Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

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dm200
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Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am

In the past, we have usually purchased higher quality (and more expensive) tires. Now, however, with us (DW and I) driving only about 5,000 miles per year on each of our older (a 2003 and a 2007) Toyotas, I wonder if we would now be just as well to buy somewhat lower priced tires.

Thoughts? Experience?

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by KlangFool » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:45 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am
In the past, we have usually purchased higher quality (and more expensive) tires. Now, however, with us (DW and I) driving only about 5,000 miles per year on each of our older (a 2003 and a 2007) Toyotas, I wonder if we would now be just as well to buy somewhat lower priced tires.

Thoughts? Experience?
dm200,

Your life is worth more than that little bit of savings. Your net worth is high enough that this is penny-pinching for no reason.

KlangFool

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:47 am

Brand spanking new set of Michelin Defenders with that "new rubber smell" from Cosco? :shock:

j :D
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Cyclesafe » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:50 am

Buy tires that will have plenty of tread life remaining when you sell your vehicle. That way, you'll benefit from a safer drive and the State will not force you to buy new (cheap, presumably) tires for a buyer when the vehicle is being inspected for sale.
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by midareff » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:00 am

Since the life you save may be your own I'd go with nothing but top premium tires. Prefer Michelin myself.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by smitcat » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:03 am

When not putting much mileage on we buy good tires and keep them away from UV as best we can for better life.
At 5K miles per year you could be replacing them due to time not mileage.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by mmmodem » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:14 am

I can see why one would assume cheaper tires are less safe. But you can make the same argument for buying a Toyota instead of a Lexus. Same with buying used versus new. I don't agree with this argument. I'm not putting my family at any more danger buying a cheaper tire brand than I am buying a used car instead of a hulking gas guzzling luxury SUV.

I usually purchase the cheaper tires rather than the brand name just like at the grocery store. Fact is, some of the lower cost tires are actually a cheaper brand from the major manufacturer. Michelin doesn't just make Michelin tires. I've purchase Uniroyal and Riken brand tires, which are Michelin tires. All tires in the US have to undergo strict testing to be sold here. I'm not advocating buying a tire brand with no track record or from a suspect company. Just do your research and buy tires from reliable sources.

At some point in my life store brand became acceptable at the grocery store and not automatically regarded as low quality. I don't know if low cost tires will ever make that transition.

Allow me paraphrase the next reply to this thread.
"Tires are the only thing making contact between your car and the pavement. Don't risk your life to save a few bucks. It's penny wise pound foolish."

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by runner3081 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:26 am

Buy the store brand at Les Schwab/Discount Tire/etc.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by TN_Boy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:27 am

mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:14 am
I can see why one would assume cheaper tires are less safe. But you can make the same argument for buying a Toyota instead of a Lexus. Same with buying used versus new. I don't agree with this argument. I'm not putting my family at any more danger buying a cheaper tire brand than I am buying a used car instead of a hulking gas guzzling luxury SUV.

I usually purchase the cheaper tires rather than the brand name just like at the grocery store. Fact is, some of the lower cost tires are actually a cheaper brand from the major manufacturer. Michelin doesn't just make Michelin tires. I've purchase Uniroyal and Riken brand tires, which are Michelin tires. All tires in the US have to undergo strict testing to be sold here. I'm not advocating buying a tire brand with no track record or from a suspect company. Just do your research and buy tires from reliable sources.

At some point in my life store brand became acceptable at the grocery store and not automatically regarded as low quality. I don't know if low cost tires will ever make that transition.

Allow me paraphrase the next reply to this thread.
"Tires are the only thing making contact between your car and the pavement. Don't risk your life to save a few bucks. It's penny wise pound foolish."
I think the difference in safety is probably not huge for a car driven at legal speeds (especially on secondary roads, not zipping down the interstate at 70+).

That said, the difference in stopping distance under wet conditions between a lousy cheap tire and a good one -- both with plenty of tread -- might suddenly become interesting if you were about to hit something. Though again, at 30 to 45 mph, I don't think the difference would be huge.

I think the best way to maximize your changes of getting in an accident :-) is to drive tires down until the state inspection tells you to get new tires! I'm a BHer! I get my money's worth and I drive carefully! The difference in stopping distance under wet conditions between a new tire and a worn tire is a big deal.

