Third ZX5 tire wrecked. What to do?

Today I wiped out my second aluminum wheel and third low profile 205/50R16 tire in a pothole coming off the George Washington Bridge. This is the second time this has happened in six weeks at the entrance to the bridge.
I've really had it with low profile tires, at least while we live in the New York/New Jersey area during winter. I might have had to do a wheel alignment after today's pothole with a normal profile tire but I don't think I'd be replacing it and the wheel once again.
I was told by someone with a similar problem with his old Supra that he was able to find a normal profile tire to fit his wide rims. Are there any such tires available for a 2002 Focus ZX5? I know I'll "sacrifice" handling but I don't find the handling of the ZX5 all that responsive and nimble anyway. What will it drive like with normal tires? A truck?
My wife is so upset with the tire problem that she wants us to get rid of the Focus even though it only has 28K miles on it. I'm more forgiving but I do think that these tires and rims should not be standard on the ZX5's sold in the New York area.
Should I put on the stock 14" rims and then normal profile tires? Not very stylish but it would enable us, I expect, to be able to go across the bridge and make it to Connecticut like other drivers have no problem doing. I understand I'd have to replace the rotors as well. Anything else? Is this really a feasible alternative?
I'd love to sue the city of New York but a friend actually did and his suit is still pending....seven years later.
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Hank Gans wrote:

If you want stylish, stay with what you've got and keep replacing rims.
If you want something practical, replace your low aspect ratio tires and rims with a higher aspect ratio tire on a suitable diameter rim. My 2000 Focus SE came with 195/60R15 tires on alloy rims, and I've never bent any of the wheels in 48000 miles. I live in Minnesota, where potholes are quite common.
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I was told today by my Firestone dealer that I couldn't switch to a 15" rim. I was looking at a Focus wagon with 15" rims in his parking lot. It had substantially more robust tires than my 205/50R16's. He said the ZX5 was configured for a 16" rim and it couldn't be changed. Hopefully, more knowledgable people here will advise otherwise.
Also, strangely, these tires are picking up nails. Replaced three tires today alone! Two of them had two nails each in them. Hey! I remember in the past simply plugging nail holes and remounting the tire. They can't do that any more????

205/50R16
bridge.
very
bridge
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Hank Gans wrote:

Ah, I wasn't aware the ZX5 Premium had bigger brake disks than the lesser Focuses. According to the Ford website, the 'standard" and 'comfort' ZX5 grades come with 15" wheels and 195/60R15 tires. The 'Premium' is the only ZX5 variant to use the 16" wheels. I would be very surprised if the 15" wheels did not fit. Get yourself over to one of the Focus discussion groups (Focaljet or Club Focus) and you will find someone who knows for sure.

I have similarly been plagued by nails & screws in both my vehicles' tires.
I bought one of those cheap do-it-yourself tire plugging kits at the hardware store for $5, that come with two T-handled implements, and some very sticky rope-type plugs. One of the tools is an awl to ream out the hole, and the other is a sort of huge sewing needle to insert the sticky 'rope' with.
The first time I used one, I was on vacation and I was willing to try anything just to avoid being stranded. Despite looking like it couldn't possibly work or last, they do. I tell myself it's just a temporary thing, but I've been driving on them for months and they haven't leaked a bit of air.
You have to decide for yourself if you are comfortable using them, I figure if it hasn't shifted in thousands of miles of use, it's unlikely to suddenly fall out.
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rim.
the
that
the reason for not plugging tires anymore is indeed safety. Not so much for you the driver, but for the tire guy. If a tire is run low for a period of time it can create a zipper effect in the casing or side wall of the tire. They want to patch the tire by dismounting from the rim to inspect the case. If one were to air back up a damaged case serious or fatal injury could occur if case failed. Thats the only reason.
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Don't know what you mean by "cheap", I have successfully used those kits many times, I live in a sub that's still being built and they lose a LOT of nails and screws in the streets. If you install the plug correctly it should last the life of the tire, and it's much cheaper than taking the thing to the tire store and paying $10-20 every time, not to mention the convenience. The trick I found was to buy the kit in the "truck" size, the tools are much sturdier. The kit I bought the first time had flimsy little tools that bent completely out of shape when I tried to use them. John Cairns

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rim.
Your local Firestone dealer doesn't know what he's talking about. Only the SVT has larger brake rotors. All other Focus models can take even 14" rims. I run 205/50-16s in the summer and 185/65-14s on steel wheels in the winter (undersized slightly on the tires for chain clearance). The 15" will be a perfect compromise for your car, maintaining 95% of the cornering power and likely never bending a rim on a pothole.
Stephen
p.s. you can pick up a nice set of 15" wheels and tires, balanced and drop-shipped from Tirerack.com for a good price.
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15" *should* work, but some folks have given some advice on this. I don't know.
You can also pick up some some new 15" tire take-offs here:
http://www.batinc.net/focus.htm
These are not in the "wheels" pdf file, but rather the "Find Specials Here" pdf file. It is also in the "Focus Performance and Service Parts Guide" - last page or two. Set of 4 15" focus rims with 195x60x15" Firestone Firehawk or Goodyear Eagle Tires - $399 + shipping.
I have no association with these folks, just a customer - I love the winter mats I got from them.
Doug
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the
that
It depends on where the hole is, and the speed rating of the tire. Holes in the middle 70% or so of the *tread* area can be patched (unless prohibited due to the tire's speed rating). I think anything rated faster than V cannot be patched, as these are tires rated for 220kph and the repair shop / tire manufacturer would have some liability if they didn't forbid patching and someone had a blowout at that speed. Do you need a 220kph tire in America? Not likely. The handling difference going down one class will not be substantial.
Stephen
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Hank Gans wrote:

You were told incorrectly. I run 185/70R14's in the winter (steel Focus rims w/snow tires) & have not had problems with brake or suspension clearance.

Sounds like this dealer is happy to sell new tires to whomever he can...

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I have been running the same rim and tire combo as RW on my 2002 ZX5 for the last 2 winters with no problems.
Mike

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What air pressure do you have in the tires, and do you check it often enough? Low air pressure can make tire and wheel damage from potholes more likely, make the handling worse, wear out the tires quickly, reduce the load capacity, and increase the chance of a blowout. During falling temperature seasons, the falling temperature can cause the air pressure in the tire to fall much more quickly than it otherwise would.
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New
alignment
was
such
I
I
sold
bridge
suit
Going to a 195/60-15 tire and rim will not cost much in handling, in fact your ride will be more comfortable. I have the 15" alloy rims and have not bent one yet.
Ron
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Might be difficult to research, but sometimes the state or county has a program where they will re-imbrues you for damages caused by defective roads. I know they have a program like that in Michigan but it isn't publicized and therefore most folks don't know about it. John Cairns

suit
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