Alcalira
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:22 pm
Location: Davis, California

Tire recommendation

Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:55 pm

With so many of us leasing our cars, I thought I'd share my strategy on tires. Generally, you can do better than the tires that come on a new car. Certainly applies to the Spark EV. I think most people drive on the OEM tires until they are worn out, shortly before the lease ends, and then buy a new set because you have to return the car with good tires.

What I do is take off the OEM tires early on and save them. Then I put on some really good tires and enjoy my leased car with those tires. At the end of the lease I put the OEM tires back on. Problem with the Spark EV has been that there are few tires available in the two sizes our cars use.

Firestone recently released the Champion Fuel Fighter tire, and it comes in our sizes, with a speed rating of H, and it is designated as low rolling resistance. Today I had them installed on my 2016 Spark EV with 8000 miles on the odometer. Total out the door price was $452.00. I want to let you all know that this is a good tire for the Spark EV. Right away I noticed how much quieter it is. Since it is an H rated tire, it also has the expected solid cornering feel. It rides really nicely, absorbing bumps with a satisfying muted thump sound. But the most remarkable thing I noticed is that my miles per kwh has increased dramatically. I'm now doing over 6 miles per kwh! Before the tire sway I was typically around 5.

It also looks great on the car; the name makes it sound like a cheap tire but it really fills out the wheel wells and has a sporty appearance.

This tire has a UTQG rating of 600 AA and the tread life is warranted for 75,000 miles. So if you're looking for a tire to replace the OEM Bridgestones, I'm very comfortable recommending the Firestone Champion Fuel Fighter. I'll post updates as I accumulate mileage on the tires.
2018 Chevy Volt Premier, Green Mist
2017 Honda Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Crystal Black Pearl
2010 Toyota Prius 2, Pearl White

nikwax
Posts: 571
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:27 pm
Location: Birch Bay, Washington

Re: Tire recommendation

Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:13 pm

2015 Spark EV 1LT DCFC
BF Goodrich g-Force Super Sport A/S
ClipperCreek EVSE

Sross222
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:12 am

Re: Tire recommendation

Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:44 pm

Thanks for taking the time to write up this recommendation for the Champion Fuel Fighter tire!

How about handling and control when stomping on the "gas" pedal? With stock tires, the car wiggles around.

Do you still feel that range has improved significantly with these?

Jedi2155
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:05 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Tire recommendation

Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:07 pm

Did you replace all 4 tires or just the fronts? I'm at 20k miles and my front's are bald but the rears look like new. Trying to determine if its worth it to replace all 4 or just the fronts.
Tesla Model 3 Performance (9/28) | Blue | White Seats | 20" | Full Self Driving
2014 Spark EV 2LT - Summit White - Sold as of 8/11/18
http://www.voltstats.net/SparkEV/Stats/Details/6330
My previous 2012 Volt
http://www.voltstats.net/Stats/Details/578

Alcalira
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:22 pm
Location: Davis, California

Re: Tire recommendation

Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:05 pm

Now have put 1000 miles on the Firestones. And I'm no longer recommending them. From the outset I noticed a vibration in the steering wheel that kicked in about 63 mph. Multiple rebalancing efforts, including rotating the tires on the rims, would not eliminate it. It's too bad, because they ride and handle very well, and efficiency is astonishing. I got 6.3 miles per kwh on a recent 200 mile trip. Fortunately Firestone gives a 30 day buy and try warranty, so I'm returning them. Tire shop is ordering Kumho Solus TA31 to replace them. Although not designated LRR, Consumer Reports ranked them as excellent on rolling resistance.
2018 Chevy Volt Premier, Green Mist
2017 Honda Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Crystal Black Pearl
2010 Toyota Prius 2, Pearl White

Alcalira
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:22 pm
Location: Davis, California

Re: Tire recommendation

Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:13 pm

Replacing just the fronts could be a good strategy. But if you have a 36,000 mile lease allowance, that second set will be shot when you have to return the car, if you stick with OEM tires. If your lease is 30, 000 miles, you should be ok. I'm assuming you aren't interested in having mismatched front and rear tires. The leadsing company will probably ding you for that.
2018 Chevy Volt Premier, Green Mist
2017 Honda Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Crystal Black Pearl
2010 Toyota Prius 2, Pearl White

NORTON
Posts: 1375
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Tire recommendation

Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:40 am

Alcalira wrote:Now have put 1000 miles on the Firestones. And I'm no longer recommending them. From the outset I noticed a vibration in the steering wheel that kicked in about 63 mph. Multiple rebalancing efforts, including rotating the tires on the rims, would not eliminate it. It's too bad, because they ride and handle very well, and efficiency is astonishing. I got 6.3 miles per kwh on a recent 200 mile trip. Fortunately Firestone gives a 30 day buy and try warranty, so I'm returning them. Tire shop is ordering Kumho Solus TA31 to replace them. Although not designated LRR, Consumer Reports ranked them as excellent on rolling resistance.
Good deal you got them returned in time.
A Firestone shop should have a modern 'Road Force' balancing machine. This would show that one of the tires has a defect.
I have all my tire work done at a Firestone shop to get this new tech balancing service. (sometimes the tech may skip that last step. I watch and ask for it 'Please !'.

http://www.motorweek.org/features/goss_ ... _balancing

Let us know how the new Kumho's work out. I wore out a different set of Kumhos on the front. I now have the stock tires back on the front.
'14 Spark EV 2LT w/ DCFC. 91k miles.
'17 Bolt Premier w/ It All! 59k miles.
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 1st try, nope, 2nd try / cost $800. 3rd try fixed it.

