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Highlander Hybrid Tire/Wheel Questions

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  • brioboybrioboy Posts: 24
    Stevegold - check my messages #105 and #113. We are likely to get more wet show here in Whistler at the valley level but with the winter Olympics on in February, I am getting my new winter tires and wheels tomorrow - the snow is starting to fly. You might want to check out Nokian vs. Michelin in your area.
    Have a great ski season!
  • For what it is worth. I have an 06HH 4 WD (haha). The original goodyears wore very thin in about 25,000 miles. Looked on Tire Rack and found a Kuhmo APT Road Ventures KL51 all weather tire. Got a very good rating on the website. When i went to pick them up i asked the owner why my tires wore so quickly. He said they are car tires and can't take the weight of a light truck (SUV) which is heavier. The new Kuhmo's are much more steady in rain and on dry road. They are quiet as well. No all weather tire will perform like a snow tire so don't expect them to. They are by nature a compromise. I am very happy with the Kuhmo's so far and will post again when i use them in the snow ( if we get any this year in NYC)
  • brioboybrioboy Posts: 24
    Tranquiloon and Stevegold - sorry for a bit of a bum steer. 16 inch wheels don't fit my HH - they fit on a regular Highlander so that threw my service manager off. It has to do with the different braking system - why he didn't know that, I don't know. It seems I am the first to order winter tires in this dealership for a HH as normally A/S works around here just fine. The upshot is that I am getting the tires on my original rims and we will look around for new rims in the spring.
  • Hi,
    I've owned my '09 HH Limited for just a year now. I love it. The only problem I've encountered (besides the gas mileage not being that great) is when its "cold" here in S. Florida all the tire pressures need to be adjusted. Is this normal? Fortunately it doesn't get that cold here often. I'm talking the mid 50's. Its happened twice now. Putting air in the space is a pain. Appreciate any thoughts you have.
  • brioboybrioboy Posts: 24
    At the risk of sounding like a shill for Michelin, just back from a round trip from West Vancouver to Whistler on the Sea-to-Sky highway with rain and temperatures between 2 to 6 C, about 35 - 45 F, my new Latitude Alpins perform so well, it seems like a different car. They track beautifully, stick on the curves and are unbelievably quiet.
    Oddly enough, I landed in Fort Lauderdale on the 18th, just when it got "cold" - tnt doesn't really know what cold is - he doesn't say which way he has to adjust the tire pressures - I wonder if it is the extreme drops in barometric pressures caused by hurricanes or storms that does it. One would think it would affect every car on the road. Maybe he is just a bit too fussy - I hardly ever check mine between servicing.
  • The original tires on my 2008 Highlander Hybrid are P 245 55 R19 made by toyo. They have worn quick and after reading other people's experiences I'm not the only one. There are many more tire choices in P255 50 R19. Can I move up to this tire size and drive safely? Has anyone else done this? I was looking at the Continental Extreme contact DWS the have great feedback and high ratings.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    JP
  • The service manager at my dealer told me that the Hybrid sensors key off the outside diameter of the tire. Your P245 55 R19 tires have an OD of 29 inches. The P 255 50 R19 tires have an OD of 29.6 inches. Check my facts by using this calculator http://www.miata.net/garage/tirecalc.html . According to what this guy says, you can change to an 18 inch rim as long as the OD stays the same otherwise your speedometer, odometer and other diagnistics will get screwed up.
  • The worst adverse effect is on the braking system which helps to charge the HH batteries. I helped to educate my service manager when he proposed changing the wheel and tire size on my 06HH for new winter tires. Best to stick with the same wheel and tires size - get after the tire manufacturers.
  • According to this tire size finder thing, you should probably stick with P 245 55 R19.
  • kmraykmray Posts: 3
    So what is the best tire alternative for a 2008 HH limited? I just bought a used one and even with 12,0000 miles, the tires are shot. I don't want to get replacement TOYO ones, 245 55R19, certainly not at the Toyota dealer for $310/each ! Can I go down to 17 inches? What about other options? What is the best for inclement driving in snow and ice?
  • If your Toyota dealer is charging $310 per tire for those, you should never, ever go there again. For decent tires expect to pay around or under $200 per tire installed. Tires for this car generally range between $100 and $140 each wheel. Mounting and balancing should not exceed $50 per wheel. Looks like you have a custom size though.. maybe low $200s per tire to replace. www.tirerack.com has the Blizzak DM-V1 at $166 per tire in that size for example.
  • 400e400e Posts: 41
    There is a thread about this in the Highlander (non-hybrid) forum-

    A number of alternatives have been proposed, including changing to 17" wheels.

