Tire Suggestions?

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My daily driver is a somewhat old BMW 535i with a few hundred thousand miles on it, and for the last ten years or so I have been using the Goodyear Aquatreads. They handle decently well, they do a very good job
in the rain. They are noisy as hell and can't handle grooved pavement worth a damn, but they aren't all that expensive and I have been happy with them.
Goodyear has now discontinued the things and replaced them with the newer Assurance tires. The 80,000 "expected lifetime" on these is a little alarming and makes me worry about how hard they are.
Does anyone have a suggestion for a tire similar to the old Aquatreads, with decent highway handling, good performance at high speeds, the ability to handle rain well, and reasonable life? I'm not willing to spend a couple hundred bucks each on serious performance tires for the thing, but it does get a lot of mileage put on at highway speeds and I'd like to be able to keep control of the car when crazy people are changing lanes without looking.
It hasn't snowed here for several years, so performance in snow and ice is basically irrelevant to me. Something quieter than the Aquatread would be nice but not essential. Should I expect to be happy with the Assurance tires? Should I raise the bar somewhat and consider a higher end tire?
Oh yes: last bit of info: I have P195/70R14 rims on the thing due to the limited availability of tires for the original rims. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey wrote:

I am guessing you had the TRX tires? How were you able to get them to mount 14" tires on that car? I used to have the same car; I couldn't find a shop willing to sell me non-speed-rated tires for a 535i. I did have a set of 14" wheels for it, that I sold with the car, as the TRXs were getting a bit thin at the time, but nobody was willing to replace them.
nate
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It originally came with the TRX tires, all of which were bad when I got the car. So, I bought a set of 14" rims (I _think_ off a 325) from a local junkyard for $200, put them on in the driveway, and drove on the free tires that came along with them for a few months.
The local tire chain folks have not looked at me oddly at all, and have had no problem selling me non-speed-rated tires. Since I drive like a little old lady and live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, this may have affected things. The grey hair helps too, even if it's down to my shoulders.
Right now I really need to swap out the thrust arm (upper control arm?) bushings on the thing before I get new tires. I was going to do that yesterday afternoon but I got sidetracked. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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Scott Dorsey wrote:

Well, I was maybe 22 years old at the time... guess they thought I looked like an eeeevil speeeeeeder punk :)
Funny thing is, if they were concerned about me driving on brand new, but S-rated, tires, why didn't the fact that I was driving on near-bald TRX's concern them? much confusion... (ended up buying some rock-hard used TRX's from a slim shady used tire dealer...)
nate
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Well, tirerack.com turns up many in that size. You might try Michelin Energy MXV4 (which we have used on our '91 525i very successfully). Two additional tires it shows are Michelin Hydroedge and the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred (different than the ComforTred).
FloydR
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Best tire "for the money", get the Kumho ECSTA KH11. For my 90 E34 535i 5 speed, 104K miles, I got the VR rated ones in 225/60VR15 from Tire Rack for $51 EACH!!!
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Kumho&tireModel STA+KH11&vehicleSearch=true&partnum&VR5KH11
Great handling tire that performs well in wet (rainy) weather. Do it!
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http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Kumho&tireModel STA+KH11&vehicleSearch=true&partnum&VR5KH11
You are (almost certainly) WRONG WRONG WRONG. Although that's a different tire than Car & Driver tested, the Kumho came in dead last in their December tire test, being mid-pack in the dry and was by far the worst in the wet.
FloydR
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bfd wrote:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Kumho&tireModel STA+KH11&vehicleSearch=true&partnum&VR5KH11
I've tried several sets of Kumho tires on different vehicles. In my opinion you are getting what you pay for. Yes they are cheap...
--
-Fred W

