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Discussion Starter #1
Well, my E500 was out of the shop for a few days and, bang, another Massachusetts pothole and another flat tire. When we bought the car, the dealer strongly urged us to get tire insurance and we did, luckily. The service rep calls it "short money," and boy is he right. Four flats in less than twelve months.

Admittedly, the highways we drive on are a cold-weather mess. But we also drive them with a Volvo wagon and have had zero flats. We have owned every conceivable brand of automobile, and flats have never, ever been a problem with any of these vehicles. The service rep says he's fixing E-class flats and rims all the time. He tells us the wider E500 tires are especially vulnerable.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The tires are Continental. The bill for the work done lists the following part numbers:
C2454R17CH95 - tire - $199
6-6-47-2159 - alloy wheel - $407.55

They urged me to buy a tire warranty. Very glad that I did.
 

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2005 E500
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That is really surprising that you are having this problem with the "thicker" Continental tires. I was almost certain you were going to say you had the "sport" tires which don;t have as much "chushioning" and are a flatter profile.

I have the "sport" tires which are flatter and wider than what is on your car and I have not had any trouble with them. Our weather here in Santa Barbara is pretty tame, but we have had alot of potholes recently due to some very heavy rains undermining road surfaces. I have hit some and everything held up just fine.

For the record, the tires on my car are Michelins. I have had great experience with this tire manufacturer on other cars as well.

Maybe the problem is with the Continental tires?
 

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I have seen a few cases like this on the * board, where I usually go. Mainly happens to people in the Northeast USA, on the 245/45-17 tires. Road maintenance in the USA is pretty poor, but the roads in the Northeast must be really bad. I am in Florida. I think that if you drive on bad roads, you need whatever that tire insurance is that was mentioned, or you need to run the car on the 225/55-16 tires.

My sister has as Lexus IS 300, also with 45 series tires on 17 inch rims. I look at those bulletin boards, and those rims also can be damaged by a pothole.

Seems pretty obvious to me that the 17 inch rims are more easily damaged than the 16 inch rims.
William
2003 E 320
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What amazes me is that they market the car in the Northeast with tire and rims not suited to the reality of the roads. I wonder how the E320 performs under these same conditions, compared to the wide-footed E500.
 

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tintin - 4/1/2005 7:07 AM

I wonder how the E320 performs under these same conditions, compared to the wide-footed E500.
Hey tintin, why don't you ask your service advisor. I am sure that he/she sees it all. Not all E320's have 16 inch tires and rims; many also have 17 inch rims like on the E500. I simply think that Mercedes pushed the envelope just a bit too far. I know that European roads are maintained to a much higher standard. I have driven on the Interstate highways in the US; many of the roads are in really bad shape. In Florida the roads are quite good because we don't get freezing temperatures.

We, as a society, spend a lot for new roads, but we don't spend the money maintaining the roads. If cracks aren't rapidly repaired, water gets into the road bed and thats it! It will freeze in winter causing further damage. When it gets bad enough, then the road contractors lay new asphalt on top. But since the road bed has been compromised, within 3 years, the road is cracked and pot holed again. You can't blame the contractors; they have guaranteed job security.

I think poor roads is also a reason SUV's are so popular in the US as well as soft riding Toyota Camry's; their "high" profile tires help smooth out the road.

William
2003 E320
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Technical question, and probably a stupid one. Can an E500 be fitted with 16-inch rims? Would handling be impaired?
 

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I had that problem with the cheap stock continentals
mercedes uses, I took them off put the conti premeir contacts on , got 12000 on them by now, absolutley no problems also they ride great with almost no road noise. very inexpensive too.
 

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tintin - 4/2/2005 8:05 AM

Technical question, and probably a stupid one. Can an E500 be fitted with 16-inch rims? Would handling be impaired?
Not a stupid question at all. I don't know the answer, but I can tell you what the constraint is; brake clearance. The E500's brakes are larger than on the E320, so 16 inch rims may not fit.

reliablebruce makes a good point, how about a different tire?

tintin, you could be the point person on this issue, especially since you are the one interested. Why not contact Mercedes, 1-800-FOR-MERC, and ask to speak to someone with technical knowledge. I have done this, and someone knowledgeable will call you back and at least you will know what the "official party line" is.

Talk to the service advisor at your dealership. I bet you someone there can give you good advice.

Remember to check www.tirerack.com or call them and ask for their opinion. If you decide to change tires, it is good to double check prices there since dealership prices on tires are notoriously high.

Please post what you find out for your fellow board members benefit.

William
2003 E320
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I called 1-800-FOR-MERC and I spoke with a corporate product specialist, a gearhead, not a sales or telemarketing guy. Then I spoke again with my service advisor, and I can now state the "official party line," which they both gave me on rims and tires. The E500 can only be fitted in the 17-inch range, because the large calipers require it. As for brands, only two are recommended: The ContiTouringContact, which I already have and which have gone flat on me regularly this year on the potholed roads of Massachusetts; and the Michelin Pilot Primacy. The service advisor says the two makes are virtually identical to him - they blow out at the same rate, and he's putting new ones on every day.
 

