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Old 05-08-2017, 09:16 PM   #1
SalemCat
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Default TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Well NO.

If anything untoward occurred, I did it to myself. By agreeing in haste.


Anyhow, my 1998 SW2 is on the road again, after sitting in my driveway for two years, nearly immobile, due to exhaust issues. Always Registered and Insured (face palm).

I do exhaust, and am not intimidated by it, but this is a 1998 vehicle with a 2000 engine, and all exhaust work up front is by necessity custom, with welding involved. So I put if off until I found a shop I trusted, and last week they welded it all up real nice.

Anyhow, after getting my State Inspection, I brought the poor thing into Costco, where I have bought all my tires for over 20 years, for a rotation.

They had a freak-out. Although the tires had plenty of tread, and had just passed State Inspection less than a week ago, the simple fact they were over ten years old were a huge issue with them.

In a moment of insanity, I agreed to buy 4 new tires. For a car I drive less than 3K a year - and ZERO miles in the last two.

$450 poorer I drove home.

Now I have no quarrel with Costco on this matter. Buying sweet tires for my "toy" is my own problem.

BUT

They informed me I absolutely required H Speed tires, good for 130 MPH.

And there is where I feel the fool. I should have walked out.

SO, is it true that no reputable shop can legally install anything less than an H-Rated Tire on a 1998 Saturn SW2 ?

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Old 05-08-2017, 09:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

I don't H is mandatory for all. However, I think replacement tires must have all ratings equal-to or better-than the OEM. That may just be a (reasonable) CYA policy of tire vendors, though. No doubt some fool would put cheapie tires on his super-car and then sue when he lost control and hit something going 100+ mph.

Same for the age bit, rubber tends to dry out with time and become harder; thus traction can suffer. Shops probably don't want the liability of being involved with old tires.

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Old 05-08-2017, 10:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I don't H is mandatory for all. However, I think replacement tires must have all ratings equal-to or better-than the OEM. That may just be a (reasonable) CYA policy of tire vendors, though. No doubt some fool would put cheapie tires on his super-car and then sue when he lost control and hit something going 100+ mph.

Same for the age bit, rubber tends to dry out with time and become harder; thus traction can suffer. Shops probably don't want the liability of being involved with old tires.
Totally reasonable.

I just wish I had not lost my Owner's Manual, so I could see if H was OEM.

Sounds just a bit crazy for a SW2, but maybe then I just never beat it enough to see what it could really do.

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Old 05-08-2017, 10:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

The 98 owner's manual provides those speed rating recommendations as follows:
All SX-1 w/ 175/70 R14 S
Sl-2, SW-2, SC-1(optional tire) w/ 185/65 R15 T
SC-2 w/ 195/60 R15 H

These recommendations are based on the maximum theoretical speed the vehicle can accelerate to with a specific tire.

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Old 05-08-2017, 11:12 PM   #5
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The 98 owner's manual provides those speed rating recommendations as follows:
All SX-1 w/ 175/70 R14 S
Sl-2, SW-2, SC-1(optional tire) w/ 185/65 R15 T
SC-2 w/ 195/60 R15 H

These recommendations are based on the maximum theoretical speed the vehicle can accelerate to with a specific tire.
As far as my SW2 goes...

T - I believe.

H - Yes, I am Costco's *****.

Sorry to be so crude. But I don't part with a extra buck with a smile.

Thanks for the facts.

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Old 05-09-2017, 12:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Tires do have a safe lifespan and 10 years is nearing the end of it. Still, if the rubber isn't all dried out and weather cracked I'd have told 'em to either just rotate the tires or gimme my car back. Then again...I have a pair of 3t floor jacks and an air-impact so I wouldn't be leaving my driveway for the rotation in the first place

$450 sounds a tad high for tires, mounted & balanced but not enough to have a fit over. Could probably have gotten the tires for $300 online, shipping $15-$20ea and separate M&B for another $40-$50 and you're up around $400-$450 anyway.

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Old 05-09-2017, 03:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SalemCat View Post
[B]......They informed me I absolutely required H Speed tires, good for 130 MPH.

And there is where I feel the fool. I should have walked out.

SO, is it true that no reputable shop can legally install anything less than an H-Rated Tire on a 1998 Saturn SW2 ?
Short answer, no. It is untrue that your vehicle legally must have "H" rated tires. According to Michellin's website, your car's tires require an 86T rating. This is the rating that must be maintained by any replacement tire. One can replace an 86T rated tire with a higher numbered weight rating (e.g., 87) or a higher speed rating (e,g, H). What a tire seller legally cannot do, is to sell customers tires below the minimum required ratings from the factory (e.g. 85S).

