? You haven't laid eyes on my tires, and you're telling me my warranty is invalid? And it says "MAX INFLATION PRESSURE 44 PSI" right on the side of the tires?

So... has anyone else had a similar experience? I'm stumped. If I run the 30 (!!) psi she says my car should have, the **** tires are so squishy that my mileage will be in the dumper. If I run them higher, I'm screwed because Goodyear won't honor their warranty.

Thanks!

Butch
 
  #2  
Old 08-15-2006, 07:59 AM
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Default Re: Tire woes

From peronsonal experience I have learned not to trust a Sears Auto Center employee to wipe his own nose without screwing something up. Last time (and I mean THE last time) the guy decided that it would be a good idea to start threading the lug bolts by sticking them in the impact wrench and blasting them on. At least they paid the repair bill from Volvo (girlfriend's car). So not to turn this into an anti-Sears rant, but you would have better luck finding life on Mars than finding someone in that place who is actually qualified to make that kind of judgement.

With respect to the warrantee, I'd say read it and see what it says about operating pressure. Technically speaking, operating under max sidewall is within the limits of the tire and should not be a problem at all. Voiding a warrantee on that premise is nonsense unless they state specifically that the manufacturer recommended pressure must be used.

I've been at 44psi for the better part of 10,000 miles on a slightly heavier vehicle without even a hint of a problem. I, too, find that lower pressure just feels wrong. The ride gets mushy, as does handling and wet braking. In other words, I'm comfortable with operating at high (within the rating) pressures.

At the end of the day it's your call as to whether the "risk" (if there is any) is worth it. But I would be inclined to trust experience and my own eyes over a Sears guy and a GoodYear customer service rep. You should keep an eye out for uneven wear regardless, but you shouldn't see increased wear like that with a steel belted radial.
 
  #3  
Old 08-15-2006, 08:17 AM
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Location: Boston (north suburbs)
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Default Re: Tire woes

I'm with brick on this one - you shouldn't be seeing any abnormal wear pattern on those tires with the pressure you are running. Back in the old days, overinflated tires would wear out in the middle due to the contact patch being in the center of the tire. With your tires inflated to 42, take a look at how they sit on the ground - the contact patch is smaller but the full width of the tread will still be on the ground.

The tire pressure that the tag in the car shows is based more on ride comfort than anything else IMO. There may be some slightly reduced handling with the higher tire pressure but I've never noticed any and I run my Escapes at around 40.

If you end up having any warranty related problems with the tires, just remember to reduce the pressure to what the door tag says before you bring them in. You should also buy a tire depth gauge and measure them to prove to them that you aren't wearing them unevenly.

And stay the heck away from Sears Automotive. They aren't what they used to be. Their tire "expert" probably just got promoted from the paint department. I get all my tires from the wholesale club - one price includes mounting, balancing, road hazard, stems, 5k mile rotation. And they beat the tire places by 20% or more.
 
  #4  
Old 08-15-2006, 09:04 AM
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Default Thanks y'all

You've pretty much validated what I was thinking all along. The reason I use Sears is that a) they're the only place close by (I live waaaaay out in the boonies), and b) there's a Sears just about anyplace I might drive, should I need tire repair. Not so with the discount clubs, the closest of which is 45 minutes away (on a good day).

I'm leaving the tires just like they are...

Tks!

Butch
 
  #5  
Old 08-15-2006, 10:06 AM
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Location: Boston (north suburbs)
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Default Re: Tire woes


The reason I use Sears is that a) they're the only place close by (I live waaaaay out in the boonies), and b) there's a Sears just about anyplace I might drive, should I need tire repair. Not so with the discount clubs, the closest of which is 45 minutes away (on a good day).

I can understand that - not everyone has the "convenience" of having every imaginable store within 5 miles of the house. Coincidentally, that is also about 45 minutes away on a good day.
 
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