6 October 2005
Where angels feel the tread
If you made a list of everything you'd consider buying over the Net, automobile tires are probably way down there, perhaps above cheeseburgers but well below books and music and tchotchkes.
It's a fairly busy time at work these days, and I said to myself, "Self, do you really want to go buzzing all over town looking for P205/60R-15s?"
I didn't. Enter the Tire Rack, a major dealer (lots of big brands) with a Web storefront and the ability to drop-ship a quartet of donuts to a nearby tire shop for installation.
I knew about these guys because they sponsor One Lap of America, one of the more amusing racing events around, and because they have five or six pages in almost every major auto mag every month.
And while I figure I'd have no problem finding the low-end Bridgestone Turanzas I've been driving on for 50,000 miles, I didn't much like them; while dry grip is decent, they let go way too easily in the wet, and they're noisy to boot. (There is a Turanza series above this one, but the price differential struck me as excessive.) I'd had Michelin X-Ones on my previous car, which I really liked, but which are amazingly pricey when you can find them.
In the end, I called upon Dunlop, who had made the OEM tires for my old Toyota Celica back in the immediate post-Fred Flintstone era, and who offered the SP Sport A2 Plus in the size I needed and with an appropriate speed rating: H. (My car won't do 130 mph, but the tires could take it if it could.) If you pay attention to UTQR ratings: treadwear 460, traction AA, temperature A. Four of these came to a stirringly-negligible $224, plus forty bucks to UPS them out of Indiana and whatever (I'm guessing $100) I get charged by A to Z Tire Warehouse over on NW 10th, who will be doing the install.
If the $370-ish tab seems high to you, keep in mind that it's worth something simply to avoid going to Pep Boys.Posted at 7:00 AM to Driver's Seat