Why Michelin? Thinking about spending a bit more..

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Hey all, I've been driving on lower-end Falken Ziex 912s for 21,000 miles now on my 06 Civic SI. Prior to that, it was General Exclaim UHPs. And before that, it was the OEM Michelin MXM4s (which weren't that good). The Falken's have become loud and uncomfortable, and will probably last another 2-4 months. The general's were too thinly-sidewall'd for PA road. This time around, i want to put a set of tires on that is going to give me some all around happiness, and I'm willing to spend a bit more for it. I do almost all straight-line or highway travel, so I'm looking for something that tracks well and has good comfort. I don't want to worry about new tires for awhile, so I want at least 35,000 miles of treadlife on a car that's never seen a set of tires for more than 24,000 miles so far. I live in PA, and I don't have a garage = needs some minor snow capabilities. I drive a SI, so I do want decent steering response and handling. Anyhoo....all these "I want the best of all worlds" led me to look into slightly oversizing my tires from 215/45/17 to 225/45/17 (yes, it will fit just fine). In that category, I found Michelin offers the Pilot Exalto A/S, a High performance all-season. It's pretty darn expensive, but I've always read that Michelin's construction techniques are typically the best in the industry insofar as balancing, integrity of the tire carcass, etc. So I guess my question is: To those educated in these things, any reasons for or against this way of thinking? Joe P.s. It doesn't hurt that this tire is made in South Carolina, as opposed to Korea, Mexico, etc.
 
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 Originally Posted By: JoeFromPA
I've always read that Michelin's construction techniques are typically the best in the industry insofar as balancing, integrity of the tire carcass, etc. So I guess my question is: To those educated in these things, any reasons for or against this way of thinking?
I can't provide reasons, but I can lend support: Look at virtually every single successful hypercar made in the past 10 years. Almost all of them use Michelin Pilot Sports: the McLaren Mercedes SLR, the Koenigsegg, the Porsche Carrera GT, the Bugatti Veyron, the Pagani Zonda... The only notable exception AFAIK is the Enzo Ferrari, but that's because of Ferrari's close relationship with Bridgestone at the time of the car's development. Michelins are also among the top choices of cars one rung down the ladder from those, competing only with the very top tires from Bridgestone and Pirelli for fitments on Ferraris, high-end Porsches, and the like. If you want a good all season tire, you should look at the Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS Pole Position. I had it on my old car, and a friend of mine is running it on his own '06 Civic Si, both year-round, and both with extremely favorable results (to put it lightly). However, if you're looking at a similar Michelin tire, I wouldn't steer you away. I can also assure you, for what my experience is worth, that the top tires are expensive for a reason. They will out-grip, out-handle, out-ride, and out-last the cheaper ones almost every time; the only exception is when a cheap tire does one or two things very well (e.g. grip), in which case it does other things very poorly (e.g. ride quality, noise). If you're thinking of stepping up to a well-reviewed tire from a great company, you won't be disappointed.
 

JoeFromPA

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Thanks for your perspective and experience. I considered the Potenza RE960AS and the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus (updated version of their classic). Both appear to put a little more emphasis on handling and less on treadlife and comfort; I think the Pilot Exalto A/S finds the right balance for my needs. Also, I've read fairly consitently that the 960AS has a super stiff sidewall.
 
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Won't oversizing from a 215/45 to a 225/45 throw your speedometer off a bit? I was surprised by the cost of a set of Michelins when I was looking for tires a month ago. Four Michelin tires for my car (225/20/17) would have easily been $700. If I had the money I definitely would have gone with Michelins. I didn't so I went with a set of Falken 912s.
 

JoeFromPA

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It'll throw my speedometer off by about 3%....so I'll be going 72mph when it says 70mph. Ironically, speedometers on my civic are thought to be faulty from the factory and reading about 3-4% fast...so.... :) They are expensive, but I bought Falken 912 in 215/45/17 for $72 a tire, and before that General Exclaim UHP for $78 per tire....and I wasn't happy with either. I'm ready to spend a bit of money, if it'll keep me happy for 30,000+ miles. Joe
 
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 Originally Posted By: JoeFromPA
Thanks for your perspective and experience. I considered the Potenza RE960AS and the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus (updated version of their classic). Both appear to put a little more emphasis on handling and less on treadlife and comfort; I think the Pilot Exalto A/S finds the right balance for my needs. Also, I've read fairly consitently that the 960AS has a super stiff sidewall.
Yes, the RE960AS does have a beefy sidewall. But believe it or not, despite having the stiffest sidewall of any tire I had tried on my old car, it actually rode better than all of them. It seems to permit local deformations to absorb bumps while maintaining its overall shape. That is one thing the expensive performance tires tend to do, whereas the cheaper ones behave like either balloons (soft but bouncy) or rocks (hard and noisy). However, you're probably right that the Exalto A/S is more skewed toward low noise and more comfort. IMO, can't go wrong either way.
 
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 Originally Posted By: JoeFromPA
Ironically, speedometers on my civic are thought to be faulty from the factory and reading about 3-4% fast...so.... :)
I think that's by design. A lot of cars do it. BMWs used to be notorious for it.
 
