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Old 16th July 2016, 12:39   #1
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Default Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

I did count to 10, before starting this thread. So it is a pure reflection of my censored frustration.

I own a Merc A Class since Nov 2014 and have already had to change my tire (Continental) twice on account of bulges in the tire and on the last occasion it burst. And I have not even driven it on a highway or dirt roads. These Conti's are unbelievably poor tires. They really are not road worthy and cannot bear the weight of these Mercs (If this can happen to an A Class, imagine the plight on the bigger/heavier Mercs). In all my years of driving extensively around the world and on some really bad roads, I have never encountered such a ridiculous problem ever. However, if you google, you will find this problem exists in Many Mercs in many countries.

On both occasions it took me over 10 days to get the MB Dealer's (TVS Motors) attention to even attend to it. On the first occasion Continental took up half the cost and I had to pay around 20K. On the second occasion they said it was because I had driven it over potholes and I had to bear the entire cost of 38K which I did. So, my advise to all other Merc owners running on Conti tires is that, please avoid driving over potholes on Bangalore roads as these Merc are delicate darlings. In case you have no choice, make sure your car jumps over these potholes and puddles.

One other thing, the service team at TVS Motors are like Amir Khans (remember Sanjay Singhania in Ghajini). I had to call every time, repeat the incident and check on the status of my car. I was told the team is out on training (I hope its about Customer Service). Their incident response was pathetic and disappointing. After I took delivery, I gave them a poor rating and till-date (its been a week now) no one has even bothered to call. On the other side, I had sent my Skoda for a wiper change and they called me back to check my satisfaction and how the service was handled. Kudos Skoda.

So I now drive my Merc very slowly and when there is a pothole on the road, I take another route. If no other routes are available, I move my car slowly over the pothole and after crossing it, stop to check if the tires need medical attention.

Here's some free advise to Merc, if they are listening, I say switch the 17" with the spare Donut tires as they look more robust. Ofcourse, that means the car should be driven less than 50 kms, which is fine on Bangalore roads. So its a win-win.

If you see a Merc driving slowly on the roads, with Donut tires and an anxious driver, smile & wave folks, just smile and wave.
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Old 16th July 2016, 12:49   #2
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

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I own a Merc A Class since Nov 2014 and have already had to change my tire (Continental) twice on account of bulges in the tire and on the last occasion it burst. And I have not even driven it on a highway or dirt roads. These Conti's are unbelievably poor tires.
You definitely have a very peculiar problem and that too with only a specific brand of tires which are the Continentals. However, if you believe that there is an issue with the Continentals, why did you not check by using another brand of tyres instead of continuing with the same brand and suffering?

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 16th July 2016 at 13:35. Reason: Trimming quoted content. Inconveniences our small screen users. Thanks!
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Old 16th July 2016, 13:12   #3
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Epic, That's a very logical question.

On the first instance, since Conti picked up half the cost, I assumed (wrong) that it was their acknowledgement of problem and that a defective product was replaced.

The second time around, I first took the Insurance claim route as I have Platinum cover. In my repeated calls, they then informed me that based on wear and tear, they would only reimburse 10K while my no-claim would be 32K (dangling carrot in front of donkey). I had gone so far down the route and exhausted dealing with them, that I just paid for the change myself.

