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Old 6th June 2010, 21:00   #1
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Default Alto Tyre Change : From JK Ultima XP to Michelin XM1+ (145/80 R12)

38000+ kms. Yes that's the odo reading in my Maruti Alto. It was bought in 2007 feb and runs good in city and highways. As the odo numbers increased, the noise from the OE JK tires too increased.

JK Tyre Ultima XP
At first the Ultimas were decent for nearly 15000kms. After that, they became very noisy and started to wear unevenly. Adding to the un-even wear problem, it is the noise and poor ride quality that pushed my nerves. But I was able to run the tyres till 38kms with regular alignments and balancing checks. Today I had a lot of free time to kill. So I thought of doing a tyre check with a tyre dealer. I reached the Rao tires on GST Road Tambaram. Upon checking the odo and checking the tyre's flat treads, the guy told me the tyres are almost over and they have served their life. He suggested nothing could be done to improve the ride quality, unless I change the tyre.

Change or not to change?
Then I was left with one question. To change the tyres or keep running with them untill the tube pops out? Also I know that 38k on OE tyres seems to be pretty good yield and I should not expect any reliability from those ultimas here after. The tyres were almost flat and worn out un-evenly. I decided not to play when it comes to "LIFE" and "SAFETY". So I decided to buy new tyres.

Options
R12 is often the most neglected segment in tyires. Not many choices to choose from. You can find R12 tyires from MRF, JK, Apollo, Bridgestone, Michelin and Good year. But if you look at the model options, only a few manufacturers offer additional choices. But there is a problem there. The choices come in different specs like 155/75 R12, 155/65 R12 etc. The 155/75 R12 seems to be a logical choice for better handling, but the overall diameter of the tyre is less. So there will be a drop in FE. I ruled out 155/75 or 155/65 for the sake of FE. 145/80 is fine.

Now, as far as I read in TBHP,

- MRF : poor handling above 80kmph, noisy from day 1 (Ruled out)
- JK Ultima : Uneven wear and noisy after 15k kms (Ruled Out)
- Apollo Amazer : Not sure, I could not find any reliable reviews (Neutral)
- Good Year : 2 months back I saw a couple of GY GPS series R12's in a nearby puncture shop. The tyres had run nearly 20k kms, and were so bad in condition. The owner said that in spite of regular alignments and good maintenance the tyres had given up. The manufacturing quality was not good it seems. (Deleted)
- Bridgestone : Generally the tyres are okay. The S series and Turanza offers R12 spec tyres. (Neutral)
- Michelin : No idea. But I read in many places that Michelin's XM1+ uses soft compound material and offers comfort ride. (Neutral)


Bridgestone Turanza or Michelin XM1+ ?The place I checked my tyres is a Bridgestone Select outlet which stocked complete BS range of tyres. I checked the S series 145/80 R12 tyres. They are priced at Rs.2150 each. Then I checked the Turanza series with a R12 size and they carried same price. After some minutes of inquiry about other manufacturers and prices, I asked if he has any Michelins. He said he will arrange it from their Michelin outlet. He added that Michelin offers a soft ride and if maintained well, it could last longer than 40k. Also the tyre noise is less compared to JKs and MRFs.

Michelin XM1+
It was a tough time for me to choose between BS Turanza or Michelin XM1+. Both are more or less equal in most terms (as far as I think). Finally I decided to pick up Michelin XM1+ 145/80 R12 because of the Michelin man logo which is one of my childhood favorite. :-) I went with my heart and ordered to fit the XM1+ to the discs. Also I drive mostly inside the city and occasionally on Chennai - Salem - Erode highway. No rough roads generally. I am fine with it.

XM1+ are tubeless tyres and after careful evaluation of the discs, the tyres were fitted, balanced , bolts tightened and finally the alignment was checked. The Michelins cost Rs.2200 per tyre. Altogether I spent Rs.8800 for 4 tyres, Rs.240 for alignment (includes one free alignment within next 45 days), Rs.300 for wheel balancing, and Rs.300 for 4 mouth-valves.

The ride after tire change
Thumbs up! Evidently the ride is much better and smooth now. No noises, no uneven bumps and no irritating sounds. Also the handling has improved decently. XM1+ uses a soft compound, therefore it cannot be abused on rough roads all the time. Once I cross 5000 kms, I will post a mid-review.


PIC BELOW : Sorry about the water and mud photo. It was raining in chennai when I shot this picture.
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Last edited by rajeshsundaram : 6th June 2010 at 21:13. Reason: Heading edited
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Old 6th June 2010, 21:13   #2
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Hi Rajesh,

Please post all your Tyre quires and experiences in Tyre and alloy wheel section under Modifications and accessories.

BTW: XM1+ are best in the business of ride comfort, not sure if they last 40k as they last only 30K in a friends palio.
cheers,

Makesh.R
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Old 7th June 2010, 03:48   #3
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Good choice. Why did you not upgrade to 165/65 R13?
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Old 7th June 2010, 08:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Makesh View Post
Hi Rajesh,

Please post all your Tyre quires and experiences in Tyre and alloy wheel section under Modifications and accessories.

