VW Rabbit 60,000 fronts, 100,000 rears

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Nomen Nescio, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. Nomen Nescio

    Nomen Nescio Guest

    During the late 70s, early 80s VW Rabbits equipped with radial tires
    typically achieved 60,000 mile longevity on the front axle and 100,000 on
    the rear, even without recommended tire rotation. These remarkable tire
    life was common, even with cheap tires and not-so-gentle driving habits!

    It should be noted these cars were fitted with now very dated high profile
    -80 profiles.

    What has been the mileage durability experienced with contemporary low
    profile radials now embelishing virtually every new car model? My
    assertion is wide-tread tires scrub more, especially in turns, and despite
    the theoretically wide footprint, it is difficult to get them to wear
    evenly over the entire footprint.

    The trend to low profile tires is now extending to a wide range of cars,
    from luxury models like the $100,000 Mercedes S550 to Chevy pickups.
    Interestingly, NASCAR racing cars avoid low profile tires and this is a
    mystery. If, as so many claim, low profile tires improve traction and
    handling so much, why aren't NASCAR drivers using them to get that
    competitive racing edge? The answer must be that these low profiles are
    not what the seem to be.

    From the web:

    It is well known that low profile tires are noisier and rougher riding than
    conventional tires (-90 through maybe -75 profiles), so in a luxury model
    like the S550, it would seem to be self defeating to install low profiles.
    After all, a quite, comfortable car is what rich gray-haired customers of
    the S550 would want, I would think. Perhaps, to be on the safe side,
    Mercedes made the wheel wells large enough to accomodate regular wheels and
    tires when this low profile fashion trend passes.

    Of all auto companies in this world, Mercedes should be least of all
    affected by the decades-long practice of designing automobiles as fashion
    merchandise rather than no-nonsense road machines in the spirit of Daimler
    and Benz.
    Nomen Nescio, Mar 11, 2006
  2. My wife had one of these cars and no, this is baloney. The tires VW
    were really cheap and wore out quickly. Most people bought the cheapest
    narrow replacement tires they could find, we are talking the $11.95 come-in
    and loss-leaders
    here, and those wore out quickly too.

    If when the factory tires wore out you went out and bought some expensive
    high mileage tires then yes you could get a long life. We are talking a
    lightweight car, that is why they lasted long. But a lightweight car in
    with high mileage tires which have very hard rubber and little grip, with
    tires, well that car was all over the road if it was windy. And the
    handling was
    not that hot, but they didn't go all that fast either. The VW Rabbits were
    the Nissan/Datsun 210s, they were products of an end of an era of very
    simply built and simply designed cars, using very old engine and fuel
    that were very basic. Because they were cheap, they were very popular and
    lots of young pups who couldn't afford to pay mechanics to work on their
    cars would buy them. But, damn they were cheesy! I remember replacing
    the water pump in my wife's car (then girlfriend) I had to do it 3 times
    the first two water pumps I put in leaked right out of the box.
    Not true. The only thing that is a problem with the wear patterns on
    wide tires is that they are more sensitive to under or over inflation. If
    inflated properly they wear the same as high profile tires of the same
    material on the same weight vehicle.

    I think low profile tires are pretty stupid, for a lot of reasons not the
    least is that if you hit a chuckhole you bend a rim. But wear on a standard
    passenger car isn't one of those reasons.

    Ted Mittelstaedt, Mar 12, 2006
  3. Nomen Nescio

    Huw Guest

    My GTi 1800 ran slightly lower profile, 175/70 I seem to remember, tyres
    especially made for the GTi by Pirelli. While being very good tyres for
    their time I seldom got more than nine or ten thousand miles from the front.
    Same went for my fathers dreadful Santana five cylinder.

    I am certainly not a fan of very low profile rubber which tend to tramline
    and have a rough ride, I would say that it all depends on the vehicle. My
    old Jaguar XK8 sports coupe tourer had very low profile tyres but suffered
    little for it.

    Huw, Mar 12, 2006
  4. Nomen Nescio

    Richard Guest

    I owned two early edition Rabbits and your report about tire life is a pure
    myth! Mine were equipped at the factory with 70 series tires that went about
    30,000 miles on sets that were properly rotated and inflated.

    Richard, Mar 13, 2006
  5. Nomen Nescio

    Huw Guest

    Was yours a GTi driven as it was meant to be on rural minor roads? How in
    Hell can you say that my tyre life is a myth? If I say I never got more than
    10,000 miles from the fronts that is what I got. No skin off my nose if
    others got better.

    Huw, Mar 13, 2006
  6. I think he was probably replying to the original poster.
    Mauricio Tavares, Mar 13, 2006
  7. Nomen Nescio

    Richard Guest

    Actually, the last Rabbit I owned was a Platinum Edition that I converted to
    GTI Euro specs but installing the factory rear sway bar and variable rate
    rear springs from the VW parts bin. The wheels and tires were already the
    same size as those on the Euro GTI at the time. Perhaps the factory GTI's
    were delivered with "performance" tires that were not good on wear. The
    French tires mine wore lasted 30,000 miles or so.

    Richard, Mar 13, 2006
  8. Nomen Nescio

    Huw Guest

    Was the engine uprated to 1.8GTi spec, around 112hp which gave a 0-60mph
    time of just over 8 seconds?

    Huw, Mar 13, 2006
  9. Nomen Nescio

    Guest Guest

    My that is low tire mileage for such a light car.

    On my last two Chrysler's, leBaron GTS 86 and Concord '95, I changed
    the Michelin all season tires at about 70K miles because they were 8 yrs
    old and showing aging, but still had adequate tread for winter driving.
    If I put mileage on more quickly I'm sure I could get 100K miles on a
    Guest, Mar 14, 2006
  10. Nomen Nescio

    Richard Guest

    Tires have significantly improved since the 1970's in just about every
    respect. It is true you could pick up a Michelin X-Stop in the late 40's
    that would go 90,000 miles, but you would not want to take a sharp turn on
    those stiff, unforgiving tires.

    Richard, Mar 14, 2006
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