Last post on Nov 12, 2012 at 5:46 PM
You are in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Tires, Wheels, SUV
#140 of 220 Re: Highlander hybrid tires. Please help [johnp28]
Dec 28, 2009 (1:40 pm)
So this seems to be a pretty common thread all over the Internet, and my '08 HH is in the same boat. The first serious snow of the season happened this week, and I might as well have strapped ice skates to the bottom of the darned thing, for all the traction those awful Toyo OEMs provided...
Fortunately, I have a friend in the tire business, and he's in the process of replacing my tires as I type this. I did extensive research on this myself, and talked to two different Toyota dealers in my area, and here's what I've come up with, for anyone else in this situation:
1) Switching to 255/55 R19's should not void your warranty or do anything else that Toyota would frown upon. The 245/55 R19's are the only "certified" tires that Toyota lists for the '08 HH, but that one step up in size won't create a problem that they're aware of. Neither dealer would take a stand on the matter, but both said that they'd never heard of a scenario where they've denied service or repair due to this. One acknowledged that he regularly sees the Hybrids come in with 3rd-party 255s on them.
2) Toyota refuses to acknowledge that a problem with tire availability/option/quality even exists. One dealer played entirely dumb on the issue, but the second told me "Look, we aren't supposed to talk about it, and there's nothing I can do to help you except order in the Toyo HLs, but you can probably do better elsewhere." Apparently no other tire manufacturers have accepted any other bid request that Toyota has sent out for North America -- the volumes are too low to justify manufacturing this specialty size.
3) The difference in stepping up to a 255/55 R19 is 1.5% in tire circumference. Which means that when your speedometer reads 60 mph, you'll actually be doing 60.9 mph. BUT! By all accounts, apparently the spedo on the HHs is about 3% high to begin with. So the 1.5% under-measure actually brings the vehicle closer to actual speed than the factory stock, at least on the 2008 model year.
4) The in-car nav will have the same accuracy shift as the spedo, which translates into about an error of 79 feet per mile, in between GPS adjustments when running solely on motion data -- that ought to be insignificant for all practical purposes.
5) The ABS system and hybrid regenerative braking system should not be affected. I'm told that there is about a 5% margin built in for various adjustments that might occur due to certain conditions and by region or vehicle trim, and so the 1.5% error introduced by the larger tires is well within what the system should be able to handle without any hiccups.
The last two are based on feedback from my friend's shop (which is a location of a major tire retailer), and apparently they've gotten quite a lot of irate HH owners in for this same issue over the last 2 years. They've done all of their homework on this, and other than a few isolated anecdotes where people think that their mileage has suddenly decreased, or some other weird problem has cropped up, like uneven wear, the vast majority of customers have been happy with the switch to 255's.
Take this with a grain of salt, your mileage may vary, etc etc etc... but the case was made convincingly enough for me. I'll report back if any unexpected consequences arise...
For what it's worth, I've gone with the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza 255/55 R19.
#141 of 220 Re: Highlander hybrid tires. Please help [darlox]
Dec 28, 2009 (4:42 pm)
thank you SO much! Your reply is extremely informative. Please let us know how it works out. I unfortunately have the same tires on my 08 HH again because I was told there was really no other options. Please Please keep us posted
#142 of 220 Re: Highlander hybrid tires. Please help [johnp28]
Dec 29, 2009 (5:28 pm)
When driving in snow, safety trumps everything else. If it takes one size up to be safe, I would strongly suggest buying tires one size up. Besides just the normal tire "size", you can look up the technical specifications of the OEM vs something else of interest to you. The technical spec will spell out a lot of detail information that you can match. If they all match, then the tire will work just fine on the HH.
Had we stayed with the original horribly cheap GY Integrity, we would have been in big trouble in snow and slush. That tire could not even drive over a thin layer of wet pine needles without the car losing traction forcing the AWD and VSC to intervene. This was just driving on our driveway!
Regardless of how high tech a car is, it cannot produce more traction than where that patch of rubber meets the road. If that patch does not work well, nothing else matters.
From an old and grizzled HH ('06) driver to fellow HH owners out there, please carefully consider you driving condition and adjust your tire type accordingly.
#143 of 220 Re: Highlander Hybrid 2008 tires [kmray]
Jan 02, 2010 (10:04 am)
I live in Michigan and the roads on the west side of the state are anything but flat! My 2007 came with Michelins and the first set lasted 41K and the second set 49K. I do not baby it too much and it rides great. I just had the third set of tires put on yesterday at just over 90K and they put on Goodyears. I called the dealership as I got home to change them back to what I had. Between reading the posts and the ride home, the tires wandered left to right and back, I had it right with the originals!
#144 of 220 Re: Highlander Hybrid 2008 tires [dr_d]
Jan 03, 2010 (12:34 pm)
Can you be more specific on what kind of Michelin tires you put on your 2007 Highlander hybrid? I bought a 2008 a few months ago only to discover replacement tire options are extremely limited. You are driving a 2007 hybrid Highlander, right?
#145 of 220 Re: Highlander hybrid tires. Please help [darlox]
Jan 04, 2010 (7:18 am)
Just an update for those who are interested in the use of 255/55 R19's on 2008+ HiHys.
So far, the swap-out of the awful Toyo 245/55 R19's with the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza 255/55 R19's has been a spectacular success. Because I had no other choice in the matter, those tires already have more than 900 miles of mostly-highway miles on them. But the weather in this area has been horrible for the past week, and so I can at least make a judgment on the improvement in snow handling.
