Car dealer tire recommendations

Hi. We have a 2004 Honda Odyssey and need to replace the tires. The dealer is saying that Honda recommends using a certain Michelin tire that is “made for” the Odyssey. On Consumer Reports, the best-rated all-around tire is not a Michelin, so the dealer can’t sell us that one. Is this a scam, or does Michelin make special tires for Honda that are, somehow, better for a specific car than a general-purpose tire?

Why not contact Honda yourself and find out what they have to say? Call the regional office, customer assistance.

P.S. - When you say “dealer,” I hope you are not referring to the Honda new car dealership. Your post was ambiguous. Never buy tires from a new car dealership. They don’t sell tires. They simply send a flunky a few blocks down the road to a real tire store, come back with his tires, and pass on a markup to you.

You can buy tires (any brand) for your Odyssey from any tire dealer. You don’t have to buy Michelins from the Honda dealer if you don’t want them.

Does your Odyssey have run-flats?

Dealer is bs’ing you. buy your tires elsewhere. try Sam’s or Costco for good deals.

I KNOW of at least four local new car stores, two FOMOCO and two GM, that definitely sell tires. A flunky may install them, I don’t know, but he installs them right there on the spot. They advertise very competitive prices too. Personally I buy my tires from Sam’s.

If your Odyssey has Michelin Pax tires, then the dealer is correct - the rims and tires are specially made to “runflat” and you have to use these as a set - no interchange of rim and tire with other brands.

Other RunFlat tires don’t have this problem - They fit on conventional rims, although it is better to have rims designed for runflats as they are a bit stronger and have larger bead humps so the tire is more likely to stay on the rim if there is a puncture.

Check your owner’s manual to verify the tyres required. If you have the special run flat tyres with special rims, you can buy new rims and use other tyres. A good tyre dealer should be knowledgeable of this issue. It is your choice. Personally I would not want any of the run flat systems currently out there. However I can think of a few situations that if I had I might want them.
You can have them shipped to your house, or a local tire shop that’ll install them for you.
I lucked out when they shipped to the shop here in my town. I ordered rims and tires already mounted and balanced and the shop put them on for free because they didn’t have to do either. Just had me come back to the shop after about 100 miles to retorque the lug nuts.

Thanks for all the comments.

The car does not have run-flat tires.

The dealer was saying that even though they may have the SAME brand, line, size, load and speed ratings printed on the sidewall, the tires sold through Honda are different (manufactured to Honda’s specifications for the specific car), even to the point of sometimes having a different tread pattern. He asserts that ANY off-the-rack tire would be somehow inferior to the one selected by Honda and manufactured to Honda specifications. Although a Michelin and a Honda customer service rep both denied that this is the case, the dealer still insists they are wrong: that he was told repeatedly by the Honda Tire Program trainers that he is correct.

I have read that some manufacturers like GM and Porsche certify some tires and the information I have found suggests that sometimes these tires are different from the standard off-the-rack tire of the same brand/line/size/load/speed. See and It looks like Honda may have some tires specifically designated for the Acura NSX.

I wonder if there is any definitive information on this scam… I mean, feature?

Although a Michelin and a Honda customer service rep both denied that this is the case, the dealer still insists they are wrong: that he was told repeatedly by the Honda Tire Program trainers that he is correct.

That is reason #1841 why you should not bring your car to the dealer unless it is something covered under the warranty.

I don’t believe a word of it. Take your business elsewhere. You can get a perfectly good tire anywhere. Check Tire Rack to see what others are buying and see if anyone near you sells them.

they’ll ship to a local tire place that will put them on for you.

Technically the dealer is correct - when a car arrives from the factory, the tires on it are specifically designed around that vehicle. You pointed out Porsche’s “N Rating” and GM’s “TPC Rating” and those are examples that show this to be true.

However, the dealer is grossly overstating the compatibility issue. Most tires of the same size, speed rating will work. Don’t expect them to wear the same, have the same fuel economy, handling the same - these are all things that vary from tire to tire - even within a brand - but the tires of the original tire size will be reasonably compatible with your vehicle.

I always thought the tires came from the lowest bidder. I mean, look at the horribly crappy tires they put on Subarus at the factory:

I mean, honestly, the summer tires for those cars would probably fair better in winter than those RE92(A)s do:


For 5 years, my job was to make sure the tires my company made fit the car manufacturer’s specifications. Each car manufacturer had different specifications, and they changed over time - different size, different rolling resistance levels, different rode qualities, etc. The source of customer dissatifcation with the tires generally stems from the rolling reststance specification.

The car mnaufacturers are very interested in fuel economy - and therefore a tire’s rolling resistance - and the car manufacturers usually specified lower RR values - and that comes from sacrificing wear or traction (especially wet traction).

The tire contract usually went to the lowest bidder (provided they met all the specs), but not always. Sometimes some other property dictated the use of a higher cost tire.

Don’t forget that the tires supplied to a particular car have to work pretty much everywhere - and that usually means some parts of the world get tires that might not be 100% suitable for that particular locale - hence the poor ratings.

Replacement tires do not have this RR limitation, so the tire manufacturers can place emphasis on wear and traction - and that generally leads to better customer acceptance. Plus, it doesn’t take tire dealers too long to figure out what isn’t suitable for their locale, so they just don’t stock those tires - further leading to the impression that the OE tires are “cheap”.

i recommend using the special tire “made” just for the odyssey. by the way that same tire is “made” just for about 25 different “special” autos in addition to yours!

SERIOUSLY, do buy a tire that meets the specific requirements for your auto. a GOOD tire installation store will quote you the correct tires for your car.

take bscar link, and check out what is recommended for your auto.

stop taking the “advice” from a salesman so literally. of course his tires are special… they profit HIM!

sometimes the best advice is free. (like from this website!)

As others have said, don’t worry about what the dealer says. A friend of mine has an Accord, and the dealer tried to sell him a set of high speed performance tires!! My friend is a careful, slow driver! These have good traction but don’t wear well and cost a great deal more than a standard Milelin X, for instance which has the best tread wear rating in the business.

Any reputable tire shop selling several brands will give you a choice.

Bravo, Capri!

While using the tire recommended by the dealer will insure that your Odyssey’s handling will remain the same, the tire recommended by CU will probably improve its handling and fuel economy.

As the owner of a RAV 4 that came with “junK” Toyo tires, I would find any tire recommendation by a dealer suspect. I would more trust a tire dealer (as well as CU) that sold a wide variety of tire makes and models. To suggest that I replace the tires with those that came with the car, would suggest a financial interest.