Wanted Michelin tires for my Volvo

I have a 2008 Volvo XC70 3.2 with 16 rims. I like Michelin tires so i thought I would check with Costco and was told that Michelin tires do not fit this car(except for the X-Ice). I then took my car into the Volvo dealer and they recommened a Michelin Defender. I contacted MIcheking customer for the second time and was they offer 8 tires with the Defender being one. This was confirmed in the Consumer Reports website. Finally I took the vehicle back to Costco and was told that the dealer, CR and Michelin were wrong as the vehicle can only operate on a V rated tire.

Basically Costco tire policy is that they will only mount the tire size and speed rating that is on the vehicle plaque . Just check with other tire sellers . It may be that they only carry certain sizes in the Michelin brand . Discount Tire put H rated Pirelli on our Volvo but I had to sign a waiver because V rated is what the vehicle came with.

I have had this argument with tire stores myself. H rated tires are rated for a steady 125 mph. As long as you do not exceed 125 mph, you do not need V rated tires. I have put S or T rated tires on a car that called for H rated ones because I have not exceeded 100 since I turned 60. That was when I decided I did not have to find the top speed of any car I bought. Yes, the turn in might not be as sharp, but if you cared about that, you wouldn’t be trying to fit lower speed rating tires to get a longer wearing cheaper tire like I do.

See above. Either Costco doesn’t stock that size, or the won’t put on an H rated tire. If the latter, see if you can sign a form. If the former, go elsewhere. Have you tried other tire stores?

Go to either Tire Rack or Discount Tire online and search for the size you want, not the vehicle. Find the tire with the specifications you like, and have them delivered to the tire install place of your choice. Done.


Tire Rack lists both V and H rated tires for your car. It’s not known to list tires below the manufacturer’s rating.

[Edit: It does appear that car calls for V rated tires. So now I’m curious why Tire Rack would also offer H rated tires.]

And I’d have no concern putting on the H version of the tire. Often H and V versions of a given tire differ only in their speed rating. T or S rated tires are typically a different design than H/V.


As a follow-on: I talked to a tire store about this once. They said their policy was to allow one drop in speed rating, but no more, for safety reasons.

Allow me to address the legal liability issue for the store.

It wouldn’t take much effort to find someone who would testify that the use a lower speed rating than specified would contribute to an accident. That’s the reason many tire shops won’t do it. We’re talking millions of $$ in liability - and there are plenty of lawyers and tire experts who would take such a case. Even if they couldn’t win in court (and they probably could!), the lawyer could get a settlement offer that would make it worth the while.

And while I am not a lawyer, my understanding is that even if a consumer signs a waiver, that doesn’t absolve the tire shop from liability. The rationale is that the tire shop is in the expert position and should take reasonable diligence. Put another way, the courts would assume the consumer is ignorant of the dangers and the tire shop has the responsibility to perform in a safe manner - even if it means turning a customer away and making him angry.


I agree with you opinion and find it odd that a Volvo dealer would knowingly and willfully drop the safety rating. Even if the car was sold the liability might follow me.

I think I will stick with Costco’s policy, recommend ratings only! Michelin and Consumer Reports need to abide by the manufacturer recommendations also.


I understand the preference for one brand of tire . But I have had good results with several different brands ( Cooper - Hankook - Michelin - BF Goodrich - Pirelli and even some house brand that I can’t remember the name of ).

I wanted to buy Michelin Defenders for my Camry but they qwre not made in the 205-65-16 size I need.

There’s more to it than just the speed rating. The rigidity of the tire, the grip level/tread compound, etc. all play factors in the tire’s behavior. It’s possible that an H rated tire has fewer belts, and/or is made with a harder compound that gives less traction but offers better tread wear. It’s probably not an issue for the vast majority of consumers. But we live in a litigious society, and if someone can place blame on another party for any reason at all, they’ll do it.


What tires are on the SUV now? What is the speed rating on the tire?