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Cheap-tire addiction might kill you, even if your car rides on the best that money can buy

“I just want you to know… that I’m going to go to your funeral and make a horse-laughing noise all the way through the service. You are too stupid to hold this job.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/12/18/cheap-tire-addiction-might-kill-you
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Safety is an excellent reason to buy tires from an established manufacturer, but it is also worth remembering that tires are the single biggest determinant of your car’s ride and handling. A new Porsche Cayman GT4 riding on ChiCom garbage tires is…ChiCom garbage.

I have to agree with you, Mr. Baruth. I live in “High-end SUV City” and I am amazed at all the people who put substandard tires on their cars, then escort the wife and kids aboard.

One thing I remember about my youth is tire advertisements stressing tire life, freedom from puncture, etc. Now one major manufacturer brags that their tires are round. Another talks about the style you want for your ride. Very little mention, even if not true, about quality.

Then there’s the guy who read that most accidents occur within five miles of home, so he moved. :rofl:

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Look beyond dead-end jobs with people who should be on medication, wear your seatbelt…and don’t buy cheap tires. Got it. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Sounds like the author is trying to preach to the rest of us about safety while coming up with some rationale for using his phone in his own car. While cheap tires should be a no-brainer and not allowed into the country, they don’t make you drive 50 miles like you are drunk having an animated conversation about nothing on a cell phone. It’s getting to the point where it might be a public service to simply equip all dump trucks with plows.

I guess most of my pier look at me as a weirdo because I have always preferred tires with traction over wear. Being a life long technician and petrol head has taught me how important tires are to the vehicle dynamics. Whenever a new set of tires go onto either my cars or truck I have to go find some twisties to recalibrate by brain to the new tires. I don’t feel at ease with the car until I have established the limits of adhesion.

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Back in the ‘70s, when I didn’t have a pot to pee in, I put $20 re-treads on my ‘68 Mercury because I couldn’t afford 40 bucks for new ones. Then again, having my girlfriend squeezed up against me on the bench seat was probably more distracting than any cell phone. Either way I somehow managed to survive. Probably because she lived more than 5 miles from home.

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I completely agree regarding the dangers of cheap or otherwise poor tires, and the tires on my cars reflect how important they are. However, the author is, in my opinion, grossly understating the very real dangers of distracted driving and, specifically, texting (in whatever form) while driving.

For three years, my commute was a 110 mile round-trip, mostly on major highways. Every single day, I saw between half a dozen and a dozen people texting while driving. These are the people I could actually see doing it, but there were many more every I was sure were equally guilty — based on their driving — but couldn’t actually verify it. Every week, there were between 5 and 10 crashes during that commute. Never fewer than 5, and sometimes more than 10. I also witnessed a startling number of extremely close calls by people who were texting, and in most cases within 30 seconds after the near disaster they were texting again.

Texting while driving is an absolutely enormous and lethal problem. Efforts to stop it have been shamefully ineffective so far. Police enforcement is almost nonexistent — traffic enforcement is almost exclusively focused on exceeding the speed limit — unless the speed is very high, texting is MUCH more dangerous. To be clear, no, I don’t want in-car nannies. Until texting while driving becomes socially unacceptable in the way that drunk driving has, it will kill thousands, not hundreds, of people. And yes, the one crash I was involved in during that commute was being rear-ended — by a driver who was texting.

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My story: purchased cheap Chinese tires for my car, bad decision based totally on the rationale, how bad can they be? Pretty damn bad. These tires were ok in dry conditions but Worst.Wet.Weather.Tires.Ever!! The tires were downright treacherous in rainy weather, especially on wet concrete. Never again.

While wrenching on high end euro cars decades ago a regular customer brought in his 535 IS BMW complaining it didn’t handle correct any more. We noted his new cheap tires installed elsewhere, he indicated he could not afford the tires we offered. My boss stated “if you want to drive an old junker that’s your choice, but turning a 535 IS into a junker is expensive transportation”.
Putting cheap parts on any car often deteriorates the performance.

For years I rode motorcycles almost exclusively so my attention to tires was intense. I can’t believe what some jokers ride on. They are hardly capable of being wheel protectors. I’ve seen grown men on motorcycles with the cord showing through in multiple areas. Stupid is not exclusive, it is rampant.

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I replace tires every 6-7 years now after a “high dollar” low mileage Michelin separated and put my Vintage Porsche into a tree (let alone the immense damage just from the tire shredding the rear quarter). I also had a high dollar low mileage Yokohama grow a bulge which I caught before the tire totally failed on my El Camino. I have also had cheaper tires on my GMC (which takes 8 tires) hauler fail with one failing while my wife & I ate dinner in the house. Caboom! Did you hear that? Yep inside tire on the duelly failed just being parked.