I believe that you have a case to make with the manager at the Costco store by pointing out the information provided in this thread. You may be able to get some kind of monetary compensation (i.e., store credit) from them if they admit that an error was made on their part. It's worth going to them and explaining things. What's the worst that could happen? You receive no offer of any kind from them and your situation is simply unchanged in relation to your expenditure, so you have nothing to lose here.

Lastly, I truly appreciate your sharing this story with us. It is somewhat embarrassing to be sure, but it is valuable for at least two reasons: 1) it demonstrates your willingness to be candid about yourself, and 2) it's helpful to the rest of us as a reminder to be careful as to how we hear what is told to us when we make larger purchases for our cars. Cudos to you, SalemCat! You're a credit to the Forum.

...
275,000 miles-it keeps on rolling!
The blessings of liberty erode in my country.
Gov't's grown bigger, but a chance exists that it will be reduced. I'm cautiously hopeful.

Last edited by pierrot; 05-09-2017 at 03:16 AM..

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Old 05-09-2017, 06:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

$450 with mount, balance, and disposal sounds very reasonable for tires regardless of rating. Tires lose their stickiness as they age and can be considered a safety hazard itself in many applications. Few people would dream of riding a motorcycle with 10 year old tires but I guess you could argue a little saturn doesn't require as much performance out of its tires.

-Robert

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Old 05-09-2017, 08:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Increasingly I am seeing tire stores using 'it's Company Policy not to..." as a means to sell you new tires.

At my local Wally world, they began by getting very, very picky on which tires they would repair punctures on. The it was age. More recently I took my son's SL2 to have the steel wheels swapped out for some Satty OEM Alloys I had refurbished for him. Despite having been given the cost to do this by the woman in the tire department, Wally world (the lad in the outside hut & the Manager ) would not swap the tires. They said Company Policy states they cannot swap used tires. I tried pointing out that the 'used tires' as they called them were actually ones that they had fitted about one year ago. But they were oblivious. I popped round to a local one man and a dog used tire store who was happy to swap them all and balance them for the same price as Walmart originally quoted.

I just find that the desire for dollars trump common sense many times!

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Old 05-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

This speed rating also is construed to indicate tire quality. The SC-2 with the 195/60 R15 tire is OEM and tire manufacturer recommended for a H speed rating. It is intuitive obvious that if you are not prone to run over any posted speed limit that a lower speed rated tire will be just fine.

You can google "tire speed rating" and learn the answers to your questions. If your car happens to have the 185/65 R15 tires then the lower rating is the OEM for the car. This speed rating is a combined effort of Tire Rack and the manufacturers to UP-SELL tires.

floridasl22002 Has explained how you work around this issue as every single one of these national tire chains will not sell any tire and install it onto a car that is not compliant with their database. That includes the wheel size etc.

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Old 05-09-2017, 09:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

I think there's more to "company policy..." than explained. The difference between Wally world and the one man tire shop may be insurance liability. I can imagine Wally world with their megastores everywhere to have a following greater than the one man tire shop. The majority visiting ww are loyal but if there's any hint of wrong doing, customers may likely bring an injury suit to ww. WW carries insurance for these purposes and probably well versed on tire regulations. The one man tire shop? Keeping his overhead costs low, he may or may not have insurance. Accepting responsibility for personal choices and bending rules may result in injury if a worn tire is reused and regulations dictate not to. Blaming someone else for poor personal choices seems to be the mantra. WW will stand by tire regulations rather than have someone exercise their right to bring a lawsuit. The one man shop, if a lawsuit is brought against him will probably declare bankruptcy and walk away. The little guy in business can't compete with the big box stores attracting everyone including the Mercedes looking to buy the cheapest tires, getting into an accident, his insurance finding out his tires were under rated and voiding a claim so the owner has no recourse but to hire a lawyer and sue ww.... It's easy for ww to fire the employee for incorrect tire recommendations, settle out of court and educate employees on tire regulations as the cost of doing business from huge profits. The one man tire shop? One mistake that can cost him his livelihood may simply break him. I think the majority of this man's business are people not interested in liability issues and more interested in saving money even when a tire is clearly over due for replacement and the car owner is willing to look the other way. A vehicle that may spend its entire life in local streets and never see a highway may never wear out its tires, rolling around well under 50 mph.

