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  #1  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:02 PM
Yorikke Yorikke is offline
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Is this car diagnosis a rip-off?

My wife has a 2011 Mini Cooper with 21000-ish miles. We recently had service done, and the technician said that our tires are about at (mumblemumble) millimeters of tread, and will probably need replacement around December. Now, we've had the car for about 18 months, and drive no differently that with other cars, and that seems like horseshit, that factory tires would last only 20-25,000 miles of normal, city driving. Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:07 PM
beowulff beowulff is online now
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Go out and measure the tread depth yourself.
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:11 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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Can't comment on the tires that come in this car specifically, but in general factory-installed tires are not known for their long tread life. Plus these are run-flats too, right? Also not known for long tread life.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:32 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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it really depends on what tires the factory put on there. If they put on grippy, high-performance summer tires then they'll wear out faster than you might expect. my (Neon) SRT-4 came with BF Goodrich KDW2 tires which thankfully wore out by 30,000 miles.

Which tires does the car have? If what Tire Rack says is correct, three of the four possible OE tires for the 2011 Mini have fairly low treadwear ratings.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:37 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is offline
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There are quick-and-dirty ways to check tire depths using coins as a reference. Grab a penny, stick Lincoln's head into the deepest parts of the tread. The distance between Lincoln's head and the penny's edge is about 2/32 of an inch, which is the absolute legal minimum you can drive on in many states. A tire this worn is hazardous to drive on. So if the tread does not go past the top of the head, you really need to replace the tires. If the tread is only slightly deeper than that, you should start shopping for tires. (New tires have ~10/32 of tread, which according to my quick measurements comes down to Lincoln's chin.)

Last edited by lazybratsche; 11-12-2012 at 06:37 PM..
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:49 PM
Mgalindo13 Mgalindo13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrhomer View Post
My wife has a 2011 Mini Cooper with 21000-ish miles. We recently had service done, and the technician said that our tires are about at (mumblemumble) millimeters of tread, and will probably need replacement around December. Now, we've had the car for about 18 months, and drive no differently that with other cars, and that seems like horseshit, that factory tires would last only 20-25,000 miles of normal, city driving. Any thoughts?
I doubt a service technician is going to lie about something you can easily measure yourself. Check out the link here if you need help.

The first set of tires on my wife's car lasted only about that long.
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:01 PM
Willcross Willcross is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrhomer View Post
My wife has a 2011 Mini Cooper with 21000-ish miles. We recently had service done, and the technician said that our tires are about at (mumblemumble) millimeters of tread, and will probably need replacement around December. Now, we've had the car for about 18 months, and drive no differently that with other cars, and that seems like horseshit, that factory tires would last only 20-25,000 miles of normal, city driving. Any thoughts?
So did he not tell you how many millimeters are left, or did you forget? Not following your meaning.

If they tell you to replace at 3mm and that you only have 4mm left, then what's the problem? If you thought he was lying to you, then that would have been an excellent time to ask them to show you the measurement on a tread depth gauge?
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:06 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Tires nowadays suck. I've gone through more tires in the last 5 years than the 20 before that. Harrumph.
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  #9  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:18 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Tires nowadays suck. I've gone through more tires in the last 5 years than the 20 before that. Harrumph.
I hope this is sarcasm.
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:22 PM
Yorikke Yorikke is offline
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Originally Posted by Willcross View Post
So did he not tell you how many millimeters are left, or did you forget? Not following your meaning.
Sorry - my wife thinks she said they're at 4 point something mm, but is not sure. I wasn't there. I'm no mechanic, but if I had heard the tech say they needed replacing so soon after purchase, I'd absolutely have asked the question in my OP at the time, though re-worded.

Thanks all for the responses - my righteous indignation is mollified.

Last edited by Yorikke; 11-12-2012 at 07:24 PM..
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  #11  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:42 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
I hope this is sarcasm.
No, it really isn't. I mean, I don't actually know if tires are statistically worse than in yesteryears, but in my sample size of one household, I've had to quadruple my tire budget. It's kind of weird, actually. They're wearing out faster, cracking sidewalls more frequently, getting valve stem leaks like it's a new Facebook fad...I really don't know what's going on. I've bought at least two new tires every year since '07, and for most of that, I only had one car. Tires used to last me 4 or 5 years. The OP needing to replace them on a 2 year old car didn't surprise me in the least, that's what I've come to expect.
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  #12  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:45 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
No, it really isn't. I mean, I don't actually know if tires are statistically worse than in yesteryears, but in my sample size of one household, I've had to quadruple my tire budget. It's kind of weird, actually. They're wearing out faster, cracking sidewalls more frequently, getting valve stem leaks like it's a new Facebook fad...I really don't know what's going on. I've bought at least two new tires every year since '07, and for most of that, I only had one car. Tires used to last me 4 or 5 years. The OP needing to replace them on a 2 year old car didn't surprise me in the least, that's what I've come to expect.
does the term "bias ply" mean anything to you?
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  #13  
Old 11-12-2012, 07:59 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
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The prices of tires across the board has gone way up over the last few years, which I think has had the side effect of more tire shops carrying some fairly low quality cheap tires. If you're a "throw on whatever's the cheapest" type tire consumer, I wouldn't be surprised if you've seen a drop in quality the last few years.
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  #14  
Old 11-12-2012, 08:19 PM
Xema Xema is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
... these are run-flats too, right? Also not known for long tread life.
Indeed - but definitely known for being pricey.

