Bought a cheap set of Chinese Tires

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Warning: Long post ahead The regulars on this forum know that I usually take an overkill approach to maintenance and repairs (and tires in particular), so this decision was one that was very different than the norm for me. My dad has a 92 Toyota Previa. It is a 20-year old van with lots of life left in the powertrain, but the interior/exterior condition are lacking. Therefore, it is unclear how long it will be kept. While in the process of trying to diagnose a brake problem, I noticed that the L/F tire had a long cut between the sidewall and the outer shoulder. These tires were 8.5 year old Michelin X-Radials with 83,000 miles on them which also had lots of sidewall cracking. I have been trying to convince him to replace these tires for quite some time; and since there was a cut in the sidewall, I finally sold him on it today. LOL The van requires 215/65-15, H-rated. He wanted the tires to have lifetime rotation and balancing, as this is a big deal to him. Plus he wanted the tires today, which is interesting since he was in no hurry to get them before. crzy And did I tell you it was already 2:45PM? The selection in the 215/65-15 size is limited. My first thought was a Michelin, but the new Defender is not available in this size until Sept. The next choices were either the Sumitomo HTR A/S P01, but no one carried them locally. So, it was down to either the General Altimax RT, Pirelli P4 Four Seasons or Kumho Solus KR21. It was convenient that TireRack happened to test these three tires in 2007, and ranked the Generals best, followed by the Pirelli and Kumho. CR on the other hand, ranked the Pirellis first, followed by the Kumho and Generals. So, it appears that there was consensus between the two different sources that the Pirelli will be a solid performer. The Pirelli was about $10/tire more than the Kumho, and since the differences may not be noticeable on this application, my dad wanted to go with the Kumho since there were cheaper. The guy at America's Tire said the Kumhos were $433 OTD, but said the Pirellis were a much better tire for $30 more. I told him that I was fully committed towards building a strong relationship with America's Tire, and told him to reference my purchase history (5 sets since Sept 2011) and to show some flexibility with pricing. He immediately came back with saying that he could sell me a set of the Pirellis for the price of the Kumhos. I discussed it with my dad who was fine with it, but I called him back and got it down to $420 out the door or $79/tire + install and tax. Sold. As an initial review, these Pirellis handle surprisingly well for a T-rated tire, standard touring class tire. It is too early to tell on traction, but the car seems to stop noticeably better than before. The ride is definitely a bit on the taut side though. I will update this thread as the tires accumulate more miles. Oh, and they are now Made in China, hence the reason for the thread title. Overall, I am fairly satisfied with the tires considering their dirt-cheap price and especially happy with America's Tire for accommodating me at a moment's notice. I hope these tires continue to perform well, as it is almost too good to be true for a tire that is so cheap (I'm used to $120/tire for 15"). Does anyone else have experience with Pirelli P4 Four Seasons?
 

Y_K

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Close to cumulative million miles on Lincoln Town Cars with P4. The best tire for my application in my climate. No discernible difference between countries of mfg. Mostly Brazil and China
 
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^That's a good thing! I bought a set of the P4 Four Seasons and loved them, but they were short lived: I sold the car over a year later. The ride was 'much' smoother and quiet on those tires. +1 all around for an all-season tire.
 
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Pirelli was a good choice. By the way, I always use Consumer Reports tire tests, and the TireRack comparison tests and survey results for all my tire purchases. Cross-referencing one against the other, and factoring in Dicount Tire Direct customer opinions, also, as needed. Using that method I've had one great set of tires after another. I love the interweb. Keith
 
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I thought you put Chinese tires on there when I read the title. It sounds more like you put on Italian tires that were made in China.
 
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So where's all the people assuring him that these Chinese tires will fail, cause his car to crash, and kill himself and everyone in a five block radius?
 
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Quote:
So where's all the people assuring him that these Chinese tires will fail, cause his car to crash, and kill himself and everyone in a five block radius?
Perhaps it's related to who's posting the comment?. If for instance, one posts a thread starter regarding the purchase of an aftermarket sensor made in the USA, that might draw an omnipotent sounding comment like, " Made in the USA doesn't impress me one bit". Conversely that same not immpressed poster might turn around and proudly announce the purchase of tires made in China, and the silence is deafening. I guess I'd have to say, as I'm not driving on them, I don't really care where the OP's purchased tires are made. Then again, I'd be much less impressed with a "cheap set" of tires made in China that one's life may well depend on, than being critical of a sensor made in the USA that entails no such risk. That said, the tires will likely be fine as they are made in China under the Pirelli brand and supervision. Just sayin. If it were me though, of the choices listed I would have purchased the General Altimax RT's. They currently have a $50 Visa rebate, solid TR reviews, liked my Altimax HP's, and they don't happen to be made in China.
 