The flip side is that over a car's lifetime, the difference between lousy and "good" tires is not an amount of money that makes me want to buy cheap tires. So I buy tires that reviews indicate have good traction. And replace them before they are too worn.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:27 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:47 am
Brand spanking new set of Michelin Defenders with that "new rubber smell" from Cosco? :shock:

j :D
My last set of tires literally dry rotted drive so infrequently; only about 4,000 miles a year on my 2001 Civic. I really like the Defenders and unlike some tires, they aren't noisy. I got mine at Discount Tires and could not have been happier with the service.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:28 am

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:45 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am
In the past, we have usually purchased higher quality (and more expensive) tires. Now, however, with us (DW and I) driving only about 5,000 miles per year on each of our older (a 2003 and a 2007) Toyotas, I wonder if we would now be just as well to buy somewhat lower priced tires.
Thoughts? Experience?
dm200,
Your life is worth more than that little bit of savings. Your net worth is high enough that this is penny-pinching for no reason.
KlangFool
Thanks. It seems, as well, that the higher quality tires may not actually cost that much more either.
When not putting much mileage on we buy good tires and keep them away from UV as best we can for better life.
At 5K miles per year you could be replacing them due to time not mileage.
Yes - could be the case. I presume, though, that it may be true that the higher quality/price tires may be safe for a longer time.
Brand spanking new set of Michelin Defenders with that "new rubber smell" from Cosco? :shock:
Earlier last year, in early 2019, when our previous 2002 Camry needed two new tires, we also put on Costco Defenders. Unfortunately, that 2002 Camry was totaled in late 2019 when another driver slammed into the car. State Farm determined that the repair costs were more than 75% of the car "value" - so they deemed it "totaled" and sent us a check for about $4,400 - value of $4,200 plus sales tax. In addition to those two Defenders, we had also replaced the timing belt and water pump.
Buy tires that will have plenty of tread life remaining when you sell your vehicle. That way, you'll benefit from a safer drive and the State will not force you to buy new (cheap, presumably) tires for a buyer when the vehicle is being inspected for sale.
Good point - I had not considered this aspect. On the 2003 Corolla I just bought last month, I notice that the front tires are older - with a lot of wear, but the rear tires are new - probably some low cost ones.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Kenkat » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:29 am

General Altimax RT43. Highly rated, good price as compared to other premium brands.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:29 am

I've good luck with Milestar M932 tires for passenger cars.

I buy them at Walmart or online and have them mounted/balanced at a local shop. Save ~50% over top of the line and hard riding Michelin tires.
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:31 am

Mr. Rumples wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:27 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:47 am
Brand spanking new set of Michelin Defenders with that "new rubber smell" from Cosco? :shock:
j :D
My last set of tires literally dry rotted drive so infrequently; only about 4,000 miles a year on my 2001 Civic. I really like the Defenders and unlike some tires, they aren't noisy. I got mine at Discount Tires and could not have been happier with the service.
For the last several years, I notice that Michelin Defenders are in the Costco model rotation for a discount ($110 as I recall) for buying four tires. Costco did change the other tire model in this sale rotation.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dknightd » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:32 am

KlangFool wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:45 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am
In the past, we have usually purchased higher quality (and more expensive) tires. Now, however, with us (DW and I) driving only about 5,000 miles per year on each of our older (a 2003 and a 2007) Toyotas, I wonder if we would now be just as well to buy somewhat lower priced tires.

Thoughts? Experience?
dm200,

Your life is worth more than that little bit of savings. Your net worth is high enough that this is penny-pinching for no reason.

KlangFool
yep

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by smitcat » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:37 am

mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:14 am
I can see why one would assume cheaper tires are less safe. But you can make the same argument for buying a Toyota instead of a Lexus. Same with buying used versus new. I don't agree with this argument. I'm not putting my family at any more danger buying a cheaper tire brand than I am buying a used car instead of a hulking gas guzzling luxury SUV.

I usually purchase the cheaper tires rather than the brand name just like at the grocery store. Fact is, some of the lower cost tires are actually a cheaper brand from the major manufacturer. Michelin doesn't just make Michelin tires. I've purchase Uniroyal and Riken brand tires, which are Michelin tires. All tires in the US have to undergo strict testing to be sold here. I'm not advocating buying a tire brand with no track record or from a suspect company. Just do your research and buy tires from reliable sources.

At some point in my life store brand became acceptable at the grocery store and not automatically regarded as low quality. I don't know if low cost tires will ever make that transition.

Allow me paraphrase the next reply to this thread.
"Tires are the only thing making contact between your car and the pavement. Don't risk your life to save a few bucks. It's penny wise pound foolish."
'I can see why one would assume cheaper tires are less safe."
They may not be that is why it is important to read the tests and the reviews on the tires you are selecting.