    For what it's worth, several of us have bought Toyo H/T tires (very different from the awful A20s that came with the car) and are happy with them. Mine have 12/32s tread depth, ride and handle well, and look like they should do pretty well in the snow.
  • kmraykmray Posts: 3
    Yes, thanks, I saw the other notes. But, I don't think you can equate the non-Hybrid with the Hybrid, as the weight is significantly different as well as handling, from what I understand. My guy at Les Schwab also says the TOYO Open Country H/T are the best tires he has... I may try them and see how it goes.... where we live in the Northwest, we will probably also need chains.
    Thanks,
  • So this seems to be a pretty common thread all over the Internet, and my '08 HH is in the same boat. The first serious snow of the season happened this week, and I might as well have strapped ice skates to the bottom of the darned thing, for all the traction those awful Toyo OEMs provided...

    Fortunately, I have a friend in the tire business, and he's in the process of replacing my tires as I type this. I did extensive research on this myself, and talked to two different Toyota dealers in my area, and here's what I've come up with, for anyone else in this situation:

    1) Switching to 255/55 R19's should not void your warranty or do anything else that Toyota would frown upon. The 245/55 R19's are the only "certified" tires that Toyota lists for the '08 HH, but that one step up in size won't create a problem that they're aware of. Neither dealer would take a stand on the matter, but both said that they'd never heard of a scenario where they've denied service or repair due to this. One acknowledged that he regularly sees the Hybrids come in with 3rd-party 255s on them.

    2) Toyota refuses to acknowledge that a problem with tire availability/option/quality even exists. One dealer played entirely dumb on the issue, but the second told me "Look, we aren't supposed to talk about it, and there's nothing I can do to help you except order in the Toyo HLs, but you can probably do better elsewhere." Apparently no other tire manufacturers have accepted any other bid request that Toyota has sent out for North America -- the volumes are too low to justify manufacturing this specialty size.

    3) The difference in stepping up to a 255/55 R19 is 1.5% in tire circumference. Which means that when your speedometer reads 60 mph, you'll actually be doing 60.9 mph. BUT! By all accounts, apparently the spedo on the HHs is about 3% high to begin with. So the 1.5% under-measure actually brings the vehicle closer to actual speed than the factory stock, at least on the 2008 model year.

    4) The in-car nav will have the same accuracy shift as the spedo, which translates into about an error of 79 feet per mile, in between GPS adjustments when running solely on motion data -- that ought to be insignificant for all practical purposes.

    5) The ABS system and hybrid regenerative braking system should not be affected. I'm told that there is about a 5% margin built in for various adjustments that might occur due to certain conditions and by region or vehicle trim, and so the 1.5% error introduced by the larger tires is well within what the system should be able to handle without any hiccups.

    The last two are based on feedback from my friend's shop (which is a location of a major tire retailer), and apparently they've gotten quite a lot of irate HH owners in for this same issue over the last 2 years. They've done all of their homework on this, and other than a few isolated anecdotes where people think that their mileage has suddenly decreased, or some other weird problem has cropped up, like uneven wear, the vast majority of customers have been happy with the switch to 255's.

    Take this with a grain of salt, your mileage may vary, etc etc etc... but the case was made convincingly enough for me. I'll report back if any unexpected consequences arise...

    For what it's worth, I've gone with the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza 255/55 R19.
  • thank you SO much! Your reply is extremely informative. Please let us know how it works out. I unfortunately have the same tires on my 08 HH again because I was told there was really no other options. Please Please keep us posted
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    When driving in snow, safety trumps everything else. If it takes one size up to be safe, I would strongly suggest buying tires one size up. Besides just the normal tire "size", you can look up the technical specifications of the OEM vs something else of interest to you. The technical spec will spell out a lot of detail information that you can match. If they all match, then the tire will work just fine on the HH.

    Had we stayed with the original horribly cheap GY Integrity, we would have been in big trouble in snow and slush. That tire could not even drive over a thin layer of wet pine needles without the car losing traction forcing the AWD and VSC to intervene. This was just driving on our driveway!

    Regardless of how high tech a car is, it cannot produce more traction than where that patch of rubber meets the road. If that patch does not work well, nothing else matters.

