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One of the major things the auto reviews did not like about the Insight was the handling. Also they thought the stopping distance was just average.
I'm guessing the 165\14\65 tires that come with the Insight were chosen for good gas milage. The rubber used in these tires seems a little on the hard side.

A larger tire, say a 195 or 205, made of softer rubber would give better traction, with a larger foot print, and a shorter stopping distance. But how large of a tire will fit in the wheel well? And how much will a larger tire effect gas mileage.

Has anyone fitted an Insight with larger tires? What was the out come?
 

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I have a 195/55/ZR14 set of Dunlop SP8000 tires on my '00 Insight 5-speed, on the OEM wheels. They fit perfectly with no clearance problems. I've had them for 17K miles, after 5-6K on the OEM tires.

I saw a 3 mpg loss in mpg right away. So has somebody else who reportedly used these tires on a CVT model. However others using these tires claim to have lost ~7+ mpg after the change. My mileage has been increasing with these tires after more mileage has been accrued. They are all at 40 psi, with a 44 psi max permitted. My last tank was 58.9 mpg (best ever with either tire), with a mix of city and highway driving, and regularly shifting at redline in 1st gear, using 0W-30 synthetic oil. I suspect one will experience a bigger drop in mpg using these tires if they are doing a higher percentage of highway driving.

These tires give vastly-improved handling, as you'd expect from a sports car, much-improved braking, improved stability in very windy conditions, and give a huge improvement to the poor tracking that is apparent on certain road surfaces, such as in construction zones.
 

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I am running 205 winter tires ( bought for an SI) on new civic steel rims- no fit problems--I would consider going wider on the summer rims--Hugh
 

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Hugh said:
I am running 205 winter tires ( bought for an SI) on new civic steel rims- no fit problems--I would consider going wider on the summer rims--Hugh
Hugh -

Would love to see pics of your Insight with Civic rims. Also, what (if any) decrease in MPG have you incurred?
 

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does anyone not like the wider tires

well, my wife's insight blew a tire (something wide and sharp, cut a 1"long slice through the tread) at 25k (we live a mile back on a dirt road, so mileage on tires is somewhat reduced), and i am in a quandry. have read the messages on the wider tires, here in arkansas some of the roads are rutted enough to cause handling problems. OTOH, like the current gas mileage (current lifetime avg is 54.6 due to all the hills), and would hate to loose more than a couple of MPG for handling. the dunlop SP8000 are availible from tire rack for $70, the bridgestones for $42. has anyone not liked the wider tires??

on a seperate note, the insight OEM tires wore the outsides out, with the center tread in good shape. this would tend to indicate to me that the tires were underinflated, yet we kept them at the nameplate (38/32??) inflation. should we be running higher?
 

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The outer tread on the Potenza's always seems to wear out at the edges first for some reason. I've been running mine at 45 to 50 psi and after 14,000 miles I can already see the wear patterns at the outer edge of the treads. I think it's the way the tire is built. The center steel belt is very stiff or something and not reinforced enough at the edges.
 

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more tire sizing questions

ok, spent a long time talking to a guy on tirenet.com. seemed quite knowledgable about insights. his recommendation was to go with 175/65/14, while it is not an exact match (2.28% larger or .5" on diameter), his point was that the size gave you much greater options. for instance in toyo the T-1S is a 260 UTOG wear rating, and the only tire you can buy in the 195/55 size. in the 175/65 size, the tire (believe it is an 800 ultra??) is a 700 UTOG, which should mean you would get 3 times the wear. it is also $66 vs $98 for the T-1S.

anyone running the 175/65 size on their insight? thoughts?
 

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ok, compromise selection

well, after going down to the shop and finding 2 185/60-14 tires left over from my first miata, i decided to try this size. i found 2 more at a local used tire store in goodyear eagle HR (mine were yoko A509). the eagles i put on front at 44 psi, the yoko on back at 35. initial impressions were as follows (75 miles). the handling is quite a bit better, less tracking down the ruts in the highway, and better cornering. the gas mileage is going to go down, by how much i am not sure, but there is much less lean burn going on at highway speeds. my wife is back to driving it, and i will report back on the situation after a k or two miles. if mileage is just somewhat of a problem, it probably would be improved by going to the michelin Energy MXV4 tire in the same size, wich is supposed to be a low rolling resistance tire.
 

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Changing width and rubber to improve handling at the cost of gas mileage is one thing. Changing overall circumference is another. That would make your speedometer and gas mileage inaccurate. I'm not sure where you could go to get it recalibrated to the right speed/distance measurement. It would be hard to check your gas mileage if you don't know your mileage accurately.
 

