Tire questions, how to tell TPMS sensor or not?

My car steering wheel has been shaking and it has gotten worse after a alignment, balance, and rotation 3 weeks ago (2 of the tires were bad and they put them in the rear). I’m just going to go ahead and replace all 4 tires. It’s a 2000 Corolla CE. Is there a way to know whether my car has a TPMS sensor?

I will be going to firestone later on. The choice is between Primewell PS830/850 ($33.99) and Firestone FR710 ($67.99). Is there anything wrong with going with the cheaper Primewell? It’s just a commuting car (40 miles a day, a couple of steep hills/construction zones, 60% highway, 40% city).

The quote from Firestone also includes a free alignment check…they will charge me if they determine that I need an alignment. Since I got an alignment 3 weeks ago, do I need another one when changing the tires? Should I give them the alignment specifications set by the previous shop?

If it was just aligned, you do not need to pay for it again. The previous shop should have used the Toyota specs for alignment.

My 2007 Corolla does not have tire pressure monitoring; I would doubt a 2000 model would have it.

Cheap tires from Firestone may be made in China or Indonesia. If that’s the case I would avoid them. They are probably safe, but may be very difficult to balance.

Would the FR710 be a good choice then? Any particular price range/brand I should be looking for?

I am pretty fussy about tire vibration. I put a set of Cooper CS-4 Touring tires on my car and have been very pleased with them. USA made, reasonably priced…Firestone is owned by Bridgestone, a huge multinational. They make their tires in plants all over the world…You need to think in terms of price-points, shelf-life and shelf-space because that’s how they think…

2000 model year cars are not burdened with TPMS thank goodness…

“(2 of the tires were bad and they put them in the rear).” Bad tires are bad tires no matter where they are mounted…

When I use the Firestone “Find tires for my car” tool, when I select my car…it says I do have TPMS. Could they be wrong about this?

Also, when I did the previous tire balance 3 weeks ago, they installed wheel weights. When firestone installs the new tires, will they take off the wheel weights…should I even mention it to them?

As a side point: watch Firestone like a hawk:
My wife needed her tires replaced so went there. They pumped them all up to 70 PSI.
On my daughter’s car they forgot to tighten the oil drain plug after an oil change and caused it to blow the engine up.

Some Firestones may be better than the other, but the one near me is stocked with morons.
Make sure you check their work as stupidity is usually systemic within companies.

“In the United States, the Firestone recall in the late 1990s (which was linked to more than 100 deaths from rollovers following tire tread-separation), pushed the Clinton administration to legislate the TREAD Act. The Act mandated the use of a suitable TPMS technology in all light motor vehicles (under 10,000 pounds), to help alert drivers of severe under-inflation events. This act affects all light motor vehicles sold after September 1, 2007. Phase-in started in October 2005 at 20%, and reached 100% for models produced after September 2007.”

When you buy new tires, the existing wheel weights will be removed and new ones installed as part of the installation…

If you want a broader look at tires, go to www.tirerack.com and use their tire finder utility…

Check out the tread wear warranties and you will probably see that the FR710 has a much longer warranty. Primewells usually have about a 40K mileage warranty. We had a set of FR710;s on our 2003 Subaru and they did fine. Other folks I know have had good luck with Primewells, and you do get a national warranty with all Firestone tires bought through their stores.

You might consider Walmart or one of the wholesale clubs to see what they offer in your size. You can save substantially on the tire balance/road hazard packages vs Firestone. Firestone has some of the most expensive prices on those services in my area.

Oh, I did not realize Walmart had a tire installation service. I’ve checked a couple of Walmart nearby, and they are open from 6-12am??? So I can just walk in, pick the tires, and they will install? How is their installation service?

How can you tell ? Check your owner’s manual with the reference to the dash board display…( which they don’t for 2000) Walmark installation services like Firestone can vary from one store to another to some degree depending pon the management. It’s hard to generalize.

“You might consider Walmart or one of the wholesale clubs to see what they offer in your size.”

It is possible that BJ’s or Sam’s Club will have cheaper tires, but Costco only sells premium tires–albeit at good prices. For the OP’s car, the cheapest tire that Costco sells is $95, and–unfortunately–that is the Bridgestone Potenza RE-92. I say “unfortunately” because if the OP lives in a state where snow falls, this tire is essentially useless on snowy roads. Trust me–I know from experience with those tires. They are decent on dry roads, and…acceptable…in the rain, but on snow…look out.