Now a story that is literally a week old. I just purchased Goodyear tires from Discount Tire. Com (I use their name because they deserve it). I am replacing the tires on the afore mentioned Porsche as they are timed out being dated coded 2012 and installed on 2013. What does Discount Tires send me? Four “Brand New” Goodyear tires with a date code of 2013. Tires that in weeks will be nearly 7 years old. It’s criminal!

My point is that buying brand name has nothing to do with where they are made. And by my experience is no guarantee that they are any good. (A Firestone I am considering is made in the U.S. in my size but Mexico in all other sizes.) And so what if you buy great tires but the dealer delivers tires that are already past their recommended age. How many people actually look at the codes (let alone understand them) before mounting and driving on them? Hell regulations don’t even require the code to be on both sides of the tire.

I respect the article, but think the author misses the larger picture. That picture is that in my experience the tire industry is not regulating itself. Nor do they care if a tire fails unless there is blood on the road (Michelin taught me that). Best thing you can do is keep pressures correct, look for bulges, vibrations, etc… and change every 6-7 years. regardless of brand!

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You can also be exposed to crap tires on a rental. A week ago, my wife was driving her pristine E39 BMW 530i on new Continental snows in the left lane of I-80 in Northwest Indiana when a front left blowout (worn Goodyear Assurance) on the Buick SUV to her right caused it to dive into her car and shove it into the concrete median barrier. Everyone is OK but the cars are a mess. Our insurance provided a rental Altima with 40K that came with almost-new “Primewell touring all-season” tires (made in China, distributed by Firestone). It snowed, and while at 65 years old I have driven on plenty of bad tires, including retreads, those are the worst I have ever driven in the snow. I use Michelins, Continentals and Goodyears on my cars, and while some are too old, in the past 20 years I have never had a tire problem. Three days into the rental, its right rear started leaking 2 psi per hour. Beware.

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The swipe at the police in the start of the article is uncalled for, and those are NOT ‘quick, off the cuff’ decisions’ by the officers. As they wade through the debris, blood, and gore from the injured and killed, it’s not that hard to see if the drivers’ cell phone is still on. It is also not very hard to see if the phone was in use at the time of the impact.
The point on cheap tires is a good one, but there is no need to diss the police, who are trying to find the root causes so we can reduce the road kill total every year…

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Just this past Sept. I was checking the tires on my Delorean and realized that they were 10 years old, they looked great and have a lot of tread because of limited use. Called my tire guy and he got me the appropriate tires for it, only problem is the spare size, difficult to get but that’s what roadside assistance is for. Out of site of of mind issue.

Going +3 wheel size and ending up with a cheap Chinese 30 series aspect ratio tire is double bonehead move.

My wife and I recently took a charter bus trip into New York City. While traveling east on Route 80 to 46 to Route 3, I looked down from my window seat at countless SUV drivers with their noses buried in their dumb phones. These people were traveling at 70 to 80 mph! It’s dangerous out there!

I also suffered a number of years ago, when a guy was too busy looking at his phone to realize that my pretty NB Miata had pulled off of the road. The guy followed me off of the road and wacked the back of my car at about 10 or 15 mph. Miatas are tough cars. I was amazed how little damage my beloved car suffered. But just the same, these cell phone addicts should be in rehab.

But I really want to rant about crappy tires. Two years ago, I was driving my freshly restored BMW 325IS down a country road. A tandem axle dump truck approached at high speed from the opposite direction when the front left tire blew. The explosion echoed across the valley. The driver lost control and came into my lane at high speed. I escaped injury by jumping into his lane, but my beautiful E30 was totaled.

The truck had recaps on the front, which I’m sure was a real money saver. But when the retread blew off, it caused $21K in damage on a car that was only worth $16K…and it almost got me killed.IMG_1449 IMG_1453

Agreed, and a lot of folks don’t realize how fast a day on a hot highway can take that last 10% of “safe tread” off a MC tire. Been riding about 50 years. Used to be my life, but thanks to cell phones, I’ve sold off all but 3 bikes, and hardly ride anymore. I figure I didn’t work 1~1½ jobs my whole life to retire at 62 just so someone driving like a drunk can chew me up and not even know it’s happening. I’m between Milwaukee & Chicago, and it’s that bad. Took all the fun out of being in the wind except a convertible :disappointed_relieved:

Cell phone use is no different than a engaging conversation with someone in the car or dealing with kids in the back seat. Any Government laws preventing cell phone use is ridiculous!

Now texting and driving? That IS an issue.

My off bran tires on my SUV perform well. they have a DOT stamp so Im good with that I bought specifically for wet roads and have no issue. The biggest issue I see is people run the tires down to nothing, no tread = big problems!

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