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I had some michelin MXV4 Energy's back in the day. Great tire with so-so treadlife. However, couldn't say they did any better than the top-line tires in bridgestone's lineup. Have had several turanza flavors and all have been good, for less $ than michelin. Yokohama makes some great tires too, not sure what is current for your Si. Search on tirerack.com, filter survey results to your driving style and type of car. Great resource. M
 

JoeFromPA

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Oh, I've been obsessed with Tirerack reviews and surveys for a long, long time :) DoodFood- Yes, but Honda had a class-action passed against them for their speedometer error. All the warranties were extended by 5% on the effected vehicles. Not all OEMs had that :)
 
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I bought a set of the Pilot Exalto's for my Q45 (15" tire, not 17") and they did exactly what I wanted; a nice, smooth ride with excellent 3-season traction and a decent amount of "sport" responsiveness. I'm not sure you are going to get exactly what you want in a 45-series tire, but the Pilot Exalto will probably be as close as you're going to get. Only criticism of the tire is treadwear. I experienced little of it in the 10K or so I drove on the tires before I sold the car. A friend of mine got 35Kish on a Lexus ES330, but he is not big on tire maintenance so that mileage seemed a little low. The Exalto strikes as a 40K-no-more-than-50K tire. That's what I expected when I bought them. Hope this helps.
 
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I have a rule to lend some guidance. If you drive few miles and will own the same set of tires for 4-5 years, go ahead and buy something good (expensive). If you chew through a set of tires every year or two, take a chance on something cheaper. If you don't like them, you will able to replace them before long. If you do like them, get another set. I think there are too many options out there to spend-up on Michelins just for the heck of it. If I had more time, I'd look at some options w/you (I've had most every good a/s tire there is). Right now, I think those BFGs are CALLING you at $109. Check Discount tire and treadepot too. btw- I have no problem mix-n-matching pairs of tires. Why not try 2 of a kind and see how you like them? If not, put them on the back and try another pair for wintertime. fwiw, a good plan is just to buy 2 new tires every winter, or to get a extra set of 2 matching rims. A set of 6 lets you store you 2 best/newest tires over the summer and use the older ones up as summer smokers. Think about it.
 

JoeFromPA

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Audi - "If you drive few miles and will own the same set of tires for 4-5 years, go ahead and buy something good (expensive). If you chew through a set of tires every year or two, take a chance on something cheaper. If you don't like them, you will able to replace them before long. If you do like them, get another set." The problem is, I've tried this....and for the last 2 years and 40,000 miles, I've been unhappy (ok, well, 25,000 miles....some of the tires were good for some of their life). So I'd rather spend more money and be happy with 30,000 out of the next 40,000 miles :)
 
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My Pilot Sport All Seasons were expensive, and I doubt I would have considered them if I had more options at the time, but they're worth the extra compared to cheaper tires if you're not on a tight budget. They only needed very small balancing weights, they're quiet and smooth, and they have great traction and hydroplane resistance. Treadwear has been negligible, though I haven't put too many miles on them (10,000?).
 
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I put a set of Pilot Exalto's on my wife's Taurus and have been pleased. They ride a bit quieter than the Pirelli P400's that are on the winter wheels. The Pilots have about 8K miles on and don't show any appreciable wear. They did fine in light snow, but we have a Forester for anything more than a couple inches. If I had to do it again, I might go with H rated BFG Traction T/A's to save a little money. They have proven to be an excellent tire on my Saturn and I am impressed with the overall performance for the buck.
 
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Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus is probably the best tire for your situation. Good handling for an all-season with reasonable treadlife. Both the Pilot Sport A/S Plus and the Exalto A/S carry a 45,000 mile warranty. However, the UTQG for the Pilot Sport A/S Plus is 100 points higher than the Exalto A/S-- 500 vs. 400. Since you are comparing tires of the same brand, the UTQG is applicable in this case. While I don't have any personal experience with either tire, based on what I've heard from others, the Pilot Sport A/S Plus sounds like a good match for you.
 
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I'd go with either Exalto or Primacy . The Exalto being more a bit more sporty with better handling, and Primacy being a bit quieter and more comfortable. Both are virtually the same price, and both are made in the US.
 
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Tires, they are what makes your car perform like you want it or not. I may skimp on oil but tires... they are worth the extra money for a premium well made component. They make your car ride better, you get better response and usually longer tire life. Tires are where I recomend the splurge on a premium product. This is also a safety and overall enjoyment concern. A good set of tires will make you enjoy your ride much more. I am backing the slightly more painfull initial purchase for a less painful life.
 
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Last time I bought tires they were Michelin. After reading many reviews I decided the 15% premium was outweighed by repeated stories of at least 50% better treadlife than other tires I was considering. Time will tell if it will pay off.
 
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I think the Yoko H4S is comparable to the Pilot, and yes, I've had them too. Read some of the TR staff tests, the Mich has fallen off the top of the heap.
 
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 Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
I think the Yoko H4S is comparable to the Pilot, and yes, I've had them too. Read some of the TR staff tests, the Mich has fallen off the top of the heap.
Nonsense. That's based on personal experience with top-of-the-line Bridgestone, Michelin and Yokohama tires. Yokohama tires are for when you can't quite justify springing for good tires but don't want Chinese Federals either.
 
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