Give Me A Lift
(Click to enlarge)
3rd Set of Tires
for my Nissan Leaf

March 14, 2018

Mark D Larsen

Last month, when I took my Leaf in for its 8th maintenance checkup, the report indicated that the tires’ treads were wearing thin enough to warrant replacing them again. I contacted my local Big O earlier this week and learned that the same Michelin Energy Savers were no longer available and under backorder nationwide. After researching and comparing other alternatives, I finally decided to go with Michelin Defenders. Although they are not “low rolling resistance” models, they have fairly high ratings and reviews. Luckily, Big O already had a set in inventory at the store, so I scheduled an appointment early this morning to have them installed.

They fit me right in, and already had the new tires waiting in the work area (shown below on the left). The installer removed the wheels (shown above at the top of the page), unmounted the Energy Savers, mounted the Defenders, balanced them (shown below on the right), put them on the LEAF, and then checked its alignment.

New Shoes
(click to enlarge)

Balance Beam
(click to enlarge)

I had asked them to put a couple more pounds of pressure in the tires than the recommend 35 psi. On the way home, I launched LEAFStat to check, and saw that two of the new tires had 37.5 pounds, one had 37.25, yet one had only 36 (below on the left). Hmmm. When I pulled into the garage, I took a photo of the odometer (below on the right). 61,479 miles - 29,000 miles (when I had the Energy Savers installed nearly 4 years ago) = 32,479 miles. I probably could have kept driving on the Energy Savers a couple more months, but I doubt they would have lasted until 40,000 miles, let alone their limited warranty of 50,000. The Defenders, in comparison, are supposed to last for 80,000 miles. Of course, I seriously doubt I’ll have the LEAF long enough to see that many miles on the odometer.

Under Pressure
(click to enlarge)

Going the Distance
(click to enlarge)

You can see below a comparison of the worn-out Energy Savers (on the left) and the new Defenders (on the right). I actually like the look of the new tread design better. It might be my imagination, but the Defenders also seem to be a tad quieter on the road. I haven’t yet tried testing out how the handle, but my guess is that they might prove more nimble and sure-footed than the Energy Savers. On the other hand, they’ll probably decrease my LEAF’s range slightly, but my daily driving around town never drains my battery completely as it is. Maybe, just maybe, these new tires will pay for themselves when I sell or trade in the LEAF to upgrade to a longer range EV, hopefully later this year.

(click to enlarge)

...and Thick
(click to enlarge)