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Buy tires online? (yet another tire thread)

Posted by Earendil 
I've bought tires for my car twice in 4 years (helped by inheriting studded snow tires). The first time I bought tires, I went for the least expensive tire that was still safe, because it's one I could afford. The second time around I had some money, and went for what Les Schwab was calling the OHTSU Zexious. Lots of controversy on the internet about that tire, but I thought it was great.

Now though, I have the time and money to make sure I have a good set of tires. I don't need all out sticky sun only tires, but a nice agressive tire would be good. Come fall/winter I'll need to be running studs anyway, so buying a no-weather tire is pointless.

However, since I bought my current set of tires a year ago, the number of aggressive 14" tires has fallen off sharply. I started looking online to find fewer choices than I remembered, but still a large number more than the local retailers have, and seemingly for hundreds less.

So two part question:

1. Any experience, stories, or opinions on purchasing tires online from a place like TireRack?

2. If you could get any 14" tire, and spend between $40-$80 (before installation) what would it be?

If I go online I'll have the option of running a 205/60, which I'd like to try. However if I buy local, the only 205/60/R14 for 30 miles is this tire, they want $390 to get them on my car, and they'd have to order it!

Thoughts?

I know, I know, I should just invest in a 15" wheel....

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/14/2010 09:13PM by Earendil.
if you're looking for a good deal on good tires, check ebay. i bought 4 new 245/35-16 Toyo T1R tires on ebay for $320 shipped. At schwab they are $200+ PER TIRE.


these are good:

[cgi.ebay.com]


rkj
Quote
Earendil
I've bought tires for my car twice in 4 years (helped by inheriting studded snow tires). The first time I bought tires, I went for the least expensive tire that was still safe, because it's one I could afford. The second time around I had some money, and went for what Les Schwab was calling the OHTSU Zexious. Lots of controversy on the internet about that tire, but I thought it was great.

Now though, I have the time and money to make sure I have a good set of tires. I don't need all out sticky sun only tires, but a nice agressive tire would be good. Come fall/winter I'll need to be running studs anyway, so buying a no-weather tire is pointless.

However, since I bought my current set of tires a year ago, the number of aggressive 14" tires has fallen off sharply. I started looking online to find fewer choices than I remembered, but still a large number more than the local retailers have, and seemingly for hundreds less.

So two part question:

1. Any experience, stories, or opinions on purchasing tires online from a place like TireRack?

2. If you could get any 14" tire, and spend between $40-$80 (before installation) what would it be?

If I go online I'll have the option of running a 205/60, which I'd like to try. However if I buy local, the only 205/60/R14 for 30 miles is this tire, they want $390 to get them on my car, and they'd have to order it!

Thoughts?

I know, I know, I should just invest in a 15" wheel....

I buy from tire rack often, for my last experiment I choose 205x60x14 Sumitomos, not a bad tire for the money....

[www.tirerack.com]

I think Bob sez you can go to 225's but for me that's cutting it thin at the strut's spring perch...
Quote
Earendil

1. Any experience, stories, or opinions on purchasing tires online from a place like TireRack?


I ordered my last set of tires online, but I don't think I'll do it again. Check into how much it will cost you to get those tires mounted and balanced at your friendly local tire shop. Maybe for a really special set of tires it would be worth it. It might be possible to get the shop to order the tires you want. Check that price vs. ordering and local mounting. It might be less money to let the shop order the tires for the whole deal - if they'll order the tires.

John
One additional "feature" of buying on line is that when the tires need balancing sometime, the charge for it will exceed the savings from buying on line. I just had a set balanced and it cost $15 each. If I had bought the tires from the tire shop, it would have been "free."

At Costco, the prices are good and rotations and balancing are free for the life of the tire. Sales tax is sometimes a savings but not always.

Bob in Everett
Well, looks like ebay still has some value smiling smiley

The local shop will mount and balance for $15 a corner. But $60 + $312 gets me a far better tire than what the local shop wants to charge, and for a tire that isn't even as good.
Looks like the next step up will be pushing $500 to get on my car... Though I have considered the Sumitomos a few times, I think I need new suspension and breaks before I'd notice those tires smiling smiley

So, 205/60-14 Falken Ziex ZE-512 it is, unless someone wants to steer me away from that tire? Tread wear doesn't appear to be great, but getting my car to 20K or 30K more miles probably won't come down to tires winking smiley

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

rkj
Quote
Earendil
Well, looks like ebay still has some value smiling smiley

The local shop will mount and balance for $15 a corner. But $60 + $312 gets me a far better tire than what the local shop wants to charge, and for a tire that isn't even as good.
Looks like the next step up will be pushing $500 to get on my car... Though I have considered the Sumitomos a few times, I think I need new suspension and breaks before I'd notice those tires smiling smiley

So, 205/60-14 Falken Ziex ZE-512 it is, unless someone wants to steer me away from that tire? Tread wear doesn't appear to be great, but getting my car to 20K or 30K more miles probably won't come down to tires winking smiley

Do some reviews of the Falken's before you commit to them, as I remember the reviews were not all positive; I was considering these before I bought mine.

The problem I have is, on the end of an Island your choices of tires are slim so tire rack is a wonderful option smiling smiley

Hows the motor running, were you able to find out where your coolant leak was?

