El Cheapo Tire Advice - ehMac.ca
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 12:29 AM   #1
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El Cheapo Tire Advice

My aging chariot has some pretty worn tires and heading into the winter and the possibility of even a day or two of snow has convinced me that a new set of all-seasons is in order.

I remember I bought a set of tires years ago and walked into a Big-O Tire shop and asked the sales guy to give me some info on the ins and outs of the various tires and tread patterns on display. After a bit of inarticulate waffling I realized that he really didn't have any idea what all those different patterns on the tires were for and was basically trying to get me to buy the most expensive ones.

Then, like now, I didn't want to spend a ton on tires. I always drive used cars because the only thing I want out of a vehicle is relatively safe transportation without incurring a large ongoing expense. So at the time I picked the least expensive of a brand whose name I recognized and avoided the bottom end no-name. Not really an informed choice, but I didn't want to spend all day shopping for tires either.

So after all this intro, my question for all you knowledgeable ehMaccians is, what do I need to know when looking at the cheaper tire models to avoid getting truly crappy tires?

My car is 17 years old, so even though the mileage is relatively low, and everything is running fine, I would expect that the car will eventually give out before these tires will. So I'm looking to get my tires as cheap as possible without getting something that might end up being dangerous or just really poor quality.

I think my tire size is 185 75 R 14

As always, many thanks for your advice.

[edit] Oh yeah, forgot to ask, are Motomaster tires from Canadian Tire really crappy tires? They sure are cheaper than most.
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Last edited by GratuitousApplesauce; Nov 11th, 2007 at 01:00 AM.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 05:40 AM   #2
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There are a lot of recalls on tires made in China..
I bought new snow tires at Wal-Mart, tires were Korean made. They have a couple of cheap lines of all seasons.
I've bought CT Motomaster tires many times without any problems. They were made in Canada. I don't know where they're manufactured now. If Chinese: avoid them.
If you really want to save, you can get re-treads from a reputable dealer.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 07:05 AM   #3
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I don't think you'd be making a mistake going with Motomaster tires. Last I knew they're still all made by the large / familiar manufacturers. One of my buddies has been using nothing but Motomasters for years & years with nary a problem.

FYI here is a list of tires and who makes them. Looks like a reasonable compilation of info however I haven't tried to find the original source.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 07:22 AM   #4
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I have used MotoMaster on my Dodge Caravan with good results - Just every day all season radials.

I have a little Suzuki Swift that I bought used. I think the previous owner hit a curb because I cannot get the alignment correct on the back wheels. It tracks wonderfully, frame is not bent, but it eats rear tires. To deal with this I went to Wally World and picked up their house brand. They are a Marshall tire. They have also been good. Yes the rear ones do wear out, but the front does not seem to wear. At $32.00 to $39.00 per tier I could not go too wrong. 100,000 KM tread warranty. Similar Can. Tire tires were more expensive and only gave a 60,000 KM warranty.

I am in the position now of having to change the tires on the Caravan and I am thinking I will go Wally World at $56.00 per tire. I believe the size is R205/75/R14 to give you a reference.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 07:46 AM   #5
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Another vote for Canadian Tire as the king of cheapo tyres. Their tires are made by name manufacturers and have served me well for many years. Their availability anywhere (pretty much) across the country is a big plus if you get around much. My advice is to stay with the car and watch them do the balance and install. There have been cases around here where the lug-nuts were not properly tightened or torqued (alloy wheels). It has become my habit to take the car almost immediately to "my" mechanic for rebalance as "approximate" is a generous word applied to wheel balancing done at CTC. That said the tyres serve very well and CTC honours its warranty withut question.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 10:20 AM   #6
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GA, where are you located? Answer by pm if you wish, but sometimes there are good tire sellers depending on location.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ErnstNL View Post
There are a lot of recalls on tires made in China.
Tires are a pretty important safety feature. I have always bought top of the line brands for all my vehicles.

I agree. I would never buy a tire made in China.

If you are going to go cheap, then stick with the low end product offerings of good brands. I think Canadian Tire has a good range of price and I would trust their brands. They also warranty their tires as part of the price (I think).
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 10:28 AM   #8
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A reluctant vote for Crappy Tire. Reluctant because they tried to tell me a tire could not be repaired due to a large piece of metal at the edge of the tread. When I pulled it out, it had not even scratched the surface. The real problem was 2 small nails in the middle of the tread which were easy to repair. Would not mention it except that I saw them try the same routine on another customer as well. A simple dunk would have told them no air was escaping from either tire.
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #9
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Old Nov 11th, 2007, 12:34 PM   #10
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Thanks for the outpouring of useful info, guys!

So it seems like Motomaster tires pass muster, eh? I've experienced their auto service myself and it leaves much to be desired, so if I go with CT, I'll try and be present when they install. I seem to remember hearing a news story recently where someone got new tires and then was involved in an accident when their wheel fell off.

To answer However, I live in the Gulf Islands BC and I'll be heading to Victoria and area on Tuesday to get tires.
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