Thursday, November 1, 2012

On Tires: Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max

Generally speaking, this accord has done very well with fuel mileage.  My lowest mileage for a tank was 26.11 mpg, my highest was 30.42.  Overall, that's not gas mileage I can really complain about.  For a now 12 year old car with over 150,000 miles on it, it's doing quite well.

A few months ago, however, I decided I'd replace the tires on the car since one had a razor imbedded in it, and the other three were approaching the point where they'd no longer pass the Virginia state safety inspection process.  Also, since I keep my tires rotated I generally try to replace all four at once, as opposed to piecemeal.  Usually it saves money on the individual unit, and it also usually scores you freebies like rotations; one time I even got a 5 year road hazard plan out of the deal.  

So, that being said, I've now put approximately 12,000 miles on the tires, they've been rotated twice, and I'm starting to have doubts about the tires that I purchased.

There are good things about them.  The wear is incredible.  After 12,000 miles, the tech who did the rotation for me said there is no question in his mind these tires shouldn't last me for another 70,000 miles based on how well they've worn over the first 12,000.  That can be an affect of the driver, more than the tire itself, and I do understand as such; so no angry comments when your set only gets 20,000 miles. 

Then there's the bad.  And there's a lot of bad.

First and foremost.  My average gas mileage in the vehicle was 28.05 mpg before I put the tires on it.  My overall mileage since I've gotten the tires? 28.57.  So, I've gotten a full half mpg of fuel economy boost out of the tires.  When compared to the premium I paid for them over a set of regular Goodyear Assurance, I need to get about 100,000 miles out of the tires simply to break even.  Quite frankly, I'm not going to get 100,000 miles out of them.

Second, wet traction.  It's horrible.  It's not quite as bad as a dedicated summer tire, but I'd expect something labeled all-season to provide enough wet weather traction that a slam on of my brakes over wet leaves would not lock up all four tires.  This happened in the Accord, and ended up with a run to the Honda dealership who verified that the 4 wheel ABS was in fact in full working order.  The tires have such poor traction that all four wheels locked tight in an emergency braking maneuver and started sliding.  When that happens, no amount of ABS can save you.

Third: Dry traction.  Not good.  Again, they're labeled all seasons, but the compound that they use is such a low-resistance compound, I get four wheel drift and tire chirp when I'm taking corners that with the previous tires on the vehicle the car just held on tight...namely the 90 degree corner I take while I'm getting to work.  I used to be able to take it at 35 mph while hitting the apexes properly, now the fastest I can do it without loads of over-steer is 26.

Fourth: Noise.  These tires are loud.  My 6,000 mile rotation schedule has not been enough to keep them quiet.  They're not so loud it's bothersome but they've got significantly more road noise than the previous tires on the car.

The verdict at 12,000 miles:  The tires aren't great.  They're not worth the premium over the regular Goodyear Assurance Comfortread for numerous reasons, however, they're not so horrible that I'm going to swap them out early...yet.  Part of the reason for that is some issues I'm currently having with the Honda which will be discussed in a later post.

Editors Note: If anyone from Michelin happens to be reading this, I would gladly accept a donated set of Pilot's in exchange for a review :)

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