Replacement tyres for MGV8s
Replacement tyres for a classic sportscar like the MGBGTV8 and MG RV8 has been a topic often discussed by V8 enthusiasts. This note provides links to comments from several V8 Bulletin Board threads on the topic. (26.6.09)

V8BB thread started by Matt Jones on 9.11.08
I recently replaced the original Michelins with a set of Goodyear Excellence tyres in 205/65/15 94-V rated on my 1995 model RV8 with 25,000 miles. For a start they seemed good value at £55 each and to say they transformed the car wouldn't be an understatement. I've never known a change of tyres have such an effect on a vehicle's dynamics.

Firstly, after 1,000 miles in all weathers one of the first things I noticed was the noise, or lack of it. To be specific, the booming noise I used to get when cruisng between 1800 and 2500rpm had completely gone, the car was now much, much quieter at all speeds but expecially noticeable at 60-70mph on the motorways.

As noticeable and probably best of all was the improved traction. The car used to have pretty poor grip levels and instant breakaway, especially in the wet. In addition, it aquaplaned alarmingly at fairly low speeds. All these problems have disappeared with the new tyres. It now requires a decisive effort to break traction and when the limit is exceeded the breakaway is quite progressive and manageable. I recently drove it 200 miles up the motorway in torrential rain, a prospect that would've terrified me with the old tyres. However, these tyres really shifted water and heavy standing water at 60-70mph caused no aquaplaning at all and really inspired confidence.

The car is also considerably more comfortable. It used to crash over any slight imperfection whereas now, although it still doesn't feel like a limo, it absorbs most bumps with a thud rather than a crash. If I had got this improvement from a new set of shocks I'd be very happy, so to get it from just putting new tyres on is amazing. Steering is noticeably lighter too and although I haven't really checked the MPG it looks like I'm getting between a 10%-15% better return.

All this just from changing tyres and a total outlay of £250 inc fitting! I kept the old Michelins, they have between 1-2mm tread left above the wear indicators if anyone's interested in them.

Rob Collier responded: I would go as far to say that RV8s with original tyres and shock absorbers are a lethal combination and £250 spent on tyres and £500 on Spax shocks is the best investment you can make. My Continental Sport Contact 2s seem to suit the RV8 well.

Bryan Shacklady noted: If those tyres are really the actual originals from 1995, send them to the tyre recycling centre. Regardless of mileage, any tyre that is more than six years old needs to be considered with a very careful view to replacement - mileage is not the only ageing factor. My mother recently had eight year old tyres on her Nissan Primera, and eventually I put my foot down and insisted that they be replaced even though they had four mm plus of tread, and the Nissan garage insisted they did not need to be replaced. We've replaced them with the current Dunlop equivalents. The noise in the car has dropped dramatically. The bumpiness that had crept into the car's ride has gone. Victor Smith has described the characteristics of old tyres as being closer to wood rather than rubber, and I would certainly agree.

Geoff King added: Both the Goodyear Excellence and the Continental Sport Contact 2 receive good reviews in tyre tests. The Goodyear will probably last longer and the Continental will grip better although several users report that the performance of the Contact 2 deteriorates rapidly as they wear.

Matt, please throw those old Michelins away; they’re 13 or 14 years old and well past the use by date. You wrote “I recently drove it 200 miles up the motorway in torrential rain, a prospect that would've terrified me with the old tyres.” Would you sell (or give) them to someone knowing they are dangerous?

Rob Collier responded to Bryan Shacklady's posting: I recently had my four year old Audi serviced at an Audi dealers and was advised that the original tyres with 5 mm of tread should be replaced. I hadn't previously noticed but upon close inspection there were fine cracks starting to appear in the sidewalls. Apparently this is normal wear and tear and I was told that modern tyres are designed to be worn out at 4 years or 40,000 miles.

