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New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

dmg
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New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by dmg » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:51 pm

Hi all,

Winter is not too far off, so I was thinking of getting a set of winter tires on new rims for my Taurus X. However, I was unpleasantly surprized by the price for the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) that would have to go on the new rims. To fit out new rims with a Ford TPMS would add over $500.00 to the cost of the wheels. When you add the cost of even the most basic stell rims, the total additional cost for a new set of winter tires plus rims is over $700.00.

In the past, it was possible to save money by putting snow tires on their own separate rims because you often did not need to have the tires rebalanced after the intial installation and, if you liked, you could change the tires yourself quite easily. However, it looks like the additional cost of the TPMS for new rims shifts the cost/savings ratio significantly. The tire shop will change and balance my tires for $40.00 each time (or 80.00 a year). It seems to me that I would have to own the car for 8-9 years to start realizing a savings by purchasing new rims and TPMS. The economic argument for having a separate set of rims for winter tires is considerably weaker, once the cost for the TPMS is factored in.

Are there any other reasons why it's a good idea to have a separate set of rims for winter tires? For example, the guy at the tire store asserted that taking tires off and on rims twice a year shortened the useful life of the tire by weakening the bead between the tire and rim. I do not have the experience to verify this assertion, and I am somewhat disinclined to believe a salesman who has every interest in trying to upsell.

The Taurus X uses an (apparently) older style of TPMS (sensor and band) which is more expensive than the TPMS for other vehicles (simple snap on). Perhaps there is a less expensive TPMS solution that will also work for the Taurus X.

Thanks,

Martin

Wheelman
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by Wheelman » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:44 pm

You could go without TPMS.

dmg
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Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by dmg » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:22 pm

Neither the dealership nor the tire place will install rims without a TPMS. Also, I don't want to be nagged by the low pressure light for half of the year.

Martin

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A_L
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by A_L » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:10 am

I am thinking of doing the same -- steels + winter tires. I did not think of the TPMS.
Damn gadget.... I'll let you know my findings... keep us informed too.
2008 T/X Limited AWD -- My other car is a wagon, too! (Subaru Forester XS, 2004)

WhoaTed
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Location: Holland, MI

Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by WhoaTed » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:04 am

The downsides to mounting/dismounting every spring and fall are the time spent at the tire store having it done (if you would otherwise do the swap at home), a high potential for damage to a tire bead, and the possibility of wheel damage. The first one may or may not apply, but consider that tires aren't ideally designed to be mounted/dismounted repeatedly. Every time the mounting arm pushes on the bead it weakens and wears the rubber there, and occasionally will snag it and tear it, sometimes to the point of ruining it. Mounting machines nowadays rarely touch the wheel, but the tire guys do and unfortunately they're not always the most careful people you'll meet. Scratches, chips (especially when putting wheel weights on), damage to caps, over-torque on the lugs and other "mistakes" are potential headaches for you. After the first year with snows (early 90's) I've always run separate wheels/tires, primarily for the potential tire damage issue since for a long time I had access to mounting/balancing machines in our facility (see below) and I was very careful with my wheels but still have no control over the tire bead issue. In my case I get three years out of a set of snows (I drive a LOT)...that's 6 mounts/dismounts for BOTH sets of tires (summer/winter) and re-balance each time. That's a lot of potential for something to go wrong. And when you add up the cost of the service, there's $240 minimum spent (@ $40 each time, often more) over the three years and you're going to keep paying as you go forward. If you look hard enough (eBay, Craigs etc) you can find a set of decent OE Freestyle rims for about a hundred bucks more. Worth it just to avoid the hassles listed above IMHO.

Of course TPMS (the point of the original post) increases the cost of a second set of wheels, that's one reason that I don't have it on my cars. I do a very quick visual on my tires before I drive, and check with the gauge each one has in it's glove box if something doesn't look right (besides a couple of times every week). Of course it doesn't help if I pick something up in a tire while driving but I've gotten by okay for 35 years. :P

Disclaimer: I worked for Goodyear (the company, not a dealer) for several years and understand tire bead construction and have seen how the rubber there weakens over time, especially due to repeated mount/dismount. Not the tire store's fault if they damage it BTW. Winter wheel/tire combo also a bonus selling point when you're ready to sell.
Take care,
Ted

'07 Freestyle LTD AWD
'04 Volvo V70 T5 (SOLD)
'95 Alfa 164LS Sedan
'82 Lancia Zagato
'74 Fiat 124 Spider
'01 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 (for "truck stuff")

dmg
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by dmg » Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:17 am

Thanks very much for the information, Ted. I have been conducting additional research on my own and just yesterday came to the same conclusion -- that I should get the extra rims.

Finding basic steel rims for under 100.00 each has proven to be a bit of challenge where I live. However, I am not sure why this should be the case. The bolt pattern on the 17" Taurus X rim is 5x114.3. I have been having a harder time confirming the offset, but I believe it is +52mm. (Does anyone know if I can downsize the rims to 16" for the winter tires? There is a lot more availability of 16" rims, plus cheaper prices on tires. I am not sure, however, if the 16" rim will fit over the calipers.)

