How awful are these cheap tires?

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I have a set of wheels that I really want to try out on the MG. They're alloy wheels off a 1980 MGB. I'm not sure if I'm going to like them on the car, but alloy wheels get me away from having to argue with shops about lug balancing at the like.

The set of wheels I have has tires that are probably 25 years old. They have single digit year codes. so it's hard to say exactly how old they are. They have a ton of tread, so part of me thinks they're okay to air up and rollout out of the garage plus drive around the block(or some other low speed driving) just to give the wheels a dry run.

Then, I see tires like this at Walmart that I'd probably be out the door for under $200 on(maybe a little more if I bought 5, since I do have a spare).


I'm just wondering if these are actually legitimately going to be awful tires.

Another part of me thinks that if I end up running these wheels full time, I'll regret buying cheap tires. There aren't a lot of choices in that tire size, but the current darling of the LBC crowd is the General Altimax RT3. They're still under $100/tire, so it's not like I'm exactly splurging to buy them either.

Also, I know swapping the tires on my current wheels is an option, but when I've priced that in the past unmounting/remounting/balancing independent of a tire purchase often can run ~$40/wheel or better so at that point, to me, it doesn't make sense to not just throw new tires on it. Aside from that, I like my Yokohamas on there and of course they have a lot of tread(a car driven 2-3K miles/year doesn't wear out tires) but they're also coming up on 5 years on the car so I doubt I have more than 2-3 more years before I need to look at replacing them anyway.
 
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1,326
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Basehor, KS
My family has run those tires in the past, primarily on older Corollas. They did fine in all four seasons type weather. At the time, they were made in the Kelly Springfield tire plant in Maryland.
 
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17,897
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NH
I don't know location you are in? Not sure if you are going to be driving this only in nice summer months, which lasts all of 3 days up here; or nice summer months, which is year round in Florida.

Usually one wants to look at longevity, performance and age. Buying high end tires on a gently driven car that gets few miles per year means tires that will age out--means that one won't get their monies worth. Buying cheap tires that won't last a year due to very high miles and/or aggressive driving may not make sense either. Ultimately it's cost per mile, with the aggravation of if the tires meet your performance requirements.

Me, I love RT43's, use them on my cars. I did not like them on my Jetta as when the were new they were very squirrely. I'm not sure I would want them on a "fun" car that only comes out in dry weather. But driving in rain, and occasional snow, with lots of miles per year, I would say I'm partial to them.

For something that isn't going to be pushed, coming out only in nice weather, with not a lot miles per year, I'd be tempted to try Douglas.
 
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1,448
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Wisconsin
The Douglas tires are too large for your MG so handling and alignment will be a tad off. (If they are cheap enough and you don’t drive much, who cares I suppose)

I would buy 165/65r14 RE92’s for that car
(Originals on something strange like 145sr14 right?)

Could also buy OEMs for a little more

 
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11,543
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USA
Douglas tires are actually some of the better cheap tires, and mostly US-made, too :)

They are made by Goodyear, and Walmart is the only store that Goodyear makes private label tires for.


The Douglas tires are too large for your MG so handling and alignment will be a tad off. (If they are cheap enough and you don’t drive much, who cares I suppose)

I would buy 165/65r14 RE92’s for that car
(Originals on something strange like 145sr14 right?)

Could also buy OEMs for a little more


That's actually cheap for Coker tires!

If the OE size is 155R14 (155/82-14), then the modern size that is closest in diameter actually is 185/60-14

Here is a good calculator
It doesn't accept old tire sizes like 155R14 or 155-14, so use 155/82-14
(for all tires of that size format with no middle number, the ratio is 82)

So as long as the rims can accommodate a 185 section tire, the 185/60-14 will be the closest in diameter to the 155R14
 
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726
Location
NC
If yours is an MGB pre-rubber bumpers, keep it original with a classic set of Michelins, Pirellis or Dunlops;
1614880646594.jpg
 
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488
Honestly, the best old-school tire for the price is the Uniroyal Tiger PAW II.


I have both the Altimax RT43 and the Uniroyal Tiger PAW II on my two rigs right now. I personally think the Tiger PAW is a much better tire than the Altimax in every way except maybe tread life since they have a bit of a softer compound. Tiger PAW is pretty good in snow, and amazing in wet and dry. The lateral grip is one of the best I have ever used in an old-school tall tire wall tire. My little RWD Toyota pickup has 195-75-14 Tiger PAW tires and it can do at least 10 MPH faster (than any tires before) on the same highway on ramp curve I take a few times a week. They are also very quiet on the highway. Easily one of the best tires I have ever owned, and I've owned a lot, and usually purchased the top of the line when possible.

I wish they had the Tiger PAW II in the size for my van, as I would not hesitate to use them over the Altimax rt43 which is a bit of a softer-walled tire than the Tiger PAW. Although, I have no doubt the Altimax tires will last longer, but that's the only plus I can find yet.
 

CKN

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6,422
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Utah
I like the thread title "How awful are these cheap tires?" It sits the bar for replies pretty low........
 

bunnspecial

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The Douglas tires are too large for your MG so handling and alignment will be a tad off. (If they are cheap enough and you don’t drive much, who cares I suppose)

I've been running 185/70R14s for several years now on RoStyle wheels, and they're what I took off the car. That, and 175/70R14(which are a bit small in diameter) are go-to sizes for available tire selection.

