Prius Tires

Classic  (2001 - 2003 models)

Last Updated: Sun. 12/07/2008

Tires Iconic  (2004-2009)

 

Classic Prius comes with XL (Extra-Load), LRR (Low Rolling Resistance) tires.  They promote high MPG and provide a safe, comfortable, quiet ride; however, they only last around 30,000 miles (48,280 km).  Some Prius owners have found this shorter-than-typical duration disappointing, so they've researched alternative tires.  Below is a summary of that information.
 

DISCLAIMER:  The ideas, suggestions, and opinions offered on this webpage have not been endorsed by the manufacturer of those specific components or Toyota Motor Corporation.  Any harm or damage that may result from the application of or the following of any ideas, suggestions, or opinions contained in this document is the sole responsibility of the individual that applied or followed said ideas, suggestions or opinions.  The authors of this document hereby declare that they cannot and will not be held liable, in any fashion, for the content or the use of this document.

 

 

PSI     back to top

Classic Prius is a heavier than average vehicle.  That means XL rated tires are required if the standard PSI (Pounds per Square Inch air-pressure) is used.  But if you choose a tire that offers a greater PSI capacity, the weight can be supported that way instead.

An absolute minimum of 35 PSI (2.4 bar) with the original tires is required to provide the 1,102 pounds (500 kg) of support needed for the front-end of the Prius.  Using standard tires instead at that pressure only provides support for 1,019 pounds (462 kg).  Increasing to 42 PSI (2.9 bar) will compensate for that extra weight, allowing Non-XL tires to be used.

42/40 PSI (2.9/2.8 bar) is what many Prius owners strongly recommend.  (That's 42 front & 40 back, since a 2 PSI bias is required for the front tires.)  The original tires that Prius comes with support a maximum cold pressure of 50 PSI (3.4 bar), so that increase is well within the design specifications.  Many of the alternate tires available support a maximum cold pressure of 44 PSI (3.0 bar).  So using 42/40 is no big deal.  In fact, some owners even use 44/42 PSI (3.0/2.9 bar).

 

PSI Made Simple     back to top

Tire pressure needs to be routinely checked (for all vehicles, not just Prius).  Temperature drops cause PSI to decrease.  Heat caused by driving increases PSI, making measurements inaccurate until cool.  MPG & Safety are directly dependent on properly maintained PSI.  Prius owners have found a way to make this simple: use a cordless-inflator.

One of many examples of available is the Campbell Hausfeld Cordless-Inflator is available at Wal-Mart for $40.  It's small & powerful, which allows you adjust PSI in the convenience & comfort of your own garage when the tires are cool.  And as an added bonus, the battery in the cordless-inflator can also be used as a portable 12-volt power-supply to plug your automotive accessories into.

The Brookstone Backlit Digital Tire Gauge is available from Brookstone (sku #219857) for $30.  It's easy to hold & use, 0.5 PSI accuracy, the display is easy to read in both day & night conditions, it's built surprisingly tough, and comes with a nice hard-shell case.

 

LRR     back to top

Classic Prius comes with LRR (Low Rolling Resistance) tires.  This type maximizes MPG.  Switching to Non-LRR tires means you can expect a drop in fuel efficiency by approximately 3 MPG.  Owners have found this an acceptable trade-off for getting better handling and significantly increased tread life.

 

Treadwear     back to top

160 is the treadwear rating for Classic Prius tires.  That's simply too low compared to the typical family vehicle.  It's actually what you find on high-performance sports cars and high-end luxury vehicles, where the ride is much more important than long tread life.  450 is much more realistic to meet everyday expectations.  800 is what you'll find on the ultra-long-life tires.

The rating number represents the wear resistance of the tire.  It does not correlate directly with the amount of mileage you'll be able to drive.  Don't rely exclusively on this value when selecting a tire.  Check the warranty, it will usually state an approximate distance expectation.

Also, using PSI too low will cause significant wear of the tire tread.  Consider yourself warned!

 

Size     back to top    

175/65R14 is the standard size tire for Classic Prius.  You'll find the choices available for that size very limited.  Fortunately, the 5.5 inch (14 cm) aluminum rims of Prius allow you to use an alternate size.  Both 185/60R14 and 185/65R14 tires fit very nicely.

 

Revs     back to top

Revs (Revolutions per Mile) indicate the precise "rolling" size of the tire.  This measurement is needed since not all tires with the same specification are actually the same.  (Notice how both the Michelin & Dunlop 185/65R14 tires appear to similar, but the revs numbers aren't.)

902 is the Revs value for Classic Prius tires.  When selecting an alternate, a number very close to that is required to insure the speedometer and odometer remain accurate.  (Being off by a small amount is acceptable since that value will change as tread wears down anyway.)

 

Alignment     back to top

0.05 Degrees of toe IN each side, for a total of 0.10 Degrees

Not having proper alignment will cause tires to prematurely wear out.  Also, if steering feels like it wanders at high speeds, it's probably because the alignment isn't adjusted correctly.  Remember, "within factory-specified tolerance" is an answer you don't have to accept from a service provider; you can insist that alignment be adjusted to this "exact" setting.

 

Cost     back to top

Tire designs vary tremendously, so the prices do too.  Finding a better Prius tire does not necessarily mean you'll have to spend more money.  In fact, owners have discovered some alternative tires are actually less expensive.

