Observations on my tyres

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Observations on my tyres

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A nice day up here today, the sun has just come out after a morning of misty slightly damp Harr earlier on. I was up early and went a nice long walk (couple of hours). I like to stride out as much as I can when I'm on my own to get the blood really moving so when I returned I was myself slightly "damp" so decided to do my regular tyre check on the cars so I could cool off before going back in for a cup of tea.

Pressures all checked out and correct with no attention required. Condition check next and I'm quite disappointed to see the cracking on the Ibiza's Bridgestones is getting worse:

P1090762.JPG

P1090763.JPG

There's nothing dangerous about this relatively light cracking yet, it's just at the interface between tread stock and casing rubber - which are compounded differently so this is where cracks will often first appear - but it's disappointing to see on a "premium" tyre brand like this. The car was registered in 2016 and the tyres are date stamped 2015:

P1090768.JPG

By the way, from what I've gleaned an unused tyre can be legally sold as new up to 5 years from manufacture but, as the general advice (see black circles etc) is to change tyres when 7 to 10 years old, I like to see any tyre I'm buying not more than 18 months from manufacture and younger if possible. I always ask to see the actual tyre they are fitting before they mount it on my rim. For those who don't know, your tyres will have a molded in number like this on one of the sidewalls (may well be on the inside wall - 3 of the Ibiza's are - which makes it more difficult to see). The first two numbers are the week it was made and the last two are the year. So this one of mine was built in week 42 of 2015 - which sounds very plausible for a car first registered in 2016.

These Bridgestones on my car are supposed to be good for fuel consumption (they're called Ecopia or something similar) and the car certainly gets good figures - 60 mpg on long trips - but they have always felt "hard" and "rough riding" so I suspect a very "stiff" casing construction (which would be logical if you are trying to reduce rolling resistance?) Personally I also find their wet grip is quite poor with wheel spin very easily invoked and she tends to "wash out" the front end on roundabouts. Ok in the dry though. If you try the "thumb nail test" on the tread rubber it's like trying to push your nail into concrete - so the tread rubber must be a very hard compound - maybe again to reduce rolling resistance? This may explain why they are only roughly half worn (around 5mm tread left on all four) at 5+ years old and approaching 22,000 miles. I think I'll leave them on for the summer and buy a new set at the onset of winter. Normally I start to think of new tyres at around 2.5 mm tread depth but I don't think I can live through another winter on these. A strange thing is that all four tyres have worn to the same depth, which is something I've never seen on a front wheel drive vehicle before - where fronts commonly wear at roughly twice the rate of rears. Also "strange" is that the front tyres show slightly more wear on the inside shoulders with the rears very slightly more worn on the outside. This effect is not severe - most people wouldn't notice it but I'm particularly interested in my tyres after having worked for Firestone in an "earlier existence" I've thought a lot about this and close observation reveals that there is a considerable amount of Toe In on the rears. It's set up like this I think, which probably explains this slight effect. Wear on the inside shoulders of the fronts is something often seen on many different makes of vehicle. Often attributed to incorrect "tracking" (Toe In/Out) which it often is, but can frequently be due to compliance in old, worn, suspension bushings - especially lower arm - which allows the wheels to splay out slightly under braking. The heavier you brake to more the effect and the problem is you don't pick this up by simply sticking it on an aligning machine. I discovered this when trying to stop my boy's old Ford Escort MK5 from going through front tyres. He drove it like a hooligan and the front inside shoulders would be through to the canvas before the centre tread was even half worn. Fitting new front wishbones every year kind of cured it but I was glad when he sold it.

I had been settled on a set of Avons as replacements but I'm very impressed with the Falken I put on Becky the other day so I'm back to swithering again - as ever!

By the way, The Falkens are what are refered to as "Mid Range" and this is usually my target purchase point. I just find "premium" brands so expensive and, like my Bridgestones, not always actually superior to Mid Range offerings. Another Mid Range make I think very highly of are Barum. The Falken on Becky replaced an existing Barum which was badly worn on the inside shoulder when I bought her. I rebuilt the entire front suspension (feature on the forum somewhere) and moved this wheel to the rear until I could get it replaced (where it's now been for the last 4 years or so due to my lazyness!) Interestingly the Barum is also a 2015 manufacture date but just look at it:

P1090767.JPG

No sign of any cracks here is there!

Talking about "cheapies" Becky also has a real cheapie on her other rear wheel. It's one of these far eastern produced ones with a really "silly" name you might more associate with some aquatic leisure activity. Although almost unworn (6mm tread depth) due to Becky's very low annual mileage, It's got a 2016 date number and some slightly worrying, considering it's generally good overall condition and lack of use, cracking at the bottom of the tread grooves.

