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Old 08-25-2011, 11:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Tires: Do you trust CR and TireRack?

When buying tires, how much consideration do you give to Consumer Reports and Tire Rack reviews? I know that the 'surveys' section of TR is actually just customer feedback - not specific testing results. (Although some tires are tested and graded by TR for certain criteria).

Right now I am reading reviews with caution, because consumers have varying expectations for tires and different conditions of use.

Some reviewers have made FE claims - good and bad - that were simply too great to have been attributed to rolling resistance alone.

Anyway, I'm curious what resources you use when researching tires.

Thanks for reading.

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Old 08-26-2011, 12:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Kodak,
A couple of places I use when I am chasing tyres.
One is a local consumer magazine (Compare products and find independent product reviews with Choice.com.au - CHOICE) which has tyre tests but has some odd priorities when deciding which is the "best buy" in any category.

Another is online forums both for general performance and vehicle specific topics. There is usually someone willing to post an opinion about their favourite brand.

Finally any other person owning the same car as I do.
Supermarket car park meetings or friends and relatives all provide objective feedback most of the time.

Peter.
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i PURCHASED Kuhmos ecsta 4 yrs ago for my 02 Infiniti Q45 based on researching Tireracks data. I had never heard of Kuhmo and took a great deal of grief from the 'experts' at the infiniti forum.
I am on my 4 th set!!!! I get about 35,000 a set and I spend 1/2 of what the factory Michelin tire would cost.
I have been completely satisfied with the information, and the pricing.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think user reviews are helpful, but I always take them with a grain... well more than a grain of salt. If there is any technical info I do not assume they know what they're talking about and generally just use them to get the general vibe that most reviews give off.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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IMO, user anecdotes are useless, and CR tests are nearly so.
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Old 08-26-2011, 11:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I use TR this way:

User must have above 20k on tires.

Tire itself must have 10m reported miles.

Tire must rate highly/highest in sub-category (with exceptions that one may find on vehicle-specific enthusiast boards).

I also compare tires based on tire temp ratings, etc.

LRR is nice, but longest life is nicest (70k plus).

Once I make my choice I get DISCOUNT TIRE to come within 10-12% or so when complete TR prices (warranty, shipping, balancing, mounting included) are compared.

I go out of my way to find the best DT shop around. There are always differences between stores as to managerial quality.

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Old 08-29-2011, 12:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tips everyone. I'm probably going to wait until Consumer Reports reviews new All Seasons (I heard they may post an update in September). They've never reviewed the BFG Long trail T/A Tour (read: not the radial) and that's up there is my options list with the Continental CrossContact LX (LRR).

I'll read reviews with some skepticism.

Slowmover, good call on the tread life. I had a somewhat obvious light bulb moment the other day. It occurred to me that tread life not only means how long one will keep a set of tires, but also how long a tire will retain its best qualities. So a tire with excellent wet traction, but poor tread life will deteriorate (and be less grippy) more quickly and be bald sooner.

I'm imagining a graph in my mind where two lines intersect:



As an aside, I'm starting to think that UTQG ratings are not terribly useful when comparing from brand to brand (only within a given brand).
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The UTQG treadwear rating test has a lot of built in variability, so using small incremental differences is probably futile. However, if you see a 100 difference, it's significant.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:14 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So a tire with excellent wet traction, but poor tread life will deteriorate (and be less grippy) more quickly and be bald sooner.

I wouldn't always bet on it, but it's why I like the TR reviews to verify. There are vehicles where the best wet traction may be the best choice, and a sub-50k life worth the trade-off.

The tires on my truck rate poorly in terms of dynamic performance on the TR survey results. But I don't expect tires to make up for sloppy driving habits (not slowing in rain), having grown up on 10-12k mile average bias-ply tires. I just slow down for bad surfaces with these tires. The factory set was replaced at 120k with 4/32's remaining. The first replacement set might -- meaning but two sets of tires -- take the truck to 250k miles. This is not an uncommon experience with this tire line and this particular truck (and spec). One has to dig through an enthusiast site to find the good/bad.

I take it for granted that all tires hydroplane at 55-mph in the rain, but that some recover almost immediately compared to others. Not "scientific" by any means, but meant to be respectful of road, load, conditions, weather, etc.

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