"All tires in the US have to undergo strict testing to be sold here."
Which did you buy? How did they test?

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:39 am

I am all for safety - including tires.
HOWEVER, objectively, how big is the safety difference between the best tires and the worst?
Or, between new tires and older, very well worn down (but still acceptable) tread?

In my almost 60 years of driving, I have never experienced a safety issue relating to tires, not has my wife (about 50 years). I do not recall ever hearing anyone I know having a safety issue with tires either. I also know that during all of my driving years that there are a lot of well worn and older tires out there on the road. I also see a lot of advertised "used" tires as well.

From time to time, over the decades, we have experience the occasional flat tire (such as a nail) - but never have we experienced a tire falling apart.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by ThankYouJack » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:44 am

I'm in a similar position with one of my cars. I didn't want to spend $900 on Michellins since I only drive it a few thousand miles a year. So I put Kumho Crugen on it. Got them for about ~$100 / tire on tire rack.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Spirit Rider » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:52 am

As has been pointed out, the tire material degrades over time. This has been well studied. The time is decreased by environmental factors such as temperature extremes and UV exposure. Tires can degrade to unsafe levels in as little as 6 - 8 years or be relatively safe 10 - 12 years.

The time spent outside vs. garaged matters. Most people with garages do this wrong. Especially when retired and not forced to leave the car in a work parking lot for 8+ hours a day. They seldom put the car in the garage except at night. When it is most important to garage the car during the day. This is also important for the car's paint.

The other significant factor in a tire's safe life expectancy is the quality of the tire material. Like in many other products, it may be more cost-effective to buy a better quality product

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by carolinaman » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:56 am

Specific tires tend to be optimal for one of several different things: safety, mileage, comfort, quietness. My primary concern is safety and that is why I buy Michelin and have for many years. They are always highly rated for safety. I am convinced I avoided two accidents in last 10 years because of the superior handling and stopping power of these tires. I do not buy the argument that all tires are about the same concerning safety.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm

carolinaman wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:56 am
Specific tires tend to be optimal for different things: safety, mileage, comfort, quietness. My primary concern is safety and that is why I buy Michelin and have for many years. They are always highly rated for safety. I am convinced I avoided two accidents in last 10 years because of the superior handling and stopping power of these tires. I do not buy the argument that all tires are about the same concerning safety.
Thanks.

My first cars were before radial tires. I am sure today's radial tires are much safer than the old "bias ply" ones! In recent decades, I have not noticed much driving difference when replacing tires. Back, decades ago, though, I recall on one of my cars - a huge handling improvement when I replaced all four radial tires.

With all of the car safety and testing going on now, it seems like there would be some objective testing or statistics on tire safety.

As previously discussed on another thread, there are some significant differences in tire tread depth requirements from one state to another. OBJECTIVELY, I wonder if safety if better in those states or not? I also wonder how many vehicles need new tires because the current tires fail safety inspection? Here in Virginia, the Governor is advocating to get rid of state safety inspections. [We cannot discuss this due to forum rules.]

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by mmmodem » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm

TN_Boy wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:27 am
mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:14 am
I can see why one would assume cheaper tires are less safe. But you can make the same argument for buying a Toyota instead of a Lexus. Same with buying used versus new. I don't agree with this argument. I'm not putting my family at any more danger buying a cheaper tire brand than I am buying a used car instead of a hulking gas guzzling luxury SUV.

I usually purchase the cheaper tires rather than the brand name just like at the grocery store. Fact is, some of the lower cost tires are actually a cheaper brand from the major manufacturer. Michelin doesn't just make Michelin tires. I've purchase Uniroyal and Riken brand tires, which are Michelin tires. All tires in the US have to undergo strict testing to be sold here. I'm not advocating buying a tire brand with no track record or from a suspect company. Just do your research and buy tires from reliable sources.

At some point in my life store brand became acceptable at the grocery store and not automatically regarded as low quality. I don't know if low cost tires will ever make that transition.

Allow me paraphrase the next reply to this thread.
"Tires are the only thing making contact between your car and the pavement. Don't risk your life to save a few bucks. It's penny wise pound foolish."
I think the difference in safety is probably not huge for a car driven at legal speeds (especially on secondary roads, not zipping down the interstate at 70+).

That said, the difference in stopping distance under wet conditions between a lousy cheap tire and a good one -- both with plenty of tread -- might suddenly become interesting if you were about to hit something. Though again, at 30 to 45 mph, I don't think the difference would be huge.