BTW: XM1+ are best in the business of ride comfort, not sure if they last 40k as they last only 30K in a friends palio.
cheers,

Makesh.R
@Makesh.
Noted! Will post the mid review in the proper section next time. Thanks.
And only 30k in palio? Hmm... Will keep a tracking record for the alignments, tread depth etc on the Michelins. Let me see if they stay alive till 30k or like the shop owner said - 40k.
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Old 7th June 2010, 08:29   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildsdi5530 View Post
Good choice. Why did you not upgrade to 165/65 R13?
@wildsdi5530 :
The major reason is : I do not have sufficient knowledge about Tyre up sizing. I am not sure a R13 can be fitted on to a R12 disc. That's why I chose to stick to the standard specs.
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Old 7th June 2010, 10:44   #6
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XM1+ will last 40k and above is maintained well. Dont worry about it.

Congrats Rajesh!
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Old 7th June 2010, 10:48   #7
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Good choice! The best thing about them is the near absence of noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeshsundaram View Post
I do not have sufficient knowledge about Tyre up sizing.
You could've asked...we were dying to let loose our knowledge!!
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Old 7th June 2010, 11:01   #8
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@wildsdi5530 Wouldn't R13 scrape without spacers?

IMO Alto is fitted with very balanced rims as stock so an upsize would have only introduced speedo error and lower profile would've compromised comfort.

@rajesh
R13 tires are not meant for an R12 rim & cannot be fitted. I held myself back from Michelins because of their fame of being delicate tires, I think, I will upgrade to them in my next tire change
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Old 7th June 2010, 11:17   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
XM1+ will last 40k and above is maintained well. Dont worry about it.

Congrats Rajesh!
Thanks Nikhilb2008!
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Old 7th June 2010, 11:22   #10
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@rajesh
R13 tires are not meant for an R12 rim & cannot be fitted. I held myself back from Michelins because of their fame of being delicate tires, I think, I will upgrade to them in my next tire change

@JustCause
Yes it seems Michelins are delicate, soft and don't withstand rough roads or abusing drives. I have to keep that in mind, and avoid bad roads as much as possible. I am going to Yelagiri from Chennai, this weekend. I will update about the highway drive quality after that.
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Old 7th June 2010, 11:28   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalluDude View Post
You could've asked...we were dying to let loose our knowledge!!
I wish I had a wifi and laptop with me yesterday. I missed TBHP so much at the tyre dealer's place. Here after I have to do all the updates/modifications well planned and get our esteemed tbhpian's opinion before getting into action.
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Old 7th June 2010, 13:23   #12
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@Rajesh
Where exactly is Rao tyres on GST Road?

My Alto is shod with MRF ZVTS and clocked 5500 KM so far. Looks like there is a long way to go if I wait for them to wear out before an upgrade. A friend tells me his boss's Alto did 100 K KM on the stock MRF tyres before he changed them! Can this be true?
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Old 7th June 2010, 14:43   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gansan View Post
@Rajesh
Where exactly is Rao tyres on GST Road?

My Alto is shod with MRF ZVTS and clocked 5500 KM so far. Looks like there is a long way to go if I wait for them to wear out before an upgrade. A friend tells me his boss's Alto did 100 K KM on the stock MRF tyres before he changed them! Can this be true?
@Gansan

Rao tyres has 3 branches in Tambaram. Each selling different brands.

One outlet (Michelin) is located in Tambaram-Velachery main road, just near to the Madambakkam signal junction (200 meters towards Tambaram from Cafe Coffee Day/ Naturals building).

Another outlet is located in the GST Road itself. Take the Airport direction from Tambaram Railway station, drive 300 meters and you should be able to see a Rao Tyres shop to your right side. You should take the U turn and reach this shop.This is a BS Select outlet. But the manager arranges to get other brands from their other outlets as well.

Another outlet is somewhere inside west tambaram, which I have visited only once. I do not remember the location exactly.

About 1 lac on MRF :
Unbelievable. MRFs are generally noisy and inconsistent performing rubbers. The MRFs in my old 800 clocked just 25+ and they became almost flat. I sold the 800 anyway.

Last edited by rajeshsundaram : 7th June 2010 at 14:46.
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Old 7th June 2010, 17:29   #14
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@Gansan
MRF ZVTSs are the hardest rubber you can get. IIRC, there was a review posted a while back in the tire section, I think its here. (MRF ZVTS Review !)

They also are the worst tires to have in case of panic braking, they are simply not built for such a scenario. Michelins are soft & Yokos are too, which prevent me from driving over 'unforgiving' terrain if I get one of those.

Sundaram's review is eagerly awaited.
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Old 8th June 2010, 01:47   #15
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I've heard that MRF ZV2K is the worst tyre. And that ZVTS is pretty good.
JustCause, Would 13" rims need a spacer?
Is a 13" x 4.5J/ 13" x 5J alloy available? for use with 165/65 R13?

Last edited by wildsdi5530 : 8th June 2010 at 01:48. Reason: Typo
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