This is a long posting. I am not sure it will fit in one bite. If you do not like to read long postings, you are in charge of your life. Hit BACK and move on, spare us the whiny-whiny.
That 2009 Sienna I bought in Mexico had all four tires, but they were not new. I drove it to the border and back, a total of around 1700 miles. My son-in-law examined the car and told me it needed new brake pads, as described on another thread. And, the rear tires were 5/32 and the front ones were 3/32.
Well, that was October so they got another 1000 miles, perhaps, driving around. They still have visible tread, but nothing to write home about.
I looked around. It had Cooper CS4 tires, and the cousin said they are only good for a year or two. I found a dealer 45 minutes north in the country, not even in a town. I investigated in Tehuacan. Tires like Pirelli and Michelin cost about $180 each.
I asked our cousin if the single tire I bought in October was a good tire. It was a Euzkadi tire. That sounded like something from China or Korea. It was well under $90.
I went to the dealer in the country. He said he would try to get me four of the Euzkadi tires. Two days later he called me; they were in. So, I drove over there, about 45 minutes, and about 20 miles.
I expected what I had seen in other tire places. Simple tools; a bubble balancer, some kind of demounter, and not much more. And, the city businesses who could balance a tire mostly sold $180 tires.
He had a real tire place. It had a ‘two post car lift’ by LAUNCH company. He placed the arms very carefully. He did not use the two jack points, so I looked under there, and he has those two arms very carefully under a major frame rail, I guess I’d call it.
I note he raised it with the tires only an inch or two above the floor. The lift seemed to use cables, not a hydraulic system. I told him that I’d sure like to have something like that at my house. He laughed and said he spent the money only for work reasons.
When he got the wheel off, he went into another room. The demounting/mounting machine was an excellent Beissbarth servomat MS43. I’m not sure but I think it had its own compressor, but it could have been connected to a main system out of my sight.
He told me he could balance them for 50 pesos, about $2.50 USD per wheel.The balancer was a COATS 875. He let the tire spin slowly a few seconds, then snapped on a weight. I asked him how he knew exactly where to put the weight. I told him I was a technical person and was at times offensively curious about machines I knew nothing about. He laughed and showed me how when he spun the wheel by hand, a couple lights on the control panel for the balancer would change at exactly the correct point for the weight. After putting on the weight, he ran it again. One tire needed a second weight a short distance apart, and it apparently indicates that as well.
I told him it was very frustrating that they would call it balanced with the bubble system, and I had to drive it back to Texas at 50 mph to get it properly balanced. He said this balance should be good to 200 kph (over 120 mph.) I told him I didn’t think my Sienna would run quite that fast.
I told him I wanted to tighten the lug nuts, because the gorillas usually put them on so tight I can’t get them off. He was very cooperative and carefully adjusted his power wrench so he said I should be able to loosen them. I went around and loosened each lug nut, the tightened them to suit me, just as I have done for over 50 years. I believe if I had trusted him, he would have had them tightened very close to what I want.
Those four tires at 22 pesos per dollar cost me about $335 USD.
There was a paper on the tires, stating they were made by Continental Tires in San Luis Potosi.
I did some research when i got home. Euzkadi is a Mexican company. Euzkadi is a geographic location in Spain, as well as this tire company. The company history shows it has a number of companies making their tires since the Thirties. I wonder if this company is a way to let the Mexican elite in on part of the take of tires made by foreign companies. There are questions you do not ask, publicly.
I asked him how those expensive Michelin and Pirelli tires compared to Euzkadi. He held up his thumb close to his next finger and said they are this much better then Euzkadi, but they charge twice as much.
Those tires are 235 60 R17, with 102H after the size. That means it is weight limited at over 1800 pounds each, and rated to over 120 mph.
The Cooper CS4 tires the car had on it, simply say M+S after the size. I want to study them some more and see what their speed rating is, if it’s there. The old car, the 2002, had Yokohama Avid, I think it was, and I felt they were not strong enough. When I drove this with the new tires, they seem to be a bit stiffer so they will probably do well for me.
I wonder if stiffer tires will be bad on the suspension on these rough roads. But, the speed limit for most of my driving is 38 mph. Some of the online information said stiffer tires can help braking and emergency handling, but may wear faster.
The dealer said he sold his Toyota dual cabin pickup full of tires each week. I snooped and it looked like he had 20 to 25 tires on that pickup. So, I do not think with the cost of living what it is here, he is suffering from poverty. And, this is along the highway out in the country.
I was very pleased with my experience. He is what I am used to among the Mexican people who can make a living in Mexico (as opposed to those who cannot make a living.) Unbelievably polite and friendly once they realize you respect them. I asked a lot of questions and he did not even so much as frown once.
Oh, warranty. No mention anywhere of warranty on tires. This makes sense due to the extreme amount of road hazards in the highways. In the past, I averaged one ruined tire a year.