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Old 05-09-2017, 09:17 AM   #12
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

I would be very interested if anyone could demonstrate that it is ILLEGAL to put different speed rated tires on a vehicle. It MIGHT be true in some states, but in Va at least, there is great detail in the State Inspection manual about tread, mixing in bias ply tires, off-highway use only tires, damage, wear, etc., but nothing about speed rating. As mentioned, this appears to be a store POLICY issue, not a LEGAL issue (understanding of course, that jackasses will sue for whatever reason they can in their lawsuit lottery, so store lawyers try to protect their client).
Higher speed ratings may provide more stickiness in corners, perhaps at the sacrifice of treadwear. The actual top speed is unlikely the issue on Saturns.

There is a difference in SHOULD and SHALL, and MAY and MUST.
Finally, EVERY vehicle on the road is riding on used tires...to some varying degree.

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Old 05-09-2017, 09:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

I seriously doubt that there is any actual regulation or law in existence. What is pushing this is the combination of OEM manufacturer and tire manufacturers pushing to sell higher margin products. To enforce this the insurance companies are lobbied to push the use of these tire fitment databases without exception. As you have all noticed there is a general need for liability insurance by any repair shop and the larger chains have a higher exposure to idiot customer suits. The insurance company will not defend the shop if the database is not followed along with any additional insurance company requirements.

If you want actual detailed examples of this I can give you a GWOT of them covering many fields.

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Old 05-09-2017, 10:26 AM   #14
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
$450 with mount, balance, and disposal sounds very reasonable for tires regardless of rating. Tires lose their stickiness as they age and can be considered a safety hazard itself in many applications. Few people would dream of riding a motorcycle with 10 year old tires but I guess you could argue a little saturn doesn't require as much performance out of its tires.

-Robert
Yes, Costco (and many others) provide fair prices for good products.

And ten years is pushing it on tires.

The tires were a decade old, but still retained legal tread depth, and held air, and looked good.

I'm retired and just don't go far on any regular basis. It is clear I am never going to put my expensive new tires to anywhere near their full potential.

If my 1998 SW2 was a Daily Driver I'd have no issue at all with either the tires or the price. But it's more of a toy.

I just need to keep in mind that I am going to be limited by AGE and not MILEAGE from this point on.

I will probably be buying new tires for my 1995 SW2 this summer, and my 1996 SW2 in the Fall.

I'll be checking the FLAPS for some really cheap $40 tires this time, though.

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Old 05-09-2017, 12:50 PM   #15
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

The secret is to buy the tires online and have them shipped. Then take tires and wheels only to a tire shop to be mounted and balanced, or find the independent shop to buy and install. It will be cheaper.

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Old 05-09-2017, 03:20 PM   #16
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

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Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The secret is to buy the tires online and have them shipped. Then take tires and wheels only to a tire shop to be mounted and balanced, or find the independent shop to buy and install. It will be cheaper.
Ahhhh !

Thanks !

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Old 05-09-2017, 04:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

All of these tire chains will also ship[ but you usually get clipped for disposal and state tax on the deal as well as the federal excise tax. Look for out of state source and be sure to look for add-ons at checkout.

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Old 05-09-2017, 05:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

HOW STUPID AM I !

I totally forgot all the TIRE info is printed right on a Sticker inside the Left Door Jamb .

DUH !!

I could have asked the Costco Tech to take a look right at it.

185/65R15 T

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Old 05-09-2017, 06:03 PM   #19
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

The GoodYears with an H Rating I received are nice tires - no doubt. With 65K Warranty - which I will never use up.

But Costco did have T Rating Michelins, with a $70 Rebate, and a 90K Warranty. The end cost would have been very similar.

Although I'll never do the 90K either, I simply prefer Michelins.

I called Costco and they WILL take the GoodYears back. I may be a jerk, but not THAT much of a jerk.

Still, I remain somewhat aggravated they gave me some Cock & Bull Tale about how my old Saturn required H Rating per Company Policy (I call BS).

Also aggravated with myself for forgetting about the Sticker in the Jamb.

Well, I learned something.

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Old 05-09-2017, 06:13 PM   #20
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Default Re: TIRES - Did Costco just F me ?

Steel wheel option on the SC-2 was the 185/65 R15 tire. It was the aluminum rims that came with the 195/60 R15 tire. The 195/60 tire is a smaller diameter and makes more revolutions per mile traveled than the 185/65, this is a minor justification for a higher speed rating.

There are many tire stores that need to be beat severely for this BS over speed rating based on a tire company database.

The projected tread wear is independent of the load rating and speed rating.

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