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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally managed to find a tire tread depth gage, and tonight I checked my tires. I took my best estimate/closest whole number when measuring.

I have about 23,000 miles on my 2001's OEM tires, I think that's about 2 years of service (I'd have to double-check my notebook in my car for the exact date). My usual pressure is about 41F/39R.

OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE92 XL
P175/65 R14 84S
original tread depth is supposedly 10/32"
Measuring the 4 main grooves:
left outside ---> inside; right inside ---> outside
left front: 7, 8, 8, 7 ; right front: 5, 7, 6, 5
eft rear: 6, 7, 7, 7 ; right rear: 6, 6, 5, 4

My husband has about 24,000 miles on his 2004 Prius with OEM tires.
That's just shy of 2 years. Usual pressure is around 40F/38R.

OEM Goodyear Integrity
P185/65 R15 86S
original tread depth is supposedly 10/32"
Measuring the 3 main grooves:
left outside ---> inside; right inside ---> outside
left front: 6, 8, 7 ; right front: 6, 7, 5
left rear: 5, 7, 6 ; right rear: 5, 6, 5

Unfortunately, neither car has been in for an alignment yet. But the tires do get rotated (or so says my paid work orders) at every oil change (6 months or 7500/5000 miles).

So, I have more tread wear on the edges, and it looks like about 2/32" of
tread wear per year...

Just some data points for those out there...


Anyhow, the question I have is: is it time to dump these tires, or should I hold onto them for another season?

I know that I need to invest in some snow tires for this upcoming MA winter. Last winter I kept sliding backwards down my paved but icy driveway with my 2001, and my husband slid into a snowbank or two with his 2004 BC (and the front bumper still keeps popping off of some of its
clips).

I was thinking of just going straight to some Nokian WR A.W.P.2 tires (4-season tires with the Severe Service emblem http://www.nokiantires.com/newsite/tires_popup.cfm?id=6 or http://www.nokiantyres.com/passengercar ... =NOKIAN+WR ), but...

Should I/can I just put the Nokian WR onto the current aluminum rims for this winter, change back to the OEM tires for the upcoming spring/summer/fall 2006, and then remount the WRs for the following winter and on?

Or should I just buy some steel rims and cheaper winter tires, and then have to look into buying another 3-season tire in another year or so? (This seems much more expensive than just going for the WRs above, but...)

Just looking for any tire/wheel advice. Thanks in advance!
 

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mrv said:
Just looking for any tire/wheel advice. Thanks in advance!
Move to CA. 8)

Watch Boston Legal if you get homesick.
(watch it anyway, Shatner & Spader are a hoot) :D
 

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hyperion said:
You'd probably slide down your California driveway in the "mud" and you have to realize that all they have been planting in California for the past fifty years are "door knobs." (I speak as a native Californian that moved east looking for land, while others moved north) ....(but I do miss the "Tex-Mex")
Having grown up in the northeast and driven in my share of snow and ice, I couldn't disagree more. And my driveway is perfectly flat. And dry.
 

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This question, from you in particular, seems a bit suprising and rhetorical. This tire wear issue has been burned to a crisp some time ago and more than one of your pristine 1000+ posts had you having this issue squarely within your realm of learned awareness and commentary. That said, I would say that it does not matter for the wear seems to be caused by the vehicle's design and not necessarily the properties of the tires. I don't think they ever fix[ed]it! Replace the tires.....again.
 

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:shock: My God MRV

Now Im affraid to start thinking about my tires. I keep 48 psi in all 4 and have 24k on them now. Average 54mpg for 43 months.

Your Post SCARED THE HELL OUT OF ME.