If I were the only one driving the Taurus X, I would not worry so much about the TPMS. But, I am not the only one driving the vehicle. The TPMS is a useful thing to have. In fact, it probably saved a tire a couple of weeks ago when the light came on while my wife was coming home from a long road trip on the highway; the lack of TPMS cause a friend of mine to recently shred a tire on his car during a highway trip.

If I can lower the cost of the TPMS and rims, it will make sense from the perspective of a cost/benefit/risk analysis to spend the extra money. To this end, I have found an aftermarket TPMS that is a lot less expensive than the Ford OE TPMS. The TPMS is manufactured by Orange Electronics:

http://www.orange-electronic.com/eng/07 ... site-R.pdf.

Unlike the Ford OE TPMS, the Orange Electronic TPMS mounts on the valve stem. It is completely compatible with the TPMS on the Taurus X--they are programmed in the shop to use the same ID as the OE TPMS. Conseqently, the Taurus X will not register a change every time you swap tires (there is no need for reprogramming or resetting the TPMS on the vehicle)--as far as the vehicle is concerned, no change has occurred (unless the tires have insufficient air pressure). With the initial progamming, the cost for the Orange Electronics TPMS is about $80.00 per wheel, which represents a considerable savings over the OE Ford part. If you live in the US, they are probably less expensive. If you live in Canada, you can get them at Canadian Tire.

If I get the tires and TPMS at Canadian Tire, they will do the bi-annual swap for free for 5 years. So, it looks like I could easily amortize the cost. (Most tire shops will offer free or deeply discounted prices for wheel changeovers or rotations if you buy tires from them--I always ask whether they offer this kind of deal).

Only one question remains--are Michelin X-Ice tires overpriced? : )

Martin

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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by WhoaTed » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:00 pm

dmg wrote:Only one question remains--are Michelin X-Ice tires overpriced? : )
Excellent question, one that I'm asking myself right now as I begin looking for a set of Freestyle 17" take-offs to put a set of winter tires on. As I mentioned, I've run Blizzaks almost exclusively since the early 90's, from the original design to the (best at the time) WS-60's a couple of years ago. They are absolutely the best winter tires I've used, hands down. Every week or two I have to drive across to Metro Detroit regardless of the weather, I've done it at night in whiteout blizzards several times, in ice storms, you name it. Never a problem, even on sheer ice I'm inevitably the stickiest car on the road. The problem is when you have to quick-stop to avoid someone wiping out ahead of you, the person behind can't stop as fast as you can...paying attention to the rearview mirror while stopping is essential to avoid being rear-ended. Prior to Blizzaks I used Goodyear M+S's, great tire at the time on my '88 rear drive V8 T-Bird but it really improved when I put the first set of Blizzaks on. I've only strayed once since then: a set of Hankooks on a '98 Camry...great price, excellent in the snow but definitely not Blizzaks on ice so I switched back when i bought my first V70. So now I'm debating Blizzaks vs. x-Ice for the Freestyle...I can't imagine anything sticking better than Blizzaks, honestly they're THAT good. But supposedly the Michelins get better treadlife. I almost always get three seasons out of a set of snows, if i could get another season out of a set it would be worth the extra bucks. And the fine siping on the Michelins goes to almost the entire tread depth, unlike the Blizzaks to about 5/32 when they lose the advantage on ice but still do very well in the snow. So I'm leaning toward the Michelins but haven't ordered them yet...still a month or two before I need to pull the trigger. BTW, we've had 120"+ here the past couple of winters so I'm talking SNOW, ha ha.

Sorry so wordy, but winter tires are something I believe very strongly in. More people would realize what a phenomenal difference they make if they'd put a set on.
Take care,
Ted

'07 Freestyle LTD AWD
'04 Volvo V70 T5 (SOLD)
'95 Alfa 164LS Sedan
'82 Lancia Zagato
'74 Fiat 124 Spider
'01 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 (for "truck stuff")

WhoaTed
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by WhoaTed » Thu Sep 30, 2010 3:20 pm

I should've also mentioned that I've driven cars with Nokian Hakkepellitas, some absolutely swear this is the best winter tire. The performance version does handle better than the Bridgestones (stiffer) but they didn't stick any better. And did I mention that they're VERY expensive? To each their own...
Take care,
Ted

'07 Freestyle LTD AWD
'04 Volvo V70 T5 (SOLD)
'95 Alfa 164LS Sedan
'82 Lancia Zagato
'74 Fiat 124 Spider
'01 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 (for "truck stuff")

dmg
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Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada

Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by dmg » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:03 pm