Next time around, I might just change the car. Called pre-owned and they said they would buy my car only if I trade-in for another Merc.
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Old 16th July 2016, 13:12   #4
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Hi Tumbler, even I would like to add that blaming the car or the car manufacturer for a side wall damage is not fair. The problem is mainly because of the 17 inch low profile tyres which are not ideal for our potholed filled roads. As suggested you may try some other tyre brand with a hard side wall or even try moving to 16 inch tyres with a taller side wall which might even improve the ride quality.
I personally have experienced the low profile 17 inch tyres in my b class and it had bone jarring ride quality on poor roads. Though I didn't face any tyre damage. The tyres were Bridgestone turanzas. You may try these tyres.
And try to get the tyres from a tyre dealer than the Mercedes after sales centre. The prices which you have quoted seem exorbitant.
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Old 16th July 2016, 13:15   #5
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Why don't you change your tyre to some other brand? There are multiple Mercedes ownership threads on the forum and this issue is not being faced by other owners. Either you are just plain unlucky to have damaged your tyre both times against something sharp or your driving style doesn't suit the tyre specifications. Go for some other brand, anyways Mercedes is making you pay an exorbitant amount for the new tyre. Wouldn't you have got it cheaper than 38k from outside shops?
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Old 16th July 2016, 13:21   #6
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Its more an issue with the 17inch wheels and low profile tyres. Mercedes had a lot of issues with A and B classes initially and lots of owners reported tyre bubbles and bursts. People are not used to slowing down extra for the low profile tyres. Hence Mercedes has now shifted to 16 inch wheels on the newer batches of A class.
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Old 16th July 2016, 13:23   #7
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Surgvij, your advise on 16" Bridgestone is a great one. I will check it out. Thanks.

Regards the car, my disappointments are two.

1. This problem is reported in many forums and Merc should have better advisory in this regard and address this appropriately. Many customers have expressed this problem. Merc should realize this problem and provide better tires that suit Indian roads.

2. the poor response of TVS. One would expect better service from a premium car dealer. I would have been a prospect for a GLC, but now they have lost one forever. Infact when I called their helpline the first time as I had a breakdown in the middle of the city, they took over 3.5 hrs to respond and after directing me to many phone numbers.

Folks have raised so many concerns and issues about skoda (a brand much less premium) and I have had a better experience with them than my Benz dealers. Should we not be less forgiving with dealers of premium car.
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Old 16th July 2016, 14:51   #8
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

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Epic, That's a very logical question.

On the first instance, since Conti picked up half the cost, I assumed (wrong) that it was their acknowledgement of problem and that a defective product was replaced.

The second time around, I first took the Insurance claim route as I have Platinum cover. In my repeated calls, they then informed me that based on wear and tear, they would only reimburse 10K while my no-claim would be 32K (dangling carrot in front of donkey). I had gone so far down the route and exhausted dealing with them, that I just paid for the change myself.

Next time around, I might just change the car. Called pre-owned and they said they would buy my car only if I trade-in for another Merc.
What is the profile (??/??/R17) of your tyre? As many have mentioned you can look at changing your 17" rims to 16" but I guess that would be a massive cost of changing rims and tyres together. Another option is just changing to a different spec of tyre on the 17" rims itself with increased side wall height.

Are your current tyres 225/45/R17? If yes, maybe you can look at a 215/50/R17 (Pirelli & Michelin).

Last edited by Epic : 16th July 2016 at 15:00.
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Old 16th July 2016, 15:23   #9
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Also, Check the tyre pressure you are maintaining. Euro manufacturers recommend very high pressure for Indian conditions.

Have 30-31 psi in all tires, you shall see the difference.
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Old 16th July 2016, 15:39   #10
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

These mercs which were once the epitome of toughness, have now been commoditised and reduced to mere Urban Bling Waggons...

The tyres are absolutely ill suited to our Indian road conditions with the frequent speed breakers, pot holes, broken surfaces and loose concrete jelly everywhere.
Plus the lack of proper verges, proper banking on the roads and this strange propensity in urban or semi urban India, to dig up every possible surface whenever possible and never fill it in afterward, all contribute to the problem.
Note that anywhere the fools in government build a flyover, the entire space below the flyover becomes a nightmare!