I think the best way to maximize your changes of getting in an accident :-) is to drive tires down until the state inspection tells you to get new tires! I'm a BHer! I get my money's worth and I drive carefully! The difference in stopping distance under wet conditions between a new tire and a worn tire is a big deal.

The flip side is that over a car's lifetime, the difference between lousy and "good" tires is not an amount of money that makes me want to buy cheap tires. So I buy tires that reviews indicate have good traction. And replace them before they are too worn.
Unfortunately, tires like life is a set of compromises. If you want the best 70+ mph performance, you buy a Z rated tire. A no name Z rated tire would perform better in dry weather vs a Michelin H rated tire. Conversely, if you want good stopping distance, a balding tire may stop better in the dry than brand new Michelin Defenders. But in the wet the new tires would perform better. It all depends on the conditions of the road. The best winter tires are absolute garbage in summer.

Being a Boglehead, I look at this way. I can buy brand new Michelin Defenders with 80k mile warranty or I can buy Riken tires for 50% the cost. They last only 40k miles. Because I drive very little I will have used up these tires in 4 years. The Michelin only has 40k on it. Meanwhile I buy another set of brand new Rikens with the latest tire technology that now outperforms the old Michelin Defensders. After 6 years, I can have 2 year Rikens with plenty of tread or I can question whether I want to keep driving on 6 year old Michelins or spend more money.

If the difference were a few bucks, I wouldn't advocate for buying value in tires. We're talking $400 or $600 - 800 for a set of tires installed. Performance and stopping distance is not at issue here as I already explained. It's perception and marketing in my opinion.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:09 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am
In the past, we have usually purchased higher quality (and more expensive) tires. Now, however, with us (DW and I) driving only about 5,000 miles per year on each of our older (a 2003 and a 2007) Toyotas, I wonder if we would now be just as well to buy somewhat lower priced tires.

Thoughts? Experience?
Tirerack.com for Korean Tires (Kumho, Hankok) or budget Japanese tires (Yokohoma). All these are good tires but cheaper than French and American tires.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:11 pm

Yes - many "dimensions" of tires and tire safety.

I recall that when I owned a 2005 Mazda 3, the same type replacement tires were quite expensive - and I did not get a lot of miles on the originals. When I asked, I was told that the car had "High Performance" tires - which meant (to me) that the tires lasted half as long and cost twice as much!!

I had thought that these "High Performance" tires were required for safe driving. BUT - later in that car's life, someone else (who acted like they knew what they were talking about) said that regular type tires were just fine - so that is what I got.

From that "experience", I now know to check out the type(s) of tires required on any car I buy.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm

Ah. The whole "I spent a lot on tires for my family's safety" fallacy is a bit tiresome. It ain't what you don't know that gets you. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

If you want safety, buy a tire well suited for the conditions you're going to drive under. This includes buying winter tires if it gets cold where you live and tires with a high-speed rating if you track the car, and check the load rating if you tow or load bricks in the back of your farm truck. The traction rating is also worth knowing. Keep them properly inflated, inspect them periodically, and don't drive them beyond manufacturers' recommended replacement point. It is not, however, necessary to buy expensive tires. I assure you that a mid-grade winter tire will beat the pants off a top of the line all season when it's 10 degrees F out. There is no such thing as a universally better tire regardless of how much you spend.

For a car that is seldom used, prefer a design with a lower treadwear rating. These will sometimes but not always be cheaper. In particular at the extreme end, since high-performance tires typically have low treadwear ratings. But it may have better characteristics in other ways such as a softer compound.

https://www.radialtireservice.com/guide ... nd-ratings
Last edited by whodidntante on Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:24 pm

If the difference were a few bucks, I wouldn't advocate for buying value in tires. We're talking $400 or $600 - 800 for a set of tires installed. Performance and stopping distance is not at issue here as I already explained. It's perception and marketing in my opinion.
Fortunately, it seems that when we need new tires, we can get good/high quality ones for less than this much cost difference.

I don't "know" either, but, like so many other aspects of life, "perception and marketing" can be big.