 

Original Tire:  Bridgestone Potenza RE92     back to top

Classic Prius comes with these tires standard.  They are sometimes referred to as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) tires.

    175 / 65 R14
    84S speed & load rating
    50 PSI (3.4 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1102 lbs. (500 kg) maximum load
    LRR (Low Rolling Resistance)
    10/32 inch (8 mm) tread depth
    902 revs per mile
    "A" Traction
    "A" Temperature
    160 Treadwear
    30,000 mile (48,280 km) warranty

 

Alternate Tire:  Goodyear Allegra     back to top

These tires manufactured for purchase only at Wal-Mart & Sam's Club.  They've proven to be an excellent alternative choice by the Prius owners that have tried them.

    175 / 65 R14
    81T speed & load rating
    44 PSI (3.0 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1019 lbs. (462 kg) maximum load
    Non-LRR (Standard Rolling Resistance)
    10/32 inch (8 mm) tread depth
    "A" Traction
    "B" Temperature
    560 Treadwear
    75,000 mile (120,700 km) warranty

Personal experiences with these tires are documented on this webpage.

 

Alternate Tire:  Michelin Harmony     back to top

There are a number of alternates available from different manufacturers.  This example is the successor to the popular "X-One" tire from Michelin, which many Classic Prius owners have tried and recommended to others.  (Note: You may also use a 185 size, which will provide full support at just 35 PSI.  But the trade-off is a MPG reduction.)

    175 / 65 R14
    81S speed & load rating
    44 PSI (3.0 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1019 lbs. (462 kg) maximum load
    Non-LRR (Standard Rolling Resistance)
    11/32 inch (9 mm) tread depth
    908 revs per mile
    "A" Traction
    "B" Temperature
    680 Treadwear
    80,000 mile (128,748 km) warranty

 

Alternate Tire:  Michelin HydroEdge     back to top

This is a popular choice for the Iconic model Prius, an excellent choice for those wanting improved traction and much longer tread life. It can be used on the Classic model too; however, only the larger size is available. The size & rubber difference will reduce MPG a little bit. PSI higher than 35 may be used to compensate for this.

    175 / 65 R14
    85T speed & load rating
    44 PSI (3.0 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1124 lbs. (510 kg) maximum load
    Non-LRR (Standard Rolling Resistance)
    11/32 inch (9 mm) tread depth
    893 revs per mile
    "A" Traction
    "B" Temperature
    800 Treadwear
    90,000 (144,841km) Mile Warranty

 

Alternate Tire:  Dunlop SP10     back to top

This is the standard tire for the Classic Prius in Canada.

    175 / 65 R14
    84S speed & load rating
    50 PSI (3.4 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1102 lbs. (500 kg) maximum load
    LRR (Low Rolling Resistance)
    11/32 inch (9 mm) tread depth
    913 revs per mile
    "A" Traction
    "B" Temperature
    220 Treadwear

 

Alternate Tire:  Dunlop SP Sport A2     back to top

There are 2 size choices available for this Classic Prius tire; size, speed rating, maximum load, and revs differ.  So you are not limited to particular specifications, though neither is the exact size as the Potenza.

    185 / 65 R14
    85H speed & load rating
    44 PSI (3.0 bar) maximum pressure
    1124 lbs. (510 kg) maximum load
    Non-LRR (Standard Rolling Resistance)
    10/32 inch (8 mm) tread depth
    894 revs per mile
    "AA" Traction
    "A" Temperature
    420 Treadwear
    50,000 mile (80,467 km) warranty
 

    185 / 60 R14
    82H speed & load rating
    44 PSI (3.0 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1047 lbs. (475 kg) maximum load
    Non-LRR (Standard Rolling Resistance)
    10/32 inch (8 mm) tread depth
    919 revs per mile
    "AA" Traction
    "A" Temperature
    420 Treadwear
    50,000 mile (80,467 km) warranty

 

Alternate Tire:  Nokian NRHi     back to top

These tires are LRR, just like the OEM tires. So MPG will be maximized, unlike the other alternates available. Unfortunately, these are only �summer� tires.

    175 / 65 R14
    82H speed & load rating
    51 PSI (3.5 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1047 lbs. (475 kg) maximum load
    LRR (Low Rolling Resistance)
    11/32 inch (8.7 mm) tread depth
    "A" Traction
    "A" Temperature
    320 Treadwear
    50,000 mile (80,467 km) warranty
 

    185 / 60 R14
    82H speed & load rating
    51 PSI (3.5 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1047 lbs. (475 kg) maximum load
    LRR (Low Rolling Resistance)
    11/32 inch (8.7 mm) tread depth
    "A" Traction
    "A" Temperature
    320 Treadwear
    50,000 mile (80,467 km) warranty
 

    185 / 65 R14
    90H speed & load rating
    51 PSI (3.5 bar) maximum pressure
    42/40 PSI front/back (2.9/2.8 bar) recommended
    1323 lbs. (600 kg) maximum load
    LRR (Low Rolling Resistance)
    11/32 inch (8.7 mm) tread depth
    "A" Traction
    "A" Temperature
    320 Treadwear
    50,000 mile (80,467 km) warranty

 

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