Tires Consumer Reports [Archive] - Honda Element Owners Club Forum

: Tires Consumer Reports

Element Art
10-02-2004, 08:57 PM
I just got my copy of Consumer Reports (NOV 04). It has an update on light truck tires. Looks like Dayton Timberline HTs would be worth a try. They show a price of $75 each and rate all aspects average or above including (Ride above average and noise average). A few tires were rated higher but had worse than average ride quality and problems in other areas. So the Daytons sound like they might be an improvement over the stock tires in all areas including ride quality.

10-02-2004, 09:44 PM
For what it is worth, Dayton is in the Bridgestone, Firestone family of brands. It is hard to say, though, whether this particular model has a counterpart under the other brand names. I only find it in the P225/70/16 Element compatible size.

Element Art
10-02-2004, 09:50 PM
That was the size they tested on all the tires.

10-03-2004, 12:12 AM
Biggest problem I have found with the Honda Element in its STOCK size is lack of tire options. I figure I am not COMPLETELY alone in thinking its silly to buy the EX with it moderately nice alloy wheels, just to toss them out.

of couse I AM a CHEAP SOB.

Firestone tires have NOT won back my confidence yet, after a long term history of recalls , again and again, over their history.

I can think of at least 3 or 4 tires I would love to put on the Element, and dump thos POS Wranglers that are on there, so I go to my local tire dealerships and find out I have maybe ONE option, and certainly not what I wanted or would normally consider.

We just replaced the worn (Michelin) tires on our Accord. I did a major gamble for me and switched to the Goodyear Assurance Triple Tred, after much research. So far it is an AWESOME tire and would be yet another PERFECT versatile tire for the versatile Element and I think it would even LOOK "really cool" on the Element. But of course its not available in the stock Element size....sigh.

I even wrote Goodyear customer service to see if that lagging company might jump on this potential goldmine (considering the dirth of options for the Element), and their answer was a flat out "No plans to issue this size at this time". But they will carefully pass on my suggestion. Probably using the interoffice circular file via the janitorial service....not likely it will make it through.... :(

10-03-2004, 02:40 AM
Keep in mind that the Toyota RAV4 has been using the same size tire since 1996. The range of models available in this size has grown slowly, but don't expect a big jump just because the wonderful Element came on the scene. 215/70/16 falls in a gap between passenger car and SUV/truck tire sizes.

I don't think there is a problem with the 16" rims. With larger rims you move into the world of low profile tires, which is not good for the AWD side of the Element (however limited it may be). A 15" rim would call for a higher profile tire, with the sloppy cornering of a traditional SUV or pickup (my old S10 has 235/75/15 tires).

Options in the 225 or 235 width are much better, and people are successfully running those on the Element. It would be nice if the suspension and wheelwell were sized to take the 235 width more comfortably, but then we'd be hearing about 245s that don't fit.

Come to think of it, in the prototyping stages of the Element, 235/70/16 tires were the target (according to powerpoint presentation floating around on some websites). I don't know what prompted the designers to reduce that to the 215 size. Stock tire size affects the sizing of the suspension parts, brakes, gear ratios, behavior of the AWD when using a compact spare, etc. Note that the 215/70/16 tire is the largest diameter than can be safely stored on the cargo floor behind the rear seats (such as when it is flat).


10-03-2004, 11:09 AM
I am curious how cooper tires faired in your report on tires. I replaced my accord michelins with Cooper tires and have been pleased with the good wearability and all around aspects of the Cooper tire. I had thoughts of using Cooper once more when it will be tire time for my E

Element Art
10-03-2004, 01:46 PM
Cooper Discoverer H/T s were tested. They were pretty far down the list. They were below average in dry and wet braking but above average in handling. They were above average in the noise category meaning they were quiet.

10-03-2004, 04:53 PM
I have those Coopers (or rather the Mastercraft equivalents) on my RAV4 and have been pleased. They have worn quite well. Not being a hard driver I can't say whether one tire is better or worse when it comes to braking. I was going to switch the Mastercrafts to the Element to get better overall wear for the two cars, but the tire dealer made me an offer on slightly used Goodyear Integritys that I couldn't pass up.