I once worked for a MegaCorp (computer/IT industry) at a time when that MegaCorp's marketing/sales/perception gave us a huge financial benefit. Then, a decade or two later, I worked for a major competitor of that MegaCorp. What a contrast and difference - seeing (with 20/20 hindsight) that the original MegaCorp's advantage was mostly not "objective" -- but rather marketing/sales/perception. The original MegaCorp depended a lot on pitching "FUD" (fear, uncertainty and doubt) - such as "Nobody ever lost their job because they bought a Original MegaCorp computer." At the Original MegaCorp, my job was in System programming - and not in sales and marketing. One of my coworkers moved from this system programming area to the sales/marketing side of the business. One time, she came back to visit us in her old department. She related that in attending one of her first meeting there, there was some announcement or statement on some issue -- and she laughed out loud because she knew it was nonsense. She was the only one laughing - and that the sales/marketing folks actually believed this crap.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:28 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm
Ah. The whole "I spent a lot on tires for my family's safety" fallacy is a bit tiresome. It ain't what you don't know that gets you. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
If you want safety, buy a tire well suited for the conditions you're going to drive under. This includes buying winter tires if it gets cold where you live and tires with a high-speed rating if you track the car, and check the load rating if you tow or load bricks in the back of your farm truck. The traction rating is also worth knowing. Keep them properly inflated, inspect them periodically, and don't drive them beyond manufacturers' recommended replacement point. It is not, however, necessary to buy expensive tires. I assure you that a mid-grade winter tire will beat the pants off a top of the line all season when it's 10 degrees F out. There is no such thing as a universally better tire regardless of how much you spend.
For a car that is seldom used, prefer a design with a lower treadwear rating. These will sometimes but not always be cheaper. In particular at the extreme end, since high-performance tires typically have low treadwear ratings. But it may have better characteristics in other ways such as a softer compound.
I originally lived in the snowy Northeast US - got well over 100" of snow each winter and everyone put on snow tires every winter. Then, moved to a less snowy area - but still the occasional heavy snowfall. In all those decades, I never used snow tires - just all weather, high quality, radial tires - and most cars with front wheel drive. For many years, we did take an annual trip to the snowy areas - and even in lots of snow - we were always fine with the front wheel drive and all weather radials.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by lazydavid » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:40 pm

dknightd wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:32 am
KlangFool wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:45 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am
In the past, we have usually purchased higher quality (and more expensive) tires. Now, however, with us (DW and I) driving only about 5,000 miles per year on each of our older (a 2003 and a 2007) Toyotas, I wonder if we would now be just as well to buy somewhat lower priced tires.

Thoughts? Experience?
dm200,

Your life is worth more than that little bit of savings. Your net worth is high enough that this is penny-pinching for no reason.

KlangFool
yep
Doesn't have to be either/or. In this situation, one could look for less-expensive tires with very good ratings for traction/handling, but poor treadwear rating. The tread life doesn't really matter because they're going to be binned by 30k due to age anyway.

I made a random guess that the 2003 Toyota was a Camry LE, so one good such option would be Vredestein Quatrac 5. Rated significantly higher than the Michelin Premier A/S in every category, and 30% cheaper.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by btenny » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:51 pm

I have a 1999 Jeep Grand Charokee that I use about 2K miles per year. So not much. The car is old but runs great and only has 120K miles. Back in 2017 I put on new Michelin tires and new head lights (old ones fogged) for safety reasons. These updates cost me maybe $900 (not sure). I could have done it cheaper for maybe $500 but why?
I use this car to tow a big boat in summer and drive in snowy conditions in the winter. So good tires and good visibility are important. Plus in this case the Michelins really ride softer and have great traction on ice and snow. So saving a little seemed wrong.

So I suggest getting the better tires.

Good Luck.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dknightd » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:53 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm
a huge handling improvement when I replaced all four radial tires.
need I say more? Improved handling is not a bad thing!

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dm200
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:54 pm

I made a random guess that the 2003 Toyota was a Camry LE, so one good such option would be Vredestein Quatrac 5. Rated significantly higher than the Michelin Premier A/S in every category, and 30% cheaper.
Not quite - a 2003 Corolla "S". Our other car (2007 Camry LE) is our primary travel car, so the Corolla is primarily my driving around locally car.

I will have to take a look at the brand of the new rear tires, as well as the age of the front ones. My guess is that there is 1-2 years of wear left on the front tires.

Yes - I also agree with another post that high safety and low tread wear new tires can make a lot of sense.

