First, I want to thank everyone for their informative and heartfelt responses. I can tell from the spirited responses that you all know your stuff and really care about cars - that’s why I posted my question here.
I want to clarify a few things about the driving conditions that the vehicle is driven under, my driving style and how I maintain my vehicles:
1 - I drive this vehicle 35 miles each way to work every day under mostly highway conditions.
2 - I only drive aggressively and shift the car the way I described in my original post when I’m alone in the vehicle, so I’m not passing my bad driving habits on to any other driver.
3 - I’m hard on my vehicles, but I take good care of them. I do as much of the maintenance myself as I can and I do it when it needs to be done. This includes oil changes, fluid level checks, filter changes, tire pressure checks and rotation and brake jobs. If there’s maintenance that needs to be done that I can’t do myself, I take it to a shop. Basically, I don’t defer maintenance on any vehicle that I own.
In regards to the tires that wore out in a year, I was running the Continental ExtremeContact DWS that I bought online from the Tire Rack. I did my research online and bought these tires since they were billed as an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire. After seeing my excessive wear, I went back to the Tire Rack web site and found other users that reported wear problems with these tires. Here are three quotes from the Tire Rack web site written by people who also purchased these tires:
From April 17, 2011: “12,000 miles and tire is down to thread wear indicator! Stay away from this tire!”
From November 09, 2011: “These tires are wearing poorly and really noisy. I checked with my mechanic to see if my car was out of alinement and he said no, the tires are just wearing badly. One of them is really loud. My mechanic always gets tires from Tire Rack and he says these are the worst he as seen. Now after 12,000 miles I am buying new tires. Definitely not Continental.”
From December 14, 2011: “Do not buy these tires! We are authorized installers and have had to remove more for vibration and failing Road Force in the last year than all tires combined in 20 years. I have been through 9 on my car, and have MANY unhappy customers. We have even requested Tire Rack to stop shipping these to us.”
Don’t get me wrong - these tires get a lot of good reviews. That’s why I initially bought them. However; you can search online to find other drivers who have had fast wear out with this tire. Maybe there are just a small number of drivers out there who drive as bad as I do. Maybe these tires just shouldn’t be billed as “Ultra High Performance All-Season tires”. In my opinion, an Ultra High Performance All-Season tire should be able to handle some spirited driving.
Finally, I never stated that I shift the vehicle this way to avoid putting wear on the brakes. I’m also not that worried about gas mileage.
I never understood the logic of people who buy a vehicle and then don’t want to drive it because they “don’t want to put too many miles on it”. I also don’t get why someone would purchase a high performance vehicle and then drive it so gingerly because they “don’t want to put too much stress on some component or other”. Automobiles are made to be driven. High performance automobiles are made to be driven hard.
Every choice we make as drivers has a cost. If I choose to drive in a more spirited fashion than another driver, then that means that I’m willing to accept the costs associated with that decision (more fuel, oil, brakes, tires, etc.) and I’m OK with that.
I drive the way I do because I have a lot of fun doing it.
I figure you only live once, so if you have to drive 70 miles a day to get to your boring, grey cubicle you might as well have some fun doing it…
Now I have to go schedule that IQ test…LOL…