Last post on Aug 23, 2013 at 5:38 AM
You are in the Toyota Highlander
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Toyota Highlander, Tires, SUV
#239 of 793 Another 19" Horror Story
Apr 14, 2009 (11:20 am)
We purchased a 2008 Highlander Hybrid almost one year ago, in May 2008, and I could tell immediately that the tires (the Toyos) weren't going to last. Surprising, probably because I've been driving rather gingerly for most of the year to wring the max gas mileage out of it, the tires have lasted over 26,000 miles – far more than for some people on this forum. But there's absolutely no way I'm putting Toyos on a vehicle of mine ever again (zero traction in Utah ice and snow), and the Bridgestone reviews here and on the Tire Rack site eliminated that choice. So I'll be springing for new wheels to allow me reasonable tire choices.
I visited the closest Toyota dealer and see what options I had and what they had recommended to others in my position: Karl Malone in Salt Lake. We visited there when we first started shopping, and because of the salesman's attitude we never returned; even though I was not happy with their salesman, I figured the service org would be OK to deal with. Wrong again.
When I first raised the issue with the parts clerk, he acknowledged that, yes, there are only the Toyo and Bridgestone tires available for that size wheel on the Highlander, but then went on to claim that no one had ever complained about this before. He then called in another guy from parts, an older gentleman, who listened to my complaint and then also stated no one had ever come in to Karl Malone about this issue. No one? EVER? I pointed out that there are many angry customers venting about this online, having learned about it (like me) only well after purchase when it came time to buy replacement tires, and going back at least two years to Nov 2006.
His response? “I can find people complaining about anything online”, thereby dismissing my complaint. I then asked about their recommendations for swapping wheels. The first parts clerk then went on to say “you can't move to 17” wheels because they won't clear the brake calipers.” Yet people in this forum had already done this, so I returned home to call the dealer where I purchased the vehicle as these guys where going to be zero help.
On the way home, I stopped at a Discount Tire store to ask them about this issue. Their response? “We've had a lot of Highlander and Tundra owners come in and complain about this very problem, and many have in fact switched wheels. You can switch to 17” or 18”, or even to a 20”; all will give you more and better tire choices. I just swapped out wheels, replacing the originals with 17” wheels, on a Highlander Hybrid just like yours six months ago in our Linden store.”
I returned home and called the dealer where I purchased the Highlander to ask about the service bulletin referenced in this forum regarding the 18” Lexus Port Take Offs, but the service rep there did not know anything about said bulletin (though he stated he was aware of the issue), and could not find anything about it. Since Karl Malone wasn't even aware of the problem, there was no point in calling them.
Then I called the 'Toyota Experience Department' at 310-468-4000 – what a waste of time that was. After collecting all my info including my phone #, and listening to my explanation of the problem, the rep asked if he could put me on hold while he looked up the service bulletin I asked about; I replied that was fine, and since he had my number how he could call me back if somehow the call were dropped, right? “Yes, I can do that if the call drops”. No problem, I'll wait. Then he comes back on the line, tells me he needs to transfer me to another department, “the Toyota Experience department, but for more technical issues” (?), and will I wait? Yes, fine, I'll wait. Then he comes back again and says “They're all in a meeting, but I've logged the details of your case so if you would just call back later you should be able to speak with them.” Uh, what? You have my phone number, you have the details, have them call me back when the meeting is over. “Well, no they can't do that.” Why not? You have all the info you need, and only YOU know when the meeting is over. “That isn't how our system works.” What? What kind of customer service is that? I asked him to log my displeasure, note that I was most certainly NOT calling back, told him this doesn't constitute 'customer service' in any form, and hung up.
I've got an inquiry in to 'International Wheel and Tire' on eBay, as they were the ones that posted the Lexus 18” wheel/Goodyear Forterra combo on ebay for $900 plus shipping – a total of about $1100 for four wheels and tires shipped to my home:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/18-Toyota-Highlander-wheels-Goodyear-Fortera-Tire- s_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742Q2em153Q2el1262QQcategoryZ66484QQihZ001QQitemZ1- 10375199069QQtcZphoto
I'm going to visit Discount Tire again now that I'm armed with the proper info, and see what combos they can offer for an 18” wheel, hopefully with a Michelin tire, for the same $275 per that I can get from the offer above; once I make a decision I'll report back along with my first impressions following the swap. And I've written up a much longer, more detailed version of this posting which I intend to send via snailmail to Toyota Customer Service at corporate, along with cc'ing any Toyota board members whose names I can turn up.
Two final thoughts: 1) The guy from the Toyota Experience dept. noted that with regard to warranty violation, they would only look at components and systems related to the wheels and tires; for example, any problems with the engine would not be traceable back to the tire/wheel swap and therefore would not be voided.
2) There's no point in waiting and hoping someone else will make a decent 19” tires for this vehicle later this year or next (Michelin's already said no, according to one post in this forum); sticking with the worthless Toyo tires for another 25K miles would cost me about $180/tire, or $360/tire for the next 50K miles. A good Michelin or Goodyear will last at least 50K, so spending the same $360/tire now ($180/wheel and $180/tire) gets me to better – and SAFER - tires, saves me money every on every set I purchase going forward, and pays for itself on the very next set of tires I purchase – two years from now, not one as with the Toyos.