My wife is big on tire safety and not trying to get that last and ultimate 100 miles before replacing them.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:55 pm

dknightd wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:53 pm
dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm
a huge handling improvement when I replaced all four radial tires.
need I say more? Improved handling is not a bad thing!
Right, But the point I was trying to make is that in recent years, on other cars, I have never noticed such a big handling change.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by sport » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:02 pm

Costco currently has two tire specials:
Save $149.92 on four Michelins and save $110 on four B F Goodrich tires.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dknightd » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:10 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:55 pm
dknightd wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:53 pm
dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm
a huge handling improvement when I replaced all four radial tires.
need I say more? Improved handling is not a bad thing!
Right, But the point I was trying to make is that in recent years, on other cars, I have never noticed such a big handling change.
probably since you are driving like a GranDaddy :) Replace your tires when you like. I like to over spend on tires. Tires do get old. I should probably spend some money on new tires.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by whodidntante » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:11 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:28 pm
whodidntante wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:22 pm
Ah. The whole "I spent a lot on tires for my family's safety" fallacy is a bit tiresome. It ain't what you don't know that gets you. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
If you want safety, buy a tire well suited for the conditions you're going to drive under. This includes buying winter tires if it gets cold where you live and tires with a high-speed rating if you track the car, and check the load rating if you tow or load bricks in the back of your farm truck. The traction rating is also worth knowing. Keep them properly inflated, inspect them periodically, and don't drive them beyond manufacturers' recommended replacement point. It is not, however, necessary to buy expensive tires. I assure you that a mid-grade winter tire will beat the pants off a top of the line all season when it's 10 degrees F out. There is no such thing as a universally better tire regardless of how much you spend.
For a car that is seldom used, prefer a design with a lower treadwear rating. These will sometimes but not always be cheaper. In particular at the extreme end, since high-performance tires typically have low treadwear ratings. But it may have better characteristics in other ways such as a softer compound.
I originally lived in the snowy Northeast US - got well over 100" of snow each winter and everyone put on snow tires every winter. Then, moved to a less snowy area - but still the occasional heavy snowfall. In all those decades, I never used snow tires - just all weather, high quality, radial tires - and most cars with front wheel drive. For many years, we did take an annual trip to the snowy areas - and even in lots of snow - we were always fine with the front wheel drive and all weather radials.
Winter tires perform well in cold conditions due to the soft compound. My all seasons get really sketchy in cold weather even if the road is mostly dry. The traction is obviously worse even without a flake of snow.

The kind of cold I'm talking about mostly occurs in the middle of the USA, Alaska, and Canada. It's not as much an issue at the coasts.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by greenbldg2 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:43 pm

I recently put cheap tires on my old truck since I did not want tires worth more than the truck itself. 4 tires at $65 each with free shipping. $282 total. See Milestar tires on Amazon. I was leery of buying tires on Amazon but it turned out to be a great deal.

Originally I was going to pay more than that for only 2 tires from Firestone. Truck is driven <1k per year.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:51 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:55 pm
dknightd wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:53 pm
dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm
a huge handling improvement when I replaced all four radial tires.
need I say more? Improved handling is not a bad thing!
Right, But the point I was trying to make is that in recent years, on other cars, I have never noticed such a big handling change.
The handling differences between tires (assuming similar size/type) only becomes apparent as one approaches the limit of adhesion. Tire A might stop your car from 60 in 150 feet and Tire B might stop it in 130 feet, but unless you are do a full blown panic stop on the freeway, you won't see any difference.

That said, I think most larger name brand tires are reasonably safe. You don't HAVE to buy Michelins (nor are Michelins necessarily the highest performing tire in all use cases or sizes). What I wouldn't do is buy any of the total no-name Chinese tires that often go for less than $50/tire. Some may be ok, but others are scary bad in terms of handling. Kumhos are a reasonable compromise if you want a cheap tire that handles within acceptable limits.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by 123 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:01 pm

For all the hassles of getting new tires including arranging for installation (and waiting) and likely getting a wheel alignment (could be same place as tires or elsewhere) we generally go for the best reasonable quality tire (Michelin Defender) even though we drive low miles. I guess part of my reasoning is that I once had a low-speed OEM tire blow-out failure with a newer car on a busy freeway at rush-hour and I don't want to come close to that experience again.
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:20 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:29 am
I've good luck with Milestar M932 tires for passenger cars.

I buy them at Walmart or online and have them mounted/balanced at a local shop. Save ~50% over top of the line and hard riding Michelin tires.
These might be a great choice for the OP, who drives very little. These cheap Chinese tires have been invading the US recently. Their Patagonia line for offroading has really taken off. I see them often on the trails even though the tread pattern is pretty inferior to well known mud terrain tires. Gotta admit...they are cheap.
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Swansea » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:38 pm

Go to TireRack.com and use their tire selector guide. You can enter mileage, price, wet traction, etc.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by T4REngineer » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:10 pm

Whether its on a financial forum or car forum I love Tire and Oil questions - brings out the best in people

I would not consider the brand of tire a major concern assuming its well established. What is far more important is tire maintenance and driving for the conditions

With that said, We have high performance summer tires and winter tires because as it was mentioned above there is no such thing as a tire that can do everything well. I have no issues that you are able to get through snow and ice on all seasons with RWD but no one disputes that winter tires perform better than all seasons in certain conditions and we have chosen to maximize in that area. No tire replaces good judgement and you can not control others on the road so common sense goes along way in improving safety.