Frankly, is there a point at all, buying a fancy Euro Urban Bling Waggon in all this chaos, other than for pure Safety or Snob-Value reasons? I don't know!
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Old 16th July 2016, 16:25   #11
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

I believe the tyre size is 225/45/17? The profile is not too low. I know a lot of modded Lauras run that size, mostly Michelin PS3 or Yokos. Haven't heard a lot of them suffering tyre bubbles. But you know, Bangalore roads these days are tyre killers. I have a habit of consciously avoiding potholes. I go round them as much as possible and if there is no other way I slow down to a crawl and then pass over them creating a cacophony of sorts behind me. For this I keep a real good gap between me and the car in front so that I can get a real good view of the road in front of me so that I know where I am putting my front wheels. There is simply no other way.

The A class I suppose has limited suspension travel and the maximum impact of a pothole hit is absorbed by the tyre. Sadly these cars are not designed for our roads and we buy them coz we love them. Its not the car's fault really. I've been wanting to upsize the tyres on Polo and X3 and have been holding off precisely for this reason.

Best thing you can do is avoid potholes as much as possible, go very slowly over them if you have to and maintain optimum tyre pressures. Tyres don't like very high or very low pressures when they get hit by potholes. Most euro cars recommend very high pressures, which is OK for their butter smooth roads but not for our crater ridden terrain. For city drives try something between 30 and 32 psi and keep an eye out for potholes / deep cuts and the like.
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Old 16th July 2016, 17:07   #12
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Tumblr,

To treat a branch thats infected in a plant, why cut the entire plant itself? It somehow reminds me of an old tale of the famous poet Kalidasa.

Before he became the immensely famous poet, he was a person of low intellectual. One day, he was seen sitting on a branch and chopping the same branch on which he sat. Passerby were amazed and laughed at the foolishness. However, when some one asked why he was doing what he as doing, he very sheepishly answered that this particular branch was infected.

So, there you see, Kalidasa cut the branch and fell down along with it and hurt himself pretty bad. Your case unfortunately is similar Tumblr. You are cutting the same branch on which you sit. Just get 16" Michelins/BS or even Yokos and stay happy.

Of all, I would suggest Yokos or Michelins and stay stock 225/45/R17. Preferably fill in Nitrogen and keep the pressure @ 32psi.

Think you will be happy and become famous like Kalidasa

Last edited by GTO : 18th July 2016 at 10:06. Reason: Spacing
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Old 18th July 2016, 10:34   #13
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

Thank you for all your inputs. I see conflicting advise. However, some consistent themes that emerge are:

1. Maintain tire pressure at 30-32 psi
2. Go slow over (if possible avoid) potholes

I understand these tires are ill suited for Indian roads and not sure if getting a new set will change outcome (experimenting again) unless MB issues a formal statement to change the stock tires (move to 215/50/R17 or go to 16").

I have received more counsel from this forum than I have from MB and that is sad for MB while speaks volumes about Team-BHP. You folks rock !

You buy these powerful cars not with an intent to use them for vegetable shopping or bridegroom processions. Hence the paradox.
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Old 18th July 2016, 11:05   #14
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

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Originally Posted by Tumbler View Post
Thank you for all your inputs. I see conflicting advise. However, some consistent themes that emerge are:

1. Maintain tire pressure at 30-32 psi
2. Go slow over (if possible avoid) potholes
I am using the exact same size (225/45/17) on my C Class (Michelin) and Laura (Falken-now back to 16 for outstation travels). Follow the above 2 rules and you will have no issues whatsoever. I have had the C Class for 2.5 years and haven't faced a single issue with the Michelin, which are known to be particularly soft. Try shifting to nitrogen and religiously maintain 32psi all round. You should not have any troubles after that (and avoid things with sharp edges and potholes please). and just FYI- tires in that size are a maximum of 13k-14k. Please dont go to Mercedes for the tires.

Rohan

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 18th July 2016 at 11:35. Reason: Typo corrected
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Old 18th July 2016, 11:08   #15
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Default re: Tyre bulging issue with Continentals on my Mercedes A-Class

One of my friend's new C Class on the way to home from showroom got a tyre burst when it fell into a pothole. I am not sure if your case is similar. It makes me feel there is something with the tyres on Merc.
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