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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all. I need some help with my 2016 453 Edition 1 regarding tires. Just a few weeks ago, we bought the car with 10k miles on it ( trading in our 2008 Passion). One of things we really liked was the much improved stability the 453 has with the sport package and the 16" wheel package over the 451. One of things I hate is the apparent tire noise the OEM Conti Pro Contact tires have, and it seems that many agree that the Contis are noisy. This is my wife's car, and she was very happy with everything, and never really had an issue with the tire noise - but in my meddling, I decided to "improve" the road noise situation by getting different tires on the rear as a possible solution. I purchases a set of Federal ss595 (rears only) based on some reviews and local availability. The road noise was improved significantly, however the car ( according to my wife) feels much less stable on the highway. I guess I kind of agree with her on the handling change, although I didn't find it too distressing. The description from here is that it takes more effort to keep the car tracking straight on the highway, requiring more steering input now vs when the Contis were on. Well.....she is pretty upset and I am in the doghouse now, because I did the tire swap on my own accord. I really need to get things back to where they were in the handling department. The obvious answer is to go back to the loud OEM Contis, but I'm not very keen on doing it. Does anyone have a suggested alternate 205/45/16 tire choice that would be quieter than the OEM Contis, but still have the solid road tracking? The reviews on the Federal ss595 do mention that the sidewall is slightly soft, and that could be contributing to the unsettled feel. I have tried different tire pressures with no change in handling. I also would suspect that the alignment is still good since the only change we mad was the tires. Did I mention that my wife is fairly upset? :eek:
 

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I agree about the tire noise of the Contis. It never bothered me with my 451, perhaps because there was more engine noise. A softer sidewall will allow more “set” or “give” as the car goes into a corner. Having two different makes of tires on the front and back probably isn’t a good idea but with the handling characteristics of the Federal tires I certainly would not install them on the front also. Others here have more experience with different brands of tires so perhaps they can help. Not a lot of experience with tire swaps on the 453 on the forum, though.
 

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Fairly upset - I feel her anxiety. Get the smart on a highway with an afternoon breeze and stock tires, and it gets interesting. Perhaps the outlet you purchased the tires will take them back for an alternate choice. Have you tried tirerack.com?
 

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I wouldn't completely rule out alignment. It could be the tires are defective (??) a trip back to the store that mounted them wouldn't be a bad idea
 

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As OliverB suggests - mixing brands, especially with such a short wheelbase, can sometimes result in undesired concequences?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I understand the idea that mixing brands may be a bad idea, but if that is the case, there is little choice other than the stock Contis. The front size is the limiting factor

Thanks for the responses. Heading to the tire store now
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, my local Les Schwab convinced me to try a matching front tire set. I expressed my concern about putting a 205 width on the 185 position in the front, however they assured me that after a test fit -clearance was fine and there is no difference in circumference from the front to the rear. The 20 mm difference in width was considered insignificant. They assured me that if I didn't like to set up that I could come back in return everything and put it to stock. So I packed on another $250 and have the front 205s mounted. I took a short test ride and everything seemed to track quite well, and ran without the reasonant howl the Contis had. I told my wife that she can check out the new set up, noting that it is significantly more quiet than the stock continentals, however if she wants to go back to stock we can do that since our original take-off tires are still at Schwab, fortunately. She's going to test them tomorrow.

I really don't want to go back to those loud Conti's
 

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The front size is the limiting factor
Replace the front wheels with rear wheels. Then you can buy 4 same-size tires, AND improve handling, rotating, etc. I have done this with both of my Smarts.

I have Conti's (175/55 15)on both my gas and ED Smart's. Both cars are quite. The electric car is almost silent running around.
I don't know why users say they are loud, and I am very sensitive to noise.

I also inflate them to 40lbs each. Wear is very even, and they handle better.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
The front size is the limiting factor
Replace the front wheels with rear wheels. Then you can buy 4 same-size tires, AND improve handling, rotating, etc. I have done this with both of my Smarts.

I have Conti's (175/55 15)on both my gas and ED Smart's. Both cars are quite. The electric car is almost silent running around.
I don't know why users say they are loud, and I am very sensitive to noise.

I also inflate them to 40lbs each. Wear is very even, and they handle better.
I know that works well with 451 models. Has anyone done it with a 16" wheel 453?
 

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I know that works well with 451 models. Has anyone done it with a 16" wheel 453?
I have a 451 and no experience with a 453 but if you were willing to run different than stock sizes, you have lots of alternatives.

I don't know if the speedometer in the 453 is as optimistic as the one in the 451 but you could have gone to 195/50-15 and 205/50-15, which would have increased both tire circumferences a bit over stock and given you a bit more tread width up front. Those sizes are available in many tires, including the Kumho Ecsta 4X II that I used on a Miata and found to be a very quiet and smooth riding tire with still good handling characteristics. If the 595's don't work out, I'd suggestmgoing this route.

Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk
 

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I think the OP is the first we know of on the forum to try that with a 453. With handling substantially improved with OE tire size, I don’t think most owners have yet considered it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I think the OP is the first we know of on the forum to try that with a 453. With handling substantially improved with OE tire size, I don’t think most owners have yet considered it.
Went for a quick 20 mile spin on I-5 last night, and my biased opinion is that this is a great setup! Stock 16" black spoke sport wheels with 205/45/16 front and rear. Very crisp in the curves and hold a line very well even when buffeted by traffic turbulence

Wife tests it today. Fingers crossed :trafficlight:
 
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