We all have little "ticks" - so I am a tire snob, yet I take most of the guarding off my table and circular saws - a risk many would say is irresponsible yet in this same brain I refuse to get under a car without two layers of crush protection. I am not about to judge or blame someone who gets all season tires now if your cords are showing, the rubber splitting or extremely over or underinflated - then yes that is not responsible behavior and I wish society had a harsher response/people respected the effects that those things can have on innocent bystanders.

Is this a main vehicle driven in all conditions or a 3rd junker truck that is used for intown home depot runs in Arizona? - Don't care about the answer just highlighting there is no right answer just like everyone has there own retirement number or asset allocation that they sleep good with.

Final note tire $ does not always have a correlation to performance

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by TN_Boy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:20 pm

mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:05 pm
TN_Boy wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:27 am
mmmodem wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:14 am
I can see why one would assume cheaper tires are less safe. But you can make the same argument for buying a Toyota instead of a Lexus. Same with buying used versus new. I don't agree with this argument. I'm not putting my family at any more danger buying a cheaper tire brand than I am buying a used car instead of a hulking gas guzzling luxury SUV.

I usually purchase the cheaper tires rather than the brand name just like at the grocery store. Fact is, some of the lower cost tires are actually a cheaper brand from the major manufacturer. Michelin doesn't just make Michelin tires. I've purchase Uniroyal and Riken brand tires, which are Michelin tires. All tires in the US have to undergo strict testing to be sold here. I'm not advocating buying a tire brand with no track record or from a suspect company. Just do your research and buy tires from reliable sources.

At some point in my life store brand became acceptable at the grocery store and not automatically regarded as low quality. I don't know if low cost tires will ever make that transition.

Allow me paraphrase the next reply to this thread.
"Tires are the only thing making contact between your car and the pavement. Don't risk your life to save a few bucks. It's penny wise pound foolish."
I think the difference in safety is probably not huge for a car driven at legal speeds (especially on secondary roads, not zipping down the interstate at 70+).

That said, the difference in stopping distance under wet conditions between a lousy cheap tire and a good one -- both with plenty of tread -- might suddenly become interesting if you were about to hit something. Though again, at 30 to 45 mph, I don't think the difference would be huge.

I think the best way to maximize your changes of getting in an accident :-) is to drive tires down until the state inspection tells you to get new tires! I'm a BHer! I get my money's worth and I drive carefully! The difference in stopping distance under wet conditions between a new tire and a worn tire is a big deal.

The flip side is that over a car's lifetime, the difference between lousy and "good" tires is not an amount of money that makes me want to buy cheap tires. So I buy tires that reviews indicate have good traction. And replace them before they are too worn.
Unfortunately, tires like life is a set of compromises. If you want the best 70+ mph performance, you buy a Z rated tire. A no name Z rated tire would perform better in dry weather vs a Michelin H rated tire. Conversely, if you want good stopping distance, a balding tire may stop better in the dry than brand new Michelin Defenders. But in the wet the new tires would perform better. It all depends on the conditions of the road. The best winter tires are absolute garbage in summer.

Being a Boglehead, I look at this way. I can buy brand new Michelin Defenders with 80k mile warranty or I can buy Riken tires for 50% the cost. They last only 40k miles. Because I drive very little I will have used up these tires in 4 years. The Michelin only has 40k on it. Meanwhile I buy another set of brand new Rikens with the latest tire technology that now outperforms the old Michelin Defensders. After 6 years, I can have 2 year Rikens with plenty of tread or I can question whether I want to keep driving on 6 year old Michelins or spend more money.

If the difference were a few bucks, I wouldn't advocate for buying value in tires. We're talking $400 or $600 - 800 for a set of tires installed. Performance and stopping distance is not at issue here as I already explained. It's perception and marketing in my opinion.
I didn't understand the point of your comment about bald tires doing better in dry conditions. Sure, that's true, but obviously driving around on bald tires is stupid, since it does rain. So you want tread on your tires.

The only tire safety thing I worry about much is wet stopping and cornering.

