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The 15" Tire "What is left that's actually good???" Thread

10457 Views 176 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  Fred289
One of my older threads kind of started in with this, and I thought it better to move to a new thread since the old thread was actually supposed to be about 17" wheels.

So here it is - a thread dedicated to people giving input on the BEST 15" TIRES STILL AVAILABLE AS OF NOW IN 2022.

Let's face it, 15" tires are getting pretty scarce, especially the good ones. Almost every tire is fine for just putt-putting around, but very few are truly good for bailing you out in a hairy situation, and the number is dwindling. So, let's talk about them.

This is not a place for "well they haven't blown up yet, and they are fine for getting ice cream five times a year at 35 MPH or less" tires. This is not a place for "well ten years ago they made these amazing tires and I'm still running them even though they've been discontinued for 10 years" tires. This is a place for us to compare tires that are truly good for driving (street or mild track, wet/dry weather, corner carving, etc.) - or, weigh in if you've tried some absolutely awful tires that you need to warn people away from!

I will start with my data. My car, Jane, a 1966 Fastback. I have tried three tires. I will list their relevant specs, and what I thought of them.

Wheels: 15x6" Wheel Vintiques Styled Steel Wheels, 4.25 backspacing

1) BFG Radial T/A. Absolutely the worst and I'm not even going to put its specs here because no one should have these tires unless they are truly only putt-putting around in low-traffic areas.

2) Firestone Indy 500 Firehawk. Used 2011-2022. DISCONTINUED (which is why I've got this thread going now, actually)
Tire, SizeUTQGLSpeed/LoadRim Width Range "Meas. Rim Width "Section Width "Tread Width "
Firestone Indy 500 Firehawk, 215/65/15500AB95S6.0- (can't find spec)

Feedback: I truly loved these tires. They were very comfortable rides, always confidence-inspiring. They would get a little squeaky on sharp corners but never let go. Never darted or followed imperfections in the road. Wore surprisingly quickly, and got about 40,000 miles out of them, which I didn't really consider to be that bad. Pretty decent in the rain although they would skate in very deep puddles. I took them through the worst monsoons I've ever driven through and they didn't let me down so I have to say I was happy with them. Cosmetically, they were also great, nice donut shape on the narrower wheel (how I prefer it), RWL were great. But alas, they are discontinued. Therefore, they are only included here for a comparison point as a tire that I was happy with.

3) Cooper Cobra Radial T/As. Used 2022-present.
Tire, SizeUTQGLSpeed/LoadRim Width Range "Meas. Rim Width "Section Width "Tread Width "
Cooper Cobra Radial T/A, 215/65/15440AB95T6.0-

Feedback: I put these tires on in October 2022, and took them to Big Bend for a week (2000 mile round trip). They were... okay. They do not feel planted the way the Firehawks did, although they did seem to break in a little bit and were better on the drive home than the drive out. They may get better with wear but considering that the average vintage car owner rarely puts a thousand miles on their car in a year, it bothers me that these tires (which are geared towards classic cars) should need so much of a break-in period. They are bouncy feeling and tend to wander, especially over uneven surfaces or in high wind. No feedback on rain yet. I'm surprised because the treadwear rating should seem to indicate that they are stickier, but they really don't feel that way. They also run noticeably smaller than the Firehawks (although it might be that the Firehawks actually ran large). Still, they are probably the best for RWL tires that can be acquired at any of the major tire shops.

Okay, so that's what I've got so far to contribute - not really that much considering one tire is hated, and one has been discontinued, leaving me with only one actual contribution! Lol. But that's where you guys come in.

Next post from me will be a list of interesting 15" tires I've found, and I'd really like to hear feedback from anyone who's tried them - or if you have other tires to throw into the fray, please do!

(I also know that Zray is going to chip in with a plug for the extraordinarily expensive Avons, and he should know that they are no longer listed for sale by Avon in the US)
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I would also like to hear from others that have purchased 15 inch tires recently and hear their feedback on the new tires.

As of this time out of what is currently available in 215 60 15, these are the only ones I would consider.

H speed rated.

Falken Sincera SN250 H rated
Hankook Kinergy PT H737 H rated
Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring AS
Toyo Extensa AS II

T speed rated.

Yokohama Avid Touring S
General Altimax RT43
General Altimax RT45

When I need new tires it will be the Falken or the Hankook if they are still available, otherwise my fail safe choice is probably the Yokohama Avid or General Altimax which have both been around a while and are good proven tires.

I don't know why the Falken Sincera SN250 and Hankook Kinergy are H rated in 60 series but T rated in 65 series. That seems a bit odd.

