NEED HELP CHOOSING TIRES

CLHC

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Nittos are the way to go on tires! . . .

Ooopps! Sorry. You're looking for SUV/Truck tires. . .Enjoy!
 

John N

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ChocolateLab33 said:
My Blazer handles very poorly in the rain and snow because it is not a 4 wheel drive. The teeny-tiny-est bit of snow and it slides ALL over the place. That's the reason for no more 2 wheel drive.

While I'm all for 4WD and AWD, keep in mind the only thing that 4WD (or AWD) does for you is help you get moving.

Sliding and stopping are more of a function of your suspension and tires, mostly the latter IMO.

Oh, also make sure you keep an eye on your tire pressure. Too much air and your tires are going to be hard and not get good traction. Too little air and your tires are going to be mushy and be less safe while cornering.

Similarly, make sure your shocks are good. In turns, if the shocks allow too much sway, it may impact handling.

One last comment, keep in mind that all AWD and 4WD systems are not created equal. In reality, "2WD" typically is really 1WD (but sometimes 2WD), and AWD and 4WD is typically more like 2WD or 3WD. Even if the system can actually drive all four wheels, different systems work differently and thus are better or worse in different situations, and they may not be able to drive full power to all tires.

-john
 
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John N

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ChocolateLab33 said:
My Blazer handles very poorly in the rain

Also keep in mind that there are a couple of things to keep in mind with rain.

On the first level you simply have how much traction between the tire and the pavement you get when you introduce water. This is all about the rubber compounds. Some compounds are better at this. Newer tires are factoring this in more and more and tires like the Revos are specially designed to get better wet performance.

The next issue is hydroplaning. This is where the tire loses contact with the pavement due to a layer of water between the pavement and the tire. This will be effected by amount of water, amount of speed, surface area of the tire, and tire tread shape.

So, a big wide tire is going to hydroplane faster than a skinny one given the same other factors.

Tire tread can impact hydroplaning. This isn't my field, but you can imagine a tread that doesn't allow the water to escape easily from under the tire is going to be more likely to hydroplane than one that allows the water to escape.

But the most importaint thing to keep in mind is that after a certain speed, even with the best water-oriented rubber and tread design -- speed and water depth will trump all other factors. So, if you hit an inch of standing water at 60 mph, you *are* going to hydroplane. No magic bullet.

I do think that good tread design helps here -- I think you are more likely to keep going straight and less likely to spin out -- but you are still hydroplaning and you still don't have contact with the pavement so you can't turn and you are on the hairy edge.

Bottom line - when there is water, be alert and watch your speed.

Be safe out there!

-john
 

Trashman

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John N said:
While I'm all for 4WD and AWD, keep in mind the only thing that 4WD (or AWD) does for you is help you get moving.

I think 4wd does a lot more than that. A 4wd vehicle will, in slippery conditions, handle much better than a 2wd vehicle. I've learned this from playing with RC cars. In dry loose dirt (high school running track), you really don't have a lot of control with the 2wd car. You've got to drive slowly, and make very slow control turns to avoid sliding out. With the 4wd cars, you can pretty much go all out and still be able to control the car. Something about 4wd makes it so easy to get the vehicle to go where you want it. I think the difference between the too is much more than one might expect.

I think the same holds true to full size vehicles.
 

John N

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Trashman said:
I think 4wd does a lot more than that. A 4wd vehicle will, in slippery conditions, handle much better than a 2wd vehicle. I've learned this from playing with RC cars. In dry loose dirt (high school running track), you really don't have a lot of control with the 2wd car. You've got to drive slowly, and make very slow control turns to avoid sliding out. With the 4wd cars, you can pretty much go all out and still be able to control the car. Something about 4wd makes it so easy to get the vehicle to go where you want it. I think the difference between the too is much more than one might expect.

I think the same holds true to full size vehicles.

I would suggest in a normal driving situation, people are not going to be have the car sidewise in a low traction situation with all four tires spinning.

This would be the kind of situation where you are going to see the most benefits you suggest, and those benefits *are* simply of helping you go forward IMO. While the care slips sideways, it helps pull the car forward. Of course, this can be a big advantage in some situations.

I'm not trying to suggest 4WD and AWD isn't helpful. Just that most people seem to think that with it they are invincible. They still have to obey the laws of physics.

-john
 
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turbodog

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No amount of tire will properly compensate for a vehicle that's got such extreme traction issues.

If you really want to improve your wet weather traction, load your vehicle up with 1000lb of ballast.

Or just buy a tire based on the mandated info on the side.
traction A
treadwear - relative
temp - A for the south, B for your area (likely)

And if you have snow at all, you don't live in the south.

I've found that the newer tires with thousands of tiny sideways (or zigzag) slits in them do somewhat better in wet weather.


I've gone through a zillion sets and type of tires, sometimes getting only 5-10k miles from a set. Some of my very best results have come from multi-mile tires. AFAIK they are the largest tire mfg. I see a lot of their stuff on trucks.
 

Icebreak

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Those Firestone Destination A/Ts look good.