Rick
Quote
Earendil

So, 205/60-14 Falken Ziex ZE-512 it is, unless someone wants to steer me away from that tire? Tread wear doesn't appear to be great, but getting my car to 20K or 30K more miles probably won't come down to tires winking smiley

I've had at least two sets of those on my car and the tires I ordered were Falken ZE-912's. I wouldn't get the 512's. They're not all that good in wet weather, and that's really where it counts. I never had a set last more than 25,000 miles. Since the ZE-912 has a 60,000 mile warranty, I thought I would give those a try, especially since they get better reviews than the 512 for wet use. It's true that they are better in the wet. In fact, I think they're decent tires as far as performance, but they're wearing out so fast I can hardly believe it. I rotated them just a couple of weeks ago at 5,000 miles and they measure half gone. The dollars per mile on the 912's is going to end up higher than a Michelin, which is what I'll probably buy next time.

John
Quote
John Yust

I've had at least two sets of those on my car and the tires I ordered were Falken ZE-912's. I wouldn't get the 512's. They're not all that good in wet weather, and that's really where it counts.
John

Oh bother. Way to steer me back to the tire browsing drawing boards smiling smiley

It does appear as though the 912 perform better. But at least 25% of the internet crowd is swearing by the 512's.
There was at least one warning of the 912's having soft and thin sidewalls on the 14" version. What size are you running John?

Also of note is that the 512 comes in a 205/60 while the 912 does not. I was sort of looking forward to trying the 205/60 size... *sigh*.

I've been extremely happy with my current tires, and everything mentioned would be a step up. Maybe the amount of time I'm spending contemplating my choices is negated by the interim period being spent on worn out cheaper tires smiling smiley

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Quote
rkj
I buy from tire rack often, for my last experiment I choose 205x60x14 Sumitomos, not a bad tire for the money....

[www.tirerack.com]

I think Bob sez you can go to 225's but for me that's cutting it thin at the strut's spring perch...

I'd seriously consider the Sumitomos if the warehouse availability weren't "predicted june 26". Than there is the Ground shipping to me. It could be 3-4 weeks before I see them.

I just went down two more rabbit holes, threads comparing the 512 to other tires. When I went to look up the winning tire, I find that it isn't made in a 14" sad smiley

John, which Michelin are you considering?

Bob, Sadly I live 70 miles from a Costco, but happily live 5 minutes from Oregon. Sales tax is usually a non-issue smiling smiley

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

Quote
Earendil


John, which Michelin are you considering?

I haven't gotten that far. I just know that I've had a lot of Michelin tires on other vehicles and they always perform well and last a nice long time. I'm running the stock size tire, which I think is 195/65 x 14.

John
sdp
What kind of driving do you do? That has to factor into the type of tire right?

I have a E90 and the Bridgestone runflats were great for handling but I wouldn't get more than 25K miles on them because they are so soft.
At about $300 a pop I switched to a harder rubber Bridgestone for longevity but it is non-runflat . The price was almost 1/2 the run-flats. The difference in performance is significant though.
It kind of scared me at first but I've become accustomed to them and how they handle. My days of hard cornering and racing around are over, so it didn't matter in the end.

We bought regular BF Goodrichs for the E30, but mainly because the front end suspension is so shot, the the tires wear out. He doesn't need performance to get to school.

I've always been happy with Michelin's though.

Peter



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2010 12:03AM by sdp.
rkj
Quote
sdp
What kind of driving do you do? That has to factor into the type of tire right?

I have a E90 and the Bridgestone runflats were great for handling but I wouldn't get more than 25K miles on them because they are so soft.
At about $300 a pop I switched to a harder rubber Bridgestone for longevity but it is non-runflat . The price was almost 1/2 the run-flats. The difference in performance is significant though.
It kind of scared me at first but I've become accustomed to them and how they handle. My days of hard cornering and racing around are over, so it didn't matter in the end.

We bought regular BF Goodrichs for the E30, but mainly because the front end suspension is so shot, the the tires wear out. He doesn't need performance to get to school.

I've always been happy with Michelin's though.

Peter

I've always been happy with the Michelin's too, but buying 14 inch tires are getting difficult even in the stock size 195x65x14. I got a set of harmony's a few months ago for Janet's E30 in the stock size.

Rick
Here's another thought. Since 14-inch tires are getting difficult to find these days, maybe consider going up or down a step in size. It may affect performance and/or gas mileage, but you'd have a bigger pool to choose from. On my non-E30 I have 195/60-14 Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position (Tire Rack has them), and they're fantastic in every way. (My wife's Mazda also has a set.) The problem is that they're 60s, not 65s, so the outside diameter would be about 0.8 inches too short. That may or may not be agreeable to you.

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
I made a decision. The negatives were somewhat mixed reviews.
The positives were somewhat mixed reviews, but also time frame and price played into it. Also, my current tire is supposed to be of a similar make/model, and I was happy with it.

So I went ahead and bought the 205/60R14 Falken Ziux ZE512. I'll have them balanced and mounted for a sum total of $376, and they will be on the car in time for yet another 600 mile trip in a week.

I decided that I don't see that much rain, living on the border of a desert and all, which was the primary complaint on the internet. Dry weather performance appears to be great from all reports. Tread ware came in a close second in complaints, but I care a bit less about that, since I'll be switching to studded tires in the fall. If I can get two more summers out of my car, I'll be pleased smiling smiley

If I don't report back in a few weeks on how it goes, and you're interested, make a comment here to jog my memory smiling smiley

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1989 - E30 - M20 - Manual. Approximately 270,000 miles
2000 - E46 - M52TUB28 - Manual. Approximately 110,000 miles

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