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Subaru Forester, Tires, Wheels
#117 of 299 Falcon Ziex ZE512 long-term experience and recommendations
Dec 17, 2006 (9:04 am)
Hi folks. Back on the subject of tires....
It's been a long time since I've posted, and it seems the Subaru forums are much less active now that Edmunds has split everything up for the Forester group. But since I've gotten so much out of these forums, I'm still going to let everyone know my $.02.
About 2 years ago, going on the high ratings of Consumer Reports and generally positive feedback elsewhere, I replaced my OEM Geos with the Falken Ziex ZE512 on my '03 Forester XS Premium.
My initial impressions (click here for full details eps105, "Subaru Forester (up to 2005)" #15940, 20 Jan 2005 6:35 pm) were very positive, with only one exception. They were quieter than the OEMs, stuck like glue in all wet and dry conditions, and improved my cornering tremendously, but if they were inflated more than about 10% over Subaru recommendations, I could feel each and every bump and rut on the road. So to compromise, I kept them inflated around 30-32 psi-- a good tradeoff between performance, quiet ride, and mileage.
I've now had them for 26,000 miles, and my opinion has changed drastically. They have gotten increasingly noisy as they've worn, and now exhibit a warbling noise at low to moderate speeds despite frequent rotations and alignment checks. The outsides have now worn almost completely bald, with about 5/32 remaining in the middle 50%. When it rains, I slide around as if there is ice on the road even at low to moderate speeds going around corners and accelerating. It's the first time in my 10 years of owning AWD Subarus that I've been able to spin my wheels from a stop!
These tires are shot and I'm generally disappointed. I know they're performance tires and only warrantied to last 45k, but 26k is too soon and I feel these tires have become dangerous in wet weather.
My brother bought the same tires at the same time on his '01 Forester. His fronts wore bald on the sides before the first rotation and were replaced under the prorated warranty. Yet the rears and the replacement fronts continued to wear quickly in the same fashion as mine, and he has since replaced them with Bridgestone Potenza G009s.
Bottom line -- the Ziex's are a good tire if you want to get a "bargain" price and only want to keep them for 20k miles. Otherwise, you'll get a lot more for your money buying a more expensive tire in the long run.
I know Juice has had good luck with the Falkens on his Miata, but I don't think they're a good match for the Forester.
Now, since then, I've been obsessively researching replacement tires. The Consumer Reports update on Performance tires 2 months ago helped point me in the right direction. After extensively researching tires that had a good blend of performance, wet handling, and quiet ride characteristics, I narrowed down my selection to Bridgestone Potenza G009's and Turanza LS-H, Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S, and Goodyear Assurance Tripletread.
My brother has G009s on both his Forester and Outback and is reasonably pleased, but my dad put them on his '01 Camry and said they're extremely noisy on the highlway and he was disappointed overall.
So in the end, I've found the most favorable tire pretty consistently to be the Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S. They're #2 in CR, they have very good feedback and testing on TireRack, and the sales people at several stores (including a very experienced sales manager at Sears) all consistently pointed my toward this tire.
The best part is, they sell them at Costco-- FREE rotations, balancing, flat repairs, and roadside assistance for the life of the tire. And next month, they go for $60 off when you buy 4, making the out the door price about $113 per tire installed inlcuding 6% PA tax!
I'll report back in a few months after I've had them for a while and can test them on the PA winter roads.
Sorry this post is so long , but hopefully I've helped at least one person in cyberspace with their search.
Thanks, and happy holidays.
#118 of 299 Re: Falcon Ziex ZE512 long-term experience and recommendations [eps105]
Dec 17, 2006 (5:48 pm)
Thanks! I put the Falken's on our Mazda MPV last year, and after 8,000 miles they are showing some wear on the insides of the fronts. I have been chalking it up to needing an alignment, and that is probably true. Otherwise they are a quiet and grippy tire, so far.
My OEM Geo's have 60.5k on them now, they still grip well and have another 10k on them if necessary. But, I was planning on putting on the Falkens shortly... now I think I will reconsider. Possibly back to the Geos, since I can get them free from my dealer using Subaru Bucks and I really only need to buy 3 anyway since the spare is a full size.
Another poster really likes the Yoko Avid H4 tire. I will take a look at that one, too.
#119 of 299 Re: Falcon Ziex ZE512 long-term experience and recommendations [eps105]
Dec 17, 2006 (6:27 pm)
I can't give you a long-term review, just the 5K worth I put on the tires before trading in my Forester, but I would strongly suggest that you take a look at the Yoko Avid H4s.