#240 of 793 Has anybody ACTUALLY TRIED 17'S on an '08 Sport
Apr 14, 2009 (12:22 pm)
Have you actually tried to put factory 17's on an '08 Highlander Sport or are you retelling what others have posted? I stopped at the dealer and looked up all the braking and suspension component 'differences' between the limited, sport and base Highlander. All part numbers are identical except for the strut! The calipers, rotors and hubs are identical across the non-Hybrid line. (I didn't check the Hybrid since I
don't won't own one. I am looking for someone WHO HAS ACTUALLY ATTEMPTED THIS before I order a set of Factory 17's because neither I nor the dealer see any reason why they would NOT fit. I just makes no sense that the calipers would rub if they're the same calipers! Perhaps I'm missing something here. If you have tried the swap please let me know one way or the other. (And if it doesn't fit please let me know where the problem lies.) Thanks for any help.
#241 of 793 Re: Another 19" Horror Story [bacarroll]
Apr 14, 2009 (3:41 pm)
You shouldn't have to buy new wheels and tires on a new vehicle. Its bad enough they put junk tires on it, but coming out with a unique wheel size that doesn't have quality traction tires available on a SUV shows incredible arrogance on Toyota's part. It sounds like the old customer be damned attitude that eventually sunk GM. It appears they have repeated their behavior on the Venza. That will likely sink a lot of the car's initial enthusiasm in the marketplace in the not too distant future. People are strapped for money, yet Toyota who already gets a premium price screws them over having to spend over a grand or more for wheels and tires that will work in winter climates. Wait till the accidents start happening and it makes 60 Minutes.
#242 of 793 Are the 17" Dunlops OK
Apr 15, 2009 (8:08 pm)
I am close to pulling the trigger on a '09 Highlander Base with 4WD. From reading this forum I'm glad the vehicle I'm looking at buying isn't one with the 19" wheels. However I haven't seen many postings on how the 17" tires perform mileage wise. Is no news good news in this case?? I did review all the great choices of tires available when it comes time to replace (at least 3 variations of Michelin's)
#243 of 793 Re: Another 19" Horror Story [berri]
Apr 20, 2009 (8:39 pm)
Agreed. I shouldn't have to spend $800 on new tires after only 10 months and 14,000 miles, but my life (and Chicago winters) necessitate otherwise. I believe I've found a solution:
Hankook Ventus AS RH07.
You'll have to go just a touch wider on the profile, as the closest size available to OE at the moment is 255/55R19, but this isn't terrible, and in fact might be preferred. The 420 treadwear rating helps give a 65,000-mile warranty, and the traction and temperature ratings (each "A") surpass the OE Bridgestone POS's that came with the vehicle. A load rating of 111 (vs 103 OE) is also nice. Not that I'm planning on pushing it, but they're also V-speed rated (149mph).
I can't find a negative review anywhere, and I've just spent 4 hours researching this option. Discount Tire is offering them for $205 each.
Anyone have any experience or opinions with this tire ?
#244 of 793 1700 miles
Apr 21, 2009 (3:10 am)
Not sure if it's from reading all these posts on the bad Toyo's on our Highlanders or a real problem. I turned 1,700 mile on the 19" Toyo's on my 08 Highlander Hybrid Limited and have noticed some slight feathering to the outer most band on the front tires. Took it into the dealership, as it indicates to me the toe in is out a little. Well after 2 hours they told me they checked everyting and everything is fine and didn't see any feathering and the wear I saw was normal and to check my tire pressures often. Interesting seeing I've worked on cars and been in racing, including a tech inspector for NASCAR, a lot during my time and know what feathering is and looks like and weekly check my tire pressures, not to mention to onboard tire pressure monitoring system. I had them give me a copy of the spec sheet printout and am keeping it for my 5K check up. Starting to not feel as comfortable about these tires.
#246 of 793 Re: Another 19" Horror Story [bacarroll]
Apr 21, 2009 (11:17 am)
Quick update: Discount Tire couldn't come close to the Lexus/Goodyear deal from International in my original posting. They wanted $205 for the Michelin Latitude Tour HP tires, leaving me only $95 for wheel selection (keeping to the per-tire/wheel cost of $275 from International). When I asked him what my options were for a $100 wheel, he said "Nothing". When I asked what I would have to spend to get decent 18" wheels and tires that fit a Highlander Hybrid, he replied "$1500", or $375 per; an additional $400.
So I just ordered the Lexus wheels with the Goodyear Forterra tires from International and will update the forum after I get a few miles on them.
#247 of 793 Re: Another 19" Horror Story [mdhutton]
Apr 21, 2009 (12:47 pm)
In doing your research, did you find any reason for safety concern in going with the 255/55/19 since there is no reduction in the aspect ratio vs the 245/55/19?
In looking at the tire measurements calculator on Discount Tire's site, the size differences are increases in sidewall height (+0.21"), diam (+0.43"), circum (+1.36"). I don't know enough to know if these differences are nominal or could have any measurable effect. The speedometer is only off by about 1mph.
Also, did you uncover any potential concern with putting a 255/55/19 on the Toyota OEM 19" rim?
#248 of 793 Re: Another 19" Horror Story [talen316]
Apr 21, 2009 (1:10 pm)
I would like to know about talen316 mention.
If there is not much different and no potential hazard, I would like to change my tire to that kind of tire too.
Now, odometer is 16000 miles and tire ware down to 3/32. I should change my tire very soon.
For my family safety, I have to change tire even Toyota and Toyo Tire still ignore customer bad feeling.