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Run-flat, self-sealing, PAX tires for Minivans



  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    Well, I can't speak for anyone else but, yes, I see the PAX system as a negative and the premium charged for the Touring makes it a poor value relative to the EX or EX-L.

    If its MSRP was, say, $2000 more than an EX-L and it had regular tires, the price would be reasonable for the additional equipment.
  • I bought my Ody touring today. Drove it home. All in all okay. But then I read the manual. My plan is to get away from PAX as quickly as possible by buying new EX Wheels, and a donut spare. As it turns out, you CANNOT do this on the touring model. It is because of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System. As soon as you remove the PAX wheels, the TPMS reports a malfunction in the system. When this occurs, you get a mesage on the dash, and the VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist) locks on. You cannot shut it off, even by pressing the VSA button.

    The trouble is that VSA must be shut off to use a donut spare tire (according to the owners manual) due to the difference in diameter of the spare compared to the other wheels.

    Bottom line: You cannot get away from PAX wheels once you own a Touring model. I am locked in now. The damn dealer told me it would be no problemo to switch wheels if I wanted. But the owners manual is clear: If you have PAX, you gotta stick with PAX or your warranty is DEAD.

    The manual also states that you cannot install snow tires on the Touring Ody either. What a crock.

    So, here's to PAX. I have a vested interest now. Everyone go out and buy lots of PAX equipped Odysseys. I need this technology to spread like wildfire. But there is zero chance of that happening. This will be a doomed experiment.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    If you opt to carry a high pressure space saver tire around as a spare, you may want to keep it away from the fuel tank:

    Zero-Pressure Spare Tires Offer More Safety (Yahoo)

    Steve, Host
  • I've changed my pessimism about the PAX system after reading an article "Running Flat, Low and Flat Out" in the January 2005 issue of ROAD AND TRACK (pages 138-142).
          I am disabled and run-flat tires are very high on my list of features I want in my next minivan (I have a 99 Odyssey now). My choices have been narrowed down to the Odyssey Touring or the Sienna Limited (with AWD to get the run-flat tires). I am now convinced that the PAX system is the only way to go. Better treadwear, lower rolling resistance, more flexible sidewalls, higher temperature rating, more accurate pressure sensing, and better handling than Sienna system.
         I believe Honda/Michelin has a winner here!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Apologies for the inability to post for the last day. Seems we had a flat and had to go all the way to New Jersey to find a spare :-)


    Steve, Host
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    It's becoming a semi-regular occurrence.
  • don6don6 Posts: 1
    With all of the disadvantages discussed about PAX, I am amazed there doesn't seem to be any mention of the EXTREMELY harsh ride. This is particularly felt in the rear seat with anything less than perfect pavement. I am very sorry to be saddled with the PAX system and doubt that I will be a long term owner of a touring model. My Ford pickup is much more comfortable on the same roads. What a shame in a vehicle that cost more than a Cadillac.
  • Well mark at least one loss to Honda due to PAX ONLY tires, ME! I had a $1500 deposit on Honda Odyssey Touring with RES and NAV. When I found out about the great limitations of cost, supply, and chance of getting stuck without replacements, I cancelled my deal!


    Today I bought a Toyota Sienna XLE Limited which actually has the same equipment and some more things the Honda did not. But has "REAL" tires and a spare! Same exact price as dealer matched Honda deal.


    I hope Honda is listening. I was all set with the Odyssey and cancelled ONLY due to having NO choice of tires. As much as I thing PAX technology may be great, having limited replacements and NO repairs ridiculous on a vehicle made for travel. Now when I need tires on the Toyota Sienna I will have choices and NOT pay premium of what ever Honda and Michelelin feels like charging.


    I think it is terrible how many Honda buyers have no idea about PAX, as Honda is hiding these limitations from consumers. Nothing in brochures, nothing on their web site, nothing on invoice or car. I found out in these forums. Thank you Edmunds!


    Stephen A
  • joeb24joeb24 Posts: 111
    Well, I bit-the-bullet and bought a runflat (Bridgestone B380 run flat) for my 2005 Sienna XLE AWD. Found a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer who had 5. No one else, including TireRack had these in stock in the northern VA area; they are on back order until mid January. It was over $200. I will be getting an original alloy wheel this week to mount the tire on, also expensive. Since I will have the third row seat down most of the time, I will carry this spare with me most of the time. I will also rotate it in when I rotate tires to get more mileage out of these tires (which, I understand do not give great mileage). This solution is expensive, but I will have piece of mind when traveling. Maybe there will be more options for the XLE AWD when these tires wear out?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Carrying the spare around with you inside the passenger cabin brings up another issue. Loose stuff in the cabin goes flying in a panic stop, and a heavy tire could really do some damage.