As for what is available in 215 65 15, these are the ones I would consider.

H speed rated

Falken Pro G5 Touring
Continental Control Contact Tour Plus

T speed rated

Falken Sincera SN201
Falken Sincera SN250
Hankook Kinergy ST H735
Yokohama Avid Touring S
Cooper Evolution Tour (didn't know about this tire since its only in 65 series, but it might be somewhat closer to my CS5 Ultra Touring that I like)
General Altimax RT43
General Altimax RT45
Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring

If I were buying a 215 65 15 I think it would still be a Falken or a Hankook that I would go with.

I don't remember if it was the RT43 or RT45 but my friend with the 302 powered MG runs them on the little wire wheels and beats on that car quite a bit. They work pretty good considering how they are treated.

The Pirelli P4 is not a bad tire but appears to be discontinued. My neighbor just put them on a 98 Lincoln Mark Viii (cobra in a tuxedo)

I said it in the other thread, the Vitour Galaxy tires quite possibly could be better than the other RWL tires available, BUT Qingdao Vitour United Corp is located in China. That's already one strike for me. I'd rather trust a tire made just about anywhere else, but who knows maybe there is nothing at all wrong with the brand.

Would be cool if a few of these tire manufacturers would make a white letter option of a few of these touring tires. They could easily do that siince they still offer quite a few white letter tires for trucks.

With the crazy price tag the BFG Radial TA now has, they could try to tweak it for better performance. About all they are good for is doing burnouts for a smoke show. Had them on my car for about a year when I first got it back on the road in 2009, never will that trash be on any car I own again. Their advertisement should show a car in the ditch.

Zray will be bummed about the Avons, but Hoosiers are available. Would be cool to have a set on them on some original Torq Thrusts for weekend fun.

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I have the uniroyals and so far i like them.

How long have you had them and how many miles driven on them?

I remember when I a kid a lot of the new trucks and the Chevy dealer having these with the little paw on them. Always liked that.

Sell Rare Vintage Uniroyal Tiger Paw Tire Raised White Lettering With Paw  in California, United States375 × 500
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Are BFG Radial T/A really that bad? Especially for a garage queen that only sees dry days? Sure they're bad in snow, but I can't believe anyone wouldn't expect that. I'm sure a lot of reviews of them lately have been drug down simply due to the yellowing letter issue.
I say yes they are terrible. Has to be one of the worst tires ever made. They are comparable to the bargain basement no-name crap.

The reason most people like them is the looks. I agree on that, they do look good. Also most cars aren't driven hard or at higher speed with traffic etc. Can you drive with them? Sure you can. But when you have to make a panic stop, swerve to avoid a collision, or just take a corner a little too fast, do you want them? The answer is no.

I'd rather have whatever is on sale at Wal Mart or Pep Boys.
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Take this for what it’s worth, but I recently put Yokohama Avid Touring S on my wife’s Milan. Obviously not a performance car but I can’t say enough about the ride quality improvement. It was like a different car. I immediately put them on my daughter’s Honda too. I would definitely try them on my Mustang if they had the staggered sizes I prefer.
My brother has had 2 sets on his Honda Civic with many trouble free smooth miles. They are really good tires.

I've only seen 2 60s Mustangs with them. One is my friends 65 and the other is a 66 GT350 both said they would buy the tires again.

I had Yokohama YK520 previously for several years. They were a Discount Tire exclusive and were discontinued. They were good. I liked them about the same as my Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring that are also now discontinued.
Here's a spreadsheet you guys can view and edit. Added the ratings for tires that had them.
Thanks for sharing that info. Makes it easier to look at. Did you make one for the for the 215 60 15 also or just the 215 65 15?

What does everyone think of the Yokomama's?
View attachment 872996
I would endorse them.
I saw that, and just felt like it was a little harsh. The Radial T/As use BFG regular all season compound and evidently perform very similar in wet and dry stopping distance as several other tires here as I previously posted.

I just don't think people should be rushing out to buy some of these other options as if their car is a death trap with BFG as that original post seems to imply. Especially if you're talking more highly of the Cooper Cobras, which are basically the same tire. Out of all these options, the Falkens do have some impressive wet stopping distances though. The rest are about the same as the Radial T/As and sometimes worse.
The BFG Radial TA does not perform at all on wet pavement even just trying to drive like a grandma. I don't know how they could have gotten similar stopping distances unless someone was slipped an envelope full of cash before posting results of that test. Any vehicle classic or not that sees speeds over 45 mph and has more the 50 hp should not be riding on those tires. I've driven various vehicles both cars and trucks that had them and they are inferior. I doubt they have had many significant improvements since they were released in the 1970s. Its really a shame that BFGoodrich didn't just badge up a one of their better tires, which they had 2 or 3 of that was once offered for 15s as the Radial TA. That would have been a good move. This is where BFG Radial TA's belong unless you want your car to residing in the junkyard next door.

