Date: 13 Oct 2003 16:32:48 GMT
From: Gary Fritz <fritzxxxnopsamrii.com>
Subject: All-seasons on 9-5 Aero; tire "cupping" in rear?


The Michelin Pilots on my '02 9-5 Aero are fine on dry roads, but they are absolute horrors on any amount of snow. We don't usually get much snow here in the plains of Colorado, and I skated through last winter with the Michelins, but I really need some decent winter tires this year. The Michelins have 25k miles on them so they're approaching replacement in another 5-15k miles anyway. The standard solution is to get 16" snow tires. This requires the purchase of a separate set of 16" alloy rims, since the regular tires are 17" and you can't use steel rims on the snows for some reason. So you're looking at upward of $2000 for tires that I actually need maybe 3-4 days out of the entire winter. Yeesh. Maybe this makes sense in major snow country, where you really WANT a pair of sticky 16" Gislaveds, but not here. A car-fanatic friend of mine has put some all-season Dunlop mud+snow tires on his Mustang GT. He says their performance is great, and he's the type that pushes them hard. That would be a GREAT solution, since it would mean I wouldn't have to buy (and store) a separate set of alloy rims & tires. I don't see his Dunlops at Tirerack.com, but there are plenty of highly rated "Ultra High Performance All-Season" tires listed at http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/uhpas.jsp. The Continental Extreme Contact looks very good and it's only about $108; the Pirelli PZero Nero is even better at $125. Or I could stick with Michelin Pilots if I didn't mind spending quite a bit more, since their Pilot Sport A/S is well- ranked but almost $200 per tire. The Bridgestone Turanza tires also did very well at http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/gtas.jsp, and the "Grand Touring" style tire might be a better match for my needs, according to the description at http://www.tirerack.com/tires/types/grandtour_as.htm. The Z-rated Turanza LS-Z is a bit pricey at $193 but it's about the highest-rated all-season tire listed. So: * Is there any reason not to use 17" all-season tires like this on my Aero? I understand it might not give the optimum winter performance, but as I said, we seldom get much snow here so I really don't care. I'm more interested in decent dry-road performance (year-round) and saving > $1500. * Assuming that's OK, any comments on the Conti Extreme Contacts, the Pirelli PZero Neros, or the Bridgestone Turanza LS-Zs? Or any other favorites for a reasonable price? Related topic: Saab didn't recommend tire rotation until 20k miles (!!) on my Aero, so I followed the factory recommendation. That was apparently a mistake. After 20k miles the front tires were getting a little low on tread. The rear tires still had plenty of tread, but they exhibited what the dealer called "cupping." Each tread block wore unevenly, higher at the front of the block than at the rear, creating kind of a sawtooth-shaped profile. This wasn't noticeable when the tires were on the rear, but when we rotated them to the front they caused a HUGE howl. It sounded like bad noisy snow tires. My car-nut friend was puzzled how this could happen. He said that kind of wear is common on the *drive* wheels when you've been driving really aggressively, but usually in the opposite direction -- more wear on the front of the tread blocks. But this happened on the REAR wheels with NO drive. Any guesses why this might have happened? In any event I'll be rotating my new tires a lot more often!! Gary

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