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Performance Summer Tire: Best Bang For $$$$


Crusty1
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Well. Just signed papers on an 01 LS430. So now I'm thinking summer and winter driving. I'm thinking of keeping the 17" stocker rims and use them in winter with some all season/snow tires like Blizzaks (I know 16"s would be better but I'll have the stock rims just lying around). I'm thinking 235 or 245/45/18s with some new rims. I'd like decent performance but I just broke the bank buying this rig so I really can't afford to spend more than around $150 each. I know that's not alot but is there anything out there in this range? I found some Falken Azenis on ebay for under $500 and then I'd just have to pay someone local to mount/balance. I currently buy all my tires at Les Schwab but a good tire there will definately break the bank. Also, I drive about a mile of gravel so any really expensive tires are a complete waste of money because the gravel shreds them. I just spend $1100 on new tires for my suburban supposedly made to withstand gravel. We'll see!

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If you are looking for tire and rims for $600.00 for the set, I think that's a bit low. One of the problems that you will run into with the LS is that it has very large brake calipers (BBK's - or Big Brake Kit) and not too many rims will work. I ended up going with 18" TSW Vortex rims in silver, with 245/45-18 Toyo Versado LX tires. I am very happy with the look & ride quality, but I'm not sure how the tires would hold up on the gravel road - not sure of how well any highway tread tire will hold up for that daily abuse. Anyway, the total was around $1,200.00 mounted, balanced, installed with shipping & handling included. I did quite a bit of pricing on the Internet & ended up getting them through Discount Tire which matched the best price that I could find.

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You can find plenty of customer ratings of tires at http://www.tirerack.com

I've bought 30 - 40 tires and four wheels from Tire Rack over the past 20 years and have been very satisfied with their prices and service.

If you have to drive that gravel, potholed road, you might be happier with the 16" wheel size that was standard for the LS430 for the 2001 model year. All season tires might hold up better than performance summer tires; 16" tires are going to be substantially less expensive and ride better - particularly on rough roads.

There is an interesting and relevent comment in this recent thread ( http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=332064 ) from wheel shop owner "LA Wheel": "I've gone from 17" stocks, to 20's, then to 18" Sport wheels and now on 16" 2002 LS430 wheels on my 2004 UL. Most dramatic difference was going from 17" to 18". Even 18" to 20" wasn't as dramatic. Now my car rides like a cloud."

Consider getting a set of mudflaps before you do much driving on gravel roads. Although the mudflaps for the 95-08 LS cars do not provide as much protection as the ones for the 90-94 LS, they will still reduce the paint nicks and scouring from gravel being thrown up by the wheels. I do a fair amount of driving on some pretty lousy gravel roads and speak from experience. Since you are in the "PNW" you could likely buy mudflaps from the dealer in Victoria where I bought the ones on my current LS: http://www.metrolexusvictoria.com/index.htm Here is another source: http://www.l-tunedparts.com/product/?id=11

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[There is an interesting and relevent comment in this recent thread ( http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=332064 ) from wheel shop owner "LA Wheel": "I've gone from 17" stocks, to 20's, then to 18" Sport wheels and now on 16" 2002 LS430 wheels on my 2004 UL. Most dramatic difference was going from 17" to 18". Even 18" to 20" wasn't as dramatic. Now my car rides like a cloud."

Consider getting a set of mudflaps before you do much driving on gravel roads. Although the mudflaps for the 95-08 LS cars do not provide as much protection as the ones for the 90-94 LS, they will still reduce the paint nicks and scouring from gravel being thrown up by the wheels. I do a fair amount of driving on some pretty lousy gravel roads and speak from experience. Since you are in the "PNW" you could likely buy mudflaps from the dealer in Victoria where I bought the ones on my current LS: http://www.metrolexusvictoria.com/index.htm Here is another source: http://www.l-tunedparts.com/product/?id=11

I was actually thinking $600 for just tires. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about rims at this point. I may just stay with the stock 17" wheels and slap some new tires on. Also, found some Falken Ziex 912s for around $450 shipped (235/50/17). I'll just see where this takes me. The car now has Yokohamas but I'm not sure which model. I check when I pick up the car in the next week.

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The Versado LX's will fall right into that price range if what you want to do is remount the tires on the stock rims every change over (summer/winter). The Versado's also come in exact size replacements (225/55-17) in either H or V ratings.

The H rated tires would probably hold up to the gravel a bit better, have a 60,000 mile warranty & they are a few bucks cheaper. I know there are numerous other posts here delving into the H vs. V ratings debate, you can read them & decide for yourself.

Also, as mentioned above, invest in a good set of mud flaps - the LS does not have the thickest of paint...and buy a couple bottles of touch up paint to keep those paint dings covered.

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