P1090766.JPG

I'll probably sling it and put another Falken on later in the year. I don't know how you are supposed to differentiate between the far eastern "quality" products and the less good quality ones though?
 

StevenRB45

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I always thought "Event" was a strange one.

The last thing you want a tyre to be is an event...that usually means it's gone horribly wrong.

Triangle always makes me laugh as well...as in the same meeting they probably turned down the far more logical "circle".

I'd get rid of them on the basis it sounds like they've started hard..and got harder so grip levels won't be great, they'll be pumping your rolling noise levels up and not helping primary ride.

I had a set of Toyos a few years a go I got rid of at 3.5mm. They'd stopped wearing because they'd turned to granite, but in the wet the car just wanted to go straight on and in the dry they gave torque steer.
 
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RalphM

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I have seen a few Bridgestone's with cracks on bikes so I stay clear of them,
Fitted 2 Toyo NANOENERGY 3 on the back mostly due to not having a lot
of chose at the time, they replaced two original 16 year old Continentals that
were starting to crack, not had the Toyo's on long enough to tell much about them
but they are a lot quieter than the Conti's, about £42 each from Asda.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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I'd get rid of them on the basis it sounds like they've started hard..and got harder so grip levels won't be great, they'll be pumping your rolling noise levels up and not helping primary ride.

Absolutely Steven. Rough road surfaces create high noise levels - although I've read that the newer Ibiza's are rather prone to transmitting road noise?

I'm looking forward to finding out if a "softer" tyre gives me a quieter ride. The Falkens are said to be quite a soft tyre and especially good at gripping in the wet. I suspect the trade off will be that they'll wear more quickly but that's fine with my low annual mileage now I'm retired. Ride over small "sharp" road irregularities, where sidewall deflection does most of the "absorbing" as suspension can't react quickly enough, is abysmal at present. The Panda rides these sort of bumps much more satisfactorily with it's 80% aspect ratio tyres but I would still have expected the Ibiza, with it's 50% aspect ratio jobbies to be quite compliant?
 

StevenRB45

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Absolutely Steven. Rough road surfaces create high noise levels - although I've read that the newer Ibiza's are rather prone to transmitting road noise?

I'm looking forward to finding out if a "softer" tyre gives me a quieter ride. The Falkens are said to be quite a soft tyre and especially good at gripping in the wet. I suspect the trade off will be that they'll wear more quickly but that's fine with my low annual mileage now I'm retired. Ride over small "sharp" road irregularities, where sidewall deflection does most of the "absorbing" as suspension can't react quickly enough, is abysmal at present. The Panda rides these sort of bumps much more satisfactorily with it's 80% aspect ratio tyres but I would still have expected the Ibiza, with it's 50% aspect ratio jobbies to be quite compliant?

Although your car may not be known for refinement one the Mazda is not either, my observation would be poor sound proofing means you can hear tyres more clearly. So while it may not be suddenly a Rolls Royce phantom there's a good chance the difference will be audible.

On the second point one of the things you will read in reviews of the C3 is that it is not good at dealing with sharp bumps which then takes the shine off the soft ride in general. Ours suffered slightly (not as bad the 17s equipped test cars) from this until I got rid of the factory Michelins. Once I stuck the squishy all seasons on it dealt with expansion gaps and sharp imperfections much better obviously there would be other trade offs if it was a performance vehicle but for something to bowl around in at normal speeds it is fine.

Wear wise I don't think that's a concern when you're throwing tyres away due to age. Clearly you don't go far enough to wear them out before the harden up instead.
 
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From my time in the trade, (72-87) close to tyres, Barum were a cheaper offering, before we got far eastern stuff tyres, and always seemed acceptable. They are now part of Continental, so I'd still be happy to use them. Many of the cheaper Eurpoean brands are owned by the big names, so you're probably getting previous generation technology, which is still good.

Falken are part of the same group who make Dunlop and Goodyear.
I've got a couple of Tigar on the Fabia, part of the Michelin group. Happier with them than the big brand ones on the front. (Can't remember the name right now, and not popping out to look.)
 

2668GRIFFIN

''LUIGI''
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Hi
Budget tyres or branded tyres there all made of rubber and are fitted to your wheels, i will never pay more than £50 for tyres, i bought four budget tyres 2 years ago hardly any wear no cracking in the treads hold the road in wet or dry.
It's all hype and crap with the major brands
All tyres sold through tyre fitting garages are tested and approved to a very high standard and thats all i need to know
Luigi
 
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Hi
Budget tyres or branded tyres there all made of rubber and are fitted to your wheels, i will never pay more than £50 for tyres, i bought four budget tyres 2 years ago hardly any wear no cracking in the treads hold the road in wet or dry.
It's all hype and crap with the major brands
All tyres sold through tyre fitting garages are tested and approved to a very high standard and thats all i need to know
Luigi

If they read this, there will be tyre engineers all over the world either spitting blood, or breaking down in tears. There is so much technology in tyres. Whilst the basic construction may appear to be the same, the materials used in the reinforcing plies, steel, rayon, polyester, etc., can all be adjusted for strength, flexibility (in different directions), and numbers. Then the rubber itself is a dark art, (not just because they're black), with chemicals added to change the properties of grip, flexibility, wear rates, etc.

