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Mazda 3 Tire & Wheel Questions

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Are you talking about the economy car, a Mazda 3 sedan? Or does "M3" mean M3 as in BMW? If you're talking about the Mazda, just get a good set of tires, make sure it is set to factory specs for alignment. It will be fine.

    Agreed. On most of the other boards the econobox Mazda 3 is called "MZ3", and the hot hatch Mazdaspeed3 is known as the "MS3". There is only ONE M3, and it isn't built by Mazda.
    As for tires, the OEM Bridgestone 050As on my MS3 are still wearing evenly at 18,300 miles. Well, three of them are anyway; the LR tire was taken out by a nail in the inner sidewall. I'm spending a few days at Putnam Park in a few weeks so I'll report back on how well they do after several hours of hot laps...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Jealous, jealous, jealous.
  • deebreddeebred Posts: 2
    I have a 06 Mazda3 and could have written this exact message. Dealership of purchase gave the same song and dance as you described. Tried to say the alignment was fine but my tire rotation habits were not up to the standards of Mazda. I actually rotated more than the standard in an attempt to resolve the problem!

    Then after buying a new set of Michelin tires I go to a different Mazda dealer to have the alignment checked. All of a sudden the alignment is way off. So they did the alignment and now 25K into the Michelins I am seeing the same issues again.

    I stopped by the tire dealer where I purchased the Michelin tires for their opinion. Basically knowing I have the tires rotated regularly (by them) they thought this to be some sort of alignment issue. In the their words, "the tires are setting on the surface evenly".

    So I contacted the service manager at the original Mazda dealership and explain my problem. He seems eager to help and makes an appointment to look at the car. Yepper, same old BS again plus this time he added that the tires I have on the car are too big and have a very aggressive tread pattern which causes excessive wear. Funny that the tires are the exact same size as the OEM tires and the tread pattern is just the Michelin rain tread pattern. So then I called a person who used to be a service writer at a Mazda dealership for his opinion. He tells me the Mazda3 is notorious for tire wear and rear brakes. Known problem! He told me to call the service manager at the dealership to discuss. That was a mistake as well since I heard the same spin on the tire wear situation but in a more civil manner than that from the service manager at the original dealership where I bought the car.

    Funny how well trained the service people are at these Mazda dealerships to lie though their teeth to cover up a known problem and just pass it on the customer. How stupid, like I will buy another Mazda after this headache!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    As promised, here's my track report regarding the MS3's stock Bridgestones. I spent last weekend at Putnam Park Road Course. Friday morning a steady rain kept the track wet, with standing water on the exit to turn 4. The tires worked very well, providing reasonable grip. I couldn't figure out if the stability control was helping or hurting, but I decided to leave it engaged. Most of the other instructors were running R compounds or shaved tires so I ruled the wet sessions. In the afternoon things dried out but it was still overcast and cool. The MS3's nervousness was tamed considerably by the drier pavement.
    Saturday dawned clear and warm...

    image
    Photo Courtesy of PHOTOMOTIONONLINE.COM

    As the ambient temperature approached 90F the limitations of the stock rubber became evident. After about 15-20 minutes of track time the tires started to go away. Tire pressures were 35/38 cold but they just tended to overheat if I started to really push. And I certainly wasn't driving that hard; I barely saw 110 on the main straight. I could have easily hit 130 had I wanted to. If I keep the sled I'll definitely need a tire trailer as well as a set of R compound rubber and track wheels. I also need to sort out the traction control and perhaps upgrade to more suitable brake pads. The stock pads worked fine but I'll want something with a bit more bite to complement the upgraded tires and the higher speeds they will allow.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Great report, thanks for sharing that. A couple of questions: first, what is the deal with getting your street ride on the track? Do they have regular open days? I see you're wearing a helmet. Were there any other requirements? How about the cost?Regarding your tires, I think you reported earlier they had 18,000 miles on them. It sounds like they did pretty good for 140 wear rated tires with that many miles on the race track in 90 deg ambient (probably 130-140 track temps). Also you state inflation pressures as "35/38", I assume meaning 35 front and 38 rear. I'm sure you know the factory recommends 2 pounds more in the front "34/32". Why the reversal? Did you do this to try to lessen understeer?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Thanks for the kind words. I'll try to answer your questions in order:

    A couple of questions: first, what is the deal with getting your street ride on the track? Do they have regular open days?