I had a set of Michelin X-Ice tires on my old Taurus station wagon (in fact, I am still trying to sell the tires and rims from that car). The Michelin's are great tires, and I loved them. However, they don't have a much tread as other winter tires, and once they wear down to a wear marker in the tire tread, they suddenly turn into all-season tires. Anyway, here is a link to a review of snow tires if anyone is interested, where the Michelins get top marks:

http://www.consumersearch.com/snow-tire ... sh-winters

I am not sure what brand of tire to get. I realize the value of having good winter tires, but the TPMS and rims are killing my budget. I was considering the General Altimax Artic as a good compromise between performance and budget (I understand that Continental bought General, so that the quality issues should be a thing of the past). However, the shop that I went to the other day does not have them in the right size (215/65/17R). I may settle for some Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice (marketed in Canada at Canadian Tire as Goodyear Nordic). These are budget tires, but they do have some very good characteristics for snow and slush. They won't be as good on the ice as the Michelins, but I live in a place where the winters are generally dry and cold. Ice is an issue, but not as much as it would be in other places, such as Chicago.

Martin

WhoaTed
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by WhoaTed » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:49 pm

I hear what you're saying re: budget...the first set for a new car are always the toughest bullet to bite since you need wheels AND tires AND (in your case) the TPMS hardware. Tough nut to crack when you're on a budget, like you I'm definitely not in a position to throw $700 at a set of winter wheels/tires and can't afford to do this now BUT I can't afford NOT to do it considering the amount of nasty weather driving that I have to do. So I'll find a way, once I sell the V70 it will help make things work. Wanna buy it...? ha ha ha...
Take care,
Ted

'07 Freestyle LTD AWD
'04 Volvo V70 T5 (SOLD)
'95 Alfa 164LS Sedan
'82 Lancia Zagato
'74 Fiat 124 Spider
'01 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 (for "truck stuff")

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A_L
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by A_L » Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:49 am

Your research is priceless. Having just bought the TX a couple weeks ago, I do want to put winter tires on their own rims (steels ideally). I live in Boston where the winters are not too bad, but I am from Montreal and we drive through Vermont and New Hampshire a few times every winter to go home. That is when snow tires are the most important.

I have Toyos on my Subaru and they are very fine. I had put Cooper Winterforce on my VW (replaced by the TX) and they were excellent in snow with a reasonnable price.

The local place where I usually get my tires/wheels says I can go without TPMS, but then the light would be on 6 months a year... annoying. I think I'll go with TPMS. Maybe I'll check used Freestyle rims.
2008 T/X Limited AWD -- My other car is a wagon, too! (Subaru Forester XS, 2004)

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A_L
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by A_L » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:11 pm

Has anyone been successful finding 17" steel rims for the Freestyle/Taurus X ?
2008 T/X Limited AWD -- My other car is a wagon, too! (Subaru Forester XS, 2004)

WhoaTed
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by WhoaTed » Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:07 pm

A_L wrote:Has anyone been successful finding 17" steel rims for the Freestyle/Taurus X ?
No, but I've been seeing the 17" OEM alloys pop up occasionally on eBay at around $85 each. There's usually a few @ $100 on any given day. Patience pays off...
Take care,
Ted

'07 Freestyle LTD AWD
'04 Volvo V70 T5 (SOLD)
'95 Alfa 164LS Sedan
'82 Lancia Zagato
'74 Fiat 124 Spider
'01 Expedition Eddie Bauer 4x4 (for "truck stuff")

bells
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by bells » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:55 am

I went through this exercise when we bought our 08 TX a couple of months ago. Ebay was great!

We picked up a set of take-off 17" alloys from an 08 or 09 Mercury Sable (same dimensions as the stock TX wheels) for $350 delivered. The wheels still had steel bands and brackets for the TPMS sensors, and take-off TPMS sensors (also from ebay) were about $50 for all four. Finally, the TPMS reset tool was about $30, also via ebay. All total, about $425 for a full set of wheels with TPMS sensors and the reset tool (which you need to use every time you switch to/from snows).

I just mounted the wheels (now shod with snow tires) this week. The TPMS reset procedure took five minutes, and the wheels look great on the TX.

The seller we bought from still lists a few sets of the same wheels we got. The listing is here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/FORD-TAU ... 600wt_1167

I think the same seller has TPMS sensors (as do many other vendors).

The TPMS reset tool was available from several sellers, all for about $30. It's a little gray box with a green button. To use it, you have to follow a sequence of key turns and brake pedal presses, then you walk around the car and hold the tool up to each tire in turn.

Hope that helps!

madmatt2024
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Re: New Rims and TPMS for Winter Tires?

Post by madmatt2024 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:51 pm

I work installing tires and I though I would give you guys some inside info. My boss got back from TIA training and found out that a company is going to produce universal TPMS sensors. They are going to be out in about 6 months and cost about $40 each at our shop.

As for shops not wanting to install your rims without the sensors, simply bring just the wheels and tires to the shop then throw them on yourself. Its technically illegal in the US for a shop to intentionally disable the TPMS system. on a vehicle.

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