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Thread: Tire Upgrade on Stock 14" Wheels

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    Junior Member Equalyzer's Avatar
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    Talking Tire Upgrade on Stock 14" Wheels

    I've been asking around about the best tires for my Ciera. I didn't want to spend a fortune on fancy wheels, since I'm more concerned about performance than appearances. I almost went for some plain 16" steelies, but was told that the narrow sidewall tires would only last about 20,000 miles, and would reduce gas mileage... I put at least 25,000 miles on a car every year, so that's definitely out.

    Several tire shops said the same thing: high-end tires on the existing 14" alloy wheels would be the most economic performance upgrade. It currently has the wider 195/70/R14 instead of the 75 width, but they're bargain basement ones; speeds over 70 MPH wobble the dashboard loose (despite the T speed rating). I was told the existing "City Stars" are rated at 40,000 miles, and that the 70,000 mile Toyo ones would handle better, even though they have an S speed rating. They even said it would bring back the Oldsmobile ride quality.

    The question is: are they worth it? I was told the tires on it really don't need to be replaced, just repaired. $460 for new Toyos instead of the existing $330 ones that need nail-puncture repairs (ironically, the shop had the exact same tires that are on it now)... $130 extra definitely sounds worth it, but is it worth replacing the tires early? I do a lot of mountain driving, which uses every last bit of a car's handling performance. But will they really make that much difference?
    1993 "Gunmetal Gray" Cutlass Ciera, aka "Melanie"
    Pioneer stereo, HIR headlight bulbs, pale red tinted reverse lenses (Mercedes style )



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    That mileage thing they told you is BS. It's common to get 40K-plus out of a set of 16's, say a 225/50.

    The only way to make a notable difference with your stock wheels would be to go with a 215/60/14, IMHO.
    -Andy

    '86 Eurosport VR coupe, '86 Eurosport sedan, '86 Eurosport sedan, '88 Eurosport VR coupe, '88 Eurosport wagon, '93 Ciera sedan

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    not real sure there are much performance wise left in 14s that are the same height. performance wise the bf goodrich 215/60 r14 are your best bet probably with about a .40" difference in the side wall. but any time you do a bigger tire you lose mileage. actually any time you go with a tire that grips better you lose a little mileage

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    Junior Member Equalyzer's Avatar
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    I see, so tire size makes more difference than all the other stuff. I always heard that oversized tires will end up rubbing somewhere, and I was told that going wider than a 70 would risk it. But based on experience, would those tires on these wheels rub somewhere on the wheelwell or strut?



    The tires do look like they could be a lot bigger.....
    1993 "Gunmetal Gray" Cutlass Ciera, aka "Melanie"
    Pioneer stereo, HIR headlight bulbs, pale red tinted reverse lenses (Mercedes style )

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    Senior Member CamoDeafie's Avatar
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    no issues with 205s or 215s on the 14" wheels that i can see.
    "All art is subject to political manipulation except that which speaks the language of the same manipulation."
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    proud former owner of 83 Ciera Brougham Coupe (may her new owners repair her and get her on the road as she deserves to be!)
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    A bigger tire won't help your handling, but a fatter one will. If you increase the rim diameter, you want to use a lower profile tire so the overall diameter stays close to stock. You also need to understand how tire sizing works. The first number is the width of the tread. The second number (70 for example) is the size of the sidewall compared to the tread width.
    -Andy

    '86 Eurosport VR coupe, '86 Eurosport sedan, '86 Eurosport sedan, '88 Eurosport VR coupe, '88 Eurosport wagon, '93 Ciera sedan

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    Junior Member Equalyzer's Avatar
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    Okay, let's see if I understand this correctly... When increasing the tread width, the sidewall size stays the same be reducing the percentage number. This would effectively not increase the tire's circumference, just widen the treads. I just found the Tire Basics thread.

    I can imagine there's plenty of space in there for a wider tire, considering how economy-oriented the wheels were designed to be.

    On a side note, I'm also taking it in to have the rear shocks replaced in a week or so; replacing the front struts made a big difference, but the rear end still bounces like a wet noodle. Maybe that's where all the wobbling and shaking is coming from.
    Last edited by Equalyzer; 05-17-2011 at 08:27 AM. Reason: figured it out :)
    1993 "Gunmetal Gray" Cutlass Ciera, aka "Melanie"
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    Senior Member CamoDeafie's Avatar
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    correct; when getting wider tires; while maintaining outer circumference, the ratio will be lower percentage; BUT there are tires whose ratios gives it maybe half an inch taller on the radius; and the shops will always say "too big" even tho its OK.....lol. I used to run 205/65 14s on my 14" Olds rally wheels when I had a 94 Olds ciera wagon; now I run 185/80s on my 13" rally wheels, BUT I;ve not been able to find anything resembling 195/75 series at ALL for the 13" rim size....can only find 195/70 which results in outside diameter being 22.7 inches or so, versus the 24.7 inches-25 inches...oh well. I see you're in Oregon as well!

    as for the wobbling; try having the tires balanced when you replace them, AND check the 7mm screws up on top of the dash panel, they have a tendency to work loose and increase the wobbling
    "All art is subject to political manipulation except that which speaks the language of the same manipulation."
    -N.S.K. Neuer Slowenian Kunst
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    Senior Member Zaloryan's Avatar
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    Get yourself some 215/60R14 size tires. My body roll went down considerably with the wider tires. I can pull 22MPG driving mostly city & my speedometer is still accurate. As far as I know, this is the largest tire size you can run without any rubbing issues either.
    Last edited by Zaloryan; 05-17-2011 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Forgot to add some information.
    What is this & what does pulling it out do?

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    Senior Member LordDurock's Avatar
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    nope you can run 215/ 70/ 14s (i got the set for a hundo brand new out of some gals grauge when i was in need of tires). but you speedo is off 5 mph at 60mph


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    If you want a quick easy way to see the difference in circumference for the new size you can go here http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html

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    Senior Member luthoro's Avatar
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    I was just gonna get some OEM 16" wheels off another GM car (Grand Am, Grand Prix, Impala, etc) for like $100 on craigslist and run the factory size 225/50/16 tires for those. size is close enough to work. and alloys look better then steelies any day.
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    yeah can't get much closer than that. its .3% difference, I doubt the speedos were that accurate off the line.

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    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    I may be in the minority, but I like the 14" wheel. I think the alloy 14"s are a step up in performance (smoother at high speed than the steelies), and give a superior ride overall. I do know the bigger the wheel the tough it is on the suspension. Asked an old timer at NTB about this, "All the time, broken wheels, ball joints, etc." He might have been speaking of those crazy big rims that only have about 2" of rubber around the rim. Still, every time I hit the bad chug hole, I"m glad I have the 14" wheel.

    I'm all for good handling though, but I realize that the GM a-body doesn't have the leg up on the skid pad with the solid rear axle. I run P205/70R14 Michelin Symmetry (or Harmony @ NTB) on all four corners. She sticks to the road, and the tires last. That's all I can ask for!

    Ken T.

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    The big problem with 14s is there aren't all that many tires left in that size.

    When I was looking for tires I ended up going down in aspect ratio quite a bit lower just to get decent performance tires. Since my car is not a road car it worked out since I don't have to worry about the speedo anymore, and most tracks don't have the pothole issue.

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