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Discussion Starter #1
Just replaced my Hankook Ventus V12 EVO2 with Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ on my 2014 Mazda 6

I immediately found the steering wheel to be weightless and super light (in a bad way). I only have put some 100 miles on the tires, so they are not broken-in yet, but I'm not sure if there would be any drastic change for that.

My Hankook was really bald and old when they were replaced, actually I think it was a bit on the heavier side compared to a normal feel, - and with Michelin, it's exactly opposite, it's very very light, and I can even move the steering wheel with my finger in the parking lot stand still.... I think other new Mazda6s i have driven (e.g dealer loaner cars) have the steering feel and weight somewhere in the middle.

I'm now thinking if I should exchange the Michelins within the 30 days (they have a policy like that), but then I'm not even sure what to replace it with, and also if this is really the tire's problem or some underlying issue (alignment, steering?). Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ comes with great review on steering feel, road feel etc, so I am not able to understand why I'm not seeing it. .. Is it possible that my car already had some other issue on the steering/alignment and it wasn't prominent with the old tires?
 

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I would think the only way the alignment would be an issue is if the tires changed width or height dramatically. But most likely it's just a few things - you're going from a UHP Summer Tire to a Performance All-Season, so less stiff sidewall, a less grippy rubber compound with better rolling resistance and a "squirmier" tread pattern, plus your Ventus' being worn down to almost the cords will make them feel stiffer and "weighter" to steer as opposed to when they were new. I remember going from V12 Evo's to Pilot Super Sports and even that transition made the steering feel more vague than I expected - they were grippier and more comfortable though, but by the time I had those Super Sports worn to the cords they felt like Flinstone's wheels.

Anyway, the great steering and road feel is compared to it's competitive set - performance all-seasons. They will very likely improve in feel for you as they wear, but you may want to decide what type of tire you really want; perhaps you should have stayed with a UHP summer tire, so I'd figure out your priorities (ride quality, noise, etc.) and then decide if you want to trade back. I'd recommend sticking with Michelin's with whatever you do though.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
you're going from a UHP Summer Tire to a Performance All-Season, so less stiff sidewall, a less grippy rubber compound with better rolling resistance and a "squirmier" tread pattern
Thanks for the response. I understand, but when I was shopping for a all rounder tire, I noticed that the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ (also an UHT) outperformed many of the competitors summer tires.. And most reviews on tirerack and elsewhere says it has good steering feel, so honestly I wasn't expecting this much huge drastic drop of steering weight.

So, if alignment is not the issue, - I'm just hoping that the tire break-in concept is real and the steering will become heavier in a few hundred more miles, which should still be within 30 days for Michelin exchange reasons. Unfortunately, even if I decide to exchange, Costco only has the Michelin Pilot sport 4S as the alternative, and it costs $50 more per tire :( and then if the steering feel isn't substantially similar to my old bald Hankook EVO V12 (which I used to love!) then it's a money and hassle spent for no reason and with *some* loss of winter traction.

Could be a silly question .. is there a way the steering feel can be tuned to a bit tighter and heavier? Some cars have different drive modes which supposedly does that..
 

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Discussion Starter #4


For what it's worth, here's the comparison between Hankook EVO V12 and Micheline Pilot Sport A/S 3+ and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

And the summer handling and steering feel is supposed to be better in Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ as compared to Hankook Ventus EVO V12
 

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I went thru a similar situation with my '89 Prelude. Being that the car is almost 30 years old and the tire size isn't that common, my choices were limited. I didn't want an outright summer tire because I still drive the car in cooler temps and dedicated summer rubber doesn't do so well when it's cold (under 40F). After researching, I settled on the General Altimax which seemed to be a good match for the original tire specs. Tire Rack even had a review video of the tires on a BMW 3 series. The tire got great reviews. When I first put them on - I wasn't impressed. The car felt a bit floaty and corners seemed squirmy. It took over 500 miles for them to break in. But now the steering feels tighter and corners feel more solid.

I would give it some time. And, double check your tire pressures to make sure they're set at factory specs, too.

Gratuitous pic whoring . . . :D

 

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Have you tried messing with the tire pressures? The more air in the tires the less contact you have with the road, if you drop a couple of PSI you may have a little more rolling resistance and it may tighten up the feel a bit. It's also possible that that the tire installer overinflated the tires, I once had the installers inflate the tires of my old RX-7 to the max pressure of 50 psi I think instead of the recommended pressure of 35. That first corner after leaving the tire place when I gave it a little gas was exciting. On the flip side, whoever had my Mazdaspeed 6 before me underinflated the tires and I wondered why the steering feel was so heavy, and when I finally checked it and inflated it to the recommended 38 psi the car felt a whole lot lighter.
 