    Steve, Host
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Deal on a great van? First, the Touring is a $4k premium over an EX-L (assuming both are at MSRP). THEN, on top of that, you're saying that if the purchaser doesn't want the PAX tires, they pay out of their pocket for different rims and tires, and move the transmitters to the new rims. I'm guessing that a new set of 18" rims and tires will run you a minimum of $1500. And don't forget, you've still got to scrounge up a spare tire somewhere now that you've gotten rid of the PAX system.


    Seems like a pretty hefty premium to pay over and above an EX-L to me. I had no idea the Touring was really THAT much better.


    Maybe the Touring owner could recoup some of their expense by selling their PAX system on Ebay to someone who really, really wants PAX......
  • gkkimgkkim Posts: 17
    The assumed $4K premium covers much more than just the PAX system. Don't get me wrong, the EX-L is a great van also. For whatever it is worth, the PAX system offers my family a safety margin that I think outweighs the perceived negatives. For those who are sincerely concerned that they can't change out the rims from the Touring, it is not a technical/physical issue.
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    You could put conventional run-flats on ANY vehicle, and achieve the safety margin that you say PAX offers you--with more tire options and at a lower cost.
  • 'Regarding the Positive article about PAX in 2005 Road and Track': Couldn't find that issue, I only found the December 2004 Road and Track at Borders Book Store. What positive things did the article say about PAX? PAX, and the addition $4K, is stopping me from buying a Touring Odyssey.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I think you're missing the point. We aren't dissing the safety advantages of RFT's.


    We just don't understand why Honda had to chose a proprietary system. We don't understand why Michelin couldn't developed a PAX rim which could ALSO accept standard tires if PAX tires were unavailable. We don't like the fact that if you have the PAX system, you are forced to STAY with the PAX system unless you want to incur the additional expense of changing out rims.


    We also don't like the fact that Michelin has tried this EXACT same scheme before (offering tires which were supposed to be a 'revolution' but required special rims which would NOT accept any other type of tire). This system was called TRX. It was an abyssmal failure. And it had much wider initial use by manufacturers than PAX currently has.


    Personally, I think the system would have had a much greater chance for success if people knew that, IF a PAX tire was unavailable, or IF they didn't like the ride/wear/noise of their PAX tires, they would have the option to choose a different tire. They would then be more willing to give PAX a try.
  • The article is in the January 2005 issue-should be on the newsstands by now--I have a subscription. Anyway, here are some of the Road and Track author's comments (I believe that if I only paraphrase or directly quote excerpts, I won't violate any copyright laws):


         "The significance of Michelin's PAX run-flat tire is its decoupling of inflated and deflated performance. That is, unlike other extended-mobility concepts, PAX lets engineers optimize deflated performance independently of normal inflated operation. Its attributes offer benefits compared with conventional tire designs as well."

         "Unlike any other tire's bead technology, PAX anchoring is not pneumatic; it's purely mechanical....thus, since its independent of a tire's inflation pressure, the bead/wheel interface isn't compromised by deflation. In fact, this is the case even in extreme cornering."

         After several more comments about the origin of the PAX name and the nomenclature they use in defining the tire's size. He then goes on to say: "Michelin recently offered me several back-to-back tests to assess PAX technology. First, I got to autocross two Renault Scenics, one with PAX, the other with conventional tires, both at correct inflation pressure. By the way, PAX has been optional on this tidy Euro-only minivan since June 2001 and standard since January 2002.

        "By assiduously keeping my eyes off the tires, I was able to do this phase 'blind' with slow, moderately aggressive and car-control-teetering laps of each one. Differences were really subtle, though I sensed one car offered a bit more comfort on the easy lap and a bit more grip on the hot one.

         "Which car? The one on PAX.

         "Next came a street route with a new Honda Odyssey, the Touring model....this particular Odyssey had a flat left rear tire.....In moderate city driving, the principal giveaway was a slight rumble and a bit of ride harshness on broken surfaces..."

