Straight dope on run-flat tires for Honda Odyssey

Anyone have a definitive answer as to whether it’s OK to ditch the 2x expensive, 1/2x lifespan run-flat tires that are reccomended for the Honda Odyssey 2008 Touring?

Backstory… the Michelin PAX run-flat tire system was standard on Honda Odyssey minivans up until 2009 (or thereabouts). The tire turned out to be a turkey… in addition to being over double the cost, apparently it wore out twice as fast. Further, installation and maintenance was more of a hassle because special equipment was needed to mount and service the tires. Ultimately Michelin has stopped developing the tire and is selling only replacements. Honda no longer ships the tire with new Odysseys. There was a class-action suit in which Odyssey owners were to some extent reimbursed for damages.

The kicker is, Honda still says if your car shipped with these tires, then you should continue buying those tires. To me, this smells a little like “we can’t admit we were wrong, and we have a lot of these tires to unload.”

So can I just… buy other tires? Or does that create some kind of safety hazard?

If the wheels are not different from the non-PAX wheel, standard tires are fine. Get a AAA membership in case of flats. , Discount Tire, and other retailers have a half dozen options for replacements. If the wheels are different, just buy replacement wheels with the tires.

A can of run-flat tire sealant for those late night, murky, swampy, back-road, snaggle toothed towtruck operator, mysterious music “accidents” would also be in order.

We just converted my wife’s 2005 Odyssey from the PAX tires to standard tires. IIRC, they had to replace the wheels and TPMS sensors, not just mount new tires - the wheels are PAX specific. Done at the dealer, cost around $1600 total - tires, wheels, spare tire, labor. Pricey, but not much more than 4 new PAX tires.

If you google pax honda conversion, there’s a kit you can buy for DIY conversion.

Here’s a webpage describing the PAX tires. The wheel is designed differently than a standard wheel - it’s got the support for the flat tire on it, and the edge where the tire & wheel meet is non-standard as well - “Tires are normally held on the rim with air pressure, but with the PAX System, the tire fits into a special groove in the rim and is locked in place by the shape of the bead, which keeps it secure even when air pressure is lost.”

The article’s from 2005, so it’s fairly glowing, instead of noting that the damn things cost a fortune and wear out in 30-35k miles.

Thanks for that info. I’ll look into the conversion.

Does your car have a spare? Perhaps part of the reason they want you to continue using the RF tires is because there is no spare and the run flat ability is suppose to compensate for that. I have heard of a driver getting ticketed in NJ for not having a spare tire (failure to have proper equipment or some such nonsense), so there may be some legal reason for that - then again a can a fix a flat is all that some new cars come with.

The Odysseys with PAX didn’t come with a spare, but the dealer will happily sell you one. It was part of the conversion we did.

PAX specific wheels have a deeper groove where the tyre bead is supposed to go so the tyre doesn’t come off the wheel while you drive if it loses pressure.

So using a standard wheel with a PAX tyre will be problematic, but not the opposite. Also the TPMS sensors don’t care what wheel or tyre are fitted on, all they do is measure the air pressure. I believe they ripped you off, you could simply fit regular tires on your old wheels.

A real issue when changing from PAX to regulat tires is suspension stiffness. Cars with PAX have softer suspension to compensate for the increased sidewall stiffness of PAX tyres. If you put regular tyres the car handling might get worse and less precise, unless somehow you stiffen the suspension.

Well, according to the Honda dealer, the local tire shop (who would have been happy to sell me the tires alone if they could) & every article I was able to find, the PAX wheel was not compatible with standard tires. The tire shop didn’t even want to touch the job.

You’re probably right on the sensors, but we were told it’s standard to replace those when replacing the tire.

I’ll have to dig up the work order to see if they did anything to the suspension. My wife commented that the car actually felt & drove better after they replaced the tires.

This reminds me of the situation that resulted when Michelin developed their TRX tires in the mid-Seventies. They were the first “low profile” tire and were produced in sizes that didn’t match anything on the market and could only be run on special rims that were also a unique diameter. Replacements costs were expensive and no other manufacturers adopted the system.

The moral of the story is to never buy a vehicle that has a proprietary Michelin system on it.

Sorry, but I was mistaken. I thought that PAX was simply Michelin’s name for their line of run-flat tires. Ordinary run-flat tires have very very stiff sidewalls so the tire won’t collapse even without air. And these tires are perfectly interchangeable with normal tires, apart for that suspension stiffness issue I mentioned earlier.

But the PAX system is different. It has a totally different wheel with a plastic ring in the middle. When the tire loses air it is that plastic ring that supports the weight of the car.

The advantage of PAX over other ran flat tyres is that since there is that plastic insert to bear the load, you don’t need sidewalls made of granite and therefore the car ride quality and handling won’t be affected.

So yes, they really had to change the wheels too. As for the sensors, they have a small battery that eventually runs out sometime. Probably changed them as preventive maintenance.

Will a regular tire even fit on a PAX wheel? Is it absolutely impossible to even install them that way?

Yes, it is impossible. Not only PAX tyre inner diameter is metric (while your typical wheel is measured in inches), but also the inner diameter of the tyre on one side is 10mm smaller than the other.

ACTUALLY…you are QUITE wrong here. you absolutely CANNOT use a standard tire with a PAX wheel, or vice versa… period…this is because the PAX system uses asymmetrical wheels. In other words, the inside diameter of the rim in almost a full inch larger than the outside of the rim. That way the tire cannot physically come off the rim when you turn a corner. Also, it’s well documented that the TPMS system requires a different sensor for use with a conventional tire…

Also, the suspension is actually STIFFER on the vehicles equipped with the PAX system, since they are the top of the line Touring models. the PAX tires are not any stiffer than a conventional tire. it’s a ring mounted to the wheel that supports the van when you get a flat.

Please people…do your research before you start spouting crap just to watch yourself type k? Thanks.

Yeah, Dog80 said that last June. Thanks for reading the thread.

Trim levels don’t mean diddley. Give us the spring and rates and sway thickness; the difference is likely less than 15%