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Thanks for the response. I understand, but when I was shopping for a all rounder tire, I noticed that the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ (also an UHT) outperformed many of the competitors summer tires.. And most reviews on tirerack and elsewhere says it has good steering feel, so honestly I wasn't expecting this much huge drastic drop of steering weight.

So, if alignment is not the issue, - I'm just hoping that the tire break-in concept is real and the steering will become heavier in a few hundred more miles, which should still be within 30 days for Michelin exchange reasons. Unfortunately, even if I decide to exchange, Costco only has the Michelin Pilot sport 4S as the alternative, and it costs $50 more per tire :( and then if the steering feel isn't substantially similar to my old bald Hankook EVO V12 (which I used to love!) then it's a money and hassle spent for no reason and with *some* loss of winter traction.

Could be a silly question .. is there a way the steering feel can be tuned to a bit tighter and heavier? Some cars have different drive modes which supposedly does that..


For what it's worth, here's the comparison between Hankook EVO V12 and Micheline Pilot Sport A/S 3+ and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S

And the summer handling and steering feel is supposed to be better in Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ as compared to Hankook Ventus EVO V12
Something doesn't look right, because I'm sure the A/S 3 is not that close to the 4S in traction - I'm guessing these are customer aggregate reviews and not properly weighted against each other. I can't for sure say the Pilot 4S would have better steering feel than your Ventus', new or bald, but I would guarantee that dry and wet handling capabilities are higher along with better progressivity in a wider temperature range, especially in the wet (my old V12 Evo's were notoriously "skittery" in the wet below 65F; I fully don't expect them to match Michelin after just one more generation of design). The 4S probably feels a bit weightier out of the box compared to the A/S 3, but they may feel a little dulled for the little twitches and delicate parts of the nebulous "steering feel". Steering feel is always going to be a trade-off with tread width, grip, and NVH - I'm curious what actually subjectively scores best for that.
 

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I have felt the same when I get new tires. There is more deflection from the new tires sipes, specially in all-season tires. The old tires were worn down and there was less deflection and more friction with the road surface, which gave you the better steering feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Have you tried messing with the tire pressures? The more air in the tires the less contact you have with the road, if you drop a couple of PSI you may have a little more rolling resistance and it may tighten up the feel a bit. It's also possible that that the tire installer overinflated the tires, I once had the installers inflate the tires of my old RX-7 to the max pressure of 50 psi I think instead of the recommended pressure of 35. That first corner after leaving the tire place when I gave it a little gas was exciting. On the flip side, whoever had my Mazdaspeed 6 before me underinflated the tires and I wondered why the steering feel was so heavy, and when I finally checked it and inflated it to the recommended 38 psi the car felt a whole lot lighter.
Ya that was the first thing I had checked, it was 36psi and i changed it back to 33psi (as recommended by Mazda on door size, and also my old Hankook tires had the same pressure)... i may try to reduce it to 30psi to see if it's any better, but don't think it would make much difference.

I'm about 300 miles now - I'll see till 500 if it gets any better (either the tires break-in or i get adjusted with the steering feel).

I often rent cars for my work.. and compared to perfect steering feels in most new cars I rent, my old tire was like 25% heavier, and my current one is probably 35% lighter, and the perfect feel is probably somewhere in the middle. I noticed that the steering feels OK on highway speed (including turns), and also when I'm on an inclined road going up on a 30-40mph speed... but it's the worst in 0-40 mph speed flat roads or parking lots, it just feels super light...
 

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Something doesn't look right, because I'm sure the A/S 3 is not that close to the 4S in traction - I'm guessing these are customer aggregate reviews and not properly weighted against each other.
That is correct, but when I compared the Tirerack test results also, I see that A/S 3 has 8.4 on steering response, and 4S as around 8.. which actually is a bit odd as i would have though an A/S tire would normally have not as good steering response as a summer performance tire... but what I took away from all these charts and reviews is that A/S 3 is almost as good or better than most other brand summer tires, and probably nearly as good as 4S. ... Unless tirerack also uses different benchmarks for rating in different test results (but that would be too bad!)

