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Consumer Reports Tire Test


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10 replies to this topic

#1 blitz

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 02:51 PM

Was checking out the Consumer Reports Tire Test yesterday.

Not everyone is fond of CR's test methods or results but there's gotta be a certain value in what they offer up. There's a whole lotta quality rubber out there that no one's ever gonna know about on account of how few they actually included in the test. CR must be working on a small budget or something.

To me the big surprise was seeing the Michelin X-Ice at the top and the Hakka RSI waaay down the list. The X-Ice is new, but what's up with the poor showing from the RSI? :confused: That's the one that everyone on USMB raves about.

Mods: feel free to move this over to general if need be.

#2 Strakes

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 03:51 PM

I read their stuff but take their findings in with a whole lot of other sources. I believe that by reading a lot of varied publications, you end up with a better idea of what to purchase and what to avoid. I know some people read only CR stuff and nothing else for everything. I don't think that is necessarily the wisest option.

In my opinion: Their tests aren't always thorough. Trying to be an expert at everything makes you an expert at nothing. A lot of times, their tests are flawed. A lot of times, they appear to make a "stunt" to raise readership because they don't take advertising money.

I can give you the example of their best dogfood test. They only ran the feeding test for 8 weeks. If they had run the test for over a year, their "best buy" actually resulted in about a 20% frequency of the dogs coming down with a nutritional disorder directly related to the lack of key nutrients from being absorbed. I highly doubt they consulted experts in the field (veterinarians, veterinary teaching and research hospitals, etc). I don't think they did this on purpose...only that their expert test was flawed because they think they know everything.

That's why basing a purchase of a consumer good on many sources, including Consumer Reports, will generally get you the best available choice.

#3 benebob

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 04:22 PM

I read their stuff but take their findings in with a whole lot of other sources. I believe that by reading a lot of varied publications, you end up with a better idea of what to purchase and what to avoid. I know some people read only CR stuff and nothing else for everything. I don't think that is necessarily the wisest option.

In my opinion: Their tests aren't always thorough. Trying to be an expert at everything makes you an expert at nothing. A lot of times, their tests are flawed. A lot of times, they appear to make a "stunt" to raise readership because they don't take advertising money.

I can give you the example of their best dogfood test. They only ran the feeding test for 8 weeks. If they had run the test for over a year, their "best buy" actually resulted in about a 20% frequency of the dogs coming down with a nutritional disorder directly related to the lack of key nutrients from being absorbed. I highly doubt they consulted experts in the field (veterinarians, veterinary teaching and research hospitals, etc). I don't think they did this on purpose...only that their expert test was flawed because they think they know everything.

That's why basing a purchase of a consumer good on many sources, including Consumer Reports, will generally get you the best available choice.


Couldn't agree more in some circumstances but for the average consumer they are pretty much dead on and put everything through the same test. Of course being scientific in their manor makes for tons of variables. Remember, according to them Old Mud is America's greatest beer! Generally speaking they are dead on and don't seem to take things such as color, appearance and coolness into consideration. Are they wrong? Sure but remember the Alliance was car of the year as was the Eagle Premier and Mercury Capri Convertable by other publications. They just provide info that they find but of course everything can be interpreted differently.

#4 nipper

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 04:23 PM

A lot of thier tests are suspect. Their automotive testing or realted automitve product testing doesnt always follw the SAE test standards that are supposed to be used. They sometimes make up the oddest test methods, even when tere is an acceptable industry standard. They even have been known to go against UL test standards. They also seem to have leanings towards anything japanese.

They are an ok publication, but can sometimes be the bully in the school yard, and really have no one to answer to.
Best to read from many sources, and understand the goverment and ul guidlines for testing.
Just when making a purchase on anything, and you want to research it, there is no such thing as too much credible information.
For tyres i find the reviews on tire rack seem to be fairly honest, as ive seen quite a few "these tires suck" on some brands.


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#5 pBIIKS

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 06:34 PM

Haven't read CR but I have seen the X Ice and I really want a more agressive tire. I went with the Blizzak's for my son in MT. I had arranged for Firestone Winterforce (the price was right and the tread looked good) but after 2 wks of phone callls they didn't have them and the guy sold me the Blizzaks for the same price. The boy has been happy so far, and they have lots of snow around Bozeman. In VT we are driving Goodyear Slaloms and they have been great.

