Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
New owner 2008 passion and need to order new tires. Fronts are wore on inside which I understand is common on these cars and is cheaper to buy new tires than get a front end alignment! Rears wore even. I have stock size I believe 155/60/R15 front and 175/55/R15 rear. Question is ...what size is everybody running for best ride and stability? I do NOT want to buy new wheels but will upgrade tires if needed.Car will never see the interstate and longest trip will be 50 miles one way to our nearest larger town. Otherwise the wife will be just driving it to work and back. Only 6 miles one way. Also what inflation is everyone running for safest ride and stability? Want to keep the wife safe as I can while driving this little thing. Thanks in advance. I have 85,000 miles on it now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
I also have a 6 mile drive to work that is the Smarts' primary duty.


You didn't post your location in your profile but I settled on an 'All Weather' tire, one that has the 3PMSF symbol which qualifies it as a winter tire as well.


Now there aren't many sizes that fit both the front and rear rims, but this size does: 165 60 R15


Getting four of the same and you can move them from front to rear to even them out.
As you noticed, fronts often wear unevenly and the rears will use up tread faster.


There are only two tires available in this size and only one has the 3PMSF:

https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Vredestein&tireModel=Quatrac+5&partnum=66HR5QT5&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes


Conti's are the OEM tire and are noisy - 74dB versus this Vredestien at 70dB.


If you get a pair of rear rims and mount them up front, the tire size of choice becomes 185 55 R15.
I run Nokian WRG4s in that size, also with the 3PMSF


Oh, and 28psi Front, 32psi Rear
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,304 Posts
For what you are driving, I would just go with the stock sizes and standard inflation listed on the door frame. If you were doing longer drives at highway speeds, then I would go with the larger tires. And since you are in Texas, forget about the all season or snow tire rating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,013 Posts
^^^^Ditto, OEM tires. Don’t play Hocus pocus, with tire inflation. Or weird tire sizes. Follow the manufacturers tire pressure guide lines, on the door frame. For the best tire wear, and ride quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Smart made a poor choice of tire sizes with the 451. Instead of 155/60R15 front tires and 175/55R15 rear tires, they should have fitted 165/65R14 front tires and 185/60R14 rear tires as standard. This would have given the car a much better ride. Fortunately, the Smart 453 came with these widths and aspect ratios but went one better on the diameter, namely 1" bigger diameter at 165/65R15 front tires and 185/60R15 rear tires.

All is not lost however, as 165/60R15 front tires and 185/55R15 rear tires can be used instead of the standard 155/60R15 front tires and 175/55R15 rear tires.

Vredestein Quatrac 5 165/60R15

https://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/tiresearch.cgi?stock=22032&f=quatrac5_s.cst

Vredestein Quatrac 5 185/55R15

https://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/tiresearch.cgi?stock=22048&f=quatrac5_s.cst

Comfort tire pressures 23psi front and 29psi rear

Add 3psi to these front and rear tire pressures for sharper handling at the expense of a harder ride.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
17,390 Posts
Big453 hit the nail on the head there, you cannot go wrong with those Vredestein tyres. I have four in 185/60/15 and haven't looked back. :)

Sadly I think the stock front wheels don't support that size, so you may need to go staggered.

