TireTalk Forum: Where the rubber meets the road

Consumer Reports News: April 23, 2007 09:14 PM

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Since we never get tired of talking about tires, we thought we'd help you find everything you always wanted to know about tires and CR's tire coverage. This is designed to be enTIREly comprehensive.

How to find the TireTalk forum
(available to ConsumerReports.org subscribers only)

  • From the CR's Cars main page, click on the Forums link. TireTalk is one of the top green links; the color indicates that this is a premium forum for subscribers only.
  • From anywhere in the Cars section of ConsumerReports.org, you can also go to the Tires section by using the dark blue horizontal navigation bar. TireTalk can be found underneath the three featured tests on the top left side.
  • Better yet, bookmark our main Cars forum pages so you'll always be one click away from talking cars with our staff experts and fellow readers.

Now let's talk tires
This forum has over 5,500 discussions on tires, where you can ask advice or share an experience if you are an online subscriber, or read various discussions if you are non-subscriber. It's a fascinating site covering questions on practically anything related to tires. You can get some direct advice from the CR tire test engineers, the CR moderator, and from some very savvy forum regulars. There are also links on the left side of the page, under "Related Information," for more on CR's comprehensive tire test ratings to aid research and fuel discussion.

Some of the questions and discussions are truly unique, such as how well do winter tires work at temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees below zero; which, naturally, leads to the question of will the car even operate at these outrageously cold temperatures. And there also was the forum user who discussed how useful snow tire chains are when traveling through the difficult terrain of the Panama rainforest.

Most of the questions are pretty mainstream and offer a barometer of what's happening in the trenches for consumers when comes to tires. Here, CR tire test engineers learned first-hand of some of the quick wearing performance tires that we recommended, and as a result CR now does vehicle road test wear evaluations to provide tread life ratings. We, that is, the tire test engineers, witnessed the complaints of fast wearing runflat tires on Toyota Sienna AWD models, so we're now in the midst of a wear test program to share first-hand information that we'll write about in future blogs.

We also learned that consumers are not often aware that their new cars may come with runflat tires on it and don't have a spare tire; that the car has summer performance tire that offer virtually no grip in cold wintry weather; or the performance tires on their new family sedan will wear out quicker and are more expensive to replace than the tires on their previous car. Tire technology is changing to keep pace with new cars, and we keep on top of all the news and latest products in the industry.

We also recognize that tires are more expensive to buy; come in larger wheel sizes; and have higher speed rating grip and cornering limits. These innovations allow cars to handle safely and securely at levels your old car (and tires) couldn't match. Our advice when buying a new vehicle: Ask about the standard tires and tire options available to be sure you get what you need.

CR tire engineers are always perplexed by how some consumers will buy an expensive car or SUV and then when it comes time to purchase replacement tires will quibble about tire cost and even consider using lower speed rated tires than recommended just to save a few bucks.

Remember: Tires are the only thing between you and the road. The wrong tire can make a good car perform badly. Don't get caught. Use CR's information on how to choose a tire, read our test reports, and ask questions on TireTalk. We'll see you there.

-- Gene Petersen   

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