NOW I Think I will just Flintstone it instead of Bridge Stone it. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
FIXIT said:
This question, from you in particular, seems a bit suprising and rhetorical. This tire wear issue has been burned to a crisp some time ago and more than one of your pristine 1000+ posts had you having this issue squarely within your realm of learned awareness and commentary. That said, I would say that it does not matter for the wear seems to be caused by the vehicle's design and not necessarily the properties of the tires. I don't think they ever fix[ed]it! Replace the tires.....again.
You missed my question. That was how and when to switch to winter tires. I only posted the tire wear information as just that - to show how my tires are wearing. (They're at about 50% worn, which is pretty good compared to what some people have reported. average lifetime for the Potenzas is in the mid-20,000 mile range, and I'm already there.) I already know that I've been overdue for an alignment on my 2001, so I'm cheap, but the wear is not unexpected.

I've never personally had to replace the tires on one of my cars. My last two cars were used, and I sold them before they needed new tires. I never asked for the OEM tires on my 2001 to be replaced - I simply asked my dealer to inspect my tires for the edge wear, per the extended warranty information letter Toyota sent about the fast-wearing CHA tires, replace for the JDH tires. My dealer just looked at the letter, and didn't even look at my tires, just replaced them at 17,000 miles (wear or no wear). <shrug> http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toy ... sage/39999

In the meantime, I'm surprised that this is the only Prius (or other automotive) board where my simple question asking for winter tire advice has been ignored (moving was not a choice I listed). Up until now, the OEM 3-season tires have managed, but at their 1/2 worn state it's time to look into winter alternatives...
 

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mrv, we're just used to you so clearly and intelligently answering all our questions that posing one throws us for a loop. I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to check tread wear except inserting that nickel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
evander said:
mrv, we're just used to you so clearly and intelligently answering all our questions that posing one throws us for a loop. I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to check tread wear except inserting that nickel.
odd, I haven't heard of a nickel used before. Usually I hear about using a Lincoln penny (if you can see the top of his head, time to replace tires).

Strangely, it took quite a bit of searching to find the tire tread depth gage. Seems like a simple enough tool... Went to a tire store, 3 auto parts stores, and 2 big box stores, didn't find it. Last hope was a small auto parts store in town (NAPA affiliate), and they had a rack of them. ~$5. little pin with gradients marked on it in both mm and 1/32" increments, which sits inside a tube that has little L-shaped feet. You put the feet down across the tire tread, and you push the pin down so it fits in the little groove and won't go down anymore. The marking on the pin where it touches the end of the tube is the depth that the pin traveled down into the groove of the tire. Simple device, $5 is probably expensive for the tool, but it was the only place I could find it...

Found the item online: http://www.napaonline.com/cgi-bin/ncomm ... commgrpid=
photo: http://www.napaonline.com/cgi-bin/ncomm ... =49724.jpg
 

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You're right, mrv, it is a penny. It's either a case of testing you (not likely), inflation, or more likely, an indication of how many times I've checked tire tread.
 

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For a dose of clarity & mucho help on the issue, the most recent Consumer Reports, Nov 05, just out, has an excellent report on Tires.
 

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An04Prius said:
GROSS !! :roll: Dont even look. He is measuring somethings EYE, and the EYE is not even in the somethings head. YECH

You kept a chart of tire wear for 50-60K miles for two different sets of tires ??? OH MAN, I think I need to develop a 12 step program for Tire Monitoring Junkies(TMJ). If you combine TMJ with MPG junkiism, you could use up a whole life :shock:
All these years in the eye care business, and I've never measured an eyeball with a calipers! Think of all the fun I've been missing!
:lol:
 

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Hey, mrv, just to answer some questions with MY opinions:

If you want winter tires, put them on a cheap set of steel wheels. Al may corrode a bit in salted winter roads. But the operative word should be "inexpensive wheels". This is also better than prying on and off tires twice a year as that is a bit hard on the tires and stuff. Also, if you put winter tires on spare wheels, with the jack you can change your own tires in subsequent years. Cheap!

Put the winter tires on when the first significant snow hits or, better, just before so they are there when you wake up to find out you had a snow storm last night. If you have already put winter tires on spare wheels, you can always run out and change them when the first storm surprises you. Good early morning excercise.

Take them off when it looks like the winter season has pretty much run its course. You could get a surprise late storm.

