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Old 05-24-2002, 10:44 PM
BENZ-LGB's Avatar
Strong, silent type
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,663
Talking Report on Yokohama tires...

The MXV4 Plus Michelins in my 420SEL were due for replacement after nearly 50K miles of service. I had been researching tires for the last several weeks and after doing a lot of reading I decided to try Yokohama tires.

I know, I know what every one is going to say, MIchelin are THE best, why change brands when the current tires have given me such good service, why put Japanese tires in a German car, etc., etc., etc.

Well, the truth of the matter is that I was looking to save some money. Maintenance on three cars can be expensive (I recently replaced both fuel pumps AND the heater blower fan in my daughter's 300TE) plus insurance for a teenage driver can be a sobering experience (in California they stupidly charge same insurance for boys and girls, everyooooone knows that girls are safer drivers I was hoping that having daughters would give me a break, but OH NO!). So I was looking for some place to save money.

Anyhow, I purchased a set of Yokohama 420K tires (carried by America's Tires, sorry TireRack, but my previous tires had come from America's Tires and I LOVE their service). I changed sizes from 205-65-15 to 215-60-15 for a little wider look.

I've had the tires for 500 miles and I can say that these tires ride quieter and smoother than my old MIchelins. They also seem to grip better and handle better on curves and freeway onramps.

I too hesitated to put Japanese tires in my Autobahn cruiser. But what the heck, as JCE previously stated, what makes the French better suited to put tires in a German car?

Of course, only time will tell how well these tires will wear. But so far I have been very pleased with the tires. The Yokos are rated at 420AA while the Michelins are "only" 400AA, so they should last just as long.

I realize that tires are a highly personal choice. For example, Larry Bible is a strong advocate of Michelins and he makes a very good case for buying them. But, Michelins have really gone up in price. When I bought my Michelins, back in May 1999, the Michelins were $99.00 per tire, including mounting, balancing, new valves and road hazard warranty. The price now, for the exact same tire (plus all the other stuff) is $137 per tire. The Yokohamas cost me $84 per tire, that's a substantial saving per tire.

The extra money goes to pay one month's gasoline bill. I am willing to experiment in my car and see what happens. My daughter's 300TE will need tires in about a year, if I am happy with my Yokos, I am going to replace her Michelins with Yokos too. Heck, even my wife's Yukon might get Yokos...

I am not trying to convince anyone to buy Yokos and forego their beloved Michelins. But given the higher prices for Michelins, Yokos are worth looking into.

Hey everyone, have a safe Memorial Day weekend. Stay alive and we'll meet again on Tuesday!

PS: Larry Bible: How can I tell if my tires are radially molded? I've read some of the discussions regarding radial vs. clamshell and I still can't figure out how to tell the difference. thanks.

Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

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Last edited by BENZ-LGB; 05-25-2002 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 05-25-2002, 09:20 PM
Posts: n/a

I completely understand your plight, and I am constantly trying to economize. Between myself, my wife and my daughter, we drive over 100,000 miles per year.

There is anothe post here with some pictures of the radial mold marks. I was browsing at the tire store the other day and saw some Yokos with radial mold marks. I have heard many good things about the Yokos and I expect that they will work out well for you.

I know I sound like a broken record, but the key is in the proper balance job. If you have a good, round, consistent road force tire AND a good dynamic balance, the tires AND the suspension/shocks will last much longer.

Have a great day,
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Old 05-25-2002, 10:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
My wife, Tomoko, and I met with my buddy, Jim, and his wife, Hatsumi, last night. He's the guy I've mentioned from time to time that is a mechanical engineer, and is the Director of Quality Control for Mitsubishi Motors U.S.A. He was also an instructor of mechanical engineering at the University of Virginia originally, then was the Quality Control manager for Honda Motors U.S.A. from the middle 1970's until about 1984.

He deals with the tire manufacturers in selecting tires for each new Mitsubishi model, and they use tires from Yokohama, Toyo, and Goodyear. He is forced to use the Goodyear's on the Diamante because their Marketing people say that Goodyear has a premium image in the minds of consumers. He hates Goodyears. Says they're a terrible tire. Their defective rate is significantly higher than other makers. In particular, they have frequent flat-spot problems from being parked on the boat from Japan or Australia to the U.S. that don't run out. They also have a high frequency of of wheel force variation problems, where the difference in the stiff spots and soft spots in the sidewall of the tire is so great, that it creates a vibration at speed. He also says their customer service leaves much to be desired.

Toyo and Yokohama, on the other hand, he holds in high regard. Their tires have a uniformly high level of quality, have very infrequent problems, in particular virtually non-existant wheel force variation issues, and are very responive with customer concerns.

Mistsubishi doesn't use Michelins from the factory because of cost issues, but he knows that Michelins are a very nice tire.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 05-26-2002, 06:09 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 223
As I have elsewhere, I'll add a vote for the Yokohama AVS Db, which I am using on an '88 420SEL (change from Michelin MX4).

I am also using the Toyo Proxes on my daughter's 190E Limited Edition Sportline (new on the car when purchased) -- again very happy, with tremendous grip and handling.

To round it out, I switched from the Michelin Pilot Sports on my C43 AMG to the Sumitomo HTR-ZII -- much better in rain nd better wear tho there may be a bit of loss at the edge of the dry traction performance envelope -- overall, the price/performance ratio more than justifies the switch for my predominately highway driving.

I have nothing against Michelin (we have gotten good service from their LTX SUV tire (two sets) on two QX4s for my wife (on first one, switched from original Bridgestone Duelers -- too trucklike ride), but I don't think Michelin's car tires are price-competitive against the better Japanese tires.
'98 C43 AMG
'88 420SEL
'93 190E Limited Edition (including factory Sportline package)
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Old 05-26-2002, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Southern California, U.S.A.
Posts: 8,538
Yep, Michelin's sure are not price competitive with the Japanese brands.

I'm a marketing guy, and can tell you that it's all about brand equity.

When you've made such a good tire for a long period time, people will pay a premium price for the product.

If you think about it, if Yokohama's and Toyo's were trying to sell their tires for the same price as Michelin's, few people would buy them.
Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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Old 05-27-2002, 12:17 AM
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Posts: 154
I agree!

I have bought lots of Michelins for lots of cars because they were good, reliable, and expensive tires.

BUT for a LOT less money I have Yoko AVD Dbs on my Sl, and am I glad! My experience with Yokohama Tires will have to show me that French tires are better.

And what is this thing about Japanese tires not being "right" for a German car? When was France ever an ally of Germany. Japan was!

And all things considered, having lived in France, I'd rather send my $$ to Japan.
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, A.D. 1759

1975 240D
1986 560SL
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Old 05-27-2002, 04:44 PM
Posts: n/a
Don't get me wrong, I still totally believe in Michelin tires. They make a consistently outstanding, albeit expensive, product.

That said, it stands to reason that after years of building superior tires with unique construction methods, someone will manage to copy these construction methods and make a tire very near their equal. Taking that further, who is better at copying than the Japanese?

I will eventually try some Yoko tires. There are MANY tire brands however, that have not changed to the Michelin construction methods. They are hesitant to make the investment necessary to change all their molding equipment.

Until not too many years ago, I had never heard of Yokohama tires. It stands to reason that they might have been a company that made the investment and began penetrating the tire market with quality made tires.

So far, my inexpensive alternative to the Michelins has been the Continental, one of the few tires that follows the same mold construction. With Yokohama being one of the other very few companies that has followed these methods, I will be keeping my eye on them when it comes tire time.

Have a great day,

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