For most people, normal driving will work with almost all brands, it is only when adding a little enthusiasm that differences may show up. But even in normal driving, different brands may show differing levels of grip in differing conditions, or different wear rates, sometimes how the car feels may be significant.

Many of the lesser brands are owned by the major brands, so will likely be made using 'last generation' technology, so for most of us, will be fine.

When I first started with BSM, of course replacement tyres were frequent, as learners have a tendency to bounce off kerbs, or in my case, just turn a little tight and pinch them against a kerb. (One student, twice, a week apart, oops!) So cheap tyres were used. My first experience of this was on the Corsa C. Already one in the boot, so when one replaced, fitted the pair on the front. Oh dear. Car felt soft with squidgy steering. Checked the pressures three times on the way home. At home, moved them to the rear, still felt strange, but unnoticeable by the learners, and just odd, not dangerous. They were a good incentive to keep learners away from kerbs.
Same brand used on Corsa D, different size of course, felt fine.
 

Troubles with 500c

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Hi
Budget tyres or branded tyres there all made of rubber and are fitted to your wheels, i will never pay more than £50 for tyres, i bought four budget tyres 2 years ago hardly any wear no cracking in the treads hold the road in wet or dry.
It's all hype and crap with the major brands
All tyres sold through tyre fitting garages are tested and approved to a very high standard and thats all i need to know
Luigi

I’m afraid I have to disagree. The differences between tyres can be quite significant.

In normal dry driving conditions you will see only slight differences in braking distance, tracking and noise.

It’s when conditions worsen that you really notice the differences. Braking distances and grip on some of the budget tyres is way down on the premium tyres. Those extra couple of car lengths to stop in the wet could be important.

My wife's 500 is her main car, so I always fit premium tyres. Currently she has Pirelli all season tyres because normally I fit winter tyres, but the last few winters haven’t really been that bad and several people I know in snowier places have confirmed they work almost as well as winter tyres. These tyres seem to be firmer and noisier than the summer Michelin’s they replaced.

However, if I was going to fit budget tyres I would only choose those with an A rating for wet weather.
 
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Hi
Budget tyres or branded tyres there all made of rubber and are fitted to your wheels, i will never pay more than £50 for tyres, i bought four budget tyres 2 years ago hardly any wear no cracking in the treads hold the road in wet or dry.
It's all hype and crap with the major brands
All tyres sold through tyre fitting garages are tested and approved to a very high standard and thats all i need to know
Luigi
Quote

I’m afraid I have to disagree. The differences between tyres can be quite
However, if I was going to fit budget tyres I would only choose those with an A rating for wet weather.

Apparently there is no Standard
A tyre manufacturer applies the A toE rating as they see fit

Just like the EuroNCap crash testing.. they are always shifting

My 2012 punto ..with its lawnmower engine does @45k to a pair of front tyres

Over the years I have replaced all 4 and the 'old' style Eco3 tyre is graded worse and worse at each purchase..
presumably to encourage me to pay 20% more on an ECO 5..OR 6
to cover last years R+D Expenditure ;)
 

StevenRB45

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I have some sympathy with the argument of cheap as possible and black and round will do. If you don't drive hard and have little mechanical feel/interest then the chances of noticing the difference between tyre A and Tyre B are remote. There is an argument that do you not see the return on your "investment".

But even taking that on board if it's raining and someone steps into the road it's literally a case if you've got good tyres on you may stop before you hit them, bad ones you may still be travelling at 15-20mph at the point the other ones would have stopped.

Then again the tyres that currently on the Mazda are 120 quid a shot and have poor stopping distance in the dry compared to the best so clearly I'm talking out my bottom.

except for one thing..


They work year round..they've been on 2 years fronts are down to 6mm so will swap them front to rear at the next service likely get six years service out of them. The budget option would be 65 quid for some terrible summers and 83 quid for some half arsed winters and a spare set of wheels lying around year round for both cars.

Obviously you buy what suits your needs but I'd never say money on tyres is wasted. They are literally the most important part of the car when it comes to determining the handling.