Ecoregion Nature Mammal Font Biome
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Stock handling pkg springs all around 1" arning drop 4.250" bs rocket racing wheels
no rolled fenders
I spy some Jaeger Bros mini mudflaps from NPD. I have those too but only on the rear, can't decide about the front ones or not.
The wheels on the 65 now do have the 4.250 BS, so I should be good to go...(famous last words). :)
If they are 4.25 backspacing on 15x7 215 60 should work fine. Thats what I've run on my car with arning drop and lowering coils since 2009.
I'm looking at the 225-60-15's that @kb65 has on his vehicle.. I have 215's on the rears now with no problems and also have the 15x7 wheels.
I thought about switching to that size but don't see how it clears the upper control arm at the ball joint. I have a No.2 pencil clearance there between it and the tire. I also think it will rub my fender lips.
A brand new set of Radial T/As is hardly any different than most of the other all season radial tires here. I've found that BFG has been continually updating the rubber compound and tread pattern over the years. You're seeing anecdotes of experiences in the 80s or 90s or recently swapping out a 10 year old set that had hardened to a rock.
I am referring to brand new BFG Radial TAs when I say they are garbage. I have driven numerous vehicles with fresh ones and still hold with my opinion that they are sub standard and a lousy tire. Very few tires are worse, and almost any tire is better.

You may be right about some of the other experiences though.
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$160 per tire is plenty to steer me away, plus they look like RWL snow tires.
Definitely agree on that one. Their price used to be reasonable and similar to others of the same size, but has really gone through the roof since Coker started selling them.
I have the Hankook Kinergy PT. No complaints on ride or handling for the price, but I'm not an aggressive driver and have essentially no drive time in the rain. My dislike is the sidewall design. There are several sections with small ridges at different angles, causing a glistening effect when the light hits it. Doesn't look good to me. Maybe these are better suited for non-chrome wheels. Not into the white letters anymore, but the T/As have a much better, smoother look. These are 205/65-15.
Nice to be able to see what they look like. I don't really mind the ribbed/textured sidewall design that much.
As the thread appears to be winding down (possibly... these things always revive in the most unlikely ways...) here's my sum-up of what I'm hearing from people.

Likely best options based on discussion: General Altimax RT43 (or replacement RT45), or Vitour Galaxy

Comments on General Altimax:
  • Everyone else who doesn't drive a classic really likes these tires
  • They are great in the rain
  • They are comfy, nice ride and good longevity

Comments on the Vitour Galaxy:
  • Great treadwear rating and high speed rating
  • Good reviews by users
  • Modern tread
  • But it's made in China so maybe that matters

Honorable mention goes to the Yokohama Avid and Hankook Kinergy, both of whom are briefly mentioned and reported to be "above average across the board".

Dishonorable mention to the much-maligned BFG Radial T/A, which as predicted, has somehow become the main topic of discussion here even though we all can agree at the very least that it is not a high-tier tire in any respect.

I am currently torn between the Generals, Hankooks, and the Vitours. If I got the Vitours, I could put them on and be done, but they are a relatively new tire and no one can report on true longevity which is something that's important to me (I don't care if it's out of tread in 30k miles, but I do care if it explodes viciously after a certain amount of wear). If I got the Generals or the Hankooks, I would feel confident in a proven tire, but I'd need to find RWL stickers for them (yeah, I'm that guy) and they might not be as sticky as the Vitours.

I will continue making no decision until the Coopers bug me enough to do something about it :)
After some more websurfing and pondering these tires I am leaning more towards General Altimax with Yokohama and Hankook close runner up choices.

That Galaxy tire looks too generic with the wonky unevenly spaced lettering that is not placed at 6 and 12 o'clock. Looks sorta like a print format error. Although i didn't notice that at first until it was pointed out, now I can't unsee it.

You could recoup most of the money spent on the Cobras if you sell them while they are still basically new.

This thread could pick up again with some more responses after the holidays.
The fancy sidewall patterns on recent tires are not really something I see as a problem. On a black wall tire it doesn't really stand out and isn't very noticeable.

My Cooper CS5's have some of that but not as much as some of the others. Wish these were still available.