Winter tires wear badly on dry roads and reduce gas mileage, so put them on as late as you dare and get them off as soon as you dare.

Check Consumer Reports latest edition for all weather and winter tire reviews.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: who wants a depth gauge?

tochatihu said:
I used one like this for a while:

http://www.vandykestaxidermy.com/produc ... 56012b6645

But eyeballing a vernier scale takes a bit of practice.

Easier to read, way more fun, but the batteries don't last very long:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/D ... mber=47256

Use such tools often enough, and you can make *thrilling* graphs like the attached.

DAS
Do'h! I use dial and digital calipers almost daily at work. (usually only for outer diameter, though.) I never thought about borrowing one from work and using the little slide pin as a depth gage! It's so simple, I should've seen it earlier. Oh, well, at least I have my own dedicated gage now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mrv said:
I finally managed to find a tire tread depth gage, and tonight I checked my tires. I took my best estimate/closest whole number when measuring.

I have about 23,000 miles on my 2001's OEM tires, I think that's about 2 years of service (I'd have to double-check my notebook in my car for the exact date). My usual pressure is about 41F/39R.

OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE92 XL
P175/65 R14 84S
original tread depth is supposedly 10/32"
Measuring the 4 main grooves, in x/32":
left outside ---> inside; right inside ---> outside
left front: 7, 8, 8, 7 ; right front: 5, 7, 6, 5
eft rear: 6, 7, 7, 7 ; right rear: 6, 6, 5, 4

My husband has about 24,000 miles on his 2004 Prius with OEM tires. That's just shy of 2 years. Usual pressure is around 40F/38R.

OEM Goodyear Integrity
P185/65 R15 86S
original tread depth is supposedly 10/32"
Measuring the 3 main grooves, in x/32":
left outside ---> inside; right inside ---> outside
left front: 6, 8, 7 ; right front: 6, 7, 5
left rear: 5, 7, 6 ; right rear: 5, 6, 5

Unfortunately, neither car has been in for an alignment yet. But the tires do get rotated (or so says my paid work orders) at every oil change (6 months or 7500/5000 miles).

So, I have more tread wear on the edges, and it looks like about 2/32" of tread wear per year...

Just some data points for those out there...
Last weekend I put on my new winter tire/wheel combo (generic black steel rims with Nokian WR A.W.P. tires). With the added weight of the wheel/rim combo, both Prius are a little more "growly" and have a feeling of driving in mud (slower to accelerate, but they do coast a bit better). I haven't encountered any wet/bad weather yet to try them out.

I'll go back to the OEMs for spring/summer/fall of 2006, and re-evaluate them come winter of 2006 to decide if I'll keep them (have enough tread left), dump the OEM tires and transfer the WRs to the alloy wheels for full-time use, or dump the OEM tires and get some new summer tires (or even use the WRs for summer use and get more agressive winter tires to put on the steel rims).

This week I took both of my Prius in for a 4-wheel alignment, as neither of them have had one yet (4.5 years/40+K miles on my 2001, 2 years/25K miles on the 2004).

My 2001 went to a new-to-me dealer. Alignment cost $79.95 (but the 60,000/48 month service mile service I did at the same time (I'm late for that by time, but not by mileage) was the least expensive in the area.) I got a nice color printout of the before/after and the specs for my car. Both the Left and Right Front Toe was out of specifications, and were adjusted. I do not know why the SAI and Included Angle were not measured. Now my 2001 does handle much easier/lighter (point and it's easy holding onto turns, but on the highway it is a light touch and can "wander" as I'm used to a tight track/holding).

My 2004 went to my usual dealer. Alignment cost $64.95. I had to ask for a copy of the printout, so they photocopied it from their records (so no pretty colors for me). Vehicle was in specifications, so they didn't adjust anything. (So, $64.95 to just get a photocopied printout.)


2001-2003 Prius, all figures in degrees
* = This value is not whithin specification. Tire wear, handling and safety problems may result.