I believe there can be noticeable differences in those two metrics between lousy tires and good tires, even when both are new. Though as I said, at lower speeds the differences become slight. If you do a lot of highway driving in bad weather, I think it makes sense to care about your tires. My spouse and I both still drive a fair number of miles, in varying weather conditions.

I don't agree that it is all perception and marketing. Some of it probably is.

Keeping a lot of tread on your tires is the "safest" thing to do. A lot of people don't do that.

Costs are important, though an extra $200 or $300 every 3 to 4 years [edited to clarify] for better tires doesn't matter to me.
Last edited by TN_Boy on Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by dm200 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:19 pm

I didn't understand the point of your comment about bald tires doing better in dry conditions. Sure, that's true, but obviously driving around on bald tires is stupid, since it does rain. So you want tread on your tires.
No expert - but I think there are two main risks of driving on bald tires:
1. Lack of traction/control in many or most circumstances.
2. Risk of wearing through the whole tire and it falls apart

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by rj342 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:29 pm

I have wondered about this too, for my 21yo street-only 1999 F-150 with only 139k miles on it.
Have always put Michelins on it, but I am looking at this latest set starting to dry rot while still having a lot of tread left.
I have run into this in other areas, where it's the years sometimes and not the miles.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by TN_Boy » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:46 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:19 pm
I didn't understand the point of your comment about bald tires doing better in dry conditions. Sure, that's true, but obviously driving around on bald tires is stupid, since it does rain. So you want tread on your tires.
No expert - but I think there are two main risks of driving on bald tires:
1. Lack of traction/control in many or most circumstances.
2. Risk of wearing through the whole tire and it falls apart
I don't how worn a tire has to get before it becomes a great risk of "blowing out" or just going flat. I've not seen any articles on this (would be hard to actually test).

I'm past the days when I lacked the money or sense to buy new tires when needed :-)

It doesn't have to get super worn before wet traction is substantially reduced (I have seen car mags or Tire rack do such tests). Dry traction is likely to be fine.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:59 pm

One of our cars has "Lionhart" tires on it, from the ghetto tire shop down the street. They're fine. They roll a little hard, but sturdy as heck. They'll outlive the car. They were $90/tire.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by scifilover » Thu Feb 13, 2020 8:56 am

My 2009 Subaru Forester, which I purchased new in 2009, has about 42k miles. It is only used from April through October. The other 5 months the car sits in the garage in the PNW. I replaced the original factory tires in 2018. The car had 34k miles at that time. At 8 years old, the tires showed relatively little wear, but the car ride had deteriorated as the tires had become very hard. I bought new Michelin tires at Costco. I tend to think about tires on a cost per year basis. For about $100 a year, I get safe tires.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:19 am

On the subject of bald tires and "how long before a blowout", it would be a long, long time. In roadracing, tires are nearly bald when they're new. I remember ordering some BF Goodrich R compound tires and getting them mounted locally and hearing the techs yelling "who bought brand new bald tires?". Indeed, the more tread on the pavement, the better the traction and less squirm, thus better cornering. How long will bald tires last? The rules in every racing organization I ran with stated that the cords of the tires could not be showing. When did we get rid of tires? Either with the number of runs as they heat cycle a limited number of times, then harden too much for race use or until you see the cords after a session on the track.

So for your street tires, if you don't even see cords yet, you are at no real risk of a blowout. Of course we all understand that once there's any moisture under the tires, you want tread on them in order to channel water away and provide surface area that will touch the road.
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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by alfaspider » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:51 pm

Regarding bald tires: keep in mind there is a big difference between a bald run of the mill consumer tire and a race slick. They are made with very different rubber compounds and carcass designs. For the most part, a bald passenger car tire is NOT going to have good traction at all- even in the dry because once the tire has gotten to that point it is likely well past its useful life. The rubber has hardened and the tire very likely has very little traction under any condition.

A race slick will obviously have more grip in warm dry conditions than any passenger tire, but even the race slick won't have as much traction once it has worn down. Formula 1 drivers replace their tires WAY before they are about to fail- not because they are worried about early failure, but because the performance of the tire starts to drop off.

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Re: Tires for older, lower annual mileage cars?

Post by freckles01 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:41 pm

2009 nissan owner with 30K miles. had to change original tires because they deteriorated from age/uv rays.

bought costco Michelins and they are the BEST! i rarely drive but the tires make the ride SOOO much better!

i was going to go cheap originally but no regrets spending more to buy quality!

they are going to last for years so the difference spent between cheap and quality won't mean a blip.

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