10-03-2004, 10:36 PM
[quote:d4885e753b=" "]I did a major gamble for me and switched to the Goodyear Assurance Triple Tred, after much research. So far it is an AWESOME tire and would be yet another PERFECT versatile tire for the versatile Element and I think it would even LOOK "really cool" on the Element. But of course its not available in the stock Element size....sigh.([/quote:d4885e753b]

My dad's '02 CR-V (another one of those hard-to-find sizes) is on it's last set of Bridgestone Dueler H/Ts. BTW don't anybody buy Bridgestone Dueler H/Ts. If you are tempted, at least consider instead the Dueler H/L, which is better for on-road than the H/T. Even the older BFGoodrich Touring T/A that used to come on first-gen CR-Vs (hello! a "real" car-tire!) is better overall. BTW don't anybody take those off-road.

Anyway, THIS WEEK, after much research for a really good car-like tire for him, he'll be getting the TripleTreds. That's all I wanted to say.

10-04-2004, 01:09 PM
i was out in southern utah this weekend, and one of my tires blew out while i was going 80 down the freeway. at 8pm. only 12k miles. at least the sidewalls held up enough for me to get to the side. by the time i stopped, there were three big tears on the inside sidewall. so i got to do 100 miles on the donut at 50

the only open places with tires in cedar city (30 miles up the freeway, the next town) didn't have the size. the next day, i had to go to five tire stores in cedar city before i found one that had a deuler ht. at leat that saved me a 50 mile drive back down the freeway at 50mph (while everyone else is going 80mph) to st. george.

made me really want to change out the tires to 225/70/16, which are readily available, even at night in utah.

i'm so mad at honda for picking such a rare size.

but what about a spare if i do that? the donut is sized for the 215/70, no? can you buy a bigger donut that will still fit in the well?

10-04-2004, 01:28 PM
I doubt if it makes any difference whether you use the donut with 215 or 225s. The donut is significantly smaller than either (145/90/16?).

It is possible that with the donut on one wheel that there is enough of a speed difference between axles to trigger the AWD power to the rear wheels. However there is a thermal switch in the RT4WD unit that stops this power transfer when the oil heats up from extended use - so it shouldn't stay in 4wd for long. The fact that they gave us the donut indicates that the Honda engineers aren't too worried about this. Was it obvious that you were driving with the donut on?

I just passed through Cedar City a couple of weeks ago - heading west across the state, with Caliente NV as my night's destination. This being an extended camping trip I did have a full size spare stashed under my sleeping platform, just in case I had a flat in an even more remote area than Cedar City (e.g. Rachel NV?).

Any idea what caused the initial tire failure? Fault in the tire, cut by a object on the road, underinflation? So far all my flats have been due to screws and the like in the tread, something which can be easily repaired. Multiple sidewall cuts are, thankfully, rare.


10-04-2004, 02:24 PM
i'm not sure that the diameter of the donut iss any different than the stock.

i certianly couldn't tell the difference driving up the freeway and up the mountain roads (i was staying at brianhead, 30 miles and 5k feet above cedar city, so had to drive up friday night and down saturday to find the replacement). i'll have to go look at the donut again and see for sure. i really would like a full-sized spare, but i had four people and gear inside, and four bikes on the yakima on top, so don't know where i could fit it!

the rear tires were inflated to 40psi (all that load). it could have been something on the road, but i suspect that i gashed the inside sidewall when i was on a poorly maintained dirt and rock road outside of zion (gooseberry mesa for any MTB types reading along). the good/bad thing is that the tire was fine for about 25 miles of high speed driving after i got off of the dirt, before it blew. and the sidewall held up for the quarter mile it took me to slow down and get to the shoulder.

i guess if i were to use the donut after switching over to 225/70s, the AWD wouldn't kick in since the difference is only 2%. but would it handle badly?

10-04-2004, 03:03 PM
Good to know the Element still drove well with the donut.

I drove to the top of Brian Head just before dropping down to Parowan and taking the freeway into Cedar City. The freeway itself has some potential damaging spots due to current construction. East of Brian Head, Ut 143 goes through an area of relativly recent lava flows that could have some damaging rocks (more so than typical slickrock). Then there are the cattleguards.

Damage on the inside would be hard to detect, and to pinpoint the time of occurance.

By my calculations the spare is 26.3" in diameter, around 6% smaller than stock. I know a full size tire has too large of a diameter to fit in the spare's wheelwell - the best I could do was set it at an angle with about 5" of tire sticking out.

After a couple of no-hits on the 215 size tire, I'd have been tempted to stop by a junk yard and see if they had a wrecked RAV4 or other car with that size stock tire.