For my purposes I went with Firehawk Indy 500 Performance A/W for a 2WD Dodge Dakota. Best tire I've ever experienced for a city/highway truck. Surprisingly good on ice. Not terrible in dirt. Almost worthless in mud but better than any other P/A/W I've had. PAW...I just cracked myself up.
 

PlayboyJoeShmoe

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I had bad failures of a couple different "cheap" brands of tire on my 8,000LB F350. I went finally to Michelin brand LXs and no more trouble.

I got my 2003 Ram 2500 with just under 25K miles, and it came with Michelin.

Both sets of tires got me "stuck" once. Both times I had a trailer attached, and both times it was because I had a ROAD tread tire instead of an OFFROAD tread.

That said, I spend 99% of my time on concrete/aspahalt/cleachy rock/dirt road and don't NEED offroad tread or 4wd.

I DO feel VERY strongly about Michelin tires as being the good stuff!
 

Trashman

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John N said:
This would be the kind of situation where you are going to see the most benefits you suggest, and those benefits *are* simply of helping you go forward IMO. While the care slips sideways, it helps pull the car forward. Of course, this can be a big advantage in some situations.

-john

That makes sense, I did realize you could be saying the same thing, but it sounded more like you were saying the 4wd only helped it go forward, as in, set the car in motion.

Speaking of the handling advantages of 4wd, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and the Subaru WRX STI always seem to be the poster children for fantastic handling (in every driving condition). I've seen those two cars referenced for comparison (like they're the gold standard) in automotive magazines and cable television shows so often that it also makes me a bit of a believer.

Ok, no more OT, from me. (not even to mention how much the Subaru Outback has caught my eye...:devil:
 

powernoodle

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I have a set of Michelin LTS ATs (All-Terrains) on the Powernoodle 4x4. Smooth riding on the highway, but they make a mud and snow flavor too if you dig that instead. I have 105K miles on them and there are plenty of miles left in them. Highly recommended.

peace
 

cy

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where you purchase tires, may be just as important as brand. how are they going to service the tire, if you get a flat?

if you have an exotic magnesium rim like on a 911, can they handle it?

general rule of thumb is softer the tire, higher the performance and lower the mileage. it's not unusual to get 15K miles out of a VR rated tire.

price/performance is a valid guage. I've been voting at Sam's club with my wallet. they seem to consistantly have the best price/performance ratio for my $$.

Sam's carries a number of the name brands mentioned.
 
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PlayboyJoeShmoe

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Yes, let me clarify something. The tires we bought for the F350 and the tires that came on the RAM 2500 are Michelin LTX AS. Size was 235/85-16 for the Ford and 255/75-17 for the Dodge. The Ford NEVER EVER put a wheel wrong with those tires. The Ram has hydroplaned a time or two.

You MIGHT try CarandDriver.com... I can't find the issue, but not TOO long ago they tested 6 brands of tires on an SUV of some sort. And they ranked them in various catagories such as wet grip. Might be of help.
 

Diesel_Bomber

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I've got Summit Radial Trail Climbers on all three of my trucks as a "street" tire, love them. Great wet weather performance and decent in the snow even on my one 2wd truck. Quiet on the freeway and don't melt off like my mudders. Good price, too. Kumho Ecsta's on my MR2, and Toyo 800 Ultras on the g/f's Intrepid. Never going to buy 800 Ultras again.:awman:

Check out what kind of differential you have on your Blazer. Different kinds require different driving styles. Maybe upgrade to a locker or LSD if you don't have one already. Some sand bags and a shovel help for both weight and utility. With decent tires and good driving technique a 2wd truck will handle snow and moderate offroad just fine.

Cheers. :buddies: (That really should be a drinking coffee smiley.)
 

cratz2

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I need to chime in and agree that if you don't like how a particular vehicle handles as a RWD, it is VERY unlikely to handle radically better as a 4WD. 4WD is intended to get you out of low traction situations, not to let you drive more quickly through them. Blazers (esp 4 doors) aren't known for outstanding handling in the dry, snow, ice or wet. Tires can have a tremendous impact on handling, not only on performance-oriented vehicles, but vehicles such as the Blazer as well.

Also, on the issue of adding weight to vehicles for extra 'traction' this is mostly beneficial to pickup trucks with close to 80/20 front to rear weight distribution. It helps a light weight rear end have more weight to get initial traction but if you enter a situation to fast and the tail comes around, the more weight back there, the more quickly the tail will come around.

My biggest concern with folks considering a 4WD due to experiencing poor handling or traction with a RWD vehicle is that 4WD tends to inspire confidence which it does not deserve. If you are going around a wide turn (such as on a loop around the city) and the vehicle feels jittery or unstable, it absolutely will not feel better because of 4WD. Tires make a difference, poor or worn suspension components make a difference but a 4WD Blazer absolutely will not handle 25+ MPH situations any better than a RWD Blazer will.

