Tech Column by Ken Schiess

In March of 2017, I was complaining about a vibration between 45 and 55 mph. I had put the wheels on the balancing machine during tech day and discovered that two of the wheels appeared to be out of round or slightly bent. I proceeded to have them straightened by Stevenson Mazda (thanks Howard) – which, by the way, was cheaper with the club discount than if I’d taken them to the wheel guy myself.

The straightening seemed to work but there was some concern that the Falken-Z912 tires may have worn unevenly. Since I knew I was about to need tires anyway because the Falkens were 19,000 miles old and the wear bars were becoming visible. They had been a great performance tire, very sticky and very responsive. But I don’t tend to drive aggressively so I was looking for an improvement in wear, ride, and especially noise.

Howard (Stevenson Mazda) hooked me up with a full set of General Altimax RT 43 Grand Touring tires for my Grand Touring Miata.  He was able to beat the Tire Rack price, so I was thrilled. That was 33 months and about 10,000 miles ago. I can tell you that the Altimax RT 43 tires are a lot quieter, a little softer ride, slightly less responsive (but my driving style isn’t especially aggressive, so I don’t care). They make driving the car more enjoyable for my copilot without diminishing my fun quotient.  At 10,000 miles they still look very good so I’m guessing that they will last longer than the 19,000 miles the Falkens turned in.

Ken Schiess