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Thread: Cheap Chinese Tires

  1. #1
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    Default Cheap Chinese Tires

    Whenever a tire question comes up on DR1 a predictable response revolves around "cheap Chinese tires" like "cheap Chinese motos" about motos.

    Seems that like motos, Chinese tires are evolving. While 5 years ago Chinese motos were, indeed, poor quality the quality of the same Chinese motos are now much better quality. In fact, today almost all Japanese bikes under 250cc are made in China and are of high quality.

    I'm working on a big project with a sequel that may be based in China. I have a former high school classmate who has become a significant "liaison" power between certain US industries & their counterparts in China, and he's created a handsome business with it. His contacts there are very deep.

    I thought his expertise was limited to beverages (he's a former Pepsi executive) and higher education (his family started a solid, small liberal arts university in Atlanta many years ago.) Nope. He has one more industry he works with: tires.

    We had a chat about Chinese tires this afternoon. From what I got out of the conversation, seems that the tire industry has changed greatly in China the last 7 years. He brokered the deal between two giant Chinese tire manufacturers and one of the largest, oldest US tire manufacturers (a household name), specifically in:
    • Transfer of manufacturing software
    • Transfer of iso9001 protocols & software
    • State-of-the-art Manufacturing equipment
    • Access to specific raw materials


    The Chinese manufactures are:


    There may be more, but those are the two companies he works with.

    Both have large, super-modern computerized huge factories, are ISO9001 certified and have been manufacturing new-tech tires for 3-4 years. My friend says they make tires of equal quality as the US brand their technology utilizes and wouldn't hesitate at all in putting them on his vehicles.

    I checked around with a local contact in the tire business, and both lines are available in the DR, Sunny and HiFly (Hengfeng).

    I'm not suggesting people go right out and buy Chinese tires, because one has to have total confidence in tires as they are the #1 safety feature of your car. I AM saying that it may not be completely accurate to dismiss all Chinese tires as "cheap" when that may not be the case anymore.

    I will be buying a set of tires for our new (to us) SUV soon, and may test the Hifly's as they are available locally at a decent price. The van needs two 10-ply TL tires, and I may try Sunny's.

    I'll let you know how they work out.

    Just for your enlightenment.

    Caveat Emptor
    Cabin Attendant,
    Augusto Pinochet Helicopter Tours

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  3. #2
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    This is a 3-year follow up to my Chinese tire experiment on our 2006 Ford Explorer and 2001 Ford E350 15-passenger van. Many think that Chinese tires are death traps and I wanted to relate our experiences.

    SUV:

    We put a set of 255/70-R16 Hifly Vigorous HT601 highway tires on the Explorer in April 2014, bought from a local friend in the car and big truck tire and suspension business. We have put 25,000 hard miles on these tires on all manner of surfaces and conditions. They held up well and we've had one puncture on one tire. We never had to do any extreme panic stops or maneuvers, so I cannot comment on the edges of the performance envelope.

    We rotated the tires at regular intervals, and kept them properly inflated at 35psi at all times.

    There only real criticism is these are strictly tarmac tires by the tread design, and in hindsight I should have gone with a more aggressive all-terrain tread design. There were a few times in rough, mountainous uphill roads where there was some slipping.

    The total cost for the four tires was roughly RD$20,000 (or $500 at the time), so the cost was around $0.02 per mile.

    The wear is maybe 1/16" from the wear bar on the front, so we put on a new set. Based on a positive experience on the HiFly's, this time we chose another Chinese brand that came well-recommended, Comforser CF1000 5-ply all-terrain tire with a more aggressive tread pattern for off pavement. The total cost was $23,000 including alignment. They seem rugged enough with a thick tread. In limited driving they seem quiet.

    E350 Van

    Out van takes a beating. It's a large vehicle with a strong truck V-8 gasoline engine that we pack with passengers and gear, and pulls a single-axle trailer with two full-size motorcycles. It's the workhorse of MotoCaribe and get about 11 mpg on a good day. It goes everywhere.

    We put a set of Sunny LT tires on it, LT standing for Light Truck. These tires are 10-ply and rated up to 80psi. The factory specs specify 55psi front, and 80psi back at full gross. I put 55 front and 65 back, because we're never at full gross weight, and the tongue weight of the trailer is maybe 110 lbs. Not a huge load. The Sunny tires proves to be solid. We had no punctures or other issues. The tires were rotated regularly, and had 18,000 miles after three years. There was still substantial tread remaining, maybe 1/8" to the tread wear bars, showed some very early signs of drying, but nothing significant. But at three years it's time to change because tires get old but can still look roadworthy.

    We chose a 10-ply HiFly Vigorous LT all-terrain tire, 245/75-16 with an aggressive, thick tread, total cost $RD23,000 including alignment. I expect to get three years of solid use from them.

    *******************

    Back in 2010 we needed an inverter. The Xandrax/Trace were all the rage and were spendy. We found a local brand that met our specs at a huge cost savings, and were told what a disaster it was going to be because, you know, Dominican. Never happened, and 7 years later that inverter has performed flawlessly.

    Certainly opinions vary and we all have the hot buttons for choice decisions. But like electronics & motorcycles, "Chinese" no longer necessarily means "crap", and now tires can join that group of greatly improved product quality.

    I'm a life-long gearhead. I know cars, performance and machines. And based on my personal experience with two sets of Chinese tires, I no longer have any real concerns regarding the quality or performance of Chinese tires.

