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My '04 Prius is using the OEM tires

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Discussion Starter #1
The Prius comes with Goodyear Integrity tires. With users reporting over 7 million miles of use on the Tire Rack web site, it has one of the lowest scores of all tires. This comment from an '02 Camry owner is typical:

"This tire is dangerous in wet weather. Hydroplaning occurs at as low a speed as 50 miles per hour depending upon rain coditions. Traction in snow is only fair. Although I have only 30,000 miles on them, I am going to replace them. "

I was thinking of replacing them with either Falken ZE-512s (top rated by Consumer Reports), Michelin Hydroedge, or Bridgestone LS-H (second rated by Consumer Reports, but with some reports of flat spotting when parked).

All of these tires ride better, are quieter (as far as I can tell most noise comes from the tires), and handle much better than the Goodyear Integritys. Prices range grom $40/tire for the Falken to around $97/tire for the Michelin. Shipping and installation/balancing will add about $20/tire.

Has anyone else done this?
 

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Replacement Tires

DavidNJ,

I have a 2002 Prius, and the OEM Bridgestones were really bad. Just check the earlier posts on them. I replaced them with Michelin HydroEdges, and there is no comparison. I have about 8,000 miles on the Michelins, and they look new. The rears still have the molded numbers and ridges on the outer edges of the tread! The Bridgestones were pretty worn at 20,000 and never handled well. The Michelins stopped the wandering and looseness in the front end (although, it seems like I may have some front-end problems, too). Still, there was a definite difference in the stability of the Michelins over the OEM tires.

By the way, the wear rating on the Michelins is "780". I hope to be still running on them when the hybrid warranty runs out!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually, you probably will be running them when the warranty runs out. On a car the Prius' weight, they are probably good for 60-80,000 miles!!!

However, I think you will find that both the Falken ZE512, Bridgestone LS-H. and even the Michlen Harmony are smoother riding and quieter.

Tires like the Goodyear Integrity, Bridgestone TL42, and various Firestones are OEM specials: cost the manufacturer $10-15 each and serve as rim-protectors only---the ride and handle so poorly that their only function is to keep the metal wheel rim off the road.
 

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DavidNJ said:
Actually, you probably will be running them when the warranty runs out. On a car the Prius' weight, they are probably good for 60-80,000 miles!!!

However, I think you will find that both the Falken ZE512, Bridgestone LS-H. and even the Michlen Harmony are smoother riding and quieter.

Tires like the Goodyear Integrity, Bridgestone TL42, and various Firestones are OEM specials: cost the manufacturer $10-15 each and serve as rim-protectors only---the ride and handle so poorly that their only function is to keep the metal wheel rim off the road.
DavidNJ,
Good luck with your tire decision. I'm not an aggressive driver, so I can't say how well the Goodyear Integrity tires will perform when pushed exceptionally hard. However, I can say that I've been pleasantly surprised by the ride and handling these tires have provided during the first few months of ownership.
I drive in the rain--A LOT--and have not experienced any unusual hydroplaning tendencies. I've executed two serious emergency stops (both 50mph or below) since buying the car and quite handily avoided a collision both times. I drove my Prius through the mountains on snow and ice all winter and had to chain up only once--when traffic stopped dead on a rather steep, ice-covered bridge. (The surface was so slick even vehicles with 4-wheel drive AND snow tires were forced to chain up right beside me.) I would also say that, IMO, the road noise is not bad at all. I had a passenger in the car yesterday who repeatedly commented on the quiet and comfortable ride of the Prius.
I write this as a long-time subscriber to Consumer Reports and one who has made many purchases (including tires) based on their ratings.
Drive happy,
Moo :)
 

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DavidNJ said:
Tires like the Goodyear Integrity, Bridgestone TL42, and various Firestones are OEM specials: cost the manufacturer $10-15 each and serve as rim-protectors only---the ride and handle so poorly that their only function is to keep the metal wheel rim off the road.
Original equipment tires commonly have one other characteristic -- low rolling resistance to improve fuel economy. That is likely the reason that many cars come with Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus tires (car companies probably get a much better deal than a typical person buying them as replacement tires, since they are expensive as replacement tires). The Continental CH95 (which has "EcoPlus" written on the side) and Goodyear Eagle LS are also low rolling resistance tires commonly found as original equipment.

So it is entirely possible that you may find a slight decrease in fuel economy with replacement tires, unless you choose a tire with low rolling resistance. (That November 2003 Consumer Reports article did list rolling resistance ratings of the tires tested.)
 

