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Tire Advice Needed For 1989 323

Old 10-02-2008, 07:38 PM
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Default Tire Advice Needed For 1989 323


The Michelin Plus 80 tires on my trusty 323 hatchback finally died, so I had a set of Kumho Solus KR21 tires put on recently.

A lot of the freeways here in Southern California are made of concrete, with parallel grooves cut into the surface. My car is very unstable now when driving on this - I feel dangerously close to losing control when traveling over about 60 mph. Low speed travel is OK, but on emergency maneuvers the car has pretty scary oversteer, possibly due to the soft sidewalls on the Kumhos.

None of this was ever a problem with the Michelins, and now I'm looking for something to replace the Kumhos with - they are just too dangerous. There are some other tires made in the right size, but I'm not sure what to get.

After my experience with the Kumhos, I'm not interested in Hankook or any other tire made in China. I'm not sure about Toyo or Uniroyal, but the reviews I've seen seem to suggest that handling on these Japanese made tires is similar to the Chinese ones. If so, I want nothing to do with them, either. Before you say "why not just buy Michelins again?" Well ...I can't - they only make snow & ice versions in a 13" tire - useless for So Cal driving.

Here are most of the choices that I could find in my tire size (155 80 13):

- General Ameri G4S
- BFGoodrich Control Plus (discontinued, but some stores have them)
- Dayton Quadra SE
- BF Goodrich Revelation Touring (discontinued, but some stores have them)
- Bridgestone Insignia SE200

Handling is the most important factor for me. If you have used any of these tires or have another recommendation, I'd appreciate your opinion.

Old 10-04-2008, 11:51 AM
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Default RE: Tire Advice Needed For 1989 323

Here are most of the choices that I could find in my tire size (155 80 13):
Your car can also take 175/70R13. This may improve the handling. Also check your CV joint boots, make sure they are in good condition and not split.
Old 10-04-2008, 02:19 PM
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Default RE: Tire Advice Needed For 1989 323

Before going to extremes and shelling out a lot of money that you may not have to, try simply adding some additional pressure to the Kumhos. I was running 36-37F/31-32R with the Falkens I had, but now I am running ASX's on mine and have them up to 40F/33R. It made a big difference. But I was expecting to have to do that before buying them.
As far as running175/70'sis concerned, be careful that you do not over tax/extend the wheel or you could have similar handling problems. The difference is nearly 8/10's of an inch in tread width (6.1" vs. 6.89") and the OE wheels (if you are running the OE's) may not support that wide a tire. They may only be (probably) 5.5" in width. You'dneed a 6"-6.5" wheel to safely run that size.
The rest of the specs line up pretty well though. A little shorter is all, but not enough to worry about.
Let us know what you decide to do and how it all turns out.
Old 10-08-2008, 03:41 PM
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Default RE: Tire Advice Needed For 1989 323

I ended up returning the Kumho KR21 tires to the dealer. At their suggestion, Uniroyal Freedom 175 70 R13 tires were installed. Handling & traction improved considerably - the Uniroyals appear to be far superior to the Kumhos in this area. They are more stable in emergency maneuvers, and there is absolutely no tendency to follow the grooves in the freeway, even at 80 mph.

I did notice that the steering was slightly heavier with the Uniroyals, but given how much better these tires "track", I think I can get used to it. According to the dealer, the Uniroyals really need to be inflated very near or at maximum (35 lbs) for optimum tire wear & gas mileage. Although this is 5-9 lbs higher than the car's "placard" listing, I think it is more correct as the tire nibs were wearing slightly more on the outside than in the center of the tread before I increased pressure as per the dealer's instructions.

Thanks to everyone for your helpful comments and suggestions
Old 10-12-2008, 06:07 PM
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Default RE: Tire Advice Needed For 1989 323


After driving on the Uniroyal Freedoms for a while, I'm not so sure about them. The increased steering effort is really starting to bug me, and the front tires look like they are wearing more on the outsides than in the center of the tread, even at max inflation (no, there is nothing wrong with the car). I'm thinking that I might have made a mistake going to the 175 70 R13 size...
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