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Tire size calculator...

Anyone who is considering changing to a different tire size should use the tire size calculator found at this link (click on it):

http://www.miatanet.com/garage/tirecalc.html

You put in the original tire size for your car (165/65R14 78S) and the tire size you are considering. It gives you a visual comparison of tire size and tells you exactly how far it will throw your speedometer off.

I'm sure that most people know (although I didn't before I changed tire sizes on my 280zx) that in tire size the second number (65 for Insight tires) is the height of the tire as a percentage of the width of the tire (165 for our tire). So a 185/65R14 is taller and has a greater circumference than a 165/65R14, and will therefor throw your speedometer off (and your mileage). The calculator will tell you how far off it will be thrown.

For example, a 195/55R14 (if such a size is made) would be the exact same circumference as our stock tires and would not throw off the speedometer or mileage.
 

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Thanks Lee for this useful link. I have just been playing around with the calculator so that I could have 16" wheels and 3" sidewalls, yet still have the same revolutions per minute. Imagine that. Perhaps I'll just check to see if I can have 17" wheels....
 

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ok, couple of items here. the 195/55-14 is in fact both an exact match, and there are tires built in this size. it is a miata plus size, and the remaining tires built (not nearly as many as a few years ago) are all performance tires, i.e. soft compounds and low UTOG numbers. while i (and my wife) want better handling and performance, we are not going to autocross the insight. the other disadvantage to the 195/55 is that the tires are quite expensive. the 185/60-14 is a tire used on many cars, it is also a plus size for the miata (which is why i had 2). it is 1.32% larger, so at 50 on the speedo, you are actually doing 50.66. this is a low enough change as to be lost in noise in my opinion, although it does mean that at 49MPG you are actually doing 49.5. current results are decrease in fuel economy from 53.4 avg to about 49.5. handling is much improved, especially on the badly rutted highways in the area. will be looking at going to the michelin energy MVX4 soon.
 

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Wider tires...

That is about what I expected. I'm already eyeing the Michelin MXV4 185/60-14. Too bad they don't make the same size in the MXV4 plus. It looks like it may be an even quieter, better performing tire.

Cheetahdriver--Those mileage figures you mention--are they for a CVT or 5 speed?
 

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these numbers are for a 5 speed. couple of notes. we live in NW arkansas, where alot of the real estate is at fairly steep angles. the hills certainly reduce the MPG alot. second, many of these miles are highway, driven at 70+ MPH. finally, the highways around here are junk, too many 80,000lb trucks as NWA is the trucking capital of the US (fairly close to the population weighted center of the country). however, i cannot emphasize enough how much better the handling is, so if handling is the item that is causing you heartburn with the insight, i would recommend this route.
 

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Cheetahdriver...

Handling is important to me, but I could live with the handling the way it is. I'm probably equally interested in how much the MXV4 might lessen the road noise.

Did your road noise go down noticeably with the tires you have on now?
 

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road noise has gone down some, the yoko 509's that are on the back are quite agressive, and i think they are making most of the remaining noise. i suspect a full set of the michelins would be quieter. i am going to haunt the local used tire place until i find a set to try. the michelin's all the way around would give me the chance to raise the back above 35 as well. will report back if/when i get the michelins, if they work well i will then buy a set from tire rack. agree the MXV4 plus would be an even better tire, but it is only made in very limited (2?) sizes in 14 inch.
 

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the yoko a509s are an older technology tire, with max inflation of 35psi. the newer goodyears (and also the michelins) are max inflation 44 psi. we are currently running the fronts at 44 and the backs at 35.
 

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ok, as a new data point, after REinflating the fronts to 44 psi, we have been getting about a 1-2MPG loss in mileage. this as a balance to the much improved handling and stopping we have experienced have led to my wife's statement that she doesn't ever want to go back to the old tires. she had an emergency stop situation occur last night, and said it stopped so fast that it made the old tires look slippery. i suspect mileage will be even better with the michelin's.
 

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ok, last datapoint for awhile, unless something unexpected comes up. wife drove to St louis today (6 hours) in the insight. she called back and said she never, never, never (what she tells me 3 times i believe) wants the old size tires back. the road handling and ride was so much better as to be a new car, and she got 53.4 at an average speed of 83MPH. will probably run these tires out, and then go with the michelin MXV4's, unless something new comes along before then.
 
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