tire grade confusion
Just as an example, if a tire store tells you that the big chains sell you a different grade of tire than what he will get you, could that be true? I was asking about the Michelin Defender, 90,000 mile tire. If you ask for a specific name like that-can you still be receiving a different grade of tire?
Baloney. A Michelin Defender is the same tire no matter who sells it.
I highly recommend tirerack.com for tire research before buying, especially user survey results. Michelin Defender is at the top of its category in user rankings. I’ve also had good experience with the Hankook Optimo H727.
My warning BS light just went off. When I hear that comment from a salesman I assume he’s full of it.
A word of caution:
Sometimes tire manufacturers will add prefix’s and suffix’s to a tire’s name - and those may or may not be different that the base tire.
Example: Goodyear Wrangler and the Wrangler ST - totally different tires.
Another example: Goodyear Wrangler ST is also an OE (Original Equipment) tire, which means some tires were built to the vehicle manufacturer’s spec - and not only would those would be different that the regular tire specs, but each vehicle manufacturer has differing views of what a tire is supposed to do, so the tires can be quite different.
And lastly, it is possible for a tire manufacturer to segregate within a particular tire (meaning make and model), some other parameters that would be shipped to differing outlets. The best example of this is OE tires, where the OEM would have specs for balance and runout, but the replacement market has no such specs - and although the tires may look the same, they are different. This type of thing can be applied to other types of outlets - like big box stores vs tire dealers.
Does that mean tire salesmen don’t lie when they say there’s a difference? Of course not. Their lips are moving aren’t they?
“Sometimes tire manufacturers will add prefix’s and suffix’s to a tire’s name - and those may or may not be different that the base tire.”
That is correct, and the suffix does not necessarily indicate a substantive difference.
For example, when I was shopping for my set of Michelin Defenders, I noticed that Costco’s price was–of course–much better than the price at regular tires stores. And, I noticed that the Defender at Costco is called the Defender XT.
So–I contacted Michelin, via e-mail, to inquire about the possible differences between the two versions of the Defender. Believe it or not, I got a phone call from somebody in their employ, and he explained that the only difference between the two versions of the Defender was a slight difference in the tread design. He went through all of the standard measures of tire quality (heat resistance, traction, tread life), and explained that they were identical. He stated that, “the slight difference in tread design is a distinction without a real difference”, in terms of the tire’s performance.
I can tell you that the Defender is an incredible tire. Compared to the OEM Continental ProContact tires that came on the car when it was delivered, the Michelins are superior in every way. In addition to boosting my gas mileage slightly, they give a much smoother & quieter ride, but also have better steering response and better resistance to hydroplaning. Compared to the Continentals, I now feel like I am cornering on rails, due to the precise handling of the Defenders.
Anyway–I am of the opinion that you will be very satisfied with the Defenders, no matter where you buy them.
Supposedly there are a few regulations to aid the consumer in tire selection. But, as pointed out, slight of hand labeling by manufacturers, not only in tires but other products by using different prefix of suffix to their names is normal. BBW !
if a tire store tells you that the big chains sell you a different grade of tire than what he will get you, could that be true?
Sort of. Walmart and Sam’s Club do have models that are exclusive to them, like the Goodyear Viva line of tires for example, such tires do not carry a Goodyear warranty and are only warrantied through Walmart. There are also submodels of some tires that only sold at discount stores, The Goodyear Wranger AT/D is an example of that, it’s only sold only at Walmart and Sam’s Club. Goodyear also makes a model called the AT/S that is typically not sold at discount stores, so you do have to pay attention to make sure you’re getting what you want. To me that’s a red flag. However if you see the same model of tire sold at different places, it’s probably the same tire.