I'm looking at getting a set of 4 tires for my daughter's 2000 VW Passat GLS (195/65R15). Tirerack has Bridgestone Potenza and Costco has BF Goodrich Advantage T/A. Both are within $10 of each other (the BF Goodrich is cheaper). I'm thinking the Bridgstone is the better tire but I can't compare them. Also, the BF Goodrich is a 60,000 mile tire vs the Bridgestone at 40,000 miles. Any insight? I don't mind paying a little more for a better tire.
Wow! Thanks for the head up!
Can I ask...was it the BF's that were the OEM brand?
Just to throw my 2 cents in (and there's not a whole lot in here that others haven't already posted).
I've been a Michelin customer for a while. I've owned other brands as well, and actually, of my three vehicles, only one has a set of Michelins right now. My truck doesn't have a Michelin tire in its size, and my Corolla has a set of Yokohama Avid TRZs that I essentially got at employee pricing through an acquaintenance (otherwise, it'd have a set of Michelin X Radials, as my van does now).
Michelins can be expensive. But not always so, and I think the generalization that Michelin as a brand is more expensive than its competition is unfortunate, because it's often not true. The highly-rated and very successful Michelin X Radial from warehouse clubs is a great example. It's cheaper even than the mediocre Goodyear Assurance ComforTred, and runs circles around that Goodyear tire.
The other point about rolling resistance is a good one. In general, Michelins tend to have better rolling resistance than other tires in the same class. It's not always true, so it wouldn't be fair to say that Michelins are always more frugal in this area, but where the data shows that to be the case, it's a point that shouldn't be overlooked. We look at first-cost too often these days, and jump at the cheaper solution simply because it costs less up front. But all too often, the solution that's cheaper up front ends up costing more in the long run. Lower rolling resistance can more than offset even a significant up-front cost difference. Think about it: even if a set of tires saved you just 0.5 MPG on a 20 MPG vehicle, over 40,000 miles, that's 50 gallons, and at $3.50/per, that's $175, or a cost difference of over $40/tire.
But I prefer Michelin tires for a number of reasons, and most of these are intangible (or at least meaningless to most other people). Firstly, the tread on all of my Michelin tires has looked new until the day the tire is retired (ha ha). I've seen other tires were the tread chunks out, starts looking ragged on the edges, etc. On all of my Michelins, the edges of the tread continue to look crisp and sharp, even as the tire wears down. Secondly, whatever Michelin uses in the sidewall of its tires gives them a glossy, almost metallic shine. The "quality" of the sidewall appearance of the Firestones on my truck, or the Yokohamas on my Corolla, just doesn't compare to the Michelins on my van. The sidewalls of the Firestones look pitted and rough. That's just the way they're made. The Yokohamas do also, but to a lesser extent. The Michelins are completely smooth and glossy. I appreciate that. Lastly, Michelin seems to always nail the ride/handling compromise that I look for in a tire. They seem to add a layer of silk to the road, but still handle very good. My Yokohamas add no such layer of silk, but handling is VERY good. I acknowledge the trade-off there, but as the Yokohamas wear-in, the ride seems to be getting firmer and not as yielding. The Michelins I've had in the past have undergone no such changes after having been installed. They're as good on the last day as they are on the first.
I usually don't ever mention those "intangibles" because they're likely not important to anyone but a "tire freak" as my wife likes to call me. But there is another very tangible benefit: Michelins always seem to balance easily with a minimum of weight. I used to own a few Cadillacs, and on Cadillac message boards, Michelin tires were always the first recommendation when someone had a problem with road vibration. When other tires couldn't get balanced right, folks usually reported success with Michelin.
I've typically found that you DO get what you pay for (in the long run), even in tires.
I like your analogies, Thomas. Great idea, and I enjoyed reading them. I agree on most all of them. I like your Michelin/BF analogy to Cadillac/Buick. I think this one also makes a lot of sense:
I liken Michelin to Toyota, and BFGoodrich to Scion. Both Michelin and Toyota are bread-and-butter brands; they're known entities, with known quality benchmarks, with known excellent field service. They're not always the cheapest to buy up front, but their cost-of-ownership is often lower than other brands, and you don't often meet an unhappy Michelin/Toyota owner.
Like Scion, BFGoodrich is the "bargain" brand, tending more toward youthful/sporty products like their g-Force line and successful All Terrain KO tires. Outgoing and apologizing to nobody, both brands are very good at their respective market niches.
I don't really even consider Uniroyal here. It's really a non-entity anymore, except with a few retailers like Walmart.