Here's some points to consider:
1) Overall, it was a fantastic choice for my area, so far. The OEM Toyo Open Countrys were death-traps on even a tiny amount of snow. The Bridgestone Alenzas are gripping like champs now, and even on snow-covered Interstates, handled like a dream.
2) According to two different GPS units, when I held the speedometer steady at 65 mph, the GPSes both thought I was doing between 63-64. So, the anecdotal evidence that the '08 Highlander's speedo is about 3% high seems to be borne out on my vehicle. The new tires should have added 1.5% to my measured speed, and the GPS-versus-speedometer readings I was seeing are pretty much spot-on with those values. So, I'm no longer at ALL concerned about the vehicle actually going faster than the gauges indicate.
3) There were no issues with the tire pressure gauges after the swap-out. The ABS system is still working the same as before, and in particularly deep snow, the traction and braking systems work pretty much as I'd expect. And again, LOADS better than with the OEM Toyos on.
4) Gas mileage: Ok, so here's one area where there _may_ have been an effect, but there's so many other confounding factors, it's hard to be sure. On this big trip, my average gas mileage dropped from 25.4 mpg prior to last week, to 22.6 mpg now. BUT, I'm not going to worry about this for right now, because:
- This was the first major road trip I've taken using winter-formulated gas.
- The average temperatures during my entire trip were less than 25 F, and were into the single-digits for a couple of days. So the heater and such were all running full-bore, along with the (initial) efficiency losses from extreme cold.
- There was a lot of holiday traffic on the roads, so I was doing a lot more speed adjustments on the Interstates than would normally be called for in an average drive.
With all of that, it's impossible for me to blame the mpg loss on the tires. But it's also impossible for me to say they weren't a factor, either. This is my first northern winter with the vehicle, so I have no idea what is "normal" at this point. I'd expect the larger tires to have slightly more rolling resistance, so some mpg loss might be expected -- but the larger tires also spin "faster" at the edges, so you go farther for the same amount of wheel rotation... would those balance out, I don't know. I'll keep tabs on this, and report back in the spring, if nothing else.
Otherwise, the switch to 255/55 R19's has been smooth and flawless. At this point, I'd have no hesitation recommending the change to any '08+ HiHy owners. Save yourself the extortion-grade cost of those boutique 245/55 R19's, and get a lot more choices in tires appropriate for your own driving conditions!
#146 of 220 Another solution, from tundrasolutions.com...
Jan 04, 2010 (8:31 pm)
I haven't read all the posts in this thread so apologies if this is redundant. But on another forum, a 2008 HL owner examined the relative economic benefits of 1) getting Toyo H/T's or Bridgestones, 2) upping the size to 255/55r19's or 3) buying Lexus RX 330/350 18" "replica" rims and Michelin Latitude Tour HP 245/60-R18 tires ($135/tire Costco). He makes a fairly compelling economic argument for the last alternative, given that the cost is comparable to the first two alternatives but future tire replacements will cost much less.
I have a 2008 HL Limited with about 17K miles and will likely need to replace the tires within 5K miles. Absent some newly found customer sensibility from Toyota/Toyo on this issue, I leaning toward rim replacement.
#147 of 220 Replaced our Toyo P245/55R19 w/ Yokohama P235/55R19
Jan 05, 2010 (9:53 am)
Does anyone else need tires for their HH w/ 19 inch rims?
What a nightmare for all of us looking for replacement tires for our Highlander Hybrids. We'll post again and let everyone know how well they handle the snow & ice up here in Minnesota.
We just bought Yokohama Parada P235 55r19 from tirerack.com. The customer service rep who assisted us (a fellow traveler), while recommending we use the OEM tire size, did admit that they were an acceptable tire size for the 2008 Highlander Hybrid, which we own as well. If you need his contact info, please email me.
The difference according to an online calculator is that is less than one mph, well w/in the tolerance for the speedometer and related tire systems.
They only cost $162 each and they have warehouses throughout the US. They even have recommended installers in your area, several w/ online discount coupons. Beware that many places charge up to $10 per tire for the automatic pressure sensors!
Have a healthy, prosperous & happy 2010.
#148 of 220 Toyota's response to this issue...
Jan 05, 2010 (11:03 am)
I called Toyota's customer service line (800-331-4331) this morning to determine whether there was any indication that the message on this tire concern was getting through to them. The rep told me that it was the first he had heard of it and that there had been no notification made to customer reps regarding potential problems. His "solution" was to offer to give me the names of Toyota dealers in my area as sources for replacement tires...period.
I asked that my concern be documented and he stated that concerns are reviewed by personnel to look for trends and problems that may justify a recall. I'd recommend that all who have this problem take the time to register your concerns with a call to Toyota customer support. I plan to also send a note to the Consumer Reports writer who documented the problem here, asking how CR can continue to rate the HL as their top mid-sized SUV when such a problem goes unresolved.
#149 of 220 Re: Toyota's response to this issue... [montalvo]
Jan 05, 2010 (11:25 am)
I contributed to this thread earlier with problems on the tires of the 2008 HH I bought at 11,000 miles with nearly shredded tires. Afraid to change the tire size to 18 ", I ended up going to a Les Schwab dealer for the better TOYO tires...the difference between AT and HT. They were expensive at $275 each!
Thanks for the Toyota customer service tel. I called and registered a complaint and asked a manager to review this discussion online to see the breadth and depth of discontent on such an expensive and supposedly green vehicle. If it were truly green, we should not have to replace so quickly tires that will end up in a landfill!!