Speed rating on tires - question (Take two)

Apologies for the double post - I was lurking in a KISS newsgroup for some strange reason and inadvertently x-posted to it instead of rec.autos.makers.honda. :-/
Again...
I've had my 2004 Civic LX for a few days now and I really like it. I do have one concern, however. The dealer replaced the original Firestone tires with Bridgestone Insignia's, which I know are low end OEM-type tires. My concern is that these tires are S-rated, but my manual says that H-rated tires are recommended for the LX model (S is acceptable for the base DX).
I know that the maximum speed capability for an S-rated tire is 180km/h (112mph). Because I never approach anywhere near that speed, I figure the S-rated tires should be OK on my LX, notwithstanding that they probably won't last long with all the driving I have been doing as of late. But what I would like to know is if I could use a Q-rated winter tire on the car during the winter months, or if this is too big of a drop from the recommended H.
Thanks in advance.
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Usually (though not always), the lower speed rated tires are less sporty in terms of handling and braking capabilities (which affect safety). They may be designed more for comfort; some are designed for long tread wear and low rolling resistance (better fuel economy), while others are just cheap.
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wrote:

In actual fact, the speed rating of a tire denotes that it was tested at a prescribed speed, over a DOT approved course, for a given length of time. Test are conducted by the tire manufacturer and they record and publish the results. Nothing more, nothing less.
Dave D
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Some additional thoughts: Some lower speed ratings also have a lower load rating. Probably not too low for your Civic, but something to keep in mind as you lower the speed rating and perhaps up the speed. It can overheat the tire if excessive and cause failure at the most inopportune time. Howard

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Howard wrote:

Good point. I should have added that the S-rated tires that are on my Civic do have the load rating that Honda recommends for the LX.
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My concern is the dealership downgraded the factory recommended tires for your car. It's riding on a harder rubber so you'll probably get a few more miles out of it but you're sacrificing the handling and performance characteristics of the car. As someone else mentioned it affects safety as well.
True the speed rating determines how fast you can safely drive with those tires but it will also affect the heat index and often wet weather traction (the traction rating on the tires). Most people will never drive as fast as the speed rating on the V and Z rated tires but they still make them for performance reasons since it will affect slower speeds as well. The tires will still work and you can drive safely on them. It's just a trade off.
-Dave
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Dave L wrote:

Also good points. My plan was to ride out the Insignia's for the next month or so before I put my winter tires on. The winter tires I used on my '93 Accord last winter will fit on my Civic, although I have to change the rims due to different bolt setups between the two cars. Come next spring, I will likely look for good H-rated all-season tires to replace the Insignia's.
For the record, I am not an aggressive, performance-minded driver, even though I do tend to go about 5-10mph above the speed limit. :-)
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Sounds like a plan.

You'll be fine. If you were an aggressive driver and had the car with H-rated tires and decided to switch to S-rated, there's something to worry about! If you're happy with the car and not an aggressive driver I wouldn't worry. When you switch to H-rated I'm sure you'll notice a difference.
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High Tech Misfit wrote:

Given that there is no reason to throw away the Insignias. Use 'em up!
I would get a set of steel rims for the snow tires and leave the Insignias on the rims they are already on and just swap 'em back on in the spring.
John
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tires
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Don't know where you are located, but the Civic LX in the US (my son has one) came with a low end Firestone S rated tire. A H rated tire was tested and rated for a max of 130 as I recall and is stiffer which would give you better handling. Some cars such as the Prelude you would not want to run anything below a V rating given the suspension and capability of the car which most owners would use. I have tended to go with higher ratings than stock simply because of the better handling involved. But, then the Civic LX in the US though the 03 model did not require anything more than an S rating.
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tww wrote:

I am in Canada, but the manual that came with my car covers both Canadian and U.S. versions of the '04 Civic. For Civics in both countries, the manual specifies S for the DX only and H for other trim levels.
When I test-drove my Civic before buying it, it had the Firestones and they looked quite worn. I didn't get around to checking the model and speed rating of those tires.
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The specs for 03 Civic LX US version on the Honda owners link states the tire on the Civic is a P 185 /70 R14 87S. So, either they changed in 04 for the same model or the Canadian version requires a stronger tire.

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tww wrote:

On 2003 and 2004 Civics, the speed rating on the tire from the factory is dependent on the model which would also dictate tire size. Basically the 2003 DX, LX and Hybrid models had 14" S rated tires. The 2003 EX models had 15" H rated tires. The 2004 models follow suit with the tire size and speed ratings with the exception that the LX models came with 15" tires. Howard
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High Tech Misfit wrote:

If you are happy with the ride, handling and braking then don't worry about it. For cars driving within the US speed limits and with properly inflated tires and S or Q rating is fine.
John
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