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20 yr old car, buy used, but shop wisely, the new tires are worth more then the ride, imho. Of course there is some nostalgia in keeping a ride a long time, been there and done that.
 
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Nice write up, The Critic! Similar situation with my Wife's Camry for this Fall - see sig. Has 178k on the car, but should go 300k easy. smile It now has 60k on the Sam's Club BF Goodrich Touring T/A's... Similar tire choices as you too, so I'm really interested in on-going reviews. I may go Pirelli or looking at TR's reviews last night, crzy I have been leaning towards Michelin Destiny. So, your reviews are nice. How's the suspension & front end parts on it??
 
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I have a pirelli that's made in Aregentina. Bet they're mad they got offshored!
 
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I had a set of P4's on my old Buick. Those were excellent tires. A bit noisy, however not that noticeable in a Buick. They stopped well, handled very well, and wore like iron. I had about 70k miles on that set when I got rid of the car due to rust, and they looked like they could safely go another 20k miles. For the $350 installed I paid for them, I definitely got my money's worth.
 
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the title is misleading those arent what most people refer to as Chinese tires... they are simply made in china tires. see this article http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32899266/ns/business-autos/t/chinese-tires-its-buyer-beware/
Quote:
For many drivers, the trade spat might raise the question of how safe are tires imported from China, given that country's poor safety record on other products including toothpaste, pet food, toys and drywall. The answer depends on whether you buy Chinese-made tires from name brands like Goodyear or Michelin, vs. Chinese-label tires or those made in China under contract for some private store labels, tests show.
Quote:
But with tires, as with many other products, it's buyer beware — you get what you pay for. Because of the substantial differences between name-brand tires that are made in China and tires that are designed and manufactured by Chinese tire makers, it may be more relevant to consider Chinese tires as two separate products.
so basically if you buy goodyear, michelin, pirelli, kumho etc made in china it should be ok.. if you buy DELTA, Triangle, etc... well maybe not so ok.
 
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My choices in order: 1) Brand name tire made in USA or first world countries. 2) Brand name tire made in China. 3) China tire maker made in China. So far, all my brand name tires made NOT in China
 
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Originally Posted By: HTSS_TR
My choices in order: 1) Brand name tire made in USA or first world countries. 2) Brand name tire made in China. 3) China tire maker made in China. So far, all my brand name tires made NOT in China
This is pretty much my angle as well, but there's a big gap between choice 1 and 2 for me. Our cars currently have six USA made tires, two Malaysian tires and four Korean tires.
 
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My point of view is South Korea had been a first world country for more than 4-5 years. Look at their TV sets, Samsung LCD flat screen had been rated #1 regularly by many electronics mags. Their vehicles is as good as any from Japan and America.
 
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As was mentioned this is a major Italian brand outsourcing the tires from China so they could be about as good as if made elsewhere. My experience with Pirelli has been they steer and handle sharply, but tend to get noisy with wear and also I've found them lacking in snow traction (but these were P4000 0r P8000). I'm not saying they are bad tires and since there are different models and results always vary. I think the P4s are pretty good. I would've probably went with the General since the Pirellis are outsourced to china.
 

NJC

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I just bought a set of Pirelli P4 Four Seasons in a 215/65R16 less than one week ago. Have driven them 1,400km on a roadtrip and after initial squishy feeling, they seem excellent. Tramlining seems excellent, grip is very good (we ran into a rain storm) and the noise is minimal. We averaged 25mpg (30mpg imperial) with A/C on 50% of the time and >90% highway. But I didn't buy them for gas rolling efficiency ... mine were also made in China.
 
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Originally Posted By: The Critic
Warning: Does anyone else have experience with Pirelli P4 Four Seasons?
I had a set of P4s in 195/65/15 T on a Chevy Classic I just traded in. Had about 30k miles on them and wore well, apart from one tire eating a nail and getting patched. Very good tire overall. Good in rain/snow for an A/S. Only downside is a slight fuel economy hit; not much but enough to notice if you track mpg closely. Good bang for the buck tire. I got mine installed for $332 OTD with lifetime rotation in May 2009. Speaking of which: Note that Pirelli requires rotations every 4k miles to qualify for its treadlife warranty. Are you sure your tires are H-rated? TR only list P4s in that size as T, as far as I can see. (EDIT: I see you mentioned you got T-rated tires.....never mind.) Next time maybe think about 205/70/15 for a greater selection. I bought a set of snow tires in that size for my ex's Caravan, which took 215/65 OE. Worked fine. Anyway, I think your dad will be happy with his new tires. Good luck.
 
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