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Discussion Starter #1
My dealer tells me that I need now new tires after 50k miles, but Kumho's website mentions a warranty of 60k (although they don't list the Smart size of 175 / 55 anymore).

The Smart manual says that the tires are good as long as the arrows below the tire threads are fully intact. How much can I wear down the tires until it is unsafe to drive?
 

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tire warranties usually don't hold up if 2 different size tires are on the same car.
You should see wear bars between the tread and if they are even with the top of the tread, it is time for new ones.
 

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The stock Kumho tires are pretty crappy. Just replace them. I've had one flat (plugged now), and even on a front tire, they pancake all the way to the ground. Get something with a decent sidewall that might be capable of running flat.
 

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You opened this can so here goes... you say to get a tire with a decent sidewall, there are only a few tires with the recommended size for a smart car. to use any other size will affect possibly handling, stability and fuel mileage. I find it fascinating when people try to second guess the Mercedes engineers that designed the car. They take a lot into consideration and if you are willing to make sacrifices in some areas to better utilize others, then go for it. (i.e. lift kit for more ground clearance, larger tires or changing springs for special driving needs)

Run flat tires are specifically made with an inner construction to handle the load if the tire looses air pressure. they weigh much more than a regular tire, and are much more expensive.

Self-supporting run-flat tires are now common on light trucks and passenger cars and typically provide for the vehicle to drive for 50 miles (80 km) at around 50 miles per hour (80 km/h). However, if the tires are subject to this kind of misuse, they may become irreparably damaged in the process. In addition, if the tire is punctured in the sidewall or at the edge of the tread, repair may be impossible or unsafe. These tires carry a 20 to 40 percent weight penalty over similar standard tires. The thicker sidewall also means higher rolling resistance, thus reducing the vehicle's gas mileage.

Had these on my 1962 Rambler station wagon. You had to inflate the inner section with a special tool and the outer section like a regular tire. If it did go flat and you used the run flat feature, it would destroy the tire and was mighty expensive to replace. they also rode much harder than a normal tire couldn't wait to wear them out and put some normal tires on there. I'm sure the newer tires are much better but they are not available for smarts.

For the last 4 years, and 102,000 miles I have only had one tire pick up a screw that I noticed before it went flat. Newer tires don't have the same problems as in years past.
 

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Are the tires down to the tread indicators? 50K miles is pretty good. Only got 40K out of the rears, and 50k out of the fronts, on the Conti's.

It you life when it's raining out. Buy some new tires. There aren't any run flat tire made for a smart car.
 

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I changed out my Contis this year when I took off my snows, right around 50K. I was told that I could probably get another year out of them, but I would rather spend a few hundred bucks and know that I have good tread on there. Here in the Pacific Northwet, good tread is important. :>)
 

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Early Run Flat Tires:

The run flat tires that jimvw57 probably had on his 62 Rambler that he refers to in post #7 were probably Goodyear Double Eagles. These tires were rather pricey in their day. I bought a used 56 Olds Super 88 Holiday 2 door hardtop that had a set of Double Eagles on them. The tire size was 7:60-15. The previous owner paid $100.00 a piece for them. I never had a flat with them and replaced them when I wore them out. I still have the special tool to inflate the inner chamber of the tire. It is nothing more then a needle like you would use to fill a ball, but it has a valve stem and Schrader valve fitting on the opposite side. The needle was lubricated by placing it in a glycerin soaked felt pad contained in the green tube container that held the needle.
 
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