TL;DR - My old wheels were ugly/damaged and my tires were worn. I bought secondhand newish wheels with used tires which I didn’t check properly. Shenanigans ensue as I try to make a deal with my local tire shops for what I want, only to wind up with stuff I didn’t intend, but it pretty much works out anyway. I just have to figure out if anyone will want half-wear Michelin PSSes in this size, and either sell or recondition my old wheels.

The full rant:

On my IS-F the wheels I bought when I bought the car were scuffed to hell - the good deal I got had factored that in, and it was cosmetic, not mechanical. But there was a 5 inch line of curb rash on 3 out of 4 wheels that was, frankly, ugly. Reconditioning services being what they are and since OEM replacement wheel prices are ridiculous, I put fixing that on the back burner. Serendipitously I run into what looks like a decent solution.

A local guy posts he’s selling nearly immaculate wheels in my year, with Michelin PSS meats (worn rears) for over half off, because he doesn’t want to deliver out of state. A nice and easy win. I come over, inspect the wheels and tires, and aside from 1 minor flaw they are gorgeous. He also mentioned that the TPMS is not included. Okay, no problem. In my haste I did not verify tread depth properly on the rear tires, which I presumed to have enough tread to use for a couple of months. I work from home and typically don’t put a lot of miles on the car when I don’t have to, but I do enjoy driving it during my off hours.

Oho, my normal tire guys won’t put on the wheels I bought and handle the TPMS for me (which I can’t do) for liability reasons. Hmm... did I mention these wheels were the OEM ones which literally came off another of the same make/model/year of car? And that the tires are the correct size? No? Ok.

So I go to a different place, get it all set up, they’re very cheerfully dealing with it, until we get to tread depth on the rears.

Advertisement

The rears on the new wheels are down to 2/32" in the center even though it was 4/32" where I measured it. Their policy indicates 2/32" is not allowed to drive off the lot.

Shit.

“Okay, no problem,” I say, “can you just replace the rear PSSes with the Hankooks I have on the old wheels?”

Advertisement

I’ve been riding on Hankook Ventus V12 Evos for the last year or two and I don’t like their wet performance. On dry they grip well, but they make a lot of noise when pushed, and overall they’re about what you would expect for the price. I’ve been pushing them and they are getting close to their wear point, but I figure I can rock them for a few more weeks while I score replacements. I’ve never owned Michelins before and I really really want to. It’s the holidays, goddamnit, and Santa owes me for the shitshow I had this year.

The tire guy cheerfully agrees and is about to put the work order through the computer, and then checks his sheet.... oh no, wait a minute. The Hankook rear right is also at 2/32", he says.

Are you fucking kidding me, I think. And then ask him very politely if that is genuinely the case. Oh yeah, he eagerly responds, showing me on the sheet what he wrote down. Jesus-fucking-christo-come-on-man, I also think.

Advertisement

So I make the choice to get one stupid brand new Nanking tire which is the cheapest tire that comes for the rear size, 255/35-19 and leave the other Hankook which is 4/32" still on the other tire. This is not to plan at all. Since I was going to get new rears anyway, but wore out the Hankooks too much, I’ll eat this cost, and just finish it up quick.

I check online to see if I can still get Michelin PSSes anywhere and they are discontinued, for the PS4s. Right, I should have expected that. I could source PSSes independently but it will take a few more weeks and I am not driving on super-uneven tire wear levels for absolutely longer than is necessary. I’d like to get this done in the small time window I have while I have time to deal with it.

So I call my normal tire guys back and ask them how long it would take them to get Michelin PS4s and the time frame I hear isn’t great. I get a similar time frame from Tire Rack and I’m not particularly pleased, but I’m used to playing the cards I’m dealt. I ask my tire guys what they CAN get me reasonably quickly, and what they respond with are Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Positions. He loves it on his 07 STI, he says. And when I had an STI, I probably would have made that choice as well. Tire reviews indicate that it is a decent second place tire behind the PS4s.

Advertisement

So I pull the trigger on the Bridgestones for all the wheels.

I make an appointment for my normal tire guys who literally can’t tell the difference between my old OEM wheels and the new ones (so much for liability), get the S-04s, and the turnaround is quick. And I guess the price per tire was about 40 lower than the Michelins, which is cool, I guess. You can buy a lot of nachos for that kind of money. I also asked them to save the Michelin PSS fronts since they’re like half worn, which they cheerfully oblige.

Bing bang boom - the S-04s are on the car. TPMS works. And I had some nachos while I waited.

Advertisement

I try the new tires out, and they’re slightly quieter, but firmer than the Hankooks. Traction is very slightly higher. Overall, they seem very similar to the Hankooks but there is currently no water on the streets in Phoenix, so I can’t test for wet traction. They also passed the wife test which is important since she gets neck issues if the ride is too abrasive.

Overall, I guess it worked out okay, but between the new wheels and the new tires, I would up spending a lot more money than I had originally intended - it was still decently cheaper than just buying a brand new set of wheels with new PS4s, so I guess I won out. But it wasn’t cheaper than just buying the tires themselves.

Oh, and the new wheels are so pretty compared to my old ones. They look great now. Now all I have to do is deal with the ugly front bumper, but I have a headlight spray system to factor in there.