'02 Impala 3.4L 196.5k: Need (4) Tires



Haha! Just came back to post about my Dad’s car and saw this thread revived.

For the record, I just ended up going to WalMart and slapped on a set of (4) Goodyear Assurance (against my better judgement. I had used Viva-II’s once and swore I’d never buy Goodyear tires again!). But the car has over 200,000 miles on it, and although it’s in good condition and runs well (bought brand new, no accidents, no real problems), I just didn’t feel like putting out the money for Michelins when I’ve never been able to get a car to run much past 250,000 miles. So this will likely be the car’s last set of tires. They seemed “good enough” for a 200,000+ mile vehicle. The ratings numbers looked pretty good for the price (although I can’t remember them offhand now).

But, as you might’ve guessed - not really happy. The tires seemed to develop this ripple-like feeling to them. Only way to describe it is if you took an extra, flat, very thin strip of rubber and glued it across the tread … you get the idea, right? I really don’t know if it’s worn off now (?) or I’ve just gotten used to it. I was going to rotate the tires front to back to see if that made any difference (maybe it’s just one of the four that’s doing it?), and I did consider bringing the car back for them to test drive, but you really can’t sense it (or hear it??) unless you’re on the highway, and they’re not going to test drive it on the highway.

So, I really don’t care anymore. It is what it is. The tires are round, they’re holding air, and the tread is in good shape. That’s all I know.


My previous set of tires were Goodyear assurance tripletread. I drove on them for a few years before replacing them due to age. They wore evenly, didn’t pull, and weren’t noisey

I felt they were pretty good, but not outstanding

I didn’t have the problems you describe


I recently replaced the Michelins on my Corolla w/Hankooks and notice something sort of similar. Rather than “ripple-like” feeling though, I’d call it “squirrelly”. Compared to the Michelins, It feels like the Hankooks are wiggling, doing a little dance maybe is a better description, at freeway speeds. Not a big complaint, just sort of interesting; the Hankooks track well, quiet, corner ok, a little softer ride than the Michelins.



I also found my winter Hankooks to “wiggle” a little bit, but attributed that to the aftermarket disks I mounted it on, although they were 100% match to factory specs


I consider Hanook and Kumho . . . the only Korean tires I can think of . . . to be inferior in just about every way, compared to Michelin

But they also cost less, so I guess you get what you pay for

Fair tires, but not great


stock Michelins on my 2012 Altima were terrible: I had every bump on the road to kick my butt and they were easily slipping on starts or making ABS to trip during wet weather braking

based on the price and that experience, I could not make myself to buy Michelins (even better ones), so I went Firestone and so far I’m quite OK wit them: good grip (A-/B) and handling, B- on road noise, wear them for 25K miles already, they have good 60% of thread left

once I bought Dunlop A2s for my prior Altima: these were great on performance, but impossible to balance… I did not know about road-force-balancing at the time, but it was a gross disappointment for new tires :frowning:

Kumho’s were OK-ish: a little bit too soft, somewhere around B-mark for grip and handling, A-mark for road noise, I definitely liked them more than OEM Michelins

Hankook were OK-ish too: very good grip in the ice and snow, but kinda “wiggly” on the regular road… they were purchased for a good reason - to get me to and from skiing and mounted on separate rims, so they took care of me for 4 years, then I sold them for almost the same price I bought them for (?!?) at craiglist, just before winter season

I bought Continentals for my SUV: could not balance until road-force-balanced, other than that very happy with performance and noise levels, I do not drive it much although, can not tell on longevity yet

I do research before jumping into these “lesser marketed” brands: TireRack is probably the best to do research, but I do not really look into what drivers mark as “ratings” these are way too subjective… good they publuish real track results about head-to-head comparisons between similar tires

so, maybe I’m predisposed, but I do not see why to spend more on Michelins really. they are overpriced for what they offer, there are better things if one considers factors of performance/longevity/noise/etc…


Maybe mine are Goodyear Assurance "RippleTread"s ??


I’ve only had long-term experience with aftermarket Michelin, not OEM Michelin

and my personal experiences have been excellent. had a few sets over the years, no disappointments whatsoever. Well worth the price, on every occasion

Suffice it to say, our opinions greatly differ :smiley:


I’ve bought my second set of General Altimax for my Pontiac and have liked them. Under $600 out the door and are quiet, good snow and wet traction and made in the USA. On the Acuras I have used Michelin but those are close to $1400.


Just to clarify the “red dot”, “yellow dot” discussion… The red dot is the high point on the tire (if marked) and should match up with the low point on the rim. Not all rims are marked with the low point. Most of the rims I have seen with markings are steel and not alloy. In the absence of a “low point” marking on the rim or wheel, the guidance from the tire manufacturers is to IGNORE the red dot and place the yellow dot (lightest spot) on the tire in alignment with the valve stem. Red dot takes precedence over yellow dot where rims or wheels are marked with a “low point”.

One word on wheel weights. It is always beneficial to use the fewest number of weights to balance the wheel since it is less likely that a wheel weight will fall off and cause a balance issue.


I think that is wrong.

If there is both a red dot AND a yellow dot on the tire, it is likely that the red dot is the “high point” and the yellow dot is heavy spot - and since the valve hole is a common marking for the low point of the wheel, the red dot should be matched up with the valve hole. That makes the assembly “rounder”.


None of this is certain. The dots on tires and the markings on wheels are far from standardized - and while what I wrote above is likely the best bet, it is not a guarantee.

Oh and I am not aware of any wheel manufacturer who marks their wheels for balance. If any wheel is marked, it is for run out (low point).


I’ve been happy with Hankooks, marginally satisfied with Goodyears, unimpressed by Michelins, unhappy with Firestones, extremely upset by my Continentals (CRAP tires), and always very happy with BF Goodrich.
I’ve had some other brands over the years, all with strengths and weaknesses. Coopers held he road with tenacity, but wore way too fast.

If when the time comes to replace my current tires I can find BF Goodys in my size, I’ll go back to BF Goodys. I’ve always been very happy with them.


yes, loved them too: great combination of grip and moderate road noise and wear, the only thing I did not like was: they dropped 2 MPG on my Subaru Outback to compare to stock Michelins (which I did not like)


See, you just have to decide yourself. I haven’t had Firestone in 50 years, or Goodrich in 30 years. Didn’t like the Continentals and actually got the best service and cost per mile with Goodyear. Used a few sets of Sieberling blems but not since the guy left town. Wouldn’t have gone with Michelin either except that’s what was on the car, and the Generals were a cost effective choice. Everybody has their own likes and dislikes I guess for their driving. The only thing I would say is to avoid Walmart. The branded tires there are not the same as what you would get at a tire store. I like going to the tire store because buying tires is something seldom done and rely on the information the store can provide.


I don’t think you’re going to find consensus here about what brand of tires are the best. I don’t even have consensus among myself about which tires to use. I once bought a used car that had Michelins, and they were the absolute worst tires I’d ever driven on. No traction, noisy, handled awful. I bought another used car that had a set of Michelins, they were great. Smooth, quiet, good traction, gave me 50,000 miles of service with no complaints. Wife’s brand new car came in last week, with only 250 miles on the car I’m already looking forward to the day the Michelins wear out. They’re noisy and don’t ride very well.

But I think that goes to show that any tire maker has a wide range of tires. Hankook makes some very fine rubber, and also sells the bargain basement models. Same for Goodyear. Firestone has a great tire for family SUVs that I drive on, and has models that I only recommend as one step above a used tire. Then take into account different uses and driving styles, and I think a person is better off visiting your local tire retailer and see what options fit you.