Edit: I see Troubles with 500c has sneaked in and made pretty much the same post :ROFLMAO:
 
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The ONLY TIME I've ever taken tyres off a car was some Chinesethings.. they WERE Black and Round

Put on my sons 1st car..a £106 punto 176

Bought privately for @£10 each they were ok in the dry and bloo6y lethal in the wet

Those 55 Italian horses were pretty uncontrollable :eek:

No doubt the seller had found the same

I took them to the dump 1/3 worn
 

RalphM

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With my last car a Clio I found Michelins were probably the best value I had a few
sets of tyres over the 107,000 ish miles I had it, Avon's did just over 20,000
so did Barum,s Michelins did 40,000 plus and as they did not cost twice as
much, could not get them in Panda size but would have fitted them if I could.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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As some on here may know, I worked for Firestone's Racing Division back in the very late '60's and early 70's. I had nothing to do with the manufacturing side, being a trackside engineer, but I often had reason to wander through the main factory at Brentford and it was a fascinating dirty and dangerous place to work. The receiving department for the raw rubber bales was an "exciting" place to be. The rubber was in BIG sheets all bundled up with metal bands holding it for transport - several sheets per bundle, these were big bundles - When the bands were cut the bales would energetically fly apart with poisonous spiders and the occasional angry snake being released! Gigantic rolling mills mixing up the rubber compounds and men with big knives cutting the rubber and refolding it again through the rollers so it all got mixed properly. Time was an important factor and if it was rolled for too long or the test sample for that batch didn't quite meet specs it would be diverted to the budget or remould builds - anything significantly out of spec was rejected but I don't know what happened to it (significant quantities in each batch of course). There were stories always going round of the guy who got his arm trapped in the rollers last week! The fellows who worked in this very physical part of the factory were invariably big, rough, tough and strong muscly chaps who you definitely didn't "mess" with.

The building lines at that time were all manually operated (The Welsh plant, which was automated, opened towards the end of my time there) and I found it fascinating to watch the skilled chaps building the tyres up on the collapsible drums before they were sent off to the curing pots.

All our racing tyres at that time were cross plies, Michelin were experimenting with radials for racing but they had very unpleasant breakaway characteristics (ie. As you pushed the car faster and faster through a bend they would hang on and hang on and hang on until they suddenly, and with very little warning, totally let go! Not a desirable characteristic at around 200mph half way round a bend in a Can Am! Looks like they got that one sorted though? Consequently my in depth technical knowledge is somewhat out of date these days which, as you might have gathered from my original post, I find very frustrating!

So, as has been said by many above, tyres are not just "round black rubber things" and their end performance varies greatly depending on build parameters. Many, perhaps most, people will never notice the difference or experience the advantages in performance of a high spec tyre. But a very few of us will be thanking the fact we bought a well made tyre when, perhaps, you come upon that stationary car in your lane on the motorway, or - as once happened to me - that child jumps out right in front of your car. I was on Michelins (I was in the town and traveling slowly, maybe 15mph, when she appeared, running, from between parked cars right in front of me. I think I'd actually stopped but she ran into the front of the car and sat down in the road grazing her leg. Incredibly, apart from the wee graze, the child was almost completely uninjured and there were people who came forward to the police to testify I couldn't have done any more than I did. This incident absolutely shattered me and it was a few days before I could get back behind the wheel. It took me the best part of a couple of years to regain my confidence and cured me forever from anything approaching reckless driving.)

So folks, read the reviews and ask knowledgeable people before buying your tyres. Look in particular for a good wet weather performance because, for most of us, that's where the greatest advantages are to be had and needed.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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With my last car a Clio I found Michelins were probably the best value I had a few
sets of tyres over the 107,000 ish miles I had it, Avon's did just over 20,000
so did Barum,s Michelins did 40,000 plus and as they did not cost twice as
much, could not get them in Panda size but would have fitted them if I could.

An excellent point Ralph. If you are doing higher annual mileages, a more expensive tyre might, in the long run, actually turn out to be cheaper! Back in my "hay day" remoulds were often a poor choice because of their tendency to wear out rather quickly. No doubt because they would have been made with one of those "slightly out of spec" tread stock batches?
 
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1997, my boss was running an Uno 1.1 (pre-FIRE engine), using the same size tyres as my classic Panda. I remember him being chuffed with himself, having fitted four remoulds, for significantly less than I'd just paid for two good branded tyres.

I pointed out that he was commuting, about 5 miles, with a max speed of about 40mph, whilst I was commuting 22 miles, at up to 70mph, and regularly sitting on motorways at 70 for an hour or more. Remoulds, not for me, thank you.

Having serviced the current Panda yesterday, I got around to putting the summer tyres on. They've been off since start of winter 2019, having left the winters on all last year to try to get some more wear out of them before they just get too old. The summers were a bit rough and noisy for the first 20 miles, but are quietening down nicely. They're Firestone (owned by Bridgestone I think) on the front, and Semperit (Continental) on the rear.
 
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