    From an old and grizzled HH ('06) driver to fellow HH owners out there, please carefully consider you driving condition and adjust your tire type accordingly.

    Drive Safe!
  • dr_ddr_d Posts: 1
    I live in Michigan and the roads on the west side of the state are anything but flat! My 2007 came with Michelins and the first set lasted 41K and the second set 49K. I do not baby it too much and it rides great. I just had the third set of tires put on yesterday at just over 90K and they put on Goodyears. I called the dealership as I got home to change them back to what I had. Between reading the posts and the ride home, the tires wandered left to right and back, I had it right with the originals!
  • Can you be more specific on what kind of Michelin tires you put on your 2007 Highlander hybrid? I bought a 2008 a few months ago only to discover replacement tire options are extremely limited. You are driving a 2007 hybrid Highlander, right?
  • darloxdarlox Posts: 3
    Just an update for those who are interested in the use of 255/55 R19's on 2008+ HiHys.

    So far, the swap-out of the awful Toyo 245/55 R19's with the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza 255/55 R19's has been a spectacular success. Because I had no other choice in the matter, those tires already have more than 900 miles of mostly-highway miles on them. But the weather in this area has been horrible for the past week, and so I can at least make a judgment on the improvement in snow handling.

    Here's some points to consider:

    1) Overall, it was a fantastic choice for my area, so far. The OEM Toyo Open Countrys were death-traps on even a tiny amount of snow. The Bridgestone Alenzas are gripping like champs now, and even on snow-covered Interstates, handled like a dream.

    2) According to two different GPS units, when I held the speedometer steady at 65 mph, the GPSes both thought I was doing between 63-64. So, the anecdotal evidence that the '08 Highlander's speedo is about 3% high seems to be borne out on my vehicle. The new tires should have added 1.5% to my measured speed, and the GPS-versus-speedometer readings I was seeing are pretty much spot-on with those values. So, I'm no longer at ALL concerned about the vehicle actually going faster than the gauges indicate.

    3) There were no issues with the tire pressure gauges after the swap-out. The ABS system is still working the same as before, and in particularly deep snow, the traction and braking systems work pretty much as I'd expect. And again, LOADS better than with the OEM Toyos on.

    4) Gas mileage: Ok, so here's one area where there _may_ have been an effect, but there's so many other confounding factors, it's hard to be sure. On this big trip, my average gas mileage dropped from 25.4 mpg prior to last week, to 22.6 mpg now. BUT, I'm not going to worry about this for right now, because:

    - This was the first major road trip I've taken using winter-formulated gas.
    - The average temperatures during my entire trip were less than 25 F, and were into the single-digits for a couple of days. So the heater and such were all running full-bore, along with the (initial) efficiency losses from extreme cold.
    - There was a lot of holiday traffic on the roads, so I was doing a lot more speed adjustments on the Interstates than would normally be called for in an average drive.

    With all of that, it's impossible for me to blame the mpg loss on the tires. But it's also impossible for me to say they weren't a factor, either. This is my first northern winter with the vehicle, so I have no idea what is "normal" at this point. I'd expect the larger tires to have slightly more rolling resistance, so some mpg loss might be expected -- but the larger tires also spin "faster" at the edges, so you go farther for the same amount of wheel rotation... would those balance out, I don't know. I'll keep tabs on this, and report back in the spring, if nothing else.

    Otherwise, the switch to 255/55 R19's has been smooth and flawless. At this point, I'd have no hesitation recommending the change to any '08+ HiHy owners. Save yourself the extortion-grade cost of those boutique 245/55 R19's, and get a lot more choices in tires appropriate for your own driving conditions!
  • I haven't read all the posts in this thread so apologies if this is redundant. But on another forum, a 2008 HL owner examined the relative economic benefits of 1) getting Toyo H/T's or Bridgestones, 2) upping the size to 255/55r19's or 3) buying Lexus RX 330/350 18" "replica" rims and Michelin Latitude Tour HP 245/60-R18 tires ($135/tire @ Costco). He makes a fairly compelling economic argument for the last alternative, given that the cost is comparable to the first two alternatives but future tire replacements will cost much less.

    I have a 2008 HL Limited with about 17K miles and will likely need to replace the tires within 5K miles. Absent some newly found customer sensibility from Toyota/Toyo on this issue, I leaning toward rim replacement.
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