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New Tires on 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid

I’m taking delivery of a new 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid next week. We didn’t get great longevity on our 2006 HCH standard issue all season tires, so we’re wondering if we should upgrade to a better tire. But as I research the question, I see that mileage can be effected dramatically by the choice of tires. High mileage and good performance are both important to me, as is safety. In the winter months I plan to use a snow tire and sacrifice the mileage (studded–we live in Vermont).


You can’t have it all. :slight_smile:

I suggest you start with the tyres that are on it. If they don’t last long, OK you still got X miles on them before buying the next set.

Good choice on the winter tyres. With modern “winter” tyres rather than the old technology “snow” tyres you likely will not need studs.

If you’re driving a Civic Hybrid, performance is obviously not important to you. Otherwise you would’ve opt’d for the Si or Mugen model. Anyways sticker high performance tires generally have higher rolling resistance which hurts fuel economy. Harder high-MPG with low rolling resistance typically don’t grip the road that well. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s a trade off. Furthermore most OEM tires aren’t going to last a long time, although in the past 5 or 6 years automakers have been putting better OEM tires on their vehicles, usually on the higher end models though.

“We didn’t get great longevity on our 2006 HCH standard issue all season tires”

And, by taking the original tires off and immediately buying new tires, you believe that you will save money?? Even if the original equipment tires don’t provide a great deal of tread life, they should be good for at least 20,000 miles, and to get rid of these tires right away is just not good economics.

That being said, since you live in Vermont, I would suggest that you mount a set of 4 winter tires (Not Snow tires) soon, and then in the spring when you remount the original tires, you can begin to research your next set of tires for the time the originals do begin to show appreciable wear.

If you check the tire ratings in Consumer Reports, you will find that they include a rating of each tire’s rolling resistance and also its projected tread life, as well as traction, ride quality, etc.

Thanks, this is helpful. I should have mentioned that the car dealership is considering trading the new OEM tires an upgrade of my choice.

Just to reiterate the point made by others:

If you do make this swap, please do not expect the fuel economy to be as good as it could be.

Actual fuel economy can vary considerably from the EPA values published on the window sticker. This is highly depedent on your driving conditions. Lots of stop and go traffic and hills will hurt fuel economy, while lots of flat, open highway driving improves it.

But tires are a part of the equation and OE tires - particularly tires that come on hybrids - are designed to have good rolling resistance - which also means that either treadwear or traction are sacrifice (or both). Replacing these tires with tires that wear better guarrantees you will not get as good of fuel economy.

What CapriRacer stated is probably the most important point for the OP to consider. While the OE tires on his/her new hybrid will likely not have long tread life and while they will also be fairly useless on winter roads, these OE tires are an integral part of the high mpg rating of the vehicle.

Switching to another tire with better tread life and decent traction will degrade the vehicle’s fuel efficiency to a significant degree, thereby obviating one of the original reasons for buying the vehicle. As Mr. Meehan astutely stated, you can’t have it all–especially when it comes to tires.

I read that in the near future, tire manfrs will be required to advertise the relative rolling resistance of their tires along with the other specs. Should make it easier for people to decide which tire fits their needs/desires better.

To take this a step further, there is some political movement to MANDATE a maximum rolling resistance for tires. The problem here is that good wearing tires would be eliminated (or as a likely alternative good wearing tires would also be slippery.)

There are a lot of technical issue to resolve. The biggest one is that identical tires, in different sizes, have different rolling resistances and different rolling resistance coefficients and there isn’t an easy way to correlate this except to test EACH tire size in EVERY tire line made - an expensive proposition, which would obviously be passed on to the consumer.

So if you are in favor of labeling tires with fuel economy labels - or not - please write your congressman. Let them know what you think.

Good Info, TwinTurbo. I’ll Be Waiting. I Have Never Used Info Other Than Traction, Temperature, Treadwear, And Date Of Mfg.

Capri Racer, Don’t You Think This Labeling Rquirement Could Help Spur Advanced Development Of Longer-Wearing, Low-Rolling-Resistance Tires?


There is already a lot of pressure applied by the car manufacturers to develop tread compounds that change the basic triangle of treadwear / traction / rolling resistance. Sometimes these limits are pushed too far and the public gets less than stellar traction or wear.

So I think the added pressure of labeling tires for RR is going to have only a minor effect on development rates. I also wonder what the average tire buying person is going to do. It’s quite possible that the buying public will still choose longer wearing tires over low RR tires - and that message will not result in any change whatsoever.

Nevertheless, I am in favor of the labeling requirement.

I urge anyone with an opinion to voice it. But to make an impact on the decision makers, it would be best to acknowledge that there is a technical compromise to be made and that you are willing to live with the results.

I have the 2007 with the new tires. I would encourage you to talk to your dealer and see if he has any insight into the issue. The 09 has a lower mileage rating and that is either due to the new way of calculating mileage or it is a change in factory tires. If my caluclations are correct I would be better off dollar wise by getting new tires every 25,000 at 50 mpg than 60,000 at 40mpg