#6 blitz

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:24 PM

CR used to be almost like the bible to me, but I think I'm begining to see the light. :-\

I actually do check out the Tire Rack reviews from time to time. It's possible to get a decent feel about a particular tire by reading a large enough cross section and paying attention to the type of car and number of miles driven. IMO it's likely that certain tires can excell in specific size ranges but not necessarily in others.

I wonder why Tire Rack doesn't sell Nokian?

#7 Ranger83

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:49 PM

I wonder why Tire Rack doesn't sell Nokian?


Because Nokian wants tires sold by servicing dealers. most likely.

From Subaruoutback.org:

I have an online subscription and I'm looking at the test results. It's true that the TT had the top overall numerical score. But they make a number of "quick recommendations" as follows. Their rating scale is Excellent; Very Good; Good; Fair; and Poor.

quote:If icy roads arent a factor:
1. GoodYear $80
3. Hankook $50
4. Yokohama $70

These tires do well in everything except braking on ice. The Goodyears (1) ride is very quiet.


All three received a "Fair" rating on ice braking.

quote:
Best for all Weather Conditions:
2 Michelin $111
5 Michelin $100

The Michelin (2) is a very good all-around performer, but is only available from shopping clubs. The Michelin (5) performs capably but is noisier, with mediocre hydroplaning resistance.


quote:
If long tread life is important:
4 Yokohama $70
5 Michelin $100
8 Dayton $48
15 Bridgestone $78

The Dayton (8) and Bridgestone (15) offer excellent tread life and good performance. The Yokohama (4) and Michelin (5) are better performers with very good tread life.


The tires rated were:

quote:
1. Goodyear Assurance TripleTred
2. Michelin X Radial
3. Hankook Mileage Plus II H725
4. Yokohama Avid TRZ
5. Michelin HydroEdge
6. Michelin Agility Touring
7. Michelin Harmony
8. Dayton Grenadier PLE
9. Kelly Navigator Platimum TE
10. Hankook Mileage Plus GT H707
11. Kumho Touring 795 A/S
12. Pirelli Cinturato P3000
13. Goodyear Assurance ComforTred
14. Toyo 800 Ultra
etc.


The TripleTread was better than the Michelin X on dry braking, wet braking, and snow traction. The Michelin X was better on handling, rolling resistance, and ice braking. Their other scores were the same.

The Yokohama had Very Good or Excellent scores on every category except Ice Braking: the only tire for which this is true. How it wound up in 4th is not clear to me from the ratings.

One caveat: my experience is that the same tire can perform quite differently in different sizes on different vehicles. YMMV

Summary of the Winter Test:

quote:
Best for severe winter performance:
1 Michelin [X-Ice]$84
3 Goodyear [Ultra Grip Ice]$75
4 Bridgestone [Blizzak WS50]$86
5 Mastercraft [Glacier Grip II] $54

The Michelin (1) is the top choice for harsh winters. The Goodyear (3) and Mastercraft (5) also provide excellent snow traction, though not as good braking on ice. The Bridgestone (4) is also very capable on both snow and ice.



From the Consumer Reports www forums:

I have questions about the scoring and methodology of the recent All Season tire test.

The Goodyear TripleTread received the highest rating. But the Yokohama Avid TRZ received the same number (3) of Excellent ratings; 6 Very Good; and one Fair - in ice braking. Are the different categories weighted, and of so, how?

The methodology for each category is explained, but not the performance difference between the different rating categories. What is the difference in dry, wet, or ice stopping distance between a tire rated Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor? Or is some distribution mechanism used? Tire reviews I've seen in car magazines, car clubs, and tire dealer websites give the raw data for the various tests.

It seems that Fair performance on ice braking is a pretty big red flag for an All Season tire in North America. In normal winter driving one often cannot distinguish between snow, ice, or hard packed snow.




Answer from CR:

Overall score is a weighted average of all the rating categories (including some that are not publiched). Braking, handling, hydroplaning resistance, and winter grip are more heavily weighted than other items. Ratings represent a number in a range. For instance, "Good" represents a 3, and that can fall between 2.51 to 3.49. That range will impact overall score.

Data ranges are defined by the statistical range of tire performance, by experience, and limitations of the vehicle and tire type.

Raw numbrs relate only to the tire tested on the car used.




So, as long as you are comfortable with ratings that don't reference any actual test data; are scored on categories not published; and with weights of different categories also not published, CR's the place to go.


