9/22/2011

09-22-11 - Sports Car Tires

I fucking went through my rear tires already, in just about 1 year or about 8000 miles. It's somewhat common for modern 911's to wear out the inner edge of the rear tires very fast, because you run a lot of rear negative camber, they're heavy in the rear, and of course you tend to drive around like a maniac.

I of course knew that tires for this car would be a lot more expensive, but it's a bit more subtle than that. If you just look at tire prices you might think they are 2-4X more expensive. They aren't just 2X or 4X more expensive, they're actually something like 10X more expensive. Here's why :

1. Just the basic tire is something like 3X more expensive due to being a large/rare size. ($300 a tire instead of $100 a tire)

2. But you don't want to buy el cheapo tires like you did for your commuter car, you want some nice performance tires, right? So now we're talking 4-5X more expensive.

3. And you can't get those tires at Big O or Walmart or whatever, so you have to go to a specialty shop, so the install is more expensive.

4. But the biggest factor is that you go through them much much faster. For one thing, they're a poor-treadwear soft compound, but it's also just the driving style. You're literally "burning rubber" all the time, and if you like to go fool around and slide some drifts or donuts, that can

5. Driving street tires on the track can also wreck them in one session, because they can't handle the heat cycles; you'll literally get melted rubber, usually on the outside edges if you're cornering hard, and it can just come off in chunks. (obviously if you're serious you have special track tires and you expect to go through them fast, but some people are under the misconception that they can take their street car to the track once in a while and it will be okay; well, yeah, it will probably be okay, but it will cost a lot more than you think)

The result is that tires are costing me almost $2000/year, which is rather more than I expected.

(basically all the same things could be said for brakes, though they don't wear quite so fast, and track days and donuts don't destroy them as instantly as they destroy tires (on some cars track days can destroy brakes because they get too hot and you can crack pads or even wreck calipers, but Porsches have pretty good brake cooling))


Anyhoo. I'm getting mildly annoyed with the car. My tires are shot and I can't get replacements in for a week cuz they're rare and have to be ordered (I'm sure I could find them at some shop around town if I wanted to make a million phone calls).

It would be nice to have a car that you could just find parts for anywhere. That you could break down in the middle of the hick middle of the country and find a mechanic who could fix it. I like having a car that's fun to drive but I don't like having a car that's a prima donna.

One of the advantages of the Lotus line is that you can take them to a Toyota mechanic. I wrote a post once about how small-car-maker engine production is super retarded, but I think I didn't post it.

6 comments:

Tom Forsyth said...

Opinions vary, but most Lotus owners wouldn't trust a Toyota dealer - there's too many differences in the accessories and layout. My Caterham has a stock Ford Zetec engine from a Focus SVT, but I'm certainly not going to take it to a Ford dealer - the actual block and pistons might be the same but the cooling, oil, fuel, intake, exhaust and accessory systems are all completely different. Instead I take it to a place that specializes in old Jaguars. Anybody that can keep those things running can cope with pretty much anything, even if the pictures don't match the ones in the shop manual.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Potenza+RE070R+R2+RFT&frontTire=54YR0RE070R2RFT&rearTire=835YR0RE070R2RFT

sylvain-v said...

+1 Tom, that's what I heard from Lotus owner too:
"""
>> Can any mechanic maintain a Lotus? : O

NO!

A lotus is of course a Rover or Toy engine but also especially everything that goes around and frankly one must know these cars to diagnose certain fault.
Electrical problems, setting train etc. ... These won't be done Toy.
"""

cbloom said...

Yeah, well obviously not for maintenance or if you have an alternative, but for an emergency.

The Neocompressionist said...

Oh, right. Go out and buy a Lotus. Then wait until you're in the middle of nowhere on the way to Watkins Glen and suddenly find yourself needing a wheel bearing. Or a 5/16-inch male threaded rod end for the shift linkage. Or a valve for the fuel pump.

I mention those particular parts because...well...you guessed it.

Better to stay home and write algorithms.

- The Neocompressionist

The Neocompressionist said...

Oh, right. Go out and buy a Lotus. Then wait until you're in the middle of nowhere on the way to Watkins Glen and suddenly find yourself needing a wheel bearing. Or a 5/16-inch male threaded rod end for the shift linkage. Or a valve for the fuel pump.

I mention those particular parts because...well...you guessed it.

Better to stay home and write algorithms.

- The Neocompressionist

cbloom said...

Yeah I think that was more wishful thinking than anything else.

old rants