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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to the forum. Not sure if this is a good place to post this question…

I bought my Smart new in 2009 and have been delighted with it. Recently I had to purchase my first set of replacement tires (50,000 miles) and asked for the same tires that came with it when I bought it (ContiProContacts). My gas milage has dropped conservatively by 15%. Rolling resistance is markedly increased and the tires make a lot of noise. Continental assures me that they have made no changes in the tire. The car was realigned and I had them recheck that and tire pressure. They assure me that all is correct.

My question is: have other Smart owners experienced this problem and if so, are there better tire options out there? I used to love the way the car handled. I feel like I am dragging around 4 anchors now. At least I am saving on brake wear. (A poor silver lining)

-Fred

PS. What in the heck is a tag? Excuse my computer illiteracy.
 

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:welcome: to SCoA! :)

The tire experts can jump in here but I think there are two versions of the Conti smart tire - one is an "Eco" tire.
 

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Tires:

I would ask the tire dealer to get you a new set of tires. The other thing is to check is to make sure the front toe is set correctly and that there are no bent or damaged suspension and steering components. Excessive tire noise is not normal. I replaced the tires on my 08 Passion with Conti Pro Contacts and have been very pleased. I was experiencing tire noise with the original set of Conti's and some inside shoulder wear on one of the front tires, which I am sure caused the noise. I put rear rims and rear tires on the front and I am not experiencing any tire noise, irregular wear patterns and the ride and handling are much improved.
 

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Old tires become harder with age as the rubber gives up ii's elasticity. New rubber bites a lot better but does not roll as well. Maybe crank the pressure up to 200 lbs?

No don't do that ha ha!!!
 

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15% loss in fuel economy is pretty drastic. When I bought new tyres, my first tank of fuel was 2 mpg under my average...which could've been anything really...

Noise sure as heck didn't increase and I didn't notice any difference in rolling resistance.
 

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I just hit 10K on my set of Conti tires. Tires have always been very quiet. What you are experiencing is not normal.
 

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Wait 100 miles...

The mold release compound needs time to wear off.
Should take 100 miles or so...

Add 4-5 pounds pressure
(do not exceed the max on the sidewall)
this will reduce shoulder wear
and lower rolling resistance...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have burned 5+ tanks of fuel and am now averaging 39.5 mpg. The worst I ever got was 44 mpg with the originals (Often got 50+ mpg). Noise is like a pickup with mud tires. Hills I used to coast down and needed to apply brakes I now have to use the accelerator to maintain the posted speed. Don't think it is mold compound or "new" rubber issues because that would have been an issue with the first set of tires. I will see about adding more air. EcoPlus is unavailable for the front wheels. What are the pros/cons of rear wheels all the way around?
 

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I run 195/50/15 all the way around. They aren't Continentals (Kumhos) but they do match the size of my factory rear tyres (my car came with wider wheels from the factory).

Anyway, here we go!

Pros:

Improved all around handling
Improved stability
Increased front responsiveness
The ability to rotate tyres (only if all four rims are equal size)
More tyre brands to choose from
Better availability at stores
Better ride comfort
Better overall snow traction

Cons:

Depending on the size you get, they can rub on the fenders
Possible risk of messing up the esp/abs system (not likely)
A little more squirrelly in the snow during quick maneuvers
In the most extreme situations, might help contribute to a rollover
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to all for your help. Never thought you could get "lemons" for tires, but it appears that is the case with my recent purchase. I will be trying some of the suggestions made here to see if I can restore the performance of my Smart.
 

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Thanks to all for your help. Never thought you could get "lemons" for tires, but it appears that is the case with my recent purchase. I will be trying some of the suggestions made here to see if I can restore the performance of my Smart.
It's definitely possible. My folks put new tires on their Toyota Avalon this past summer. Took 3 sets before they got a good set. Started off with Bridgestones, and ended up with a set of Firestones. Horrible noise, out of round, and squirrelly handling. Local tire shop was excellent to deal with. They checked, and the tires were definitely bad. It can definitely happen...
 

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Don't forget other factors. Like winter gas. Over the same time period of your new tires my mileage has also dropped into the 30s from the 40s. I'm figuring winter fuel. Supposedly we here in the Mid-Atlantic switch over in late September but I didn't notice the economy drop until late November.My average on Fuely has been 40+. I've now had several tanks around 36mpg with no other changes.

New tires will make a bit more noise. Especially squishy squeegy kind of sounds. All those nice new biting edges. It will take a few hundred miles for the rubber to fully cure and harden after you start driving on them.
 

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I replaced my conti's with Kumhos and noticed a significant decrease in road noise and no impact on mileage. I have the original setup with skinny tires up front and chubby tires in the rear. The replacement mileage was around 30k, mostly driving in town.

I ran conti's on several other cars as OEM and didn't get good tire wear or quiet running.

Good luck with your negotiations!!
 
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