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Old 09-14-2016, 07:52 AM   #1
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Tires and Paul Walker

This story caught my eye this morning after having spun on the first lap in a Boxster Spec race this past Saturday (caused by over-driving on cold tires).

Luckily, my skilled competitors were able to get cleanly through the mayhem that I created and the only damage that I incurred was a bruised ego, a waving furled black flag from the race officials (to tell me that i screwed up and not to do it again), and finding myself in last place.

The Boxster is a high performance sports car and many of us drive them in the "sporting tradition". The vast majority of 986 Boxster's lack the earliest version of Porsche traction control (TC) and have nothing as sophisticated as Porsche Stability Management (PSM). ABS is the only automated tool in the toolbox.

This means that its all up to you and your driving skills. Go take that long delayed performance driving school or do a DE or an autocross so you're confident in how to handle the car in an emergency situation. Pay close attention to your tires, keep them well maintained, and drive on the best set that you can afford.

The Truth Behind What Caused Paul Walkers Fatal Crash



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Old 09-14-2016, 11:21 AM   #2
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So many random thoughts...

First, good article about the accident. 9 yr old tires were probably the leading factor to the accident, but that's not sexy enough for the media and lawyers won't win any suits against tire makers when the tires are that old, so they go after the manufacturer.

Cold tires... Both my Caymans came with PS2s that were a few yrs old. Both sets were not good DE tires and took almost a lap at my local track to warm up. Since I'd start in the back of my run group knowing the other guys would be going like a bat outta hell, it didn't take long for them to lap me. But I couldn't hit the track full blast with cold tires or I'd be doing some agricultural driving. Thstone, at least you only ended up with just a bruised ego. I saw someone pancake his 3 yr old CS on a cold, wet track (first session of the day). Those become expensive lessons.

Buying tires... Tires are so subjective and so plentiful, it can be difficult to know what to buy. Look at the comments on TireRack and one person says they're great tires and the next one says they're the worst tires ever. Start a thread and you'll get just as many divergent opinions. Since our tires run approx. $1K / set, you don't want to make a mistake. Bridgestone alone makes a half dozen tires for our cars. Add in the summer tire / all season decision and it becomes overwhelming. And technology changes quickly so the tires you bought last time may be outdated the next time you buy. Does anyone eliminate a tire based on its tread pattern? I have.

Original tires... With the current craze of older cars selling at auction in original condition, I wonder how many people then drive those cars with those old tires? Or buying low mileage 986s with their original tires? Do the seller or buyer know that's a problem or do they think it's cool? Does the seller buy a new set of tires or discount the price so the buyer can buy the set he / she needs (due to so many choices)?

OK, done scatter shooting.
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Old 09-14-2016, 12:20 PM   #3
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This means that its all up to you and your driving skills.
If that weren't true I'd own a different car. I'm sad for the generations of pedal stabbers we're raising.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:22 PM   #4
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A good article, but….. When idiots drive fast and reckless on the street (or parking lot), idiots sometimes die. I’ve driven like an idiot more than a few times, but lets take responsibility for our actions. Had they been driving the speed limit he’d still be alive. Should we replace old tires yes, but old tires are not to blame for Paul Walkers death. Porsche’s response "The perils, risk, and danger were open and obvious and known to him, and he chose to conduct himself in a manner so as to expose himself to such perils, dangers, and risks, thus assuming all the risks involved in using the vehicle”… this says it all as far as I’m concerned.

I purchased a low mileage 987 but I realized the 10 year old original tires would have to be replaced and I ask a new set be installed before purchase. I should have negotiated the price and installed the tires myself, the seller installed a new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires and I hate them. They are noisy and rough riding. I know some folk swear by them but I’ve never had any luck with Bridgestone.

I once upon a time purchased a set of Bridgestone for a Miata and replaced them after 500 miles, so while I don’t have money to burn I want something on my new baby that feels good to me.

So now I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do, as husker said, tires are so subjective, and reviews on TireRack are all over the place. Do I live with the (1000’ish mileage) Bridgestone’s or take a chance purchasing another brand. I’m not necessarily wanting performance, a spirited drive from time to time is all I will be doing, I’ll not be going to the track, in my ole age I simply want smooth and quiet.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:32 PM   #5
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Good article!

What some people drive around on in terms of tires can be scary. The 964 I bought had winter tires on it and this was in the L.A. area in the middle of summer. I obviously went out and bought new tires immediately but it worked out for me since I was able to negotiate the price down and pick the tires I want.

Here in the Phoenix area I replace tires every three years or when they are worn out, whichever comes first. The heat is really hard on the tires and if your track the car you are taking a huge risk. Throw in a rare rain and it gets scary.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:34 PM   #6
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Yep, showboating at 120mph on a small street in an industrial area wearing 9 yr old tires was not the best plan. Hindsight is 20/20 and maybe they should have reeled it in a bit. Tragically their mistake turned out to be fatal.
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:11 PM   #7
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Thank you for the article. A couple of days ago I bought new rear tires. At the time I thought I should really buy all four but there's plenty of wear left on the fronts even if they are seven years old (I bought the car just over a year ago). I haven't yet had any really spirited drives or attended any DE or autocross events but after reading that article there really isn't any excuse. Tomorrow it's two new front tires. Thanks again for putting it all in perspective.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:27 PM   #8
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I saw this this morning. I love matts work and it's a good article. We knew a while back it was tires but the general public never tends to know about tires aging out.


