For my birthday this year, I got a rather unusual present. A rare snow storm, here in the south, messed up our roads and after days of being stuck in the house, I decided it would be safe to venture out. Well, I was wrong and never even made it out of my neighborhood before we had a wreck. Thankfully, everyone was OK and the impact only affected the tire and several things related to it. Since the repair was going cost a bunch of money we had not planned on spending and my birthday was only a few days away, what I ended up getting as a gift was a new set of tires and assorted other car parts.
The accident only damaged one of the tires but the other three had some wear and we were getting close to needing new ones in the near future. The repair shop we took it to was running a special that if you purchased 3 tires, you got 1 free, so we went ahead and just replaced them all. The tires they recommend for my car were Firestone Affinity Touring tubeless radials.
What I learned from reading a description about them online is that they have a solid center rib and a shape that delivers a quiet ride. They are an all-weather tire. They have wider tread, wider steel belts and deeper cut grooves then other tires to increase handling and traction in bad weather. They are also designed to wear evenly for durability and long life.
We had them installed and I have to disagree that they offer a quiet ride. The tires are much noisier than the original tires I had on the car. The car also performs much differently with these tires than with my old tires. My husband says it is because of the wider design and the deeper grooves that it is gripping the road better. For me it feels as though I have to work harder to control the steering and it has a sluggish feel to it. As for the performance in weather related issues, I have driven with them in the rain with no issues good or bad and luckily we have not had any more ice or snow so I can not report on their performance there. I can not rate the durability and long life yet as they are still fairly new so I will have to add updates on that at a later time.
For an extra fee, we added lifetime balancing and road hazard protection to our purchase. Hopefully, the balancing will increase the life of the tire. Personally, it was well worth the small price they charge for the peace of mind to know that they are protected incase I get a flat or meet some other type of mishap.
In my opinion, I really do not like how my car feels to drive with these new tires or the added noise but if they work well to protect my family on the road and last, they will be worth it.
Update On Mar 02, 2010: Well I got to try these tires out this morning on slick slushy roads and they did great. I saw another car in front of me fishtail but I went over the same stretch of road with out a problem.
Update On Oct 12, 2010: I highly recommend paying the extra money and adding the road hazard protection. Two weeks ago my husband got a flat after he ran over some industrial size staples. We took it to the shop and because we had the road hazard protection, they fixed it for free. Had they not been able to patch it, they would have replaced the tire.