    Caveat Emptor

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    No. No. No.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanpedrogringo View Post
    No. No. No.
    I have proven that Chinese tires are perfectly acceptable for the roads of the DR.

    Additionally, I've discovered that many traditional tire brands are no longer made in the US.

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    The tires on mi esposa's year old TRex are ready to be replaced with only around 18,000km on them. Can anyone reccommend a good brand?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterInBrat View Post
    The tires on mi esposa's year old TRex are ready to be replaced with only around 18,000km on them. Can anyone reccommend a good brand?
    You have few choices but...Chinese. Unless you import. If you import, check our Revzilla. Great prices & service.

    Props to your wife, 18kkm on a scoot in a year is impressive.

    I'd just have a local shop change them.

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    She has a spice distribution business with over 100 colmados as clients. She was doing it on an ancient Supercub before I came along and it was always breaking down. Toting the kids to school and running errands also adds up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cobraboy View Post
    Whenever a tire question comes up on DR1 a predictable response revolves around "cheap Chinese tires" like "cheap Chinese motos" about motos.

    Seems that like motos, Chinese tires are evolving. While 5 years ago Chinese motos were, indeed, poor quality the quality of the same Chinese motos are now much better quality. In fact, today almost all Japanese bikes under 250cc are made in China and are of high quality.

    I'm working on a big project with a sequel that may be based in China. I have a former high school classmate who has become a significant "liaison" power between certain US industries & their counterparts in China, and he's created a handsome business with it. His contacts there are very deep.

    I thought his expertise was limited to beverages (he's a former Pepsi executive) and higher education (his family started a solid, small liberal arts university in Atlanta many years ago.) Nope. He has one more industry he works with: tires.

    We had a chat about Chinese tires this afternoon. From what I got out of the conversation, seems that the tire industry has changed greatly in China the last 7 years. He brokered the deal between two giant Chinese tire manufacturers and one of the largest, oldest US tire manufacturers (a household name), specifically in:
    • Transfer of manufacturing software
    • Transfer of iso9001 protocols & software
    • State-of-the-art Manufacturing equipment
    • Access to specific raw materials


    The Chinese manufactures are:


    There may be more, but those are the two companies he works with.

    Both have large, super-modern computerized huge factories, are ISO9001 certified and have been manufacturing new-tech tires for 3-4 years. My friend says they make tires of equal quality as the US brand their technology utilizes and wouldn't hesitate at all in putting them on his vehicles.

    I checked around with a local contact in the tire business, and both lines are available in the DR, Sunny and HiFly (Hengfeng).

    I'm not suggesting people go right out and buy Chinese tires, because one has to have total confidence in tires as they are the #1 safety feature of your car. I AM saying that it may not be completely accurate to dismiss all Chinese tires as "cheap" when that may not be the case anymore.

    I will be buying a set of tires for our new (to us) SUV soon, and may test the Hifly's as they are available locally at a decent price. The van needs two 10-ply TL tires, and I may try Sunny's.

    I'll let you know how they work out.

    Just for your enlightenment.

    Caveat Emptor
    The quality may have improved but that is not the issue in the DR. This is a MUST. If you are going to buy new tires make sure that the dates that are stamped on the tire are fairly current, within the last year to year and a half. What happens in the DR is the distributors for tires buy older stock at cheaper prices and then the end up on your vehicle and quality assurance is no longer there. If the tires are sitting around for a couple of years before being sold and installed on your vehicle there can be issues with the integrety of the tire and they will not last anywhere the amount of time or miles that was expected. So make sure when you buy tires in the DR that you want to look at them and see the date (stamped on the side of the tire) before you pay and they are put on your car. This will save you a lot of hassle. Also buy the best quality you can afford and not those that are less expensive. Remember, especially in the DR tires are the only thing between you and the pot holes, the pieces of metal, screw and bolts, bottles and other assorted stuff that you will run over in the course of day. A better quality steel belted radial tire will save you from many of these hazzards. DO NOT skimp on tires. You will end up paying more in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LTSteve View Post
    If you are going to buy new tires make sure that the dates that are stamped on the tire are fairly current, within the last year to year and a half.
    I agree: the date is critical.

    Which is why I change tires every three years whether there is tread or not.

    As a gearhead, I know tires. There has never been a tire ever put on my vehicle that I did not personally inspect, check the manufacture date, and determine the speed, load, wear, traction and heat designations matched the intended task.

    THOSE are the most important choices. Where they were manufactured and by whom are of lesser importance.

    The world has changed. 15-20 years ago I would never have considered a Chinese motorcycle, electronic device or tire. Now they are among rational choices for consumers.

    The meme "Chinese tires are dangerous and will blow up" is completely inop in today's world economy.

    That said, interesting how when inspecting the tires the owner of the shop, a well-respected, long-term establishment for a couple of decades, would roll out a tire and point out the manufacture date, all within the last 6 months. Seems he's trained his staff to point this out, a positive credibility-building effort.

  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cobraboy View Post
    I agree: the date is critical.
    And you can find that information on the sidewall.

    In addition to size, load index, speed rating tread wear rating, traction and temp rating, maximum pressure, there is a DOT number following some letters (manufacturer, plant etc.).

    The last four digits indicate the week and year of its manufacture, i.e., 1015 indicates week 10 (March) 2015.

    No excuses now for people not checking.....especially in climates such as the DR where tires tend to be more affected in performance, safety and reliability.....as they age.


    Respectfully,
    Playacaribe2
    Last edited by playacaribe2; 03-11-2017 at 09:49 AM.

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