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What does the back side of the tire look like?

The back side is also blackwall, haven't seen any of these that are RWL or OWL.

The 20% chance of not buying another set of BFGs, would be a tire that:

Has a plane jane sidewall,
Is superior to the BFGs,
Within the price range of the BFGs
Made in America

I really like my BFGs, but merely suggest that I'm open to purchasing something else if it meets my above criteria.

Most tires are superior to the BFG's and are actually under that price range.

I have not.

To clarify, the BFGs have minimal "billboard" design on the T/As, making them an easy choice. The General Tire mentioned above has too much going on.

As for sanding the sidewall, not sure I want to buy a new set of tires and experiment on them. Also, not sure if that would nullify the tire warranty.

My friend has the General Altimax on an MG and the lettering is fairly small and is not something your eyes go to when looking at the car. I don't know why they couldn't have just said General on one side and Altimax on the other though, instead of having to say the brand and tire name twice, so that is a little odd.
Looks like those are RT43's by the tread design? AltiMAX™ RT43 ; I wonder if both sides look the same? 600 AB - 215 sizes are T rated; 600 AA - 225 is H rated.

They were replaced by the RT-45 in General's lineup in 2022. AltiMAX™ RT45 says it's available in Outlined White Letter (OWL) and Black Sidewall (BSW) but doesn't specify if that's in all sizes and no pics of the OWL I can find.
Overview review of the R45
You can go the "Showing:" field and change the selection to OWL. The Description for 215 60 15 and 215 65 15 say the style is blackwall though. Its done much like the Michelin Defender LTX MS, so maybe only certain light truck sizes like 235 75 15 are offered with white lettering. Looks like 235 70 15 is offered in OWL, so that must be a larger size thing.

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Spontaneous Combustion and rapid rubber deterioration

If you want decent 15 inch tires you might want to avoid the BFG Redlines from Coker. It's too bad because these are cool looking tires.

This is my friend's Oldsmobile 442's 18 month old spare tire. We have no idea what happened here. The 4 tires on the car seem fine.

Never seen anything like this except for one other time. The external spare on my friends 95 Bronco exploded in the patking lot while eating lunch inside a diner in Texas summer heat.

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Motor vehicle Tread

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Tread

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Bicycle tire Tread

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Locking hubs Vehicle

Tire Wheel Automotive tire Synthetic rubber Tread
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Very interested to see how these perform on track, in wet, etc.

Update for anyone interested - I tried to order Vitour Galaxy R1 G/T - 215/60/15 from Performance Plus Tire but they only had 2 left and had yet to get a bill of lading for what would be coming and when from Vitour. PPT said they normally carry >2,000 Vitour tires but have not gotten a shipment in over a year due to supply chain/ shortages/ labor. They are down to <200 loose tires from Vitour in stock.

I may have to get a 600 TW/ H rated A/S (General Altimax RT45) to hold me over if my car is running soon but would still like to try these 400 TW / V rated tires eventually.
The General Altimax is likely a much better tire anyway. I wouldn't even second guess getting them instead.

Would be nice to see these supply chain issues even out.
Wow, i gotta say after reading through this i definitely want to get rid of my BFG radial t/a on my mustang. i haven’t looked at the date but they’re OLD i’m very surprised to hear about them being bad tires.

on my 3/4 ton pickup i run BFG AT T/A and they’re my absolute favorite tires ever.

are all BFG’s just sh*t quality now?

i wanted to try out the look of some redline tires on my 66 with factory wheels and tire size. i was gonna go with BFGs… maybe not now. anyone have any good recommendations for a redline tire? i’m still throwing around the idea, don’t know how it would look.

if anyone got some pictures of redlined on a classic stang let me see em!
I think it is really just the Radial TA and similar tires that are crappy and in need of redesigning. They should be able to update these tires and maintain a nostalgia appearance, but I guess since they are a low demand tire that is probably not at the top of their list.

The BFG All Terrain is actually a great tire. It may not be necessarily the best at everything but is a really good tire overall. I ran them for years on my old F150s until getting Cooper Discoverer the last 2 times. I might go back to them next time depending on what is available when I need tires for the truck. My neighbor and I just put a new set of the BFG AT's on an 84 Bronco.

On our 1997 Cobra we used to always run Michelin Pilot Sports since that car was new and they are great. Got a good deal from a friend at NTB last time so decided to try BFG G-Force Comp 2 tires. He's a manager and runs them on his modern GTO. I'd say they have been good tires but not quite as good as the Michelins.
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