    The events that I learned at-and now instruct at-are driving schools conducted by chapters of the BMW Car Club of America, AKA BMW CCA. As the official description says,

    "BMW CCA driving schools are designed to teach drivers how to safely improve their driving abilities and explore their cars’ capabilities. Students, using their own cars, get one-on-one instruction from experienced instructors. Our overriding emphasis is on safety, and safely learning how to control the car in emergency and higher performance conditions. The school is conducted on a paved, closed, and controlled course to minimize risk to persons and equipment. This is not a racing school, practice or preparation for racing, and it is not a timed, competitive event or speed contest."

    The schools are typically held on weekends, with Friday usually being reserved for instructors and Advanced students.

    I see you're wearing a helmet. Were there any other requirements?

    The helmet must have a Snell MA2000 or S2000 rating. Your car must also undergo a pre-event inspection as well as a trackside inspection.

    How about the cost?

    @$200-$400 for the two day event. Cost depends on the track and chapter. You also must be a BMW CCA member($40/yr).

    Also you state inflation pressures as "35/38", I assume meaning 35 front and 38 rear. I'm sure you know the factory recommends 2 pounds more in the front "34/32". Why the reversal? Did you do this to try to lessen understeer?

    Yes, you normally increase front tire pressure to reduce understeer, but I went with the recommendations of an experienced MS3 track driver and I thought his numbers were spot-on. The front tires run hotter due to all the work they have to do-transmit power, turn, and brake- so the pressures tend to even out front to rear.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Good stuff. I checked out the track's website and it looks like there are regular track days sponsored by a number of different organizations. There is one on Aug 2 that is basically all day for $245. Not bad.
  • dridedride Posts: 139
    I'm shopping for new tires, and here is my question: Keeping MPG as the only priority, which option we be better:

    1. 215-50-17 ultra high performance all season, weight per tire is 22lbs
    2. 205-50-17 ultra high performance all season, weight per tire is 25lbs

    I know weight matters, but so does extra friction with the wider tire.
  • blanca58blanca58 Posts: 3
    I have the same problem Mazda 3 2006. Had problems with the Toyo Factory tires at 18,000 miles. Now am having problems with Firestone tires at 20,000 miles.

    This is ridiculous.
  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Call Tire Rack and see what they have to say.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Call Tire Rack and see what they have to say.

    I've got 20K on my Bridgestones with quite a bit more tread left. Could be an alignment problem.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • indydriverindydriver Posts: 620
    Do you have an MZ3 or MS3? If the latter, 20K on a 140 wear tire is pretty good.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Do you have an MZ3 or MS3? If the latter, 20K on a 140 wear tire is pretty good.

    I have an MS3. My point was that if an MS3 can get over 20K miles out of a set of Potenzas then an MZ3 should be able to do much better with the less aggressive rubber it comes equipped with...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fox4300fox4300 Posts: 1
    I have a mazda3 i touring 2008 with 18900 miles, has anyone had any issue with the rims or tires?
    I had to replace 3 rims( $1400) and 2 tires($360)
    tech says its because of potholes. I think that is crazy!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,892
    Lower profile tires and rims get eaten alive by rough road conditions so it's not out of the question that potholes could be the cause.

    My brother spent $1700 on rims and tires in less than 6 months when he made the mistake of going to low-pros for the look in northern NJ. They may look nice, but the roads you travel on need to be better than average conditions because potholes can definitely chew them up.

    Standard equipment on the 3i touring is a tire with an aspect ratio of 50%. That falls under "low profile"

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Lower profile tires and rims get eaten alive by rough road conditions so it's not out of the question that potholes could be the cause.

    I had to buy a 225/50-16 after hitting a big pothole on vacation a few years ago, and that's been the only time in35 years of driving. My Mazdaspeed 3's 215/45-18 tires have less than 5000 miles left on them at 20000 miles, but that's due to my hooligan driving antics on both the street and the road course. All four 18" wheels are also still straight and true.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • I have Mazda 3 year 2005 and i am looking for steel rims. Anyone know where to buy them.Preferably new ones. thanks , Billy
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    www.tirerack.com

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Be careful what size steel rims you purchase. If you have a 3s, smallest steel rims you can get are 16" due to the larger brakes on the 3s. 15" rims are ok on the 3i.
  • Recommend that you not buy a Mazda. Bought a Mazda 3 2006. At around 17,000 miles I began to have problems with the tires. After complaining several times to the dealer, I was referred to the Toyo Dealers to address the warranty. I ran into major problems with them in honoring the warranty and ended up buying 4 new Firestone tires at 21,000 miles. Again at around 20,000 miles, I began having the same problems. I had the tires aligned, rotated and balanced every 3,000-6,000 miles and nothing improved the wear of the tires. Neither the Mazda dealership nor the main Mazda offices were willing to do anything to remedy the problem or find a solution. I finally traded the car in in 2008 and don’t plan to ever buy another Mazda in my life. I have read blogs on both the Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 with the same problems.
    Unless you are rich and can afford tires every 17,000 miles, it is not worth the trouble you will incur. You will be zoom zooming every 17,000 miles to a tire store.
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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Unless you are rich and can afford tires every 17,000 miles, it is not worth the trouble you will incur. You will be zoom zooming every 17,000 miles to a tire store.


