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High-Performance Tires

Have noticed that many new cars including Toyota and Honda come with high-performance “V” rated 149 mph tires. Seems like overkill for a 4 cyl. car to me. I have heard they only last for about 30k miles. Is this true?

The stickier the tire the shorter the lifespan in general, but it varies from car to car and your driving habits. Some cars (not Toyota) have been known to eat through tires in as little as 10k miles. Speed rating can be independent of treadwear however. You can have a good wearing high speed rated all-season tire.

As for speed ratings, it’s been common to see H rated (130mph) tires on family import cars going back to the early 1990’s. A higher speed rating means that the tire handles high heat better than a lower speed rated tire. When a tire becomes too hot it can fail. I actually like the extra insurance, and in general a higher speed rated tire is of better quality and design than a standard s-rated (112mph) tire.

Not always. Our Subaru Legacy GT wagon came with V-rated or Z-rated tires standard called RE92’s. We shed them at 48k miles(w/regular rotations) with 5/32" tread depth and they likely would have last another 10k miles but they were too worn to be effective in New England winter conditions.

They sell V-rated tires rated to last 50k-60k even.

As far as overkill I have no idea but in most cases good H-rated tires offer incredible performance/wear/longevity/price compromise.

First it is time to get past the idea that four cylinders is slow and more cylinders mean power and speed. More cylinders do tend to mean a little less mileage and smoother running. I once owned a two chamber car that, I was told, could get up to those speeds. Many of today’s four cylinder cars have a very high top speed.

Now you say they come with V rated tyres, but does it require them? You can always go higher, but you should not go lower than the max speed for the car. If the car can go 130 mph, you better equip it with tyres designed for that top speed or you could find yourself in court.

As with most things, “it depends.”

As you say, a V-rated tire is overkill, and completely unnecessary, on a Camry or an Accord, but marketing being what it is, these tires are installed on all kinds of cars that don’t need them.

High performance tires usually have a lower tread wear rating than “regular” tires, but how long any tire lasts depends on the driver, the vehicle, and how the vehicle is maintained. If you get 30K miles from a V-rated tire I’d say you have nothing to complain about.

My Acura came with V-rated tires. When they wore out I replaced them with H-rated tires, which are capable of higher speed (130 mph) than the car can attain.

My Subaru wears T-rated tires. Good for 118 mph, which will never happen.

This whole speed rating thing is BS for most passenger cars. If you drive a Corvette, Porsche, or some other REAL high performance car, then the speed rating of the tires is important. Otherwise, it really doesn’t matter much.

I think all of these posts are missing the true point of speed rated tires. Manufacturers don’t put them on your car so you can go 150 mph, they put them on your car because the speed rating of the tire affects the handling. The higher the speed rating the better the handling. You may think you can downgrade to a lower rating but one day you will have to avoid a deer or, even worse, a child wandering in front of your car. It is at that moment you will know whether or not the better handling of an H or V rated tire is worth it.

Most high speed tires (they call them "ultra high-performance tires) don’t last much more than 30-35,000 miles. The RE-92s last longer but their wet weather and winter performance really isn’t as good as others.

You can buy lower speed ratings in the low profile aspect ratios if you look for them. There may be some tradeoff in handling, but everyone’s preferences are different.