So, it’s time for tires. Finally down to (or darn near close to it) the 2/32nd mark. I bought this car used with 144k miles on it, just came back from a 6k mile trip, and even though the previous owner put Firestones on it, I’d have to say they’ve really been great tires.
I’ve spent a lot of time over at Consumer Reports, reading their ratings, and going over the customer reviews. CR highly recommends the Michelin Defenders as a top-rated all season tire (with 90k tread life!), but the customer reviews don’t add up (there were numerous complaints from reviewers that the Michelin Defenders only lasted 35 or 40k, and that Michelin was less than helpful when it came to the warranty).
After looking over the ratings, I’ve finally decided on the Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus. Apparently, it comes in both H and V speed ratings. What’s on my Suzuki now is a 91H.
However, what this reviewer said at CR really caught my eye. I was just wondering what the consensus was here, if there’s any validity to what he’s saying:
I did a lot of research and called several tire shops… I was told by Costco and others that even if you don’t ever drive as fast as the speed rating (H is 130mph and V is 149mph), the safety (esp. braking grip and resistance to heat), performance (handling as well as traction), and tire constructions (quality of compound, number of nylon spiral layers, and sidewall-tread joint, among others) are distinctly different. This information is NOT detailed by Consumer Reports, and only indirectly confirmed by the DOT UTQG ratings for Temperature and Traction, or by reviews of braking traction.
I have to say that I’m not driving a Jaguar (as this guy was) and I’m not a speed demon… however… I do travel some mighty lonely stretches of highway at times, and with speed limits here in the southwest on the interstates at 75mph (I think in some parts of Utah it’s 80), it’s not uncommon for me to be going 80 and 85mph for long stretches.
I would be interested in knowing if the Car Talk community finds validity in what this guy is saying… is there THAT noticeable of a difference in quality on the construction of an H rated tired versus a V rated tire? Or is H good enough for my little ol’ Suzuki?