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Old 2nd March 2020, 01:30   #1
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Default Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

Dear fellow BHPians,

I recently bought a pre-owned Mercedes A180 (2013 manufactured CBU). I am very happy with the overall performance of the car but there are a few niggles that give me sleepless nights.

1. The car came shod with Bridgestone Turanza T001 225/45 R17 91V tyres. These original tyres are now almost 6 years old. The car hadn't done too many miles and hence the tread pattern is still intact with no visible wear. But the tyres have developed cracks due to their age. I am looking to replace them now. These low profile tyres look great and have very good road grip. But, the car has a very low ground clearance and thus scrapes over a lot of speed breakers and big potholes. Can I upgrade to 225/50 R17 or 225/55 R17 tyres without making any modifications to the suspension? Is there any other tyre size I can safely upgrade to without changing the rims?

2. On my recent trip to Goa, the underbelly scraped a lot on the under construction roads of Belgaum and some unmarked massive speed breaker of the Chorla ghat. Certain potholes and speed breakers could not be avoided even after going diagonal at almost 0 km/hr. That thudding sound still gives me nightmares. I casually inspected the underbody found the plastic cladding to have taken a hit at few places with lot of cuts and bruises. My mechanic advised me against suspension raisers like Rogerab. Is it safe to install such suspension raisers considering the age of the car? Also, is there any way I can replace the plastic underbody protection with metal guards? Are metal bash plates available as an aftermarket accessory or can I get them made to the same dimensions as the plastic ones from a local fabricator?

Phew! Quite a few questions I must say. I am looking forward to hearing your thought and expert opinions on the same. Thank you.
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Old 2nd March 2020, 18:52   #2
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Default re: Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

Congrats on the purchase and good to hear that you have no issues except for the low GC. I guess the only viable option to marginally increase the height, sticking to just the tire, is up-sizing. As you can see from the calculator below, the only safe option is to go for a 235/45 R17, which will give you an extra 28.3mm of GC. Also, the side wall stiffness can help a tiny bit to avoid crashing on the pot holes, so a sporty tire with a stiffer side wall might help ( even in the stock size). It will be very difficult to find a 235 tire, but maybe you can ask around. Regarding the skid/ bash plates, more experienced members can comment.
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Old 3rd March 2020, 09:51   #3
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

I wouldn't recommend changing the overall circumference of the tyre. These cars have very tight clearances and you could end up scraping the inside of the wheel arch with a larger wheel / tyre.

1. First check with the Mercedes workshop if they know of any cases where owners have gotten a larger size without issue.

2. Else, click here and stick within the 2 - 3% range - https://www.1010tires.com/Tools/Tire-Size-Calculator

3. Read all pages of this thread (Art of taking Speed Breakers(humps) without scraping the belly.).
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Old 24th March 2020, 12:38   #4
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

I would not suggest any upsize.

225/45-17 is a relatively common size and Michelin, Yokohama, MRF, Pirelli all have tyres for this size.

Yes, it's a bit low profile, but nothing exceptionally so. You have to take care of the car and tyres and if you do damage it, you will have to replace the tyre. You cant avoid this. This is part and parcel of owning a high end car.

Even 225/50-17 is a 5% upsize and it is not recommended. Some people have tried this size on some Octavias and Lauras and report the ABS behaving wonky as the total tyre circumference is different from what the electronics are programmed for.

Stick to the OEM size.
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Old 16th June 2021, 15:00   #5
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

Thank you all for your valuable inputs.

I stuck to the original tyre size and bought Yokohama AdvanSport v105 rubber. These tyres offer good amount of grip in both wet and dry conditions with a slight drop in fuel efficiency compared to the earlier Bridgestone Turanza T001s.

However, the joy of new tyres did not last long. In the ghat section on the way to Mahabaleshwar, the car hit a protruding stone in the tarmac on a sweeping left corner and the impact burst the sidewall of the front left tyre. I got it replaced under warranty at no extra cost but I could not get an AdvanSport due to import restrictions. I had to fit a Yokohama BluEeach AE51 that has a similar tread pattern to the AdvanSport but a slightly different compound I guess. I shifted this one new tyre to the rear left, as I wanted to have same tyres in the front. This happened in Feb 2021.

A few days back, I was travelling back to Pune from Lonavala and a massive crater in the road put me back into the same situation that I had faced in Feb. The sidewall of the left front tyre burst due to the impact from the huge pothole. Like the last time, I got the tyre replaced under warrant at no additional cost. I shuffled the tyres again and now I have two BluEarths in the front and two AdvanSports at the rear.

Now, due to the two incidents that occurred within a short span, folks at home are very apprehensive. According to them, the mathematical probability of recurrence of this mishap is excessively high. They are questioning the safety of travelling at high speed on Indian roads in a car with such low profile tyres. They understand the physics behind this but such incidents cannot be predicted. I am not very keen on selling a mechanically sound car only for this reason but my folks do not agree with me.

I would like to ask you all if there is any solution to this problem. I will otherwise end up selling this wonderful car for a reason, the occurrence of which can only be left to chance.
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Old 16th June 2021, 16:15   #6
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

Doesn't make sense to sell a nice car due to tire side wall damages. You can:

1. switch to 16" rims (you might find used set on OLX from W204 C class, might be compatible)

2. switch to a more pothole friendly tires (I use 245/45R19 and 305/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport without any issues - not scientific but I have come to trust Michelin brand)

3. you can safely go for a 2% increase in rolling dia (without increase in tire width) if you get such a profile in the market

4,5,6,7,8: drive with caution when you suspect the roads are not in good shape. this is an essential skill you need to develop to drive a sporty car in India - maintain speed only when conditions appear ideal.

Last edited by androdev : 16th June 2021 at 16:29.
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Old 16th June 2021, 16:31   #7
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class tyre upgrade

Quote:
Originally Posted by androdev View Post
Doesn't make sense to sell a nice car due to tire side wall damages.
Absolutely agree with androdev on all his points.

Quote:
1. switch to 16" rims (you might find used set on OLX from W204 C class, might be compatible)
In fact, even if you buy brand new 16" rims (many good aftermarket brands have rims in 16" size), the cost will still be justified compared to the depreciation hit in selling away the car due to tyre issues. Mercedes OEM rims will be expensive, but any decent aftermarket 16" rims will do, and they will not be too expensive.

Quote:
4,5,6,7,8: drive with caution when you suspect the roads are not in good shape. this is an essential skill you need to develop to drive a sporty car in India - maintain speed only when conditions appear ideal.
This is the most important point. Regardless of which tyres we have, not hitting any pothole at high speed is something we all must learn to do.
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