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Law and Order Tests Police Tires, Part 9 of 10
Disclaimer: General Altimax HP Tire
The General AltiMAX HP was selected as a lower speed rated, low-bid comparison against the original equipment-grade tires. To pick the tire, we searched the Internet for the cheapest P225/60R-18 tire, period. Isn’t that how tires are so frequently purchased by penny-pinching, tire-naïve, bean counters? Get the least expensive thing that will fit the rim. Speed rating doesn’t matter, just get the cheapest thing out there. And, hey, get one that will give better tire wear or tread life.
We checked every discount tire store in Chicagoland and every online tire source, period. We selected the tire that was consistently the lowest in price. In fact, as it turned out, this particular tire was the replacement tire selected by some of the area police departments. You will probably take off the OE high performance, all-season tire and put on a grand touring or standard touring all-season tire. You wanted a lower cost tire and one with a 60,000 or 80,000 tread life warranty. So that is how we selected the baseline retail tire.
At the time of testing, Tire Rack had 19 different all-season P225/60R18 tires available from 12 different makes in speed ratings from H (130 mph) to W (168 mph). The General tire we selected was the single least expensive tire. It wasn’t the cheapest tire in the correct (V) speed rating. Not the cheapest tire from the once-American makes. The cheapest tire, period, at the time of testing.
The aftermarket General AltiMAX HP is a low-cost, touring-grade, all-season tire. It was selected to put the OE high performance all-season tires in perspective. The General AltiMAX HP tire did not “fail” in any objective way, but it did draw some sharp criticisms by all three drivers.
Most of all, out of five test tires, the General tire came in dead last in objective, measured performance. The “last place” finish in overall objective and subjective performance is a heads-up to chiefs, sheriffs and fleet managers how much the patrol car can be affected by the wrong tire selection. The police vehicle, driven in a high performance manner, as designed by the auto makers, is now both low performance and a possible safety liability.
Published in Law and Order, Aug 2009
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