They're rated 500/AA traction/A temperature, quiet as a churchmouse, great cornering, great in water (didn't get to use them in snow), excellent overall ride, and TireRack's got 'em for about $75 a pop.
The Exalto sounds great, and probably the Costco sale makes it a no-brainer for you, but I had to put in my $.02 about the Avids. I simply could not have been happier with them (and whoever bought our trade-in has to be ecstatic, too).
#120 of 299 Re: Falcon Ziex ZE512 long-term experience and recommendations [eps105]
Dec 18, 2006 (10:47 am)
The one are where they don't rate that well is in tread life. But I'm OK with that for a couple of reasons:
* I don't like the idea of 7 year old tires, no matter the mileage
* I drive 2 cars, so neither does a lot of miles per year
* I'm more than happy to replace the tires every 4 years or so
Longevity just wasn't a big priority for me. I'm still happy with mine, in fact we have them on all 3 cars now, 12 tires total, with no such problems.
#121 of 299 Re: Falcon Ziex ZE512 long-term experience and recommendations [ateixeira]
Dec 18, 2006 (12:16 pm)
its interesting, I was looking at the Falken's last night on Tiresdirect. They do not have a mileage rating or warrantly for the Falken's with the H speed.
#122 of 299 Re: Falcon Ziex ZE512 long-term experience and recommendations [smittynyc]
Dec 20, 2006 (8:07 pm)
smittynyc, thanks for your comments about the Yoko Avid H4s. After reading that, I went back to TireRack and re-read the reviews and tests and was strongly encouraged by the generally positive comments, especially the quiet ride, not to mention the significantly lower price.... Then I rechecked Consumer Reports and saw they got the lowest possible ratings (black circles) for both ice braking and snow traction. Since I live and PA, that kind of defeats the point of this being an all-season tire.
So in the end, I think I'm going to stick with spending the extra money and get the Exaltos. Incidentally, the Exaltos got identical ratings to the Avids in all other categories (noise, ride, handling, etc.), so hopefully the Exaltos will prove to be everything you love about the Avids with the added benefit of decent snow traction.
#123 of 299 subaru rims on 2.5x forester
Dec 22, 2006 (10:37 am)
I just bought a new 2007 forester about a month ago. Three days later we go 8 inches of snow. I couldn't wait to try out the a.w.d. Worked great!! 2 days later took it on the highway and by 40 MPH I could not even hold onto the steering wheel.Shook more than an overloaded lumber wagon!!! Drove it right to the dealer and they said that the snow has melted and refroze in the rims. Ran it through the car wash there and all was well. 2 weeks later freezing rain and then below freezing temps. sat out at work. on my way home, same thing, over loaded lumber wagon I am VERY disapointed in this car. Looked at the rims after I washed it and water sits in the middle of the rim waiting to freeze. poor poor design.. Has anyone else had this problem??? I guess I'll have to buy the alloy rims so I can drive it in the winter.
#124 of 299 Re: subaru rims on 2.5x forester [gocerygetten]
Dec 22, 2006 (2:14 pm)
This can happen on any car, even those with alloy wheels. What some of us Subaru Crew members do is wax both sides of the wheels, which then helps the ice and snow not stick (not to mention less brake dust too). Does help steel wheels as well.
#125 of 299 Re: subaru rims on 2.5x forester [gocerygetten]
Jan 12, 2007 (9:51 am)
That happened to me when I had OE steelies.
I got alloys and clean them regularly, wax them at every rotation. Have not had the problem since.
#126 of 299 AWD and a dead tire
Jan 19, 2007 (8:26 am)
Hi All -
I apologize if this has been discussed previously. I looked and did not see it specifically in this thread but very well could have missed it
Long story short,
Last week one of my tires went flat and is unrepairable. The remaining three tires are at approximately half tread. My "spare" is a brand new tire of the same brand and make of the remaining three half tread tires.
I have been getting conflicting advice. Some tire people are telling me to replace the remaining three tires due to the AWD and others are telling me that if I put the new tire on a rear tire I should be fine. What is the concensus here? I am not real flush right now to purchase three new tires of the quality that I currently have so would likely have to compromise on quality if I went that route. I am also considering the option of "shaving" the new tire to half tread which seems a waste. I am interested in hearing others experiences and advice here.
Thanks so much