Question:

Traction loss of my car with new tires

by Guest2817  |  earlier

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I purchased (4) Futura2000 (Cooper)185/60-15 tires approx. 2 years ago and have 1/4 inch tread left and less than 5K miles, and while the traction was good the first year in wet/snowy conditions, I have come to experience very poor traction in wet weather (not icy conditions). This includes braking/acceleration/cornering It takes little effort to get the tires to lose traction and start spinning, so much so I even lost control of 2003 NEON SXT during slow speed cornering at an intersection where I hit the curb after losing traction. Due to this problem my wife is very reluctant to drive the vehicle, and while I have read about other people who are expressing the same complaints about these tires others rave about the traction and wear, what if any information could you provide.

 Tags: car, loss, tires, Traction

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1 ANSWERS

  1. Tom Reeds

    I don't have any specific information about Futura 2000's(I'm more of a design engineer), but there are a few things that might aid in understanding what is going on.

    It is normal for rubber to gradually lose its properties over time. That will manifest itself as cracks, loss of wet and dry traction, and eventually structural failure. It is also normal for traction to be severely affected by weather and pavement micro texture. This is particularly so in certain parts of the country.

    Traction is also affected by inflation pressure, and in your case - wet traction - a bit higher pressure might be advantageous. Please check the pressure, because this might actually be the whole source of the problem. These tires are positioned in the market place as fairly generic all season tires - meaning they are not designed for grip or long life . They were designed to be inexpensive.

    Plus, when reading consumer reviews about any product - including tires - you have to be aware that you have to read objectively - which is hard to do - as well as understand you will more likely hear complaints rather than compliments - and the true measure will be how the product stands relative to other similar products, and then you'll need a sense of how many of each were sold. So to find a set of inexpensive all season tires that was sold throughout the country that is 2 years old that is having traction problems - as well as complaints about it - might not be as unusual as you might think.

    First, I think you need to check the inflation pressure. According Tire Guides, a 2003 Dodge Neon SXT should use 32 psi. Check your vehicle placard to make sure the book is right. The placard is usually located on a doorpost or in the glove box and will list the original tire size and the proper pressure for that size. If my book is right, if you have below 27 psi in these tires, then this might be 100% the source of the problem - and if so, be aware of a psychological phenomenon where once someone has a problem that can't be measured, only \"sensed\", they tend to think it is still there even if it is fixed.

    If the inflation pressure isn't the issue, then I think you need to due what the courts call \"mitigating the damages\". That is - taking care of the problem, by replacing the tires. I would suggest you go back to Pep Boys and see if they are willing to do an \"adjustment\". This won't be a situation where there is something wrong in the manufacturing that you can point to and say \"See that\". This is more of a \"Customer Satisfaction\" issue - meaning they may or may not be inclined to do something.

    Be firm, but polite and if you might have to talk to the store manager. It helps if you've done a lot of business with them. But, honestly, after 2 years, I wouldn't be surprised if the store manager didn't do anything. That would leave you with 2 choices 1) live with it (clearly unacceptable with your wife) or 2) Go somewhere else and replace the tires.

    In this instance, I would purchase tires that show excellent wet traction properties. This means an \"AA\" UTQG traction rating. If you don't know what that means, go to Tire Rack's web siteand read up on UTQG ratings. You'll need to go there to look at the surveys anyway - especially to get a feel for what it is going to take to get good wet traction.
     

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