14s are generally associated with cheap cars, and MB clearly didn't want that image.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
14s are generally associated with cheap cars, and MB clearly didn't want that image.
1985 Mercedes S-Class was available with 14" wheels and so were many other expensive cars of that era. When the Smart 450 was introduced to Europe in 1998 it was a cheap car. The first Smarts were sold with 135/70R15 front tires and 175/55R15 rear tires. However, this was a last minute change of plan for Smart after the original car failed the Elk test. Before it failed the Elk test, the Smart 450 was going to be sold with 135/70R15 tires all round or so the rumors go. Therefore 15" tires made sense. If Smart had gone with 14" rims and 135 tires they would have had to go with a high 80 series aspect ratio (ie. 135/80R14) to get a similar outside tire diameter. These would have had even worse cornering performance than the 135/70R15 tires. An important aspect to consider when selecting tires for the Smart ForTwo (or City-Coupe as it was known before 2003) is the 40/60 front/rear weight distribution. This means that you have 50% more weight being supported by the rear wheels than the front wheels on a fully loaded car (ie. 210kg passengers and 50kg of rear luggage over the rear axle). As an unladen Smart 450 weighs 730kg, this means that the fully loaded car weighs 990kg. Or almost 1000kg. And due to the 40/60 front/rear weight distribution, you get almost 400kg being supported by the front axle and almost 600kg being supported by the rear axle. I mention this unusual weight distribution because it can have a big effect on the choice of tires that you make. The original car could have had 135/70R15 70T front tires matched to 175/70R13 82T rear tires (Yes, 13" rear tires!). The load index of 70 is 335kg and the load index of 82 is 475kg. So the load indexes of these two tire sizes is almost a 40/60 front/rear split (ie. close to the weight distribution of a fully loaded car). If Smart had gone with these tire sizes, they could have gone with 29psi tire pressure all round, which would have resulted in the original car having a much softer and more comfortable ride. The tread/contact patch on a 175/70 tire is much narrower than the tread/contact patch on a 175/55 tire, so even if you inflate them both to identical tire pressures, the 175/70 tire will have a softer and more comfortable ride. Not only that, but 175/70 tires have a much higher load index than 175/55 tires (ie. 175/70R13 load index is 475kg and 175/55R15 load index is 412kg) due to their much higher sidewalls which means that you can inflate them to a lower tire pressure to support the same load/weight.

If anyone wants to try 135/70R15 70T front tires matched to 175/70R13 82T rear tires on their Smart 451, there's a company in England that can make rear 13" alloy wheels to fit the Smart (they are based on a Mini design, but the manufacturer can machine them for the 3-bolt hole arrangement of the Smart along with correct hub center bore, ie. 3 x 112mm x 57.1mm hub center bore. They don't make anything suitable for the front, so you would need to match with steel front rims.

http://minilite.co.uk/products.htm

13x5 MA1350B ETO - ET26

The product code is MA1350B and the choice of offset for this rim is between 0mm and 26mm. The Smart 451 uses a standard rear offset of 22mm, so that would be a good place to start. The 5" rim width is an ideal match for the 175/70R13 rear tire.

The steel front rims from the original Smart 450 have a specification of 3.5J x 15 ET20.5 and would be ideal for the front 135/70R15 tires which was the original tire size fitted to these rims.

There isn't much choice in matching 135/70R15 and 175/70R13 tires, although I have seen Kumho Solus KH17 summer tires in both these sizes.

If anyone did try these sizes, you would feel a lot of cushioning from the rear 13" tires but much less cushioning from the front 15" tires due to the 13" tires having much higher sidewalls, so a bit of a mismatch in terms of comfort, ie. the rear tires would be great, but you might find yourself wishing that the front tires were softer to match the fantastic ride comfort that you were getting from the rear tires. However, as you sit much closer to the rear axle than the front axle this might be acceptable.

In summary, probably best to stick to more conventional tire size arrangements especially considering the lack of grip you get from 135 front tires.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
17,390 Posts
Honestly, if a smart's ride quality is so bad that you have to buy one-off wheels and buy even harder to find tyres than stock, I'm afraid you may need a car that's not a smart. :shrug:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
In today’s new car world. 15” tires, are associated with base model cars. Even 16” are small.
The Smart ForTwo originally came out in 1998. Before it failed the Elk test, it complied with the tiny Japanese Kei car dimensions. The 1" wider rear wheel arches that were added because Smart changed the 135 rear tires to 175 rear tires after failing the Elk test, meant that it became too wide for the Japanese Kei car dimensions. Here are two classic cars that did originally come with 14" tires.