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I'm sure that there all better tires out, but I've also been impressed with how the Goodyear's handle. I've only got about 3,000 on them, but did have one emergency stop from about 70 MPH on dry pavement. It stopped fast and handled very well. I don't think I got into the ABS, but wasn't watching the dash for the icon. I always felt like I was in control, much better than everyone skiding all around me. Better tires would probably have gotten me rear-ended. :lol:
 
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Integrity Tires

I heard from a reliable source that the Goodyear name on those tires is just that, a name. The tires are sourced out to a Japanese company using the Integrity name. The source said that Goodyear does NOT have a plant in Japan and it would be too expensive to ship tires to Japan for installation on the Prius. Take it for what its worth. Regardless, I changed my tires within 1000 miles because the OEM tires were horrible. Noisey, poor handling, to name a few.
 

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I got my car in December, live in midstate NY, didn't like snow/slush. Put on Nokian WR tires @3k miles, only all season tires to win Finland's ice/snow rating. Very happy with performance/ride, odometer exact.
 

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Replacing standard 04' Tires

I have an 04 on order. When it comes in I am having the dealer install a set of Michelin Hydroedge tires. Won't even drive the car with the Goodyears on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like a good move. Only comment, the Falken ZE512 are half the price and probably a bit quieter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Get the Falkens from edgeracing.com and have Costco install them. You will be out the door for just over $200 and have a noise, ride, handling, and foul weather improvement.
 

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I have the OEM Goodyears. We're already getting rain here in Florida, and I drove the guys at work to lunch the other day. No problems. Will keep you posted.
 

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My first long road trip (Fargo to Iowa City, reported on elsewhere) was done mostly in fierce winds. I was not happy with the handling, and many others have commented on the '04 Prius' bad handling in severe crosswinds.

Might this be the OEM tires, rather than the car itself??? I inflated them to 42/40.

Another question: what happens to new or nearly-new tires when you put different tires on the car? Do they get sent to the tire graveyard? Does the tire store take them in exchange and sell them to someone who wants a set of cheap tires???
 

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Daniel, it depends on several factors:

State law.
Retailer practice.

My dad used to be able to go to retailers and ask them if they had a tire or two of a specific size that they could sell him. Usually no warranty...or maybe 7 days or something. But the price was so cheap, my dad figured he could afford be his own warranty provider.

But again, it depends on your state's laws, I'm sure.

PS - how do you "vote" in these polls? I can't figure out how to do it.
 

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Daniel said:
Another question: what happens to new or nearly-new tires when you put different tires on the car? Do they get sent to the tire graveyard? Does the tire store take them in exchange and sell them to someone who wants a set of cheap tires???
I have seen tire stores with racks of used tires (with plenty of tread left) for sale.
 

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BIF said:
PS - how do you "vote" in these polls? I can't figure out how to do it.
I think the poll has expired. While it was active there was a place to vote.
 

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My experience with Michelins

I had a brand new 72 VW Bug that had Firestones or Goodyears from the factory. A short stretch of road to my house was concrete and every time I turned onto it when it was raining or shortly after, the bug would nearly get away from me even driving conservatively. A friend suggested Michelins. I put on a set and couldn't even intentionally cause a spinout on that road any longer. I have been a Michelin man ever since. Not the big white puffy guy on the adds though. :p

I quit buying French wine to show my displeasure with the French, but I can't give up my Michelins. 8)

EDIT: I realized when loggin on today that I typo'd Detroit. Hee,heee, it's a "riot". :D
 

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Tire Replacement - Michelin or ?

I've been researching tires this morning. At 115 miles on day two with a brand new '04 Prius equipped with the OEM "Goodyear Integrity" tires I drove over a 2x4 scrap cut diagonally from the end of a stud at driveway speed. The wood punctured the sidewall, creating a 1" gash, and destroyed the tire. The OEM tires do not have road hazard coverage.

Here is a link I just hit regarding Michelin tires. There is a long list of complaints about sidewall failure (blowouts and bulges, etc.) Most of the posters fail to name the tire model. All complain about being brushed off by the manufacturer. Might it be the case that most or all of these failures are on low rolling resistance tires which have no steel belts in the sidewall?

If I can't trust Michelin, to whom should I turn for replacement tires?

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/tires/michelin.html

Also, I gather that if I try to replace just one of these (made in Japan) "Goodyear Integrity" tires with a domestic tire I am almost certain to end up with a mismatch. Does anyone know if California law allows tire dealers to resell 'new' OEM tires removed from a vehicle? I'm trying to decide whether I should track down such a replacement or whether I'm better off replacing all the tires.
 
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