         "The last exercise was the most compelling: autocrossing an Audi A8L with its left rear PAX utterly deflated.....on hard right turns, the Audi's left rear felt initially like it was breaking away; this, as the tread structure realigned itself on the PAX inner ring. Then, it stabilized and developed grip....Pushed further the Audi could actully be pitched and caught around cones--this quite amazingly, with a flat rear tire."

         "What of PAX significance? The tire has already been standard equipment on the Renault Scenics and Roll-Royce Phantom and now on the Odyssey Touring. Its optional on Audi A4, A6 and A8 models (and rumored on a coming Nissan product) Michelin expects annual PAX adoptions to grow to between 200,000 and 250,000 four-tire fitments by 2005."

         The article then mentions that the PAX is amenable to SUV and minivan load ranges. (unlike Michelin's own Zero Pressure tires) Four PAX tires weigh less than 5 equivalent conventional tires. PAX rolling resistance is 12 percent better than a conventional tires and a huge 30-40 percent better than other run-flat tires (which are notoriously poor in this regard). Michelin says PAX will probably cost a 10-percent premium over a traditional non-run-flat tire. Then the author concludes the PAX portion of the article with this comment:

         "To me, the most compelling thing is that Pirelli, Goodyear, Sumitimo and Toyo have each licensed PAX technology for their own products. In fact, one of the concept cars at the Paris auto show was on Goodyear PAX tires."

       In the following portion of the article, the author discusses various tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). TPMS is mandatory for run-flat systems to let you know when you're tire has lost pressure. PAX uses a direct-pressure sensing system which has very good accuracy. Direct systems have a sensor within each wheel, measuring each tire pressure independently, and can display each pressure separately. Sienna and other systems use an indirect system that works on the principal that an underinflated tire has a smaller rolling circumference. By monitoring the differences between tires using ABS hardware, its possible to identify differences in inflation pressure. However, since indirect systems compare data over time, it won't necessarily provide a timely response to rapid deflation, and most likely cannot identify which tire is low and may not operate at all vehicle speeds. Also, if all four tires gradually lose pressure at about the same rate (for example through neglect), an indirect system won't identify an underinflation at all. A direct system is as accurate as its chosen sensor. Typically, 1-psi differences are identified. Indirect systems may not be capable of anything better than that required by the proposed NHTSA regulation (25 percent).

         I have also noticed that there are several tire changer manufacturers (for example, Hunter Engineering--go to now marketing PAX system tools and kits for independent shops that can handle all the latest PAX combinations.

        I hope that the above has been helpful--GO FOR THE TOURING! I think the PAX system is not only the best run-flat system available, but will be successful. Hey--I remember back when tubeless tires were introduced. There was a lot of concern as to whether they would actually work. Some people even insisted om putting a tube in their tubeless tires.
  • gkkimgkkim Posts: 17
    Honda probably choose PAX to distinguish itself from the usual RFT that have stiff side walls, which increases the harshness of the ride and reduces rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy. The wear rating on the bridgestones(?) that at put on the Sienna AWD's aren't the most impressive.


    As for the price point break mentioned for implementing non-proprietary RFT, there really isn't. The availability of those "non-proprietary" system is at best comparable. After looking at both the 05 Odyssey and 04/05 Sienna AWD, we called around the tire shops in the SF Bay Area and and came to the that conclusion.


    What non-proprietary does give one is the ability to put on a non-rft "regular" tire -- at which point, the comparison is moot because a blow out/flat of a regular tire and the trouble of being stuck on the roadside waiting.


    By 2007 when the TREAD act comes in place, one of the big stumbling block for implementing RFT will be in place. Cars will be required to have pressure monitors.


    The point that I was making is that (whether the PAX tires are successful), people can change out the PAX if they do no like the ride/wear/noise. There will be duds out there - TRX being the most notable. Fifty years ago no one believed that a radial tire was possible. Just a few years back, the motion pictures association spoke out against the VHS technology. Consumers will speak with their wallet and time will tell if PAX becomes a part of the evolution - or a roadkill.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Nice summary of the R&T article - thanks!


    Maybe the gas saved by the less rolling resistance of the tires will offset the 10% estimated extra cost.


    btw, I remember when radials replaced bias tires; that was a hot topic of discussion at the time. Especially since they cost more to buy.