Peter Garton added: I eventually purchased new Continentals a while ago although my Michelins "looked" to be in perfect condition. After we got them off, I compared the side wall fexibility with the new tyres
Look back at fellow members' views

V8BB thread started by Andrew Jeyarajah on 26.3.09

V8BB thread started by Matt Jones on 9.11.08

V8BB thread started by Dennis Wharf on 16.5.08

Tyre sidewall markings explained
Understanding the markings on the sidewalls
of tyres will help you to choose the right tyres
for your car. Here’s a guide to those sidewall
markings using a 175/80 R14 88H tyre as an
example. It was published in Safety Fast! in August 2008. More

Caution with replacement tyres
Howard Gosling (Quicksilver 3001 and Flamenco Red 4001) from Dorset released a caution in a letter to Safety Fast! in January 2009. More

prior to getting them fitted. The Michelin side walls were so stiff one could hardly bend them at all,in addition there were fine hairline cracks in the rubber - not visible when the tyre was inflated!! Last, but not least, the ride is miles softer although it wasn't easy to balance the wheels, funnily enough.

Mike Taylor
noted: I recently changed the tyres on the MGB V8 Roadster from Michelins to Continentals. When they arrived to be fitted I also noted how soft the side walls were, and was advised that I would get a better ride. We drove the car to the Swiss event and what a difference, no chattering steering rack, no vibrations, smooth and accurate steering, great cornering and positive grip in the wet. Money well spent.

Terry Starkey added: Another good debate on tyres and so important! The best thing I ever did with my car was to change the tyres even though they had only done 19,000 miles. I had Michelin Primacy fitted and they are excellent in every way: ride and roadholding were greatly improved. The Pilots are a very hard tyre anyway and when they've aged a bit they become extremely hard and uncomfortable to ride on. Old tyres are dangerous. No question.

David Halliday added: After reading the comments here I thought it a good idea to check the date on the tyres on my 73 MGBGTV8 that I bought last year. The code reads AJA099 with out a triangle, this suggests that they were new in 1989. Almost 20 years old! They are 175R 14 Avon Turbosteel. Does anyone have a good suggestion for a replacement? I would have thought it worth changing to a 185 70 14, but I am interested in feedback.

Mike Taylor repeated his recommendation: Go for the Continental tyres, you may well be delighted with the result.

Geoff King added a note of caution: What type of Continental? Recommending a tyre brand without the type can be very misleading. I can find Continental EcoContact 3 in 175x14 and 185/70x14 but that is a totally different tyre to a Continental Sport Contact 2 and you may not be delighted with the result.

Mike Taylor replied: good point, the tyres on my MGBV8 are Continental Premium Contact 2 185/60 on 15" rims running at front 26lb and rear at 24lb.

Victor Smith added: We have a replacement tyre survey running on the V8 website with a very prominent link on the lower RHS of the homepage. Just click the link to the report and you will be able to see what 17 members have done by way of replacement tyres for their MGBGTV8s together with some reports. If your car is still running on the roads then I am sure many fellow members will be horrified to hear your tyres are 20 years old. Had you had an accident, it is very likely an insurance assessor would have examined the possibility of those tyres as a contributory factor. You are also likely to be in breach of a condition of your insurance policy to maintain the car adequately. Did you not see the article in Safety Fast! and on the V8 website in recent months on tyre sidewall markings?

David Halliday replied: I have seen the tyre review, unfortunately, there is very little on actual model or type of tyre for GTV8s. I notice that Michelin come out on top, but there are many different types of Michelin available, hence the question.
Unfortunately, I do not receive Safety Fast, I get Wheelspin the MG Car Club of Victoria (Australia) magazine. I have heard the recent publicity, hence checking the date, however, it is a little ambiguous as to whether it is 1989 or 1999, but I do realise that even 1999 is now 9 years ago and best changed. I will be looking out for a set of 5 185 70 14s before I get it back on the road, after sorting some rust issues and getting the overdrive issue sorted.
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