Alcalira
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:22 pm
Location: Davis, California

Re: Tire recommendation

Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:21 am

I'm dealing with a local tire shop that is really anxious to please. When I reported the vibration, they offered to do road force balancing using their Hunter machine (same as Pat Goss') at no charge, and naturally I accepted. They then determined that they couldn't do the complete process because the outer lip of our rims is too narrow for the machine's wheel--which is supposed to ride on the lip and read its runout or high spots--to maintain contact. But they were able to run the pressure roller on the tire/wheel assemblies and determined that there were no problems. The left front, they said, was actually perfect, with runout measurement of .0008 and needing no weights.

I then took the car to America's Tire, where I have always gotten good balancing service. They confirmed that the rims would not allow the full process, but they did what they could. Their machine showed that two of the tires (both left ones--including the "perfect" one) had excessive road force and should be rotated on the rim. They did this, and got them to within spec using that method. All four were then rebalanced.

None of this made any difference. The same vibration kicks in at 64 mph. It is kind of rhythmic--reminds me of a RWD Buick I used to own that had a driveline imbalance. Same sort of feeling, but in the steering wheel. My guess is that it is a design flaw in the tire. A small road disturbance starts the tire vibrating and rather than dampen it, something in the tire amplifies it. I should add that this is not the first time I've experienced something like this. I recall a set of Goodyears that I put on a Chrysler LeBaron in the 90s that did the same thing. Replaced them with Michelins--problem solved.

This is the 2016 Spark EV. Our 2015, which still has the original tires and will eventually receive the take-offs from the 2016, has no such vibration. I've been tempted to try putting its front wheels on the 2016 to make sure it's not a problem with the car. But I'm certain that when the original tires were on the 2016 it did not have this vibration. So I'm inclined to blame the Firestones. Jacking up both cars to swap front wheels in my driveway is a lot of work and not very safe considering I have only one floor jack.

The tire dealer is telling me that there will be no charge for mounting the replacement tires, and since the Kumhos actually are less expensive than the Firestones, I'll probably get some money back. I've had great service with Kumhos in the past--on a Chevy van conversion and on our Prius. I've also liked the Kumhos on various rental cars. So I'm thinking I'll just go forward with that. If I still have the vibration I'll know something is wrong with the car and will have that looked into under warranty.
2018 Chevy Volt Premier, Green Mist
2017 Honda Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Crystal Black Pearl
2010 Toyota Prius 2, Pearl White

NORTON
Posts: 1375
Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 5:52 am
Location: KC,MO

Re: Tire recommendation

Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:21 am

Alcalira wrote:.. they offered to do road force balancing using their Hunter machine ... They then determined that they couldn't do the complete process because the outer lip of our rims is too narrow for the machine's wheel--which is supposed to ride on the lip and read its runout or high spots--to maintain contact. But they were able to run the pressure roller on the tire/wheel assemblies and determined that there were no problems. The left front, they said, was actually perfect, with runout measurement of .0008 and needing no weights.....
Interesting, only the road force test that I get locally only does the roller test on the tire, and the results are displayed in 'Pounds' of force at the tread of the tire.
I put some FRS wheels and tires on a '10 Prius I had and one of them measured 23 lbs. The tire had a 'lump'. They said that one goes on the rear and 'maybe' I won't feel it. And yet it was balanced.
Road Force measures tire defects. Tires can be made out of round. I know they didn't try to directly measure 'runout' of the rim itself, although it's possible for rims to be bad, (rarely).

Anyway, you are in a perfect situation to swap tire/wheels between two Spark EV's.
Can that be done for a quick test without a TPMS 'relearn'? (I thought I read here that if the front tires are not reporting proper pressure the car will not GO. Is this right?)
'14 Spark EV 2LT w/ DCFC. 91k miles.
'17 Bolt Premier w/ It All! 59k miles.
GM needs Modern Troubleshooting tools for Modern EV's.
3 step Trouble Tree, 1st try, nope, 2nd try / cost $800. 3rd try fixed it.

Alcalira
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:22 pm
Location: Davis, California

Re: Tire recommendation

Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:49 pm

The Kumho Solus TA31 is an excellent tire for the Spark EV. It comes in the two correct sizes and is reasonably priced. I've put about 700 miles on them. First of all, unlike the Firestones, there is no vibration. The balancing is perfect. The car continues to track straight and true.

Great combination of ride and handling characteristics. Plenty of grip, composed over bumps. Runs very quietly.

Rolling resistance is also excellent, confirming Consumer Reports tests. I'm getting 4 to 6 miles per kwh in normal driving. With a UTQG rating of 500 A A, these should hold up very well.
2018 Chevy Volt Premier, Green Mist
2017 Honda Clarity Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Crystal Black Pearl
2010 Toyota Prius 2, Pearl White

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