Somewhat related, what were the oem tires on 986 cars? I assume what we can buy today from the budget companies is better than whatever high standard Porsche had back then.
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:10 AM   #9
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Should we replace old tires yes, but old tires are not to blame for Paul Walkers death.
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Ummm, yeah, I believe it's pretty clear they were... Should they have been driving that way where they did? No. But is that what cost them their lives? Nope.
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:51 AM   #10
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Ummm, yeah, I believe it's pretty clear they were... Should they have been driving that way where they did? No. But is that what cost them their lives? Nope.
...umm, step back a tick. We can say the tires were a contributing factor here if you'd like but the tires were not the direct cause of the crash. Speed too fast would be the cause. The exact cause of their death? Slowing down really fast. If they were driving 45 mph on old tires then they'd still be here. If they were driving like that on a proper race track then they also still might have survived. Doing 100 mph on a road not designed for such idiocy with tires that old then yes you get this result.

I get the car is designed to make this work and on brand new tires there likely would be no crash...but they didn't have new tires. It is the responsibility of the driver to understand the limitations of his or her car each day they get behind the wheel. If you exceed those limitations it is neither the manufacturer nor the roads fault...only yours.

Simplified version: tires don't cause crashes. Choices leading to the exploitation of their limits do.
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:14 AM   #11
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First thing I did when I got my 99 Boxster was replace the tires and brakes.
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:30 AM   #12
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Good article. While I use my Boxster year round, I also have a separate set of winter tires, so both sets will likely get older before they get worn from mileage. Will have to do some research on the compound in the winter tires, but next season I'm due for new rubber all around. (Note to self: get more track time and wear them out before they dry out!)

A quick article on how to read the DOT date code:

How to Find Out How Old Your Tires Are

Another on tire aging via Edmunds:

How Old - and Dangerous - Are Your Tires?
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Old 09-15-2016, 07:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MARTHA View Post
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. the seller installed a new set of Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires and I hate them. They are noisy and rough riding. I know some folk swear by them but I’ve never had any luck with Bridgestone.
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Martha, my 986 had RE050A's when I bought it. I found them noisy as well and not very good in the rain.. I went tire shopping last spring and eventually settled on Goodyear F1 A/S Asymmetrical. I went A/S versus summer only because I was heading out on a very long west coast trip not knowing what conditions I would hit going through the Canadian Rockies. After 4 or so months of driving on them I am very happy. The are grippy on dry, great in the rain and are very quiet. Just my 2 cents worth.

And, oh yeah, Porsche is in no way to blame for what happened to Paul Walker. Personal responsibility accounts for everything in this case.
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:18 AM   #14
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I bought my '98 two years ago. It had the original tires on it. I was afraid to go the speed limit.
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:35 AM   #15
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Martha, I went tire shopping last spring and eventually settled on Goodyear F1 A/S Asymmetrical. After 4 or so months of driving on them I am very happy. The are grippy on dry, great in the rain and are very quiet. Just my 2 cents worth.
Thanks paulofto, I will check them out.

I have been looking at Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06’s, they have a superior performance rating on TireRack.

I hate to remove the expensive, like new Bridgestone’s, but I want a tire that has a good ride quality and comfortable noise level befitting a Boxster.

The Bridgestone’s TireRack performance rating is 7.2 ride quality and 6.8 noise comfort. I personally feel these a little too generous.

The Continental’s are 9.1 ride quality and 8.8 noise comfort.

Anyone have thoughts?
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:49 AM   #16
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MARTHA - I have them (Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06) on my 2002 S. They ride great, are quiet and wear well. They're a great highway/touring tire (which it sounds like where you do all your driving). Not so great as a track tire.

Rick
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:59 AM   #17
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MARTHA - I have them (Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06) on my 2002 S. They ride great, are quiet and wear well. They're a great highway/touring tire (which it sounds like where you do all your driving). Not so great as a track tire. Rick
Thanks Rick

And I too have a Porsche problem…LoL
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:20 PM   #18
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It is the responsibility of the driver to understand the limitations of his or her car each day they get behind the wheel. If you exceed those limitations it is neither the manufacturer nor the roads fault...only yours.
Oh, of course. Obviously the more you know about cars, and the more you know about your car specifically, the better off you are. Clearly it’s not in one’s best interest to outdrive the capability of your equipment. But, on the track and off, people do it all the time! (Or, at a minimum, they push the limits of that equipment.) Is it smart? Often times, no---it doesn't always work out well. So, in this case, with Roger and Paul, what FAILED?? The goshdarn tires, that’s what failed---they didn’t do what we’ve come to expect tires to do. In keeping with the whole spirit of the linked article, that’s what my point was. Obviously both the tire and the actions of the driver contributed---the cause of the huge majority of accidents is multifactorial.

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Old 09-15-2016, 02:42 PM   #19
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Thanks Tom...a great post!
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Old 09-15-2016, 04:49 PM   #20
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Yesterday I was at a track day, and at one point I was behind a 2002 911. We were in a long left-handed sweeper, and the 911 just slowly lost grip in the rear and spun.

Afterwards, I found the driver and we talked. He said he spun on the next lap, too, and couldn't figure out why, because he wasn't pushing the car as hard as he thought it could go. I looked at the tires (Pirellis), and they looked like they were in pretty good shape.

I asked him how old the tires were, and he thought about it and said that they were the original tires! When I told him that they were 14 years old, he looked very startled and said, "I bet that is my problem right there! I'm going to go get new tires tomorrow".

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