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03 Avalon Wheel/Tire upgrade

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I'm doing the tire/wheel upgrade on our 03 Avalon, going from 6"wide 205x65-15 steel wheels to 16x7.5" alloy wheels. I am torn between the 205x60-16 and 215x55-16. I have seen different brands mentioned in posts. After living with them, does anyone have any comments or updates?

We installed Goodyear Allegra's (exclusive to SAMS Club, but similar to the Regatta 2's) on my daughters 97 Camry and we were very impressed overall. Quiet, good ride and handling, and very good snow traction too. (I want the emphasis on quiet and don't want to feel road imperfections to excess. I live in MN and the frost raises hell with the roads.) I planned to buy these, but they are not available in my size. What SAMS does have is the Goodyear Eagle LS in T and H speed ratings ($72 vs $104) No mileage rating. Goodyear says they are a quiet riding luxury sport tire. Has anyone had experience with these?

Then at the Goodyear dealer, I found a nice looking new 80k mile tire called the Assurance ConforTred that shows a layer of foam between the cords and outer layer to reduce pavement slap. Sounds good, but I wonder how it will hold up long term and if there is a price to pay in handling. These were $101 for the 205x60-16's.

Tires Plus mentioned The Bridgestone Turranza-LS-H $135 for the 205, and the Continental CH-95 ($74 for the 205 and $101 for the 215). They had some really sharp 17" wheels too, the Veloche Vergio's.
More from Tires Plus:

Description Price/Unit Quantity Total
Yokohama AVID T4 (205/60R16) BW/ $77.00 4 $308.00
Goodyear Eagle LS (205/60R16) BW/ $71.00 4 $284.00
Yokohama AVID H4S (205/60R16) BW/91H $70.00 4 $280.00
Goodyear Eagle LS (205/60R16) BW/ $69.00 4 $276.00
Michelin Energy MXV4 Plus (205/60R16) BW/91H $122.00 4 $488.00
Bridgestone Turanza LS-H (205/60R16) BW/91H $134.99 4 $539.96
Bridgestone Turanza LS-V (205/60R16) BW/91V $152.99 4 $611.96
And here is a reply from Tire Rack:

The Avalon XLS has an optional 16" tire and wheel package and the tire size was 205/60-16. That is why it is recommended; you are correct the overall diameter and revolutions are closer in the 215/55-16. I have no wheel dimensions for this size. The 215/55-16 is only .4 wider and the tire is .2 of an inch shorter so the difference in the 2 tires would be minimal. You may see a slight degree of improved traction and slightly more road noise but not to a large degree. A higher speed rated tire has a stiffer sidewall so it would increase your feeling of the road and it's imperfections. It would however, also give you more handling and steering response and better cornering. There is a trade off and you need to decide what is most important: ride or performance? best compromise tire would be the Michelin Pilot Sport AS for performance lean and Continental Extreme Contact for ride comfort. Let me know if you need anything else.

Thank you,
One thing that I didn't understand. The Goodyear dealer said there was an Avalon Sport Package that used 215R60-16 tires. These have a .7" larger diameter and would give a plus 2.6% error. Is there such a package? If so, does it require different suspension geometry and a transmission chip change to correct the error?

I would appreciate any and all comments and experiences. The fact that my new wheels are 1.5" wider makes me wonder if it would be too wide for the 205's.

Other thoughts:

- An interesting question. I'm told that the part nunbers are the same for the struts, for Camry, Avalon, and ES300. If so, why couldn't we just upgrade the Avalon to Camry SE components? I'm not sure if the price would have much advantage over the good stuff though.

Does the SE have a heavier interchangeable sway bar and heavier springs? Are the bushings better and interchangeable? Wait a minute, if the struts are the same on these three, why is the Avalon so softly sprung? That would make it the springs, but they seem just fine.

How much difference would it make to just install performance bushings? Some have installed Tokico Gas Shocks and felt it was a bit stiff. I thought just bushings may be worth a try first, along with the wheel/tire upgrade. If I do struts, I may not want to do bushings also. And, bushings should be cheaper. I could do the 205x60's and struts OR, 215x55's and bushings.

Drives ya knuts! Don't want it too stiff. Wifes car. Better leave stiff for elsewhere. :)


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