I think the best approach for a car with run-flat tires is to replace them when they wear out with high-quality conventional tires. You'll get better handling and much longer service. If you have a flat, you'll have to be towed to a place that can deal with it, but you'll still be money ahead. (And if you sign up for a service like AAA, the cost of a tow isn't brutal.)
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  #15  
Old 11-12-2012, 08:26 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
does the term "bias ply" mean anything to you?
No.
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  #16  
Old 11-12-2012, 08:33 PM
Saint Cad Saint Cad is offline
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Originally Posted by jz78817 View Post
does the term "bias ply" mean anything to you?
Yes
But I buy radials.
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  #17  
Old 11-12-2012, 09:13 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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The front tires on my car were pretty much at legal limits at 20,000 miles. Rotating them at every oil change would have helped them last a bit longer, but a lot of newer cars are being built with sticky low-profile tires that just don't last as long as Grandpa's tires. Mine, for example, takes 225/45 18, and they're W speed rated. (168 MPH) which seems excessive for a grocery-getter. Two of the three tires in that spec at Tire Kingdom don't even have a tread life guarantee other than "workmanship"
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  #18  
Old 11-13-2012, 10:30 AM
Yarster Yarster is offline
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Back when I had a 1996 Chevy Impala SS, the Z-rated tires that car took were a fortune and only lasted about 20K miles. It pissed me off to no end, and was one of the many reasons I got rid of that car. I loved the power of that massive V-8, but like a beautiful woman, it was extremely high maintenance.
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2012, 10:53 AM
Morgenstern Morgenstern is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrhomer View Post
My wife has a 2011 Mini Cooper with 21000-ish miles. We recently had service done, and the technician said that our tires are about at (mumblemumble) millimeters of tread, and will probably need replacement around December. Now, we've had the car for about 18 months, and drive no differently that with other cars, and that seems like horseshit, that factory tires would last only 20-25,000 miles of normal, city driving. Any thoughts?
I have no idea where you live, but I assume it's winter there too. As tires wear they become less safe in wet weather. I replace tires at about 3/4 worn just because I don't want reduced traction when I need it most- in wet weather.
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  #20  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:57 PM
Dog80 Dog80 is offline
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In my experience tread depth is irrelevant.

I've seen tyres with plenty of tread left that had no grip at all and the ABS would be activated even on mild braking. When that starts happening you have to change the tyres ASAP.
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  #21  
Old 11-13-2012, 05:36 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Originally Posted by Dog80 View Post
In my experience tread depth is irrelevant.

I've seen tyres with plenty of tread left that had no grip at all
Goodyear Eagle RS-As, then?
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  #22  
Old 11-13-2012, 06:13 PM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is offline
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Don't all tires have wear bars (see the bottom of this page)? These make it easy to tell whether a tire is nearing the end of its tread life.
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  #23  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:30 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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If it is a Mini Cooper S, you probably have performance tires on there that will wear out quickly.
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  #24  
Old 11-14-2012, 12:16 AM
commasense commasense is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog80 View Post
In my experience tread depth is irrelevant.

I've seen tyres with plenty of tread left that had no grip at all and the ABS would be activated even on mild braking. When that starts happening you have to change the tyres ASAP.
Tread depth has no impact on grip at all, except in rain or snow. On a dry surface, the only factor affecting grip is the compound, and there is a direct and inverse correlation between stickiness (grip) and wear: the better the grip, the shorter the life. If you want tires that will last you 50,000 miles, don't expect to be able to take cloverleaf ramps at 80 mph.

The only reason to have tread on tires is to channel water out from the contact patch and prevent hydroplaning. In the dry, tread only weakens grip, because the gaps are areas where the tire is not in contact with the road surface This is why most top racing series use slick tires when the track is dry.

In the situation you are describing, the problem may not have been the tires, per se, but an inappropriate compound for the particular car or your driving style.
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  #25  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:28 AM
bahimes bahimes is offline
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NM, misread original post.

Last edited by bahimes; 11-14-2012 at 03:28 AM..
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  #26  
Old 11-14-2012, 05:16 PM
carnut carnut is offline
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I agree with commasense. In road racing and autocrosses, there had been a pattern of teams shaving their tires in order to improve their grip, though today's performance tires have pretty much done away with the need for that.

But, if tread wear goes even a tiny bit too far, you will lose lots and lots of grip and become a danger to yourself and others on the road. Nothing like discovering how really slippery the white lines painted on the road are because you changed lanes and lost control.

For most drivers, treadwear can also be a sign of old tires. Old rubber generally also has less grip than new. IMO, everyone should inspect their tires regularly to be sure the wear is even and that you don't need new tires yet.

Now I need to make the appt. to get my snow tires on the car. This thread is a great reminder.
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  #27  
Old 11-14-2012, 06:11 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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I only got 19,000 miles out of the factory BF Goodrich GeForce T/A's on my Mustang GT and while they were great on warm, dry pavement, they sucked for every other driving condition, even uneven pavement as the tires would track along with the uneven surfaces and you had to fight that through the steering wheel.

OP, buy a set of these for your car: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/c...a-99043201.htm

They are among the best ultra high-performance all season ties around. I put these on my Mustang and they are awesome. And they are much cheaper than my former ultra high performance summer tires and have double the treadwear. I don't feel I have sacrificed much, if any, handling on dry surfaces. These are incredibly good tires.

A review: http://news.consumerreports.org/cars...t-the-top.html
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  #28  
Old 11-14-2012, 06:32 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoieGrasIsEvil View Post
I only got 19,000 miles out of the factory BF Goodrich GeForce T/A's on my Mustang GT and while they were great on warm, dry pavement, they sucked for every other driving condition, even uneven pavement as the tires would track along with the uneven surfaces and you had to fight that through the steering wheel.
That's called "tramlining" and AFAIK is a function of the width of the tire as much as anything else. My mustang kind of does it (Pirelli P-Zero tires). But the Viper was the worst one I've experienced.
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