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Mercedes Benz Flat Tire Problem

We own a 2005 Mercedes Benz CLK 320 Caboret. My wife drives it.

Since day one, I have driven it on Michelin tires. My problem is that the tires are constantly blowing out. The car had 12,000 miles on it when we purchased it. It now has 90000. Within the 78000 miles that we put on it, I have replaced all four tires at least three times. Twice I have found nails in one of the tires, the rest of the times the tires just blew out. The front and rear tires are different sizes, so I cannot rotate them. Has Mercedes benz had design problems with this vehicle which causes the tires to wear out? or are the Michelin tires (225/45R17)not good tires?

That’s a new one - gotta ask, do you check tire pressures? Might the wife have ‘tapped’ some curbs? Just have never heard of Michelins (or any brand) just ‘blowing out’.

I chek the pressure quite often and I also look for damage. I was told by the dealer that since the tires are different sizes, they cannot be rotated, so they only last 20K miles at the most. I find that hard to believe, given that I don’t rotate the tires on my other car that often and they last 50-60K.

These are high performance tire, so they wear out quickly. So your wife is driving along, and the tire (with plenty of tread left) pops? Does the rim get damaged?

I haven’t noticed any damage to the rim.

First, these are low profile tires, which are much more prone to impact damage (also known as hitting potholes) than high profile tires. The only fix for this problem - short of changing tire sizes - is to use more inflation pressure. I’d recommend 3 to 5 psi more.

Second, these are high performance tires which have a large amount of grip - and they get this grip by sacrificing treadwear. This is not a design problem. It is the intent of the design.

BTW, the rate of replacement is pretty much right where you’d expect it to be - about 25K.

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I want to point out to the OP that CapriRacer is our resident tire expert, with many years of experience in the tire industry. I would take his word on tires as gospel.

Michelin tires are good tires, but as already pointed out these particular tires are designed for performance. This means softer and grippier rubber in the tread which doesn’t take long to wear down. You can try another brand of tires in the same size, but you might find they are noisier, or don’t handle as well.

As for the nails, you should get “hazard” insurance when you buy tires. You wife is driving the car and likely she travels the same roads and parks in similar areas much of the time. Her travels might be in urban areas where there is construction going on and debris falling off trucks and other vehicles on the road. You can expect to pick up more nails since the tires are wider. Since she can’t change the driving enviornment you might consider run flat tires, but they are very expensive and mean changing wheels. Tire hazard insurance should help deal with costs of replacing tires when she picks up more nails.

Today a tire dealer told me that I was probably running the tires underinflated. I use the air pressure that is specified on the driver side door which states 28 psi for the front and 32 psi for the rear. The dealer told me that I should use the pressure that is marked on the tire itself which he say’s is 40 psi. I called the Mercedes salesman and he said that I should use the pressure that in inside the door. Should I use the pressure that is on the tire or the door?

The new tires came with Hazard Insurance. There is a lot of construction going on these days especially downtown where she works. They still seem to wear more thgan normal. A tire dealer told me today that I should inflate the tires to 40 psi minimum. The tag on my drivers side door says 29 psi for the front and 32 psi for the rear. He said that the those tires must be be inflated to at least 40 for better mileage.

Get a high quality digital or dial pressure gauge, and measure first thing in the morning. Tire # is max, I use the door sticker #, maybe add 2 psi or so. How evenly do the tires wear? More in the middle or sides?

They wear mostly on the sides. I purchased a high quality pressure gauge several months ago. It is a lot more accurate than the cheap ones.

sides=somewhat low pressure (if it’s both sides of each tire), so maybe bump each by 4 psi from the sticker.

Having tires that have “just blown out” on me several times on my truck, I know where you are coming from. Bumps (as CapriRacer said) can damage the sidewall of the tire and one day, either when you are parked or driving the tire will just go flat, really quickly. Both of mine that did that were on the inside sidewall and looked like a slit left by a knife running radially away from the rim toward the tread. The softer the rubber, the more likely this is to happen (mine were snow tires, which are equally soft rubber to increase grip on the road) I wouldn’t expect that it was a problem with the tires, and I like you, was a bit dismayed to find that I had just lost a fairly expensive tire with plenty of good tread left on it.

Hope this helps.

Inflation pressure?

Your dealer is wrong and here’s why.

The tire does not know what vehicle it is going on, so it can’t know what the right pressure is for your vehicle.

The vehicle has a sticker that not only lists the original tire size, but it has the pressure there, too! If you are using that tire size, that is the proper pressure.

However, you have a particular problem that we are trying to overcome - damage from construction debris - and that has caused several tires to blowout. A little more inflation pressure will help there (BTW it won’t help for the nails!)

So instead of the 29 / 32 listed on the doorpost, I’d recommend you use 34 / 37.


Your opinion makes more since to me than the tire dealer’s.

Lots of good info in these posts. Also keep in mind that Mercedes (I work on them for a living) tunes their suspensions fairly aggressively with a lot of negative camber which tends to wear tires, especially higher performance tires, quickly. Just one of the tradeoffs for better handling.

By the way, we recommend michelin’s and Conti’s only. Good tires, but pricey. Again, there are no free lunches…

good luck,


Here’s the only advice I can give you for your wife’s SLK 350:

Tire wear on the edges - Take the car to a tire shop, and have an alignment done.
Tell them you want the car to get the most life out of the tires as possible.
They will remove all the negative camber that they can in order to accomplish this.

Tire pressure - Take the door sticker, and add a couple psi to it. Don’t ever inflate the tires to the pressure printed on the actual tire. That is the maximum recommendation, and running the tires at that pressure can potentially lead to a blow out as the tires heat up, and the pressure increases.

Can’t rotate the tires - By tires with an asymmetrical tread pattern.
This will allow you to rotate the tires from the right side of the car to the left.

As for nails and stuff taking out the tires, tell your wife to find a different route to her destination.


Here are some things one must do to avoid any tire problems:

  1. Install the right size and type of tires for your vehicle based on road and weather conditions and type of use
  2. Inflate and periodically inspect your tire pressure and condition of tires. NEVER deflate/ inflate your tires below or above the recommended make of your vehicle and only check tire pressure on cold tires.

Do NOT use the tire pressure rating on your tires as the standard, but always use the car manufacturer standards. For example: I have a 2005 Mercedes CLK320 with staggered rims. Tires in the front are 225/45/17 and in the rear are 245/40/17 with 28 psi tire pressure in the front and 29 psi tire pressure in the rear. Mercedes does allow for a slightly higher tire pressure when carrying 4 people or a heavy load in your car (30 and 33 psi), but you should never use 35 psi or more! That leads to potential blow outs and a greater risk of punctures.

Use the tire pressure inside the door jamb or fuel door AND your Mercedes Operation Manual, for the operation manual gives further instructions not found on the door jamb/ fuel door.