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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Good evening everyone! Long time lurker, but I don't get round to posting very often. I'm hoping you guys can give me some advice. :) I have a bit of a long story, but I think the background info may be useful.

I've had my 2010 1.3 jtdm for two years now. In January, I came off the road in the snow - not badly, but it shook me up a little. No damage to the car, just slid onto the grass at the side of the road. I was able to continue. While I was convince it was the weather that caught me out, I also noticed my front tyres were getting pretty low, so got them changed as a precaution. The garage confirmed they were down to 1.6 - the legal limit - and replaced them with some £70 firestones. It also took them about 4 attempts to get the tracking sorted.

Since then, I've noticed that my MiTo hasn't been behaving itself on bumpy roads, slippery surfaces. It doesn't inspire any confidence at all. I wasn't sure if the new tyres were junk, or if I had damaged something on the car. I asked the local garage to have a look at it when it was MOT time in March, and they found one of the front springs had broken and duly replaced it. A noisey drop-link was also replaced. Rear bridgestones are at 4mm and appear healthy, although they are the original tyres still.

But I still feel like my car has no grip on bumpy or wet roads. Give me a smooth sweeping road and it's a pleasure to drive, but the back roads scare me now. I've been driving for over 10 years and haven't felt like this before. I don't really know what to do. If I can't get to the bottom of this, I fear I'll end up part-exchanging it for something else. :(
 

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Has anyone checked the tyre pressures? Garages/tyre places are often terrible for over-inflating them. I'd have hoped the local garage would have checked that when you mentioned the handling wasn't great, but still.

I don't know anything about firestone tyres - wouldn't think they're a common choice? Which model of firestone tyre?

If it was ok before the firestone tyres, it does seem likely the tyres are most likely to be the issue. Tyres can make quite a difference (and some tyres can suit some cars better than others).

As for your slide on snow - that's snow :).
 

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I'd start by getting the tracking checked again but somewhere else. Try and find somewhere nearby reputable. If it's not them then I'd suspect the tyres. Firestone as a brand are ok but it really does depend what firestone tyre it is (top of the range or their budget version) but they're not particularly raved about either way. I had some nexens on the front of mine (pretty mid-range) and I thought they were diabolical once I'd put a few miles on them. The difference a new set of goodyear eagle f1 Asy2s made was huge. Much more confidence inspiring.
 

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Tyres can make a huge difference. You have Firestones at front and Bridgestones at rear? This might have some influence on handling. Try different tyre pressures, I don't remember which tyres I have, but I think MiTo is pretty sensitive when it comes to tyre pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies guys. Skaffen, the firestones are TZ300As, which seem to have generally positive reviews (Firestone TZ300A - Tyre Reviews) albeit one or two people knocking them.

I noticed the fronts were closer to 32PSI instead of the 34 the manual suggests - not a huge difference, but I've adjusted them and we'll see what happens on Monday. :)
 

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It's unlikely being 2 PSI under would make much of a difference.

The other thing that springs to mind (although I got the feeling you've probably been driving long enough with the new tyres to discount this) is that new tyres can be affected by the release agent used in the mould and the surface directly from the mould. It can take a couple of hundred dry miles (so may be longer in the wet) for some tyres to start to properly perform and they can feel skittish until that point. From my Lotus driving days the Toyo T1R were notorious for taking as long as 500 miles to start to behave on Elises (bit of a marmite tyre anyway I think due to relatively soft sidewalls).

Skippy's idea of getting the tracking double checked somewhere else seems sensible as that's the other thing that changed :)

An idea that occurs is you could try is maybe swapping front and rear tyres to put your old bridgestones on the front and carefully see how that feels in comparison.

There aren't that many reviews of the TZ300A on that site you linked to, some of them talk about comfort and wear, some of them are on larger/heavier non-sporty cars. I can't really find mention of them on pistonheads.

Firestone are the more budget brand owned by Bridgestone. The TZ300A tyre is not a "sports" tyre - in the Firestone range they describe it as "Every day peaceful and relaxing ride while delivering outstanding safety and reliability out on the road." - the SZ90 is their more sporty one "Fun to drive with precise steering, very good cornering turn-in and ability to give more bite when needed.". I suspect the TZ300 is a bit more comfort/economy oriented. The Bridgestone's are possible the RE040 in which case a sports tyre, and a more premium brand. The feel of a tyre is not just about outright grip (or outright grip in given conditions) but things like sidewall flex as well, how progressive they are on the limit and generally how communicative they are. So it's possible that the feel you've been used to with the Bridgestones is rather different to that from the Firestones.

I can't find mention of the firestones on pistonheads (generally a couple of negative comments about firestones, and a couple of mentions of SZ90) which means they're probably not really rated as a 'drivers tyre' or been a tyre where anyone's felt compelled to recommend them there.
 

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Did you get tracking done after replacing the spring/droplink? This seems advisable from some sources I've read - don't know if genuine but makes sense to me as it's quite a 'big thing' to do to car's suspension.
 
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