    Steve, Host
  • heywood1heywood1 Posts: 850
    Depends on what 'traditional non-run-flat' you're comparing it to. This claim is too general to be taken at face value. If anything, I would assume the comparison is to full-blown retail price of an expensive brand. The devil is in the details....
  • You write:

    "Honda probably choose PAX to distinguish itself from the usual RFT that have stiff side walls, which increases the harshness of the ride and reduces rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy."


    The point brought out repeatedly is that Honda Touring didn't need PAX tires because it has enough space for a spare. Probably it would've been a bit more expensive to implement a TPMS without PAX, but IMO, Honda should've gone that route.


    Secondly, Michelin itself could have designed PAX for a standard size rim. They wanted to fleece customers for their life time, so they went with a nonstandard rim.


    You also write: "The point that I was making is that (whether the PAX tires are successful), people can change out the PAX if they do no like the ride/wear/noise."


    As far as I am concerned, the issues of changing out PAX tires appear to be far more complicated than necessary at the present time. Being the bleeding edge of tire technology, I would avoid PAX like a plague. Conventional wisdom based on current vehicle numbers indicates PAX has a long shot at success, but if Michelin can pull it off, more power to them. However, I for one wouldn't want to be a guinea-pig in their little experiment.
  • I am so happy I did NOT go through with the purchase of the Odyssey Touring. The 2005 Sienna XLE Limited is a great van and even has some features the Odyssey lacked. My Toyota dealer matched my deal and I actually got a few extras at same price.


    The reason I cancelled my deal at Honda was strickly PAX tires. It amazes me that so many people get all this wrong regarding these tires. My livihood is Engineering and technology. I have no problem with the technology. I actually thing "flat-runs" are a good thing. But not the greatest thing! I have BIG problems with the practical and business side of this issue.


    First, you can NOT readily switch PAX tires off Ody Touring, no matter what you say! The rims or should I say "TWHEEL" is 18.1 inches a non standard size. There is NO donut available, no room to carry a future donut or any spare tire. Honda "wasted" the space where the donut would have been stored with a stupid placed useless "plastic" pocket! (EWL has a donut here).


    The TPMS will not allow you to simply change to ANY other tire/wheel without NON-HONDA "yet to be proved" methods voiding your warranty! Smaller wheels will most definately screw up your mileage, speedometer readings. JUST READ THE USER MANUAL. ASK THE HONDA SERVICE MANAGER. I DID. YOU ARE BASICALLY STUCK WITH PAX TIRES!


    Only Honda and Michelin have PAX and WILL "control" your price and availability for these "TWHEELS". That known, you will pay premium for replacement. I could care less how long they last. "CONTROL" is the real important word here, not "distinguish"!


    Now for the important part. The Ody Touring is called "TOURING" it has high end GPS NAV, RES DVD, and all the things people want when they TRAVEL. This is NOT only a vehicle to go back and forth to work or shop in the neighborhood.


    Availability of something as simple as TIRES on a road trip is paramount to any thinking driver. Not having ANY PAX tires in Canada at all, or in most remote places is ridiculous. HELL, my New Jersey dealer has NONE in stock and it is a large dealer!


    I do not care what Honda and Michelin does to "ship" a tire to me when I am STUCK in front of a tire repair shop with NO replacement! AAA can NOT help and neither can 99.999% of the tire repair centers. Waiting for a replacement M-F 9-5, from only one source is stupid! Especially when you are on a weekend away.


    Who cares that Rolls Royce uses them, as RR owners are NOT travelling to National Parks using a NAV with KIDS in the back playing Playstation! How can you EVEN think to compare RR to HONDA? Or Panther? Give us a break, the space shuttle has great technology also, should I buy into that for family van?


    Watch how fast Honda drops PAX as a standard item! Then you will have THAT ONE, that people will avoid!


    I want to thank the Edmunds forum for "informing me" when Honda dealer, salesman, Honda web site, Honda brochure, Honda news releases, and even Road and Track did NOT tell me the whole story.


    If PAX was so great, why does Honda hide the facts from its customers? Why is PAX NOT on every car they sell? Why is it NOT on all cars? At least Toyota run flats can be swapped easily and the Toyota dealer TOLD me the AWD had NO spare! I opted for FWD. I would NOT be surprised if Honda has a class action law suite against them one day on this and has to make good on all those PAX tires on Touring ODYs.


    By the way, the rear seats in the Honda. The mechanism for folding them is cheap, the plastic lever broke right off in my girlfriends hand at the dealers. We then noticed the one on the other side was already broken! NOT made all that well, I am surprised at Honda, as they make a great vehicle otherwise. Just one other thing to check, when looking at the Honda Ody. Bet that will change also in 2006.