The 1980 LE Alloy wheels I want to use are, IIRC, either a 5" or 5.5" wide rim and 185/70 was the factory size for them.
 

bunnspecial

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If yours is an MGB pre-rubber bumpers, keep it original with a classic set of Michelins, Pirellis or Dunlops;

I have RoStyles, not wires, which I like the look of but they're becoming increasingly impractical to run given that it's a roll of the dice as to whether or not a tire shop is both going to have the pin adapter and have someone there who actually knows what it is/how to use it to get it balanced correctly.

I'm using an original MG wheel, just a later one, and I'm not 100% sure I'm going to like it on the car. At least it's hub centric, though, so I can get it balanced...although now the struggle is correct lug nuts for the wheels.
 
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488
Oh, and if you want to know how bad the tires can be. just read the 1-star reviews on Walmart for the Douglas tires. There a few too many cases of catastrophic failure with these tires. I don't think it can be possible to make something safe for so cheap.

Here are the 1 star reviews for your tires


I still think the Tiger PAW is the best tire you will get at a lower price point. Anything cheaper is not going to be as reliable and high performing.
 

bunnspecial

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Thanks everyone for your answers and also for the alternative suggestions. I don't think a 165 is wide enough for a 5" MGB Alloy wheel.

The Douglas does sound like a promising bet-I like them being made in the USA. Some of the higher priced alternatives sound like they're worth the extra, though.
 
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9,068
Location
Illinois
I had a set of those Douglas tires from Wal-Mart on an old Monte Carlo. 'Cheap' was the entire factor in buying them.

Honestly, they performed way better than they should have, considering what I paid. I'd buy them again.
 
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17,897
Location
NH
Oh, and if you want to know how bad the tires can be. just read the 1-star reviews on Walmart for the Douglas tires. There a few too many cases of catastrophic failure with these tires. I don't think it can be possible to make something safe for so cheap.

Here are the 1 star reviews for your tires


I still think the Tiger PAW is the best tire you will get at a lower price point. Anything cheaper is not going to be as reliable and high performing.
I dunno... Looking at some of those photos I see road damage and underinflation. Some may well be from sub-par installation (leading to tires that don't hold air), some might be from "poor tires" but some of those don't appear to be the fault of the tire.
 
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488
I dunno... Looking at some of those photos I see road damage and underinflation. Some may well be from sub-par installation (leading to tires that don't hold air), some might be from "poor tires" but some of those don't appear to be the fault of the tire.
well, the tires linked by OP are $38 each. And you won't see so many failure reviews on other tires with the same number of reviews. $38 is cheap for a bicycle tire, let alone a car tire. There just isn't any way around it, something has to give for a $38 tire, and durability and quality control are likely variables tuned to get that price.

If someone is just using the tires for getting to show rooms and putting around town at 25 MPH, then yeah, cheap probably isn't too much concern. But for anything faster, I'm not so sure going rock-bottom price for tires ever turns out well.

As they say, "Buy cheap, buy twice."
 
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303
Location
Independence Ky
I have had both great luck with cheap tires both when I had no other option due to lack of funds and trying to keep fresh rubber under 8 vehicles that hardly were driven. Douglas is actually a darn good tire. My current tires on my Ford conversion van are Goodyear wrangler and I promise you I’ll never buy a set of them no matter the cost. I could tell from the very beginning I hated them. PO had just installed them brand new because the factory Michelin’s were to old. These wranglers have a seam where I guess the tire was spliced together that you can see even on the sidewall and that is what I think is the problem. Even after a fresh balance I was never satisfied. I’ve had some cheap Douglas, nankang, and others I can’t think of that we’re flawless. I’m now trying to find new tires for the van and I want good tires being I’ll be towing my motorcycles and everything I work hard to enjoy. 235/75/15 is what I’m searching and liking a few but not sure yet.
 

bunnspecial

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Okay, I'm torn-a bunch of folks here saying the tires are great and some really bad reviews.

When I talk about my usage on this car, I know that any tire I buy will age out before I wear it out. That's just the nature of a 3 season, non-daily, fun car. With that said, I drive the car as it was meant to be driven, and that means that the 2-3K miles a year is a lot of 55mph backgrounds and some occasional interstate trips to get there.

I've also operated for a while on the philosophy that most any tire made today is going to be better than a premium tire when the car was new. Tires have come a long way in 50 years.

The $50 rebate on the Generals kind of makes it not a difficult choice.

I'm at least 2-3 weeks out from doing anything, though, since that's how long it's going to take me to get the oddball lugnuts to even put the wheels on the car(I need a 60º conical seat with a .20" shank, and the options are either pay Moss $17 per lugnut, or go with a special order one a friend was able to get for me) and I'd rather drive the car in for tires than load the wheels up and have them mounted. Even though I don't trust the tires currently on the wheels for any serious driving, I think I can trust them to make it 5 miles to Wal-Mart.
 

JTK

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13,428
Location
Buffalo, NY
I had a set of those Douglas tires from Wal-Mart on an old Monte Carlo. 'Cheap' was the entire factor in buying them.

Honestly, they performed way better than they should have, considering what I paid. I'd buy them again.

Same!

I had a set of Douglas tires on my 2016 Subaru Forester. I liked them a lot better than the factory tires. I would buy them again no problem. I've never heard anyone complain about them. Online reviews on walmart and other retail sites mean nothing to me.
 
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