Here's how Michelin PS A/S 3+ compares with other A/S tires - https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/chartDisplay.jsp?ttid=230&viewPage=y

And here's how Michelin PS 4S compares to other summer tires - https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/chartDisplay.jsp?ttid=223
 

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Unless tirerack also uses different benchmarks for rating in different test results (but that would be too bad!)
They do. Because they have to.

Comparing test results between a high-performance all-season tire versus a summer tire is like comparing the test results of a one-ton pickup truck versus a Porsche. You just can't do that!

When TR goes to test tires, they test them in relation to others IN THE SAME CATEGORY! Why would they compare tires in different categories when it's painfully obvious that each tire category has their own strengths and weaknesses?

It's like buying a snack. If you want something salty? Get some peanuts or potato chips. You want something sweet? Find a chocolate bar.

Same with tires. You want ultimate performance in temps above 45 degrees? Buy summer tires. You want some traction and control in snow in temps under 45 degrees? Buy all-seasons...
 

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They do. Because they have to.

Comparing test results between a high-performance all-season tire versus a summer tire is like comparing the test results of a one-ton pickup truck versus a Porsche. You just can't do that!

When TR goes to test tires, they test them in relation to others IN THE SAME CATEGORY! Why would they compare tires in different categories when it's painfully obvious that each tire category has their own strengths and weaknesses?

It's like buying a snack. If you want something salty? Get some peanuts or potato chips. You want something sweet? Find a chocolate bar.

Same with tires. You want ultimate performance in temps above 45 degrees? Buy summer tires. You want some traction and control in snow in temps under 45 degrees? Buy all-seasons...
Hmm.. so there is no scientific tests to compare inherent tire specifications across the board? I know what you are saying, but I can still compare the calories in a potato chips and chocolate bar :) And that's why I was thinking that those rating numbers were derived from things they measure (and measurement is normally "absolute") ... but anyway I get the point, and probably even more so because their ratings don't make sense in an absolute scale, but my steering feel does!
 

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@drock666 if you have not gotten an alignment I would do that first thing.
A tire will wear into an alignment and eventually normalize to that position. Changing to a tire that had no pre-established wear will reveal alignment issues pretty quick. I have had the light/vague (scary) steering feeling that was remedied with a proper alignment.
Do that first thing.
I align my wheels annually and they are always out of specification when I put it on the rack. I also have it aligned with 200lbs in the left rear passenger foot well (roughly my weight).
 

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I've heard of back-seat driving, but this is ridiculous! 🤓

Not so much. The vehicle holds about 115 lbs (51 kg) total in fuel and from the specs below you can see what does to steering angles. It seems only reasonable to recreate the conditions that you will be operating the vehicle in most times when setting your alignment angles (unless your tech lets you sit in the car of course). I prefer having all that weight low in the car and not on the leather.



2004 specifications for reference.
 

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That is correct, but when I compared the Tirerack test results also, I see that A/S 3 has 8.4 on steering response, and 4S as around 8.. which actually is a bit odd as i would have though an A/S tire would normally have not as good steering response as a summer performance tire... but what I took away from all these charts and reviews is that A/S 3 is almost as good or better than most other brand summer tires, and probably nearly as good as 4S. ... Unless tirerack also uses different benchmarks for rating in different test results (but that would be too bad!)

Here's how Michelin PS A/S 3+ compares with other A/S tires - https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/chartDisplay.jsp?ttid=230&viewPage=y

And here's how Michelin PS 4S compares to other summer tires - https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/chartDisplay.jsp?ttid=223
I wonder if by "Steering Response" they mean a measured and subjective statement, being "how quickly after I turn the wheel does the car start turning". I can actually see where a less sticky all-season could have better "response" in this light as there is less resistance to turn from being less grippy. I'd guess this is our whammy and that the category has no bearing on subjective steering feel.
 

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@drock666 if you have not gotten an alignment I would do that first thing.
A tire will wear into an alignment and eventually normalize to that position. Changing to a tire that had no pre-established wear will reveal alignment issues pretty quick. I have had the light/vague (scary) steering feeling that was remedied with a proper alignment.
Do that first thing.
I align my wheels annually and they are always out of specification when I put it on the rack. I also have it aligned with 200lbs in the left rear passenger foot well (roughly my weight).
I'm going to do this.. I think the caster probably was already off, and with my super bald Hankook ventus tires it probably was aiding the steering to be a tad lighter which otherwise probably would have been even more heavier.... and now with a decent tire, it is loose.