    I am very happy with my choice, 2005 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited is a great minivan! Enough with the performance issues/Gas mileage as the Honda Ody and Toyota Sienna are so close anyway. These are minivans, NOT Corvettes! Having a easy replace tire is a bit more important, NO?


    Stephen A
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Michelin has licensed the technology to four other tire companies since they introduced PAX in 1998 (Goodyear, Pirelli, Toyo and Sumitomo). I think the extra cost is the main deterrent to wide adoption - the requirement for tire pressure monitors that the US government is phasing in will encourage use of run-flats.


    (Detroit Free Press)


    Steve, Host
  • gkkimgkkim Posts: 17
    Good for you Digiprod. I'm glad you made your decision with your wallet. Just like you, many of us Odyssey Touring owners have deliberated those pro/con and have decided that the value added in the Touring is worthwhile for us, just as you chosen to be able to easily replace tires as a bit more important. Can PAX be changed out? Yeah. Is it difficult? Probably not as easy as finding a bridgestone rft for the sienna. Is is pax a standard wheel/tread/bead. Nope. Will it be part of the evolution or part of an extinction branch - we'll see. Between radial tires, vhs/beta, cd/dvd, hdtv standards, we've witness progress not seen in previous generations. We'll see where these treads lead us.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225 do you REALLY feel?


    I hope Honda monitors these forums. I think your views are WAY extreme but it's entirely possible amny others feel the same way.


    As far as the seat levers breaking. I have never seen this. The third row seats must have been raised and lowered THOUSANDS of times by abusive people at our recent Auto Show and after a week of that, they weren't broken.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Thanks for that info. I didn't know that. Kinda takes a lot of the wind out of that previous post.


    I guess time will tell...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Well, as someone who averages a flat a year, I do like the idea of a full size spare. Both my Quest and Outback came with donuts, and both were replaced with full size spares. I like to drive roads like this one though. When I had my flat there, the muddy road was so rough I didn't realize I had a flat for a mile. Never did find the hubcap :-)


    Oh yeah, I got a spare 50 miles down the road at the one gas station in Churchill Falls - and it was sort of close to the size I needed, lol.


    Steve, Host
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    And wonder what all of the flat tire talk is about. I'll guess it's been 20 years since I've had a flat and then it was a slow leaker.


    Maybe I'm just lucky?
  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    Honda is looking for differentiators - features that will give customers a reason to buy their van over someone else's. Michelin is trying to push a new "state of the art" tire standard it invented, in the hopes it will become popular and will provide a ton of new sales and licensing revenue.


    On the other hand, all I can think of is "TRX". That was supposed to be the "next big thing" in tire technology, too, but all it did was ensure strong demand for aftermarket wheels. Unless I really thought PAX was going to be on EVERY car in 10 years, I'd stick with regular radials. Isell, you yourself said that you rarely if ever get flats. Doesn't PAX seem like a super expensive and complex solution to a fairly simple problem? This isn't like the bias-ply to radial changeover, where one technology offered vastly superior performance with no real cost or other drawbacks.


    One final thought. When I was a kid, our transmission crapped out on I-10 just on the AZ side of the AZ-CA border. We spent the next week of our vacation in Blythe, CA instead of Disneyland. Imagine spending a week of vacation in Blythe just so you can get a spare tire shipped in to the local tire shop - assuming they even have the necessary mounting tools! I think there are going to be some super unhappy Odyssey Touring customers when something like this happens.


  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    I don't think his views are extreme. His passion, maybe, but not his views.


    I have bought 5 new Hondas since 1984, the last a 2004 Pilot. Will a Odyssey Touring join the family? Much as I like various features on the vehicle, it will not so long as it is equipped with PAX.


    Perhaps I could live with the system if it only had one drawback but...


    1) As he said, if we have a flat on a vacation weekend, we'll be seeing a deal of somewhere we hadn't planned on.


    2) If I don't like the performance (or wear or whatever) of PAX tires, tough, I'm stuck with no alternative short of changing wheels and tires.


    3) That long planned vacation through Western Canada? Nope, can't do that with a PAX equipped vehicle.


    Three strikes and Honda's PAX system is "out" with me.
  • indy93indy93 Posts: 97
    There is no PAX dealer is Los Angeles!
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