On the issue of tires, in snow, you don't want too wide of a traditional tread... that is a very bad combo... In the wet, I haven't kept up much with truck tires, but the best passenger vehicle tires are amazing in the wet! All my recent tires are performance related tires for cars that already handle pretty well. The Bridgestone RE730s, RE750s, RE950s and Continental ContiExtremes are absolutely outstanding! I'm generally not a fan of Michelins in the $70-$120 price range.. The MX4S are not impressive and the Goodyear Eagle RS-As are some of the scariest tires I've ever owned... They are used SO widely but I honestly feel they shound be banned... at least north of Tennessee.

For what it's worth, if I needed tires on a Blazer tomorrow on a budget, I'd very likely go with the Bridgestone Dueler Alenzas.

Also, though I live in the same state as the Tire Rack, and I've bought directly from them twice (once in person in Southbend) I've had about 90% success printing off the Tire Racks pricing and calling around to find someone that will come close to their price. Keeping in mind, price matching shouldn't really be expected in this scenario. But I usually get within $10 per tire of the Tire Rack price. Sometimes this is a substantial savings. One example was the Bridgestone RE730s. The Firestone/Bridgestone store listed them at, I think $146 each in my size while the Tire Rack had them for about $93. I printed the sheet out from Tire Rack, took it back to the manager at Bridgestone... he clicked around a bit and told me that he was sorry that he just could not match that price... The closest he could come would be $95 mounted and balanced. Which was actually cheaper than the Tire Rack as their price doesn't include mounting and balancing unless you buy new wheels at the same time.
 

John N

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cratz2 said:
In the wet, I haven't kept up much with truck tires, but the best passenger vehicle tires are amazing in the wet!

It is starting to trickle in. The Revo's I suggested use Bridgestone's same wet traction technology as in their high performance passenger tires like the S03s (which simply rock).

-john
 

cheapo

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Uniroyal tiger paw are decent for summer use, but not for winter.... bridgestone winter duellers are great winter tires.

-David
 

cratz2

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John N said:
It is starting to trickle in. The Revo's I suggested use Bridgestone's same wet traction technology as in their high performance passenger tires like the S03s (which simply rock).

-john

Yeah, my Civic Si came with Michelin MXV4s or something like that... HATED them. I originally put the RE730s on and they litereally had as much grip in the wet as the OEM tire had in the dry... on wide turns in the wet, things would slide across the floor... I'd guess I was seeing in the area of .7G in the wet.

I replaced them with S03s. In all honesty, for the kind of driver I am (eight tenths) and the kind of car I had at the time (the Si) I couldn't tell a tremendous difference. The S03s certainly rode a bit harsher, but I couldn't recommend the S03s over the RE730s (or now 750s) for cars in the 'not hella agressive' class.

Edit - actually the Si came with XGT V4s... My wife's Jetta came with the MXV4s. They were both pretty much crap. We initially replaced the MXV4s on the wife's Jetta with Dunlop SP Sport 5000s which were a tremendous upgrade. I went with the RE730s and then bought a set of snow wheels and tires.
 
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MoonRise

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ChocolateLab33,

It's a lot about trade-offs and priorities. What do you want out of the tires and what will you give up to get that?

Step one: you have a small SUV in 2wd. Do you want 'softer' passenger car rated tires or do you want a 'harder' light-truck tire? IMHO, using a P-rated tire on an SUV will rarely give decent handling because of the higher CG of the SUV and the softer sidewalls of the P tires. YMMV. Yes, one can compensate to a degree by changing profiles and rims and alignments but that wasn't the question here.

Now back to trade-offs. If you want a quiet ride at highway speeds on road, you can go for a tread with a smaller treadblock pattern. But that tread pattern isn't very good in the wet (generally) and isn't very good in the snow (almost always). You have to make a choice as to what you want.

In my experience or from acquaintances, the Coopers don't hold up for long. Goodyear Wranglers aren't bad, but choose the right tire/tread for your usage (just like any other tire). The Michelins are generally good but more expensive, the BFG (owned and made by Michelin for years now, btw) are good tires. All this for trucks and SUVs, and painted with a broad brush here. SolarFlare's tires in the pic above are BFG Mud-Terrains btw, not All-Terrains. More noise on-road but more traction off-road. IMHO, the BFG A/T-ko tires are generally good for truck/SUV use, with some decent tread blocks for snow, trail, and light mud use. If you want to trade off some 'slop' traction and gain some quiet on the road, you can go the the BFG LongTrail or other more 'highway' tires.

Yet another BTW, the BFG website has a tire selector helper. It lists the stock tire size for your 98 2 door 2wd Blazer as P205/75R15 (standard) or P235/70R15 (touring suspension) depending on suspension option. Both 'stock' tires listed by BFG are street pattern passenger ones, not what I would really pick for a truck/SUV. But then I'm a guy whose wants a more aggressive tread for a truck/SUV than a street tread. You can the BFG All-Terrain T/A k/o in an LT215/75R15 or LT235/75R15 size, which should fit your Blazer. If you had the original P205/75R15 tires, your speedometer/odometer may be a few percent off with the different tires.

Let us know what you choose.
 

C4LED

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You may want to go to the library and check out Consumer Reports Mag. They did a review/comparison of tires not too long ago.
 
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