Front (Left)
Camber: Specs: -1.2 to 0.3, Actual: -0.6, Before: -0.7
Caster: Specs: 0.3 to 1.8, Actual: 1.4, Before: 1.4
Toe: Specs: -0.5 to 0.15, Actual: 0.06, Before: -0.21 *
SAI: Specs: 9.1 to 10.6
Included Angle: Specs: 7.9 to 10.9
Turning Angle Diff.: Specs: ....

Front (Right)
Camber: Specs: -1.2 to 0.3, Actual: -0.6, Before: -0.6
Caster: Specs: 0.3 to 1.8, Actual: 1.0, Before: 1.0
Toe: Specs: -0.5 to 0.15, Actual: 0.08, Before: 0.28 *
SAI: Specs: 9.1 to 10.6
Included Angle: Specs: 7.9 to 10.9
Turning Angle Diff.: Specs: ....

Front
Cross Camber: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8, Actual: 0.0, Before: -0.1
Cross Caster: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8, Actual: 0.4, Before: 0.4
Cross SAI: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8
Total Toe: -0.10 to 0.30, Actual: 0.14, Before: 0.07
Cross Turn Diff.: Specs: ....

Rear (Left)
Camber: Specs: -2.3 to -0.8, Actual: -1.4, Before: -1.5
Toe: Specs: -0.12 to 0.22, Actual: 0.00, Before: 0.00

Rear (Right)
Camber: Specs: -2.3 to -0.8, Actual: -1.2, Before: -1.2
Toe: Specs: -0.12 to 0.22, Actual: 0.21, Before: 0.20

Rear
Cross Camber: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8, Actual: -0.2, Before: -0.2
Total Toe: Specs: -0.23 to 0.43, Actual: 0.21, Before: 0.20
Thrust Angle: Specs: .... , Actual: 0.10, Before: 0.10



2004-2005 Prius, all figures in degrees

Front (Left)
Camber: Specs: -1.3 to 0.2, Actual: -0.6, Before: -0.6
Caster: Specs: 2.4 to 3.9, Actual: 3.4, Before: 3.4
Toe: Specs: -0.10 to 0.10, Actual: -0.06, Before: -0.06 [edit: fixed typo]
SAI: Specs: 11.8 to 13.3, Actual: 13.0, Before: 13.0
Included Angle: Specs: 10.5 to 13.5, Actual: 12.4, Before: 12.4
Turning Angle Diff.: Specs: ....

Front (Right)
Camber: Specs: -1.3 to 0.2, Actual: -1.1, Before: -1.1
Caster: Specs: 2.4 to 3.9, Actual: 3.1, Before: 3.1
Toe: Specs: -0.10 to 0.10, Actual: -0.06, Before: -0.06 [edit: fixed typo]
SAI: Specs: 10.8 to 13.3, Actual: 12.8, Before: 12.8
Included Angle: Specs: 10.5 to 13.5, Actual: 11.8, Before: 11.8
Turning Angle Diff.: Specs: ....

Front
Cross Camber: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8, Actual: 0.5, Before: 0.5
Cross Caster: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8, Actual: 0.4, Before: 0.4
Cross SAI: Specs: -0.8 to 0.8, Actual: 0.2, Before: 0.2
Total Toe: -0.20 to 0.20, Actual: -0.12, Before: -0.12
Cross Turn Diff.: Specs: ....

Rear (Left)
Camber: Specs: -2.0 to -1.0, Actual: -1.3, Before: -1.3
Toe: Specs: 0.03 to 0.28, Actual: 0.19, Before: 0.19

Rear (Right)
Camber: Specs: -2.0 to -1.0, Actual: -1.6, Before: -1.6
Toe: Specs: 0.03 to 0.28, Actual: 0.17, Before: 0.17

Rear
Cross Camber: Specs: -0.5 to 0.5, Actual: 0.3, Before: 0.3
Total Toe: Specs: 0.05 to 0.55, Actual: 0.37, Before: 0.36
Thrust Angle: Specs: .... , Actual: 0.01, Before: 0.01
 
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