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I just replaced my tires yesterday with the same: LRR Potenzas.

I was still running on my original Potenzas at 46,000 mi. The tech said they still had 5/32" tread left, but they had been making a "thrum-thrum" sound for a few months, and I recently noticed a drop in mpg. Both problems seem to have disappeared with the new tires.

The tech was impressed to hear that these were my original tires, because they've been replacing Prius tires at 20,000-25,000 mi. (By the way, this is an independent tire/suspension/brake shop, not a Toyota dealership.) The Potenzas are supposed to last 30,000 mi. He said he's heard the short life can be attributed to the low pressure recommended by Toyota, and he had heard 41 psi was a good idea. I said I have always kept my tires between 40-42 psi, and I also believe this helped them last so long.

He said the new Potenzas would usually cost $350, but I got a special deal: $250 with free balance/alignment.

If you put 4,000 mi on your car every month, and if you could get 46,000 mi at 41 psi, you would only have to replace your tires once a year. I think $350 per year seems like a reasonable cost to get the better gas mileage, based on your estimate of an extra $600 per year at the lower mileage.

(Note: If you use other tires, be careful about over-inflation. The LRR Potenzas are rated "extra load", so they can take a max cold inflation of 50 psi. Therefore, I feel safe over-inflating them to 41 psi, but normal tires aren't rated so high.)

Douglas (2002 Silver, Wisconsin, USA)
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