If the OP wants to buy a $34-$68 tire, I think that his choices are going to be very limited, but Wal-Mart is probably the type of place where the OP should look for those cheapo-specials.

I agree you might want to look at General for a decent cheap tire. Made in either Illinois or Oklahoma, can’t remember. As said if you don’t have a dash indicator telling you what the tire pressures are, you don’t have TPMS. If you want to know for sure, let the air out of a tire (where its convenient to refill it again if you don’t have a compressor) and start the car. If you don’t get a low pressure warning on the dash, you don’t have it.

You may want to check out Tirerack.com and as VDCdriver mentioned Costco sells good tires at competitive prices. I don’t recommend you go for the cheapest tire you can find, you’ll be driving this car every day. I’d consider the Bridgestone Insignia or Yokohama Avid Touring S as well. I would trust a tire from Walmart as some of the tires they sell there are build to Wal-Mart specs and don’t even have a warranty from the manufacturer (the warranty is through Wal-Mart). To me that’s a huge red flag.

" I would trust a tire from Walmart as some of the tires they sell there are build to Wal-Mart specs and don’t even have a warranty from the manufacturer (the warranty is through Wal-Mart). To me that’s a huge red flag."

I think that FoDaddy meant to say that he would NOT trust one of Wal-Mart’s cheapo-specials, but I will leave it to him to clarify the situation.

Anyway, when you consider that your only way of obtaining traction to go and to stop is based on 4 very small “hand-print” sized patches where the tire’s tread comes in contact with the road, I don’t believe in cheaping-out when it comes to tires. Others may differ, as is their right.

I might economize on other aspects of my life, but I believe in keeping good-quality, high-traction tires on my car at all times. When I experienced the third puncture of my awful Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 tires, I used that as an excuse to buy a new set of BG Goodrich Traction T/A tires at Costco–even though I could “technically” have gotten another year or two from those RE-92s. The improvements in wet traction and handling were well worth the cost.

Recently, I ditched the OEM Continentals on my Outback, even though I could have “technically” gotten another year (or more) from them. The reduction in hydroplaning resistance was my signal that I couldn’t afford to save money by keeping those Contis until the wear bars appeared on the tread.

It cost me over $700 to buy a set of Michelin Defenders, but the cost is well worth it, IMHO.
In addition to gaining much better traction on wet roads, the ride has improved with these Defenders, and the noise level has decreased, while my gas mileage has improved a bit.

I think that life is too short to try to get every last mile out of a set of tires, and I also think that it is short-sighted to buy tires only on the basis of price. Others may differ…


There is 0% chance that your car has TPMS

Only high-end cars, such as Benz, had TPMS in 2000. In fact, that was the first year that Benz even offered it.

Consider yourself fortunate, because the tire installation costs will be reasonable

I’ve had pretty good luck w/Michelin Defender and before that, their XA radial on my early 90’s Corolla. Unfortunately it appears from what I can tell browsing the Michelin web site, they no longer make them in the correct OEM size for my Corolla; but they may still make them for your Corolla, as it is newer. Most important though it to make sure the tire you purchase is one of the exact sizes recommended for you car in the owner’s manual. Changing tire sizes causes all sorts of alignment problems, b/c the engineers that designed the car and the suspension’s geometry assumed only certain tire sizes, and if you change to a size not among that list, it may simply be physically impossible to correctly align the suspension. Also, if you want to minimize the chance of a re-alignment needed after new tires, best to purchase the exact same tire size as was on the car three weeks ago, during its prior alignment. Best of luck.

The tire-rack doesn’t mention TMPS sensors for this car, Costco may not be the cheapest in town but their after-sales service makes it worth it, my dad upgraded from the OEM tires to another brand from Costco and when he had a puncture on a nearly new tire they replaced it for free. While I understand not wanting to put expensive tires on a 13+ year old compact the cheapest tires you might look at some of the reviews on Tire Rack for tires for this car and maybe see if a local shop can come close in price on the same brand.

“I’ve had pretty good luck w/Michelin Defender”

My new tires are Michelin Defenders, and I am absolutely impressed with them.
Costco does sell them in the OEM size for the OP’s Corolla, but I think that the price (~$105, IIRC) is more than the OP is willing to pay. However, given the extremely long tread life of this tire, coupled with its low rolling resistance (fuel-saving) technology, despite the initial higher cost, the Defender would likely be a cheaper tire in the long run, as compared to cheap tires.

I also vote against the bargain-basement tires. I’d look at the reviews on Tire Rack’s web site and find something fairly low-priced with decent reviews, even if that costs somewhat more.