Or, was the tire guy at Costco just feeding me a line?
Here’s the story:
Several months ago I need to replace my front tires due to an alignment issue. Since I was in the vicinity I headed over to Costco. I picked out a tire in the correct size at a reasonable price. The tire salesman looked up my car (a '93 Volvo) and told me that legally, he wasn’t allowed to install those tires on my car because they had a lower speed rating than the OEM tires.
Now, I am not unknowledgeable in the ways of cars, and I used to do my own car repairs until I got into the real world, with less time than money. I am also aware that pretty much all passenger car speed ratings are in excess of 100 MPH (a speed I only attained once in this car, and that when it was only a few years old). The rating of the tire that I had picked out was only one level lower (I don’t remember what they are, and I don’t have the car with me, so I can’t go look) than the OEM rating, but the price of the tire he wanted me to buy was about double that of the tire I had chosen (so I ended up buying a much less expensive tire at my local tire chain store, and they were quite willing to put on one with a differing speed rating). The car is used almost exclusively as a station car these days, so handling is not really an issue any more (and it’s still pretty good).
So, was this guy just giving me a load of BS? He claimed to actually have “gone to school” to learn about tire ratings. I have read many different articles about tires over the years, but never once have I seen mention of the legality of using a lower speed rating.
This is in New York State if it makes a difference.