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"Floyd Rogers" wrote

Man, I wouldn't want that tire for free, much less for the huge amount of money that Michelin charges for it. I guess we either had different experiences or different expectations or both. :) I enjoy somewhat spirited driving (which I'd assume most BMW owners do), and I just hated these tires on an Accord V6 I once had (205/65/15 size, V-rated). They squeeled like slaughtered pigs every time I tried to take a corner faster or even just during straight line acceleration, their wet traction was pretty bad compared to most other tires I've had, and snow handling was just a nightmare. I do realize they're not dedicated winter tires, but they were just aweful. I guess the only thing they have going for them is that they're quiet and last a long time (which can be a curse given the above since you can't wear them out fast enough). Anyway, they may be OK for "grandma" type driving, but even then, you can get similar characteristics from a Dunlop SP A2 for half the price. Bridgestone LSH might be another one to consider.
Agreed on the tirerack.com though - go read some reviews and comparison tests. It'll help you out a bit.
Pete
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Ever consider it might be the CAR and not the TIRES as the cause of the squealing? Nothing worse than an over-powered FWD car for that.
FloydR
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"Floyd Rogers" wrote

Acceleration - sure, but cornering - no.
Pete
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Cornering, YES, in a FWD car.
FloydR
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"Floyd Rogers" wrote

Well, I've driven many other FWD cars with different tires and they haven't exhibited that behavior. Well, maybe apart from my dad's Nissan Primera which coincidentally also had some long-wearing Michelins on.
Pete
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Actually, this is getting pretty silly. My original comments on Honda was more of a dig at FWD cars (which understeer more, hence howl more than any RWD car). I don't believe that the MXV4's howled more than the OEM Dunlops that they replaced (in either the 225/60 or 205/65 size). They wore very well. The MX4's that I put on our Chrysler minivan were excellent - no howling and were far superior to the OEM and other Goodyears that I had on it. They were excellent in the rain up here in Seattle.
The 525i currently has XGT-H4 in 225/65R16 size on it, which is slightly noisier, and about as good in rain.
FloydR
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Pirelli P6000 are a good bet, a bit cheaper than Michelin Energy and just as good, no idea why previous posters have had squealing problems the Michelins. P6000's are/were factory fit on most Mercedes, Jaguar, Audi and BMW models (at least over the last 5-10 years). I used to get 40-50,000 miles on these tyres with mostly open road driving.
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Pete wrote:

Nonsense. All FWD cars corner horribly. The tires you are talking about are passenger touring tires made for comfort not performance. If you want performance tires you have to get the pilot sports.
--
-Fred W

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"Fred W" wrote

I'll just ignore this generalization.

Of course. And that's why I wrote "they may be OK for "grandma" type driving," in my initial response.
Cheers,
Pete
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Pete wrote:

Why? I have never driven a FWD car (and I've driven a lot of them) that did not have excessive understeer. Add in a healthy dose of torque steering that inevitably occurs in any of them that that have a decent amount of horsepower and we're talking some really fine cornering...

As in most things in life, tire selection is a huge compromise. Some (perhaps the majority of) drivers prefer to for-go the responsive turn-in of high performance tires for a smoother, quieter ride. That does not mean that they drive like a "grandma", just they do not value that aspect of driving as much.
As for myself, I prefer different types of tires on different cars. For instance, on my Z3 I use the stickiest, Z rated tires I can find. OTOH, on my 325i I like to use a higher-performance tire but in the stock (relatively high) 205/60x15 profile for middle of the road trade-off on handling and comfort and on my 540i (heavy highway cruiser) I prefer a touring class of tire but in a lower than stock profile for the same general trade-off.
BTW - any of those cars (even the 5'er with the "touring" tires) will out corner just about any production FWD car in their respective classes.
--
-Fred W

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Pete wrote:

It may be a generalization, but it happens to be true. FWD can be tweaked to give acceptable handling, but never great handling.
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Let's see......
On a FWD you have.......
100 percent of your acceleration inputs........
100 percent of your deceleration inputs......
100 percent of your steering inputs.......
and, 90 percent of your braking inputs.....
....all concentrated on two tire patches totaling around 30 square inches - depending on car weight and tire pressure....
Can YOU say "UNDERSTEER"???????
Ain't no way in Hades that ANY FWD car is going to truly handle well.
With all the front wheel inputs attempting to break the contact patch free from the road surface, the only way racers can come close to "balancing" a FWD car is to make the rear looser.
Nothing can be done to improve the front suspension to the point that the understeer disappears, so you make the rear suspension work not-as-well.
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