My S2000 is ruined. There’s no one to blame but myself. I chose what I thought was a reasonable, budget-friendly option, and it turned out to be a horrible mistake. The only thing keeping me from complete misery is the knowledge that time and more money are all that’s required to rectify the situation.
In short, I bought the wrong tires.
Common sense tells us that it’s important to keep your tires in good shape and replace them before they are excessively worn. Hydroplaning, blowouts, and bent rims can all result if an owner neglects to do so. What’s not generally discussed is the impact tire selection can have on the driving experience. The same car can feel and respond completely differently with a minor change in tire sizing, pressure, compound, or brand.
Aside from the first three months of ownership, when I used snow tires to combat the Upstate New York winter, I’ve faithfully fitted my car with the grippiest, stiffest-sidewalled street tires I could find. Let’s call them Brand A. They were noisy, hard-riding, and lasted less than seven thousand miles, but the handling was razor sharp and the grip was stupendous.
As my racing budget started to consume more and more of my disposable income, however, I decided it might be time for a longer-lasting street tire. The uncompromising ride inflicted by a new coilover setup may also have influenced my thinking somewhat. After independent research and some consultation with my tire supplier, I settled on what we’ll call Brand B.
It must be said that Brand B is quiet at freeway speeds. This is their one and only redeeming attribute. They have poor grip, minimal turn-in alacrity, and ride just as firmly as Brand A. Moreover, at the rate at which they seem to be wearing, they will probably not last any longer. What is absolutely going to push me over the edge, however, is the unholy extent to which they scream when pushed near the limit. Even turning up my stereo to nearly painful volume cannot totally mask it. Combined with the pathetic maximum grip, every turn results in gritted teeth and a deep desire to not be driving my car.
Pardon my ranting; I do actually have a point here. Simply put, buy your S2000 the best parts you can afford. You can’t afford not to.
Image courtesy of thecoolpepper