    Interesting, I have a 2007 Mazdaspeed 3-with 25,000 miles on it-which I drive pretty "briskly" as the Brits put it. On top of that, the car has spent @4 hours lapping Putnam Park Sports Car Course. The Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires still have 2,000-3,000 miles left on them.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    At around 17,000 miles I began to have problems with the tires... referred to the Toyo Dealers ... ran into major problems with them in honoring the warranty ... ended up buying 4 new Firestone tires at 21,000 miles. Again at around 20,000 miles, I began having the same problems
    It sounds like the Toyos lasted 21K. How long did the Firestones last?

    had the tires aligned, rotated and balanced every 3,000-6,000 miles
    Having an alignment done every 3K to 6K miles sounds costly.
    What are your expectations in terms of tire life?
    25K miles? 30K miles? 40K miles? more than 40K miles.
    How would you characterize your driving and braking style?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    Having an alignment done every 3K to 6K miles sounds costly.
    What are your expectations in terms of tire life?
    25K miles? 30K miles? 40K miles? more than 40K miles.
    How would you characterize your driving and braking style?


    I'd also suspect that tire pressures were checked on no more than an annual basis.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • pfcvpfcv Posts: 1
    Came with 205/55r16

    How big can I go with out modifying

    ex: 205/70r16 etc.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,573
    How big can I go with out modifying

    Why in the world would you want to go from a 55 aspect ratio to a 70 aspect ratio?
    In any event, the techs at Tire Rack will be able to answer your questions.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • I need to replace the tires on my 2006 mazda 3 and they are very expensive... i was hoping someone knew any other tire names and makes that can be put on this car that are not too expensive OR other rims that could be put on this car..
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    I need to replace the tires on my 2006 mazda 3
    What does your car currently have? I would not recommend switching rims if you want to save money. If your driving is not "sporty" then you can choose a lower speed rating; the speed rating is often indicated by the letter (other than R which stands for radial) shown in the tire coding. For example,. 205/50/16 V is a faster tire than a 205/50/16 H tire; generally, faster tires are more expensive than slower tires.
  • The tires that are on it now are Goodyear P205 50R17 88V. I am not really looking for speed I am more looking for how long they last and price. Is it in my best interest to look into switching rims because the snow handling on the ones i have now are terrible.
  • autonomousautonomous Posts: 1,769
    The tires that are on it now are Goodyear P205 50R17 88V.
    These are performance tires (note the "V)" and not intended to be driven in the snow.

    Is it in my best interest to look into switching rims because the snow handling on the ones i have now are terrible.
    What many of us do is buy a separate set of winter tires with rims. The advantages of doing this are:
    - you save your regular alloy rims from winter damage,
    - the switch from summer to winter tires is quicker and cheaper
    - you can downsize your tires as well as your rims to save money.

    By buying the tires and rims at the same time, you can get a package deal which should be lower than if you bought them separately. Your winter package can be downsized by at least 1 step; meaning that you can go from a 17" rim down to a 16" rim. Any reputable tire dealer should be able to advise you. Some good choices for winter tires come from the usual suspects: Bridgestone, Michelin, Yokohama, and Toyo. Personally, I have been using BF Goodrich Winter Slalom. Some rate them as a lower rank of winter tire but I have had no problems with them for the last 5 winters. They come in a variety of sizes, are widely distributed and are cheaper than the first tier of tires. Also, don't wait too long before buying winter tires as they run out of sizes by late Novermber. Good luck!
  • rulprulp Posts: 9
    I have an '04 3s with AEM CAI and Magnaflow exhaust. Driving style is 'spirited' My latest tire choice is Dunlop Signature 205 50R17 93V and paid $160ea. Downshifting to 3rd, this car will easily pass several vehicles at once and you can find yourself near 90 mph when you pull back in without trying for it. 30-32 MPG is consistent. The Dunlops feel great and respond to all demands and situations this side of abuse. I don't know about mileage yet, but research indicates a decent life expectancy on the tire comparison websites. Live to zoom, zoom to live!
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