"It's easy! You just go to Les Schwab and buy the cheapest tires with more than 50k miles worth of coverage!" Yeah, I don't think so. Tire buying is something I know nothing about, and by the end of this, I want to have written a "How-to" guide on tire buying.
When I discovered some rather alarming blocking, blistering, and shoulder wear on the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus' which came on my used Mazda 6s, I decided to begin snooping about for some tires.
I feel that my parents "adequately" prepared me for "The real world" in most cases. However, as evidenced by the Nankang's (Nankang is Korean for "Poor in every condition, especially Autocross) my old Camry had been blessed with, they clearly knew or cared very little about tires. So, armed with knowledge from you guys and some cursory reading of other blogs and forums, I'm setting out to make a well-informed tire purchase.
I figured the most important part of my journey would be determining what TYPE of tire I needed/wanted. Grand Touring? Off-Road? Summer? All-season? Snow? Seeing as my city is 2nd in the country for "Number of days over 100 degrees" and it only snows once every 2 or 3 years, I think I can get away with Summer or All-Season tires year-round.
Right, that's settled, now I'm looking at BRAND. We've always had off-brand tires on our family cars, but I could really feel the difference in running these Michelins. Universally, I've heard that the off-brand or Korean tires are a joke, so I've made a bit of a short-list of what I'm looking at-
And some others I'd like input on
Being a racing fan, I'm exposed to a fair bit of PR, which I'm trying to keep out of my head.
I can get a Continental ContiProContact for $133.96 each from Sears, where I get a 10% employee discount, which would put the price closer to $120 per tire. Any experience with these? According to TireRack, they dont wear very well, and have garnered a 4.9/10 in "Would buy again"
Sears also carries the Falken Azenis PT-722; their All-season performance option, for $132.96. Sadly, TireRack doesn't carry Falken, so I can't see any meaningful reviews for the tire.
Big O Tires offers a Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 for $163.88, but I would get some sort of "Fleet Rate", an untold discount between 5-20%. This tire has a 45,000 mile warranty, and has much better scores across the board when compared to the Continental.
Also from Big O I can purchase a Michelin Primacy MXM4 for $154.98. IT has a 55,000 mile warranty, and probably carries the benefits that a Grand Touring tire would carry over the more performance-oriented tire; presumably better MPGs and quieter ride at the expense of lower dry grip, but better grip in the rain and snow. These would likely carry a higher fleet discount as well.
The remaining tires listed on Tire Rack weren't available in my size (215 45/50 17) or rated rather poorly (Bridgestone, BF Goodrich)
Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks!