Tires for Ford Transit 350 15 Pass Van

Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
It is almost time for tires. The Hankooks on my Transit have lasted awhile but they are a horror show in the snow and not great in the rain. I've narrowed down my choices to the Cooper Discoverer HT3 and the Michelin Agilis Cross Climate. I'm sticking with the stock 235/65/16 size. So I'm looking for a good compromise between longevity and snow/rain traction. The van mainly transports my kids to and from school, running a mix of highway and city cycle. It does take an occasional long highway trip maybe once a year or 18 months.

I've read that the Michelin is 3 peak rated and is outstanding in snow, rain, and at high highway speeds. It is a directional tire. It is expensive. I don't know much about the Cooper, but I like that it is made in the USA by an American company and it has a 50k warranty. The Michelin does not carry a mileage warranty but it is said to last a very long time. I've not heard anything bad about either.

I'd say I'm leaning toward the Michelin at this point, but would still love to buy a US manufactured tire (Not necessarily from a US based company, although that would be nice, too). Goodyears are priced way too high and don't seem to offer anything more than these, unless they came with a big rebate.

I'd love to hear from anyone with experience with these two tires, particularly on a Transit, but other applications could still give me good info. Heck, I don't mind hearing about other tires, too, but I'm leaning toward these. Michelin right now has a $70 rebate on a set of 4, so that gets the price a bit closer. At the end of the day, I want a good all around tire that lasts and does ok in the snow. I know it is a Transit, and effectively 1 wheel drive, but I think even racing slicks would do better on snow than the Hankooks.
 
Messages
10,883
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
The Hankooks are horrible in bad weather, new AND worn! We have had really good luck with the Firestone Transforce tires, at first the "HT", and now labeled "Transforce CV". The LT235/65R16C (still 10 ply) size is only available from a few (mostly European) manufacturers, and there are a few winter tires available, Firestone, Nokian, and others. I've had 2 sets of the Transforce HT/CV, and they've held up really well, I have around 40K on the CVs on there now, but I've not had to use them in snow & ice-YET...
 
Messages
845
Location
Daytona Beach
(Michelin) The French company purchased the American firm Uniroyal-Goodrich company in 1989. In the United States, it manufactures tires in Alabama, North and South Carolina and Arkansas.
It also produces tires in China, like all manufacturers today, so at least there's that. Pirelli's largest manufacturing plant is in China.
 
Messages
7,096
Location
Roanoke Virginia
Both of those tires should be fine. For the rain or snow though by far I have had the best luck with Pirelli over Michelin by a long shot. We used to only run Michelin on our stuff then we tried the Pirelli on the recommendation of several mechanics and they do a lot better in the snow than the Michelin we didn’t use those particular Michelin but according to the mechanic that recommended them to me they are better than most Michelin in the rain and snow. We have Michelin on our Jeep that is 4WD and they don’t do too good same with the ones on our Econoline van they aren’t good in the snow. The Cooper we use their brand on our Escape they grip nicely in the snow and rain so I trust those completely. Goodyear I would not even consider at all. I’ve also had good luck with Toyo or Yokohama tires as well for the snow. I also don’t have a transit but I’ve got an Econoline and it goes good in the snow when it doesn’t have Michelin on.
 
Messages
8,004
Location
The Midwest
The Toyo Celsius Cargo is the best mention for winter performance.

Between the Michelin and the Cooper, I'd get the Michelins. If I lived down south, I'd get the Coopers.

The Michelin uses an open shoulder design while the Cooper uses a closed shoulder design.
I assume the Michelin's will do better in the snow.

Side note:
I'm a semi mechanic and we got a bulletin that trucks for some routes are to get open shoulder drive tires for additional snow traction.
Closed shoulder drive tires provide better fuel economy and longer wear. Fleets chase after every 1/10 of 1 MPG.
 

IndyFan

Thread starter
Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
Both of those tires should be fine. For the rain or snow though by far I have had the best luck with Pirelli over Michelin by a long shot. We used to only run Michelin on our stuff then we tried the Pirelli on the recommendation of several mechanics and they do a lot better in the snow than the Michelin we didn’t use those particular Michelin but according to the mechanic that recommended them to me they are better than most Michelin in the rain and snow. We have Michelin on our Jeep that is 4WD and they don’t do too good same with the ones on our Econoline van they aren’t good in the snow. The Cooper we use their brand on our Escape they grip nicely in the snow and rain so I trust those completely. Goodyear I would not even consider at all. I’ve also had good luck with Toyo or Yokohama tires as well for the snow. I also don’t have a transit but I’ve got an Econoline and it goes good in the snow when it doesn’t have Michelin on.

I've had good luck with Pirelli, too, but I don't see one for this application. The size is a little funky, but they also have to be the proper load range. A few years ago, there were only maybe 2 or 3 tires for this van. Now there are 5 or 6. So its getting better. The next set might be my last for it, though, as my kids are getting to driving age and we'll sell it off and get an SUV to replace it.
 

IndyFan

Thread starter
Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
The Toyo Celsius Cargo is the best mention for winter performance.

Between the Michelin and the Cooper, I'd get the Michelins. If I lived down south, I'd get the Coopers.

The Michelin uses an open shoulder design while the Cooper uses a closed shoulder design.
I assume the Michelin's will do better in the snow.

Side note:
I'm a semi mechanic and we got a bulletin that trucks for some routes are to get open shoulder drive tires for additional snow traction.
Closed shoulder drive tires provide better fuel economy and longer wear. Fleets chase after every 1/10 of 1 MPG.

I think you are right about the open shoulder. I didn't think about that aspect. Thanks for pointing it out!
 

IndyFan

Thread starter
Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
The Toyo Celsius Cargo is the best mention for winter performance.

Between the Michelin and the Cooper, I'd get the Michelins. If I lived down south, I'd get the Coopers.

The Michelin uses an open shoulder design while the Cooper uses a closed shoulder design.
I assume the Michelin's will do better in the snow.

Side note:
I'm a semi mechanic and we got a bulletin that trucks for some routes are to get open shoulder drive tires for additional snow traction.
Closed shoulder drive tires provide better fuel economy and longer wear. Fleets chase after every 1/10 of 1 MPG.

I looked for the Toyo and while Toyo's website says they can be had at Discount Tire, they may be too new. DT said they couldn't find them in the 235/65/16 size.

If I don't like the Michelins or they underperform in the snow, I'll call Toyo directly for help and will yank the Michelins. I think I have 30 or 45 days to return them and the DT folks at our local shop are VERY good about accomodating my peculiar tire desires, Lol.

I think the Toyo is the only tire besides the Michelin that has the snow peak rating. I also like the 60k warranty. The Michelin doesn't offer the mileage warranty but the few Transit users I've found with them have said they are wearing VERY well.

Update....It also looks like the Toyo may be manufactured in the USA. That's a big plus. I'm going to call DT and have them try one more time to find them and get me a quote. If close to the Michelin quote or lower, and they can get them soon, I'll go with the Toyos. I just gotta get these Hankooks off the van before it snows. They are worn out and worse than the terrible for snow than they were when new.
 
Last edited:

IndyFan

Thread starter
Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
IndyFan
Contact your local Ford dealership. They may be able to get them for you.

Yeah, my Ford dealership will also gladly take an arm and a leg for them, Lol! They might actually price match, but they are terrible to deal with for rotation/balance and follow up. And, they take FOREVER to do anything. They also won't give me a ride to and from work or home they claim it is too far. But my Jeep dealership next door has no problem giving me a ride anwhere I want. The Ford dealer does good work, but they are just too darned slow and unaccomodating.

I'll be checking with DT again tomorrow. I'd bet they can dig them up somehow with a little more effort. DT is so easy to work with and I can get in and out for a rotate/balance with no hassle and no wasted time. Their location is much more convenient, too.
 

IndyFan

Thread starter
Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
IndyFan
I hate to hear that. My local Ford dealership is very accommodating. And, their tire prices are very competitive.
I think Ford now has a national policy of matching any tire price. Pretty sure I just saw that in an advertisement somewhere. That's a great thing.
 
Messages
5,514
Location
down in the park
I use the crossclimates, passenger car version. They are as good as I need on snow. Too many are driving around on low grip tyres in the snow, and they are dictating how fast trafic flows in these conditions.

Polished ice is the only place I got them to lose traction (I was braking to a stop, and actually still made it) but the type of tyres that would do good there would be rubbish anywhere there isn't snow or ice in between the ground and the tyre. This year no snow yet for me, but they say it's coming this weekend....
 
Messages
6,448
Location
Scruffy City
Though I can't speak for much more than a dusting of snow (which they are fine in) the OE Conti work well all around... about 800 bucks for 4 installed @ Ford.

If I could have had the Michelins I would have though.
 

IndyFan

Thread starter
Messages
1,858
Location
Danville, Indiana
I talked to a guy with the Michelins and he said they are outstanding on snow. I talked to DT and they said the Michelins arrived and are ready to go on tomorrow morning. They said the Toyos just came out and they could get them but I may have to wait, as they are not in stock. We had an ice storm this morning and the van is absolutely useless in these conditions, so I'm going to go ahead and have the Michelins put on there tomorrow.

One thing I do like about the Michelin is that they are directional. I think there could be an advantage to that, especially in the wet. Michelin certainly claims there is and it is in the way it can shed water.

I had a set of Goodyear Aquatreds on a 1990 Pontiac Sunbird that were unidirectional. They were AMAZING in the wet and were actually very good in the snow. These treads somewhat remind me of them, although the Aquatred had a deep channel in the middle. They didn't sell because they looked funky. But they did exactly what Goodyear claimed. They were the best tire I had on that car in all conditions, but the best I've ever had in the wet, on any car.
 
Messages
36,465
Location
ME
The commuter transit van I ride in is on those michelins. The tread pattern is a little funny (and basic) but they ride quiet and smooth. Driver is aggressive and doesn't hydroplane. Snow is ok judging by parking lots, haven't ridden in a full on highway speed event yet.
 
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