Suzuki Cappuccino had 165/65R14 tires:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Cappuccino

Mazda Miata MX-5 had 185/60R14 tires:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_MX-5

The modern big Smart 453 doesn't need 14" wheels because Smart have increased the outside diameter of the tires by about 1" resulting in a comfortable ride from its 15" tires.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,013 Posts
The Smart ForTwo originally came out in 1998. Before it failed the Elk test, it complied with the tiny Japanese Kei car dimensions. The 1" wider rear wheel arches that were added because Smart changed the 135 rear tires to 175 rear tires after failing the Elk test, meant that it became too wide for the Japanese Kei car dimensions. Here are two classic cars that did originally come with 14" tires.

Suzuki Cappuccino had 165/65R14 tires:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzuki_Cappuccino

Mazda Miata MX-5 had 185/60R14 tires:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_MX-5

The modern big Smart 453 doesn't need 14" wheels because Smart have increased the outside diameter of the tires by about 1" resulting in a comfortable ride from its 15" tires.
My 2008 451 had 15” all around. They didn’t come with 14”. The 451 smart Brabus, P175/55R15, rear: P215/35R17. My first Fiat 500 sport 16”, my Abarth 17”. The 2020 Twingo sport GT, is using 17” around.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
Before 2018, the Fiat 500 standard wheel size is 15”. Pop, and Lounge models. Fiat never offered a 14” size tires, on the current 500. Here in NA.

2018-19 all 500’s are turbo cars, are Equipped with 16”. Optional 17” Abarth.
The Fiat 500 is sold globally. In some markets it's available with 14" wheels. 5.5x14 4x98 ET35 hub bore 58

https://www.oponeo.it/cerchi-in-acciaio/alcar-kfz-6315
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
74 Posts
Smart made a poor choice of tire sizes with the 451. Instead of 155/60R15 front tires and 175/55R15 rear tires, they should have fitted 165/65R14 front tires and 185/60R14 rear tires as standard. This would have given the car a much better ride. Fortunately, the Smart 453 came with these widths and aspect ratios but went one better on the diameter, namely 1" bigger diameter at 165/65R15 front tires and 185/60R15 rear tires.

All is not lost however, as 165/60R15 front tires and 185/55R15 rear tires can be used instead of the standard 155/60R15 front tires and 175/55R15 rear tires.

Vredestein Quatrac 5 165/60R15

https://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/tiresearch.cgi?stock=22032&f=quatrac5_s.cst

Vredestein Quatrac 5 185/55R15

https://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/tiresearch.cgi?stock=22048&f=quatrac5_s.cst

Comfort tire pressures 23psi front and 29psi rear

Add 3psi to these front and rear tire pressures for sharper handling at the expense of a harder ride.
I see this brand showing up on the Tire Rack website. Has anyone bought these yet? Reviews?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
1,376 Posts
I see this brand showing up on the Tire Rack website. Has anyone bought these yet? Reviews?
I put two on the rear of my coupe a year or so ago. No complaints so far. No virtues to extol either. I'm satisfied with them so far. I just hope they give me more than the 16K the originals did.

Len
2014 EV Coupe 18,500 miles
2014 EV Cabriolet 13,000 miles
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
17,390 Posts
I see this brand showing up on the Tire Rack website. Has anyone bought these yet? Reviews?
I run Vredestein Quatrac 5 XLs in 185/60/15 on my 2012. They're far better than the factory Continentals for a price so low I felt I got away with robbery.

They're very competent in snow, have more dry grip you'll ever need for normal driving, and they're amazingly proficient offroad. I'm not kidding, these things make short work of dirt, shallow mud, and will even do some climbing within reason.