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2004 E320 4matic
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I too live in Mass. and have suffered the same fate in 4/2004 (only one blown tire). The roads here are beyond horrible. I have an E320 but I believe I have the same tires as the E500 since I have the appearance and premium pkg's. It happened on the Cape and no one had the tire. Had to limp back on a donut (yeah a $60k car has a friggin donut!) to Herb Chambers in Boston.
 

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Sorry to hear the bad news tintin. I still believe that there is likely a better tire that is much more resistant to impact. But as long as you have the insurance and they replace the tires and rims for free, that is likely your best solution. For any one reading this thread without tire insurance, I would contact www.tirerack.com and ask for a tire suggestion. Just because a tire is not "approved" by Mercedes doesn't mean that other same sized tires are not just as safe and probably better than what Mercedes "approves" of.

Life is too short to get too upset over stuff like this. The only logical thing to do is to accept this as a part of your life with this car, or dump the car if it is that irritating to you. Please ignore this advice if all you wanted was empathy for your situation. In that case, it sucks what you are going through and yes, it should not be happening.

My car has had quite a number of issues [AC compressor, power steering pump, water pump, stereo head unit (it is not Command)], Tele-Aid module all replaced as well as alignment issues and of course the recalls; SBC and now the new voltage regulator recall) which have been, to date, solved under warranty. I like to keep cars for a long time. If the car continues to be too problematic after the warranty expires, I will dump it.

Here is a photo of the spare tire I put in my car, 4Matic_Fanatic. I hated the compact spare too. Just in case you haven't been keeping up with the latest trends, many of the new "high end" cars are coming with absolutely no spare tire. They either come with an air compressor and a glorified can of Fix-a-Flat, or they come equipped with run flat tires. I just read an article in Car and Driver magazine that says that all the new style 2006 BMW 3 series cars are going to be riding on Pirelli run flats. Though the idea of run flat tires sounds good, if you do run the tire flat, it ruins the tire so it cannot be repaired. This my understanding and I could be wrong. Also, good luck finding one of these run flat tires if your out in the middle of nowhere. They also require specialized equipment and training to work on. Ah, progress.

William
2003 E 320
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I agree. There has to be other choices of tire out there, more resistant to the conditions we drive under up here and just as good in terms of E-Class handling. Mercedes makes massive arrangements with its suppliers, I'm sure, and this affects what the hierarchy specifies as the only "approved" tires.
 

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I did some more thinking and research. I searched the terms pot hole* and then pothole* on this and on "the other" Mercedes board.

I bet the rims on our cars are cast and not forged; cast rims are more susceptible to damage than forged rims.

Even worse results occur for people who decide to plus size to 18 or 19 inch rims.

You could also post the tire question in the wheel and tire board and see what suggestions you might get there.

If enough of you complain (for US owners) to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), you might get some action.
See these websites
For FAQ
http://www.safercar.gov/pages/ODIFAQsRev2.htm

NHTSA site where you scroll to "If you suspect a defect..."
http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/

You can search the NHTSA complaints (for a fee) filed and you can also file a complaint
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/home.cfm

William
2003 E 320
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the research. I'll check it out. My big question is whether I can get some more protection next winter by putting on Blizzaks. To talk to Mercedes you can only use the all-season Continentals or Michelins, and nothing else.
 

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tintin, I have seen pictures online of a Mercedes Benz in the showroom in Germany. It had winter tires on. Winter tires are often used in Europe. It is in the US that more people accept the tradeoffs that all season tires provide.

There is an all-season tire that gets the severe winter rating snow flake on the sidewall. It is made by Nokian; I have no personal experience but I have read good things about the tire from people online. You could look for a dealer to talk to and/or do more research here
http://www.nokiantires.com/newsite/index.html

In the post with the picture of my spare tire above, that tire is a Dunlop WinterSport M2 tire mounted on a stock rim. I bought a set of used stock rims. I take long road trips to the Western states, even in winter. The tires were fantatic. Only slightly noiser than stock and felt very safe. Of course, I drove cautiously. In my travels, mostly saw only cars with with worn all season tires driven by kids, or insane SUV drivers who had slid off the road.

The Blizzak is a better ice tire than the Dunlop, but I chose the Dunlop because I was going to be doing a lot of dry weather driving. Winter tire technology has vastly improved.

Recommend you also call or e-mail www.tirerack.com and see what they recommend.

I highly suspect that Mercedes recommendations are more motivated by financial than safety concern. Also, you can't blame them. In our legal culture, they expose themselves to more liability the more tires they "recommend."
William
2003 E20
 

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Discussion Starter #19
william, thanks for the considerable time you've spent on my tire problems - and the answers you've suggested. I'm going to check them out. Hopefully, next winter will be a better year in the battle with the New England potholes.
 

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You are very welcome, tintin. I am full of suggestions. Here is my last one, I think.

Check out this snow tire forum if you feel like you want even more to chew on.
http://www.snowtire.info/forum/

I found the above site by typing into an internet search engine whose name starts with a G the following: snow tire forum

tintin, I did a lot of this reseach when I was looking into snow tires for myself, and am glad to point out the ideas I found most helpful. I am extremely pleased with my snow tires. I like the idea that "fortune favors the prepared."

The great benefit of online forums for me is this: I sift through the trash and find pearls of wisdom I probably would not have found on my own.

William
2003 E 320
 
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