Their choices for winter tires raises more questions. They tested Nokian Hakka II and Hankook W404 that are both designed for use with studs - but not the Hankook W300 IceBear, which is the direct competitor to the X-Ice and Nokian RSI (which was tested). Nor did they test the Yokohama Ice Guard, another studless tire design.


I bought the Nokian RSI's because I had them on an Accord last season and every who has them is satisfied. User feedback on the X-Ice does not seem as uniformly positive.

#8 bjwirth

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 01:48 AM

So, as long as you are comfortable with ratings that don't reference any actual test data; are scored on categories not published; and with weights of different categories also not published, CR's the place to go.

Some times people get too hung up on the numbers and this "dumbing down" CR does, by using red and black circles, is not a bad idea for most people. let's say the only performance criteria you cared about was braking distances on the ice. if tire A stops in an ave of 123.5 ft and tire B stops in 124.3 ft, you might be quick to say, "tire A kicks butt!" but then you learn the average of all tires tested was 140 with an SD of 15 ft-- not only that, the SD of each individual tire test was 1.5 ft. is CR going to have a statistics lesson in every issue? I honestly have less faith in the tirerack rankings. apparently the "rankings" are based on consumer reviews (how likely are you to buy again? what, based on your NEW tires vs 1 old set of tires- give me a break. can you see how the answer would be biased depending on what the buyer was replacing).

of course most people are not looking at just 1 attibute and they just want the bottom line. I really think for tires, once you've identified what particular attributes are important to you, and find those tires that have the most "red circles" associated with those characteristics, then you'll be happy.

If you really need the raw data or subtle differences in testing make all the difference for you, then NO, CR is not for you. My father in law is looking for a digital camera. He read CR and thought he needed an dSLR because the pictures were MUCH better than the conventional point and shoots. while this may be POTENTIALLY true, to the average camera buyer, this is a waste of money. instead we talked about what he was looking for in a camera and used the CR ratings to pick some cameras (and other cameras from other sources since apparently CR only tests cameras made from 2years ago) and chose a camera. IF attibutes like amount of distortion at higher ISO, compresson artifacts, chromatic abberations, or whatever (i have no idea what I'm talking about- these are things I've read in reviews that I didn't understand) are improtant, then you shouldn't be looking in CR.

#9 bjwirth

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 02:05 AM

Consumer Reports is like that trusted advisor you have. he or she will do all the research for you since you're busy, and then recomend the best plan for you. but then one day that advisor lets you down with a bad recomendation. like this one:

setting- 2 days after katrina passes
MB: hey all these people down in new orleans are complaining and say they need help. I'm too busy trying to get dinner reservations so I need you to come up with a plan.
CR: I've already looked at many possible scenarios and am prepared to talk about the specific ramifications of each one.
MB: maybe you didn't hear me, I need to get dinner reservations, so you got to make it fast- give me the "red circle" recomendation.
CR: ok- let's do nothing but tie red tape everywhere. eventually all those people will die and the complaining will stop.
MB: (on phone) yes dinner for 4 at 7 pm. what'd you say CR? oh, whatever, I trust you- make it so, I'm late.

you see, CR is just a guide. ultimately the decision of what to do with CR's recomendations, falls upon you.

#10 edrach

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 02:58 AM

Funny, but I use CR as a guide for things I know nothing about. For things I think I know something about, I've found I often disagree with them. Tires is one of the things I disagree with them. My personal feelings regarding the snow tire tests is that in my past life when running winter rallies, I found that those drivers who were not sponsored/supported by a tire company, the tire of choice was always a Hakki.....and if the Finns can't make a good snow tire, no one can. They certainly have an incentive with with their weather.

#11 Strakes

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 07:35 AM

Trusted Advisors:

Finances: Financial Advisor
Law: Family Lawyer
Medicine: Family Doctor
Taxes: Tax Accountant

Are there bad doctors, accountants, etc? Yes. Can a great doctor make a mistake? Yes. But throwing out the baby with the bath water is not wise. I strive to listen to all advice, and filter it...and try not to make snap decisions.

My opinion is that CR claims to be experts at everything. Therefore, they cannot be experts at anything.

In other words: I don't want to go to the plumber for financial advice, and I don't want to go to the doctor for help fixing my toilet.

CR wants you to come to them for everything. I think you should look at their ratings. But please take their advice with the perspective that they cannot be the sole advisors of all the areas of your life. Every publication, including CR, has positives and negatives...and we need to weigh them carefully.




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