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Time for new tires


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On may 6, 2014 Costco will offer $70 off the purchase of 4 Michelin tires. My tires are worn, but worse they are 12 years old. The car has been local trips only for the last few years. After the tires, and my firestone lifetime alignment check, i will be set for a while. I plan on using the car a little more, and the previous set of Michelins was just fine. Word has it that the Symmetry is being discontinued real soon. Only thing I don't like is Costco uses the lead weights on the outside lip on the chrome wheels. But one cannot have everything.

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Most tires start to get hard after about four years. The sidewalls show surface cracking and they don't hold as well on dry asphalt or concrete. Eventually the sidewall cracks will manifest themselves as slow leaks. Michelin somehow breaks this common wisdom, some tire models more or less than others and has since at least 1948, but 12 years is a long time for tires.

On my 1997 ETC, I found that conventional wheel weights, which should have gone the way of the dinosaur since most modern car use alloy wheels, are still a staple of most tire shops.

This last time around, with the CTS-V and its polished alloy wheels, not the hard chrome plated wheels of the 1997 ETC, I check approved installers of The Tire Rack and called ahead and specifically asked about balancing weights. I had no trouble finding a tire shop that used adhesive inside-the-rim weights with a balancer that was based on using these weights. Although I haven't had the car to the Arizona desert or North Dakota since then, it is jet smooth at the aggressive speeds seen in traffic on some of the local toll roads.

Using the tire selection guide, with 1-2-3 ratings of wear first and handling second, the first three ties that come up are General AltiMAX RT43 (T-Speed Rated) (UTQG 700!!) at $80 per tire, Firestone Precision Touring (UTQG 560) at $90 per tire, and Michelin Defender (UTQG 820!!!) at $125 per tire.

The General and Michelen are T speed rated (118 mph) and the Firestone is H speed rated (130 mph).

If you drive a lot of miles per year, the Generals will get you the lowest cost per mile, but if you put something like 40,000 miles on them in four years when they start to get hard and you have to change them anyway, then you might be better off with the Michelins, which will have some likelihood of not getting hard, or as hard, and you can keep driving them as you have your last set. If the MIchelins go six and a half years, you get your money back for the extra cost over the Generals if you have to change the Generals at four years.

If you run the tire selector you may put in different preferences and get different tires. And, you can restrict the tire makes in your list to whatever you like. I tried restricting it to Michelin and Goodyear and turned up a tire very similar to the Michelin Symmetry, the Michelin Primacy MXV4, H speed rated, UTQG 620, at $134 per tire. And, this Michelin has an A rating for traction, whereas the three on the first list have a B rating for traction, meaning that you will get the hard braking and cornering performance that you have now, or did when your tires were new if they have gotten hard.

You can click on "Installation" at the end of the list of tires and get a list of installers in your area. I called ahead and picked out those that used adhesive weights and selected one. You can buy the tires online and have them shipped to the installer. You make a separate deal with the installer for valve stems, balancing, mounting, and disposal of old tires. Road hazard is $10 to $15 per tire and that is directly with The Tire Rack as part of purchase options.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have to buy tires, having gotten 30K from some Yokohamas, and, to my surprise, Michelin Primacy MXV4's come up first, and Continental Pure Contacts come up next on Consumer Reports ratings. They didn't rate the Generals at all, and the Firestones got a rating of 54 whereas the Michelin got 70.

With Costco's 70-buck discount on a set of Michelins, I don't think I can go wrong. Thanks Winterset for putting that up - I wouldn't normally have thought to go to Costco for tires. I just spoke with Costco, and they do adhesive weights here at the one in Los Angeles.

Edited by coolnesss
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  • 3 weeks later...

just a word of wisdom.

If it is going to bother you going down the road it would be a good idea to replace the cable. Peace of mind is a wonderful thing.

Had my 4 symmetry tires installed today. And..... That front end thumping noise went away. The front end is like new again. It went. From the Flintstone car to a Cadillac again. Not only did the thumping noise go away, but the rise is so smooth again. I guess after 12 years or so, the rubber tires just get hard. There were zero cracks in the old tires, and they still looked like new - including the perfect whitewalls. I had no curb rash. I was not expecting the front end problem to clear up with new tires. Total with installation, tax, disposal etc. was $602.00. this week i plan to go to firestone to use my lifetime alignment last used in 2002.

Edited by winterset
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If you had a thumping from old steel-belted radials, you probably had some separation at the belts and some shallow air bubbles in the tires, or some strain where the belts attach to the cables inside the rims. You can see that by jacking up the car and turning the tire and watch for out-of-round bulges that vary with tire pressure. Watch both the diameter and the sidewalls - on both inside and outside - for being a little out-of-round. It's a lot more common that most people realize.

CTS-V_LateralGs_6-2018_tiny.jpg
-- Click Here for CaddyInfo page on "How To" Read Your OBD Codes
-- Click Here for my personal page to download my OBD code list as an Excel file, plus other Cadillac data
-- See my CaddyInfo car blogs: 2011 CTS-V, 1997 ETC
Yes, I was Jims_97_ETC before I changed cars.

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Firestone cannot give me an alignment. The laser system that they use now needs full access to the wheel as it spins. Because the 94-96 deville have the rear fender that covers 1/2 of the wheel, it cannot be used. The guy said its been a while since he has seen one of my vintage cars come in for an alignment. I guess 18 year old cars have more serious issues than alignments. - like what scrapyard to be hauled to. He said to call him next week, and he will try to figure something out.

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Firestone cannot give me an alignment. The laser system that they use now needs full access to the wheel as it spins. Because the 94-96 deville have the rear fender that covers 1/2 of the wheel, it cannot be used. The guy said its been a while since he has seen one of my vintage cars come in for an alignment. I guess 18 year old cars have more serious issues than alignments. - like what scrapyard to be hauled to. He said to call him next week, and he will try to figure something out.

My take on that is this: You were sold a lifetime alignment for $xxx. If Firestone cannot fulfill the contract, they need to refund the price of the lifetime alignment.

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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