Tires….again (Post #131) 3/2/2009

It seems like just a short time ago I bought tires for my Discovery. In fact it has been 47,000 miles ago. The Bridgestone AT REVO’s have been great. As you may recall I bought a set of 16 inch rims and got “real truck tires” for the Discovery. I thought fancifully that I would be able to use the Discovery off-road and would begin modifying her for that purpose. BOY WAS I WRONG!

The funds I envisioned for the modification never happened. My daughter went over budget on her wedding and this was needed and that was desired and presto, I was broke again.

Now it is time to put another driver behind the wheel of an OkieRover vehicle. The Diet Mountain Drew will be using a vehicle this summer as he comes of driving age. He has his choice between the 2002 Ford Taurus and the 2003 Land Rover Discovery. His friends are leaning on him hard to get the Discovery. He has mentioned the cost of operation more than one time in conversation. He is keen to save money and to drive the MUCH MORE economical Taurus. Hands down it gets twice the mileage of the Discovery.

But mom’s four door Taurus doesn’t even compare in coolness to a Land Rover. And I have to agree with the teens on this matter. Heated seats, dual sunroofs, kick ass sound system, 18 inch rims, smooth. Mommy’s Taurus just can’t compete with that.

So back to tires…. I let the wife take the Discovery to retrieve the children from a church function last night. When I got in her this morning put her in reverse, I heard the scratch, scratch, scratch of a tire that obviously had a large nail or bolt in it. So I jumped out at my first car pool pick up point and sure enough it’s a bolt. My guess is a lag bolt you might use for a wood panel fence project.

Needless to say I’m absolutely thrilled! (end sarcasm) I was hoping to hold out until summer to buy a new set of tires. The tire guys are just going to laugh when I ask them if that tire can be repaired. The tread is well worn as you can imagine.

So we have two considerations. Tires for the 16 inch rims or tires for the 18 inch rims?

I have priced and read about tires all morning. The obvious choice is a new set of Bridgestone AT REVOs for the 16 inch rims. But there is that spectre of Diet Mountain Drew and his request that the 18 inch rims go back on the Disco when he starts driving her.

So which tires do I get for the 18 inch rims?
With most tire prices hovering around 200$(US) and up the choice really comes down to each tire’s rating. For that money I better be getting some damn good tires.

If you read the Land Rover Only Forum the obvious choice is the Nitto Terra Grappler. And Big O Tires has them for roughly 187$(US) a tire. So I could get off-road tires for the 18 inch rims. That’s a thought. Those tires were not available when I bought the 16 inch rims and tires. I remember seeing the announcement that they would make the tire in 255/55-18 size. I remember thinking well that was just awesome.

So I jumped on and did my tire research. I looked at all of the brands I normally consider. And when I decided I didn’t want to spend the gross national product of Chad to buy tires for my Discovery, I started looking at brands I might not normally consider.

Tire Bias
I am a self confessed tire snob. I like the “name brands”. I feel like I know what I’m getting when I pay a little more for something based on marketing. But there in lies the folly of the tire purchase. Cooper Tires advertise like crazy and they don’t have much of a reputation with me or anyone I know. They sell a lot of tires overseas. They have a racing pedigree. Sadly for them, I don’t follow racing.

Nitto doesn’t market their tires at all compared to the big three, Firestone, Goodyear, Michelin. At least not in the TV and radio realms of advertising. If you look at most of the “second tier” tire brands you will find the same thing. Short of a couple of signs in front of independent dealers there is very little advertising.

So we as consumers look at the ratings and hope we are getting a good tire. I found such a tire when I looked at the Continental Cross Contact LX. Normally I would not buy a Continental tire. But the ratings for that tire were great on It is an exceptional tire. As I read about the Terra Grapplers I saw a lot of what turned me away from Yokohama tires after one purchase, tread life was very poor.

So I can save myself around 40-80$(US) for cheaper tires with poor tread life or spend a bit more and have the tires around for a while longer. It probably works out to a nice number if I did the math. 30-35,000 miles out of a 700 dollar set of tires or 50-55,000 miles out of a higher priced set with a cap of expense at 900 bucks. The most I’ve ever spend for a set of tires was 870 dollars.

There is also the consideration of customer service. Customer service is dead. I’ve said it many times. But I have been buying tires at my local Hibdon Tires Center forever. They sold out to Tires Plus and nearly went out of business in Oklahoma until they added the Hibdon name to the stores. So now they are Hibdon Tires Plus. The Hibdon’s are from my old hometown of Newcastle. I went to school with them, I served in the Marines with one of them.

The Hibdon’s always stood behind the tires they sold. Almost ridiculously at times. I’ve taken tires down there that were nearly flat, driven flat and they replaced them, no questions asked. Today they have a more sophisticated system for tracking the tires and thusly their warranty of tires. But it is still fair. And they match what ever price you can find. Period. If I had one complaint they can’t see the historical record of my purchases. Return customers should be rewarded.

I found a cheap price on got the shipping lined up, got another independent tire shop lined up to install the tires (for an additional fee) and planned to get the rebate. I tallied that all up and Hibdon still beat it. I didn’t even have to cajole them. His first call back price was cheaper than all the above and I had just one stop to buy the tires.

How can you beat that? I don’t think you can, not in Oklahoma anyway. So I’m going to buy some Continental Cross Contact LX tires for my 18 inch rims. I’m even getting a 75$(US) gift card for buying them. And when my son comes to his senses and tells us he wants to drive the Taurus…I’ll be cruisin’ fat on my 18’s for forty thousand miles boyee.
Or I think that’s how they say it in Hipster Town.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

Postscript: I’ve decided to sell my 16 inch rims. If you are interested send me an email. I’m thinking 275$ plus shipping.