10-04-2004, 03:44 PM
i looked when i came back from lunch. it is 160/90/16, which is .5 inches less diameter than the 215/70/16, or 2%. i guess this is why it drove fine.

i do wonder whether it will still drive ok if i went to 225/70/16, where it would be 4% smaller.

i suspect that it was the big rock stretches or the cattle guards that got the inside sidewall. i'm just surprised that it didn't flat out then, rather than 25 miles later. and also thankfull that it held up well enough for me to get over.

after the third place that didn't have the size, i was about to get on the freeway and drive the 50 miles down to st. george (where there is a honda dealer), but there was a firestone sign on a little corner garage just at the entrance ramp. and the guy had it, said he kept it in stock for a customer who drove a passport (or rodeo). he was so funny when he came out and said that it was expensive, though, and he was sorry. he charged me $105 for the whole thing. i would have paid $200 to not have to drive on the freeway again on that donut!

10-04-2004, 06:10 PM
Interesting that your's is a 160/90/16 size. I wonder if Honda changed spare sizes sometime in the last year? and changed the wheelwell a bit too?
a thread from Feb 2004 talks of the 145/90/16 size, as did this thread from Dec 2003
Currently my spare isn't as accessible as it should be, with my sleeping/storage platform blocking quick access.

I had a brief scare on gravel road early in my Utah travels. I started hearing a metalic scraping sound. I stopped and looked under the car but couldn't see anything amiss. On backing up a bit the sound changed to a rattle and then scrape. Forward and back once more and it went away. Looking again I found a bit of gravel in a rear wheel. My guess is that the piece got caught between brake disk and inner dust shield.


10-04-2004, 09:55 PM
Isn't Consumer Reports the magazine that continues to be impressed by cars that have steering wheels, instead of reins or tillers? When I want to know something automotive, I'll consult a magazine (or five!) that knows and cares about automobiles. When I want a review of microwave ovens or dustmops, you won't catch me looking for them in Car & Driver or AutoWeek! If anyone still harbors the notion that Consumer Reports even knows which side of a car is supposed to be up, where were you in the 80's when their idiocy was unmasked? Just because they're not "biased" by evil advertising doesn't mean they aren't equally as ignorant (of anything automotive) as they are unbiased! Hello?

Element Art
10-05-2004, 07:26 AM
I'll agree they aren't perfect. I do find them a starting point though. They did "recommend" the Element. I figure they might be some help with tires too. It is pretty hard for most of us to test a bunch of tires. It is also hard for us to compare the stock tires to new tires we might switch to since worn tires perform differently than a new set. Case in point, my stock tires have about 8000 miles on them and they seem to ride nicer than they did new ...or is my suspension is mellowing?
A positive to their report is that they have a bunch of things they test for, so one tire was good in snow or on ice and others were better fair weather climate tires. That makes choosing a tire for Southern California different than for my "flyover land" state of Minnesota. Seems like that might be a help to us.
My only gripe with CR is that they don't test enough brands, models of merchandise. They tested cordless drills for years and neglected to test Panasonic drills (my choice for years)...they finally tested drills recently and included Panasonic...they ranked the Panasonic number one. Makes me wonder what tires they might have missed. Also since the tires weren't our size tire does that make the whole thing moot?

10-07-2004, 04:42 PM
It is helpful to know what other sizes will work on your vehicle, especially when there is a limited availability size used. When replacing my minivan's tires, Discount Tire had a conversion table for sizes same as OEM and upgrades using the same wheels, and then of course upsizing wheels. I was able to upa size and get a better choice and price. Discount: You can find them at You can also check for other choices and brands.

One thing to remember is there are so many private label/brand tires made for big chains (walmart, costco, the big tire chains, etc.) that the info Consumer Reports publishes may not be appropriate to your area. I

10-07-2004, 07:51 PM
hownowcb: BINGO :!:

Anyway ---
Buying tires is largely a crapshoot, and I wish that actual car magazines tested tires more often. I can still remember the shootout C/D had years ago. The test vehicle was a Citation X-11. Sometimes they have a little blurb about a tire they tried during a long-term test.

In recent years I've scanned responses at, but only insofar to attempt to get an idea of what's what --- to see if I can notice trends. I tend to ignore those that reply with "these are the best tires I've ever owned ..." --- and then you notice that:

a) they've only had them for 500 miles
b) their last set of tires were OEM or no-name crap.

Having some basic knowledge of treadware, traction and temp ratings is also good.

Having a sense (but relying on this isn't too reliable) of what a particular tread design might be suited for helps.

Oddly enough, tire manufacturer's marketing departments can be a big help. When you see a tire that's advertised as "quiet, smooth highway ride" and that's what you normally drive --- that could be a clue NOT to get those cool-looking "SUV tires" with the macho/butch blocky treads. For example.