I noticed that when I'm climbing up on a slope, the steering feels perfect/heavy, - also when I take exits/entry on highway speed, and steering is turned half way may be, it feels a with a perfect weight... but it feels lose when I'm on a straight road low speed... dont know if that's a caster issue symptom or natural thing.

Anyway, if I took it to a shop to the get the alignment done, does it need any specialist adjustment and an expert to do it?... I saw casters are normally 3.2-3.5 degs for Mazda6... would the guys have specs for my model and year or do I need to have it with me? Also, how much more caster can they adjust to make the steering a bit more heavier?.. anyway I hope the shop would know all such things, but appreciate any tips or info on this, I have an appointment to get the alignment done on Monday...have time to do my reading till then :)

Thanks everyone for all the inputs.
 

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I'm going to do this.. I think the caster probably was already off, and with my super bald Hankook ventus tires it probably was aiding the steering to be a tad lighter which otherwise probably would have been even more heavier.... and now with a decent tire, it is loose.

I noticed that when I'm climbing up on a slope, the steering feels perfect/heavy, - also when I take exits/entry on highway speed, and steering is turned half way may be, it feels a with a perfect weight... but it feels lose when I'm on a straight road low speed... dont know if that's a caster issue symptom or natural thing.

Anyway, if I took it to a shop to the get the alignment done, does it need any specialist adjustment and an expert to do it?... I saw casters are normally 3.2-3.5 degs for Mazda6... would the guys have specs for my model and year or do I need to have it with me? Also, how much more caster can they adjust to make the steering a bit more heavier?.. anyway I hope the shop would know all such things, but appreciate any tips or info on this, I have an appointment to get the alignment done on Monday...have time to do my reading till then :)

Thanks everyone for all the inputs.

A general alignment shop will be able to do this just fine. They will have all the specifications they need. My guess is that caster and camber are not adjustable (unless you have installed aftermarket control arms). They are listed there to tell the mechanic if there has been damage (pothole, curb, etc...)
 

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Can you provide the exact size, load, and speed rating of the Michelin's?


Many other factors come into play with tires such as the speed rating, the rubber compounds, the way the belts are wrapped, etc.. Just looking at those two tires and from personal experience, what you're feeling is quite normal. To be quite honest, the Michelin tire is in a league of it's own compared to the Hankook.



Directional tires like the evo2 are meant more for performance, thus the feeling of more grip and better response; translating to better response and feel to you. Asymmetrical tires like the Michelins tires are more of a summer/all season tire made to be a jack of all trades. It has 100% of it's tread life, so there is less footprint on the road for the car to overcome; thus a lighter feel.


Lastly, reviews... take them with a grain of salt. My definition of great steering response differs from a 90 year old grandma to a professional race driver. I may rate the Michelin a 7, the grandma a 10, and the professional driver a 3. Have Lewis Hamilton review those tires, then it's a different story.
 

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Can you provide the exact size, load, and speed rating of the Michelin's?

Many other factors come into play with tires such as the speed rating, the rubber compounds, the way the belts are wrapped, etc.. Just looking at those two tires and from personal experience, what you're feeling is quite normal. To be quite honest, the Michelin tire is in a league of it's own compared to the Hankook.

Directional tires like the evo2 are meant more for performance, thus the feeling of more grip and better response; translating to better response and feel to you. Asymmetrical tires like the Michelins tires are more of a summer/all season tire made to be a jack of all trades. It has 100% of it's tread life, so there is less footprint on the road for the car to overcome; thus a lighter feel.

Lastly, reviews... take them with a grain of salt. My definition of great steering response differs from a 90 year old grandma to a professional race driver. I may rate the Michelin a 7, the grandma a 10, and the professional driver a 3. Have Lewis Hamilton review those tires, then it's a different story.
Both Hankook Ventus V12 EVO2 and Michelin Pilot A/S 3+ tires are same size (225/45R19) and load/speed rating (96Y), I specifically had made sure that I didn't change those key attributes between tires. I didn't check the weight then, but just verified Michelin is 26.87 lbs.. I can't find weight from the Hankook spec details. I am getting slightly less miles now (as reported by several others), so I am guessing Hankook probably was lighter.. but i could be wrong as they also had more traction.

So it's been 2 weeks and about 600 miles on the Michelins, and I decided to not do the alignment also as the Caster can't be adjusted anyway! However, the steering feel has improved now, I don't know if it's me getting used to the tires, or tires getting used to the road :)

But I agree on other points, - some of these "feel" is subjective. I really miss the Hankook grip, but my wife loves the Michelins more... so I can clearly see the perspective.
 
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