I got the XL models because I wanted a stronger tyre for towing trailers. It does the job exceptionally well. :)
 

·
I'll figger this car out
Joined
·
303 Posts
1985 Mercedes S-Class was available with 14" wheels and so were many other expensive cars of that era. When the Smart 450 was introduced to Europe in 1998 it was a cheap car. The first Smarts were sold with 135/70R15 front tires and 175/55R15 rear tires. However, this was a last minute change of plan for Smart after the original car failed the Elk test. Before it failed the Elk test, the Smart 450 was going to be sold with 135/70R15 tires all round or so the rumors go. Therefore 15" tires made sense. If Smart had gone with 14" rims and 135 tires they would have had to go with a high 80 series aspect ratio (ie. 135/80R14) to get a similar outside tire diameter. These would have had even worse cornering performance than the 135/70R15 tires. An important aspect to consider when selecting tires for the Smart ForTwo (or City-Coupe as it was known before 2003) is the 40/60 front/rear weight distribution. This means that you have 50% more weight being supported by the rear wheels than the front wheels on a fully loaded car (ie. 210kg passengers and 50kg of rear luggage over the rear axle). As an unladen Smart 450 weighs 730kg, this means that the fully loaded car weighs 990kg. Or almost 1000kg. And due to the 40/60 front/rear weight distribution, you get almost 400kg being supported by the front axle and almost 600kg being supported by the rear axle. I mention this unusual weight distribution because it can have a big effect on the choice of tires that you make. The original car could have had 135/70R15 70T front tires matched to 175/70R13 82T rear tires (Yes, 13" rear tires!). The load index of 70 is 335kg and the load index of 82 is 475kg. So the load indexes of these two tire sizes is almost a 40/60 front/rear split (ie. close to the weight distribution of a fully loaded car). If Smart had gone with these tire sizes, they could have gone with 29psi tire pressure all round, which would have resulted in the original car having a much softer and more comfortable ride. The tread/contact patch on a 175/70 tire is much narrower than the tread/contact patch on a 175/55 tire, so even if you inflate them both to identical tire pressures, the 175/70 tire will have a softer and more comfortable ride. Not only that, but 175/70 tires have a much higher load index than 175/55 tires (ie. 175/70R13 load index is 475kg and 175/55R15 load index is 412kg) due to their much higher sidewalls which means that you can inflate them to a lower tire pressure to support the same load/weight.

If anyone wants to try 135/70R15 70T front tires matched to 175/70R13 82T rear tires on their Smart 451, there's a company in England that can make rear 13" alloy wheels to fit the Smart (they are based on a Mini design, but the manufacturer can machine them for the 3-bolt hole arrangement of the Smart along with correct hub center bore, ie. 3 x 112mm x 57.1mm hub center bore. They don't make anything suitable for the front, so you would need to match with steel front rims.

http://minilite.co.uk/products.htm

13x5 MA1350B ETO - ET26

The product code is MA1350B and the choice of offset for this rim is between 0mm and 26mm. The Smart 451 uses a standard rear offset of 22mm, so that would be a good place to start. The 5" rim width is an ideal match for the 175/70R13 rear tire.

The steel front rims from the original Smart 450 have a specification of 3.5J x 15 ET20.5 and would be ideal for the front 135/70R15 tires which was the original tire size fitted to these rims.

There isn't much choice in matching 135/70R15 and 175/70R13 tires, although I have seen Kumho Solus KH17 summer tires in both these sizes.

If anyone did try these sizes, you would feel a lot of cushioning from the rear 13" tires but much less cushioning from the front 15" tires due to the 13" tires having much higher sidewalls, so a bit of a mismatch in terms of comfort, ie. the rear tires would be great, but you might find yourself wishing that the front tires were softer to match the fantastic ride comfort that you were getting from the rear tires. However, as you sit much closer to the rear axle than the front axle this might be acceptable.

In summary, probably best to stick to more conventional tire size arrangements especially considering the lack of grip you get from 135 front tires.
Big453,
In your opinion will the 165-80-15 tires work on the smart ? I would like to have 4 each 5.5 rims plus a spare.
Thanks!
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top