Opinion on tires for 2002-2005

Joined
Aug 9, 2005
Thunderbird Year
2003
I run Continental extremes contact DWS 06 for over 6 years I have put them on the Tbird first and the ride and handling was better than the Mich.

my Cadillac ATS that came with run-flat Mich. I took them off the first week I got the ATS and put on Conty Ex.
4 years ago I got a Cadillac CTS with PZ0 and put on Conty Ex. after I ran the PZ0 for 10,000 miles.
I put on Conty Ex and they lasted 40,000 miles. I have staggered 19" tires on the caddy, the rear tires are bigger than the front, so they can not be rotated.
I just put on new Conty Ex. last month with new shocks from Cadillac all around. Love my caddy.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2004
I am running Continental Extremecontact DWS 06 that are now 4 years old and has about 6000 mile on them,.. Very good cornering performance and relatively quiet ride.. I feel they IMHO really look great. My only negative is I experience flat spots after not driving the bird in a week.. (Ours is a weekend driver) During winter storage I inflate to 45 psi and that cures the long storage inflation flat spots, but having the tire inflated to 31 or 32 psi for regular summer driving i get the flat spot.. The flat spot does go away in about 5-10 miles but it is annoying.. These replaced the OEM Michelin Pilots that were on the car when I bought it 4 years ago.. With 16.5K miles on the clock when I bought the 2002 the pilots were 14-15 years old and had dry rot so they had to be replaced.. I think the next time I need tires I will opt for the Michelin's.. I have always had good luck with Michelins over my many vehicles.. I also had a set of Pirelli Cinturato P6 (if i remember correctly) and loved them.. The Focus was a daily driver but they were quite responsive very good in snow for all seasons and because the Focus was a daily driver there was no issue with flat spots.

Good luck on your selection and purchase.
Hello. I just had the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 installed, so curios to see if I also have the issue with flat spots when the car sits, which it often does for up to two weeks. They were on sale so decided to give them a try, though would probably prefer Michelins. Thanks again for the info you posted as it will be helpful.
 
Joined
May 25, 2017
Thunderbird Year
2002
Hello. I just had the Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 installed, so curios to see if I also have the issue with flat spots when the car sits, which it often does for up to two weeks. They were on sale so decided to give them a try, though would probably prefer Michelins. Thanks again for the info you posted as it will be helpful.

Yes let us know if you find you get the flat spots.. Mine are inflated to 32 psi and I get it after sitting a week or so.. Great ride and super look..
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2004
I got the same tires. Cheaper than the Michelin’s. Got them at TireRack.com and Firestone did the install. Real nice tire!!

I just replaced the Michelins on my 2005 with Continental Control Contact Sport SRS and they seem to be good tires. They were about $150 each plus mounting and balancing at Discount Tire. I went with 235/55/17 after reading several posts recommending the 55s over the recommended 50s. Personally, I think I like the look of the 50s better.
Hello, I had to let you know that earlier I had Continental ExtremeContact DWS 235/55R17s installed and when the car was brought around I was surprised at the appearance of the larger tires, and immediately thought of your post. I must say, wasn't expecting the minor size increase in tire height to make the Bird look so different, and it will take some getting used to. I know many have installed 55's instead so hopefully I will like the way she runs and drives, but must agree with you that the 50's seem to look more in scale to the size of the car. Maybe Ford didn't change to 50's due to cost, though could well be the case, but because someone just thought the car looks better with 50's. Anyway, just thought I'd share that with you. Hope you've been happy with the larger tire size.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2004
Mine are 235 50R ZR 17.. I thought they were the original OEM size.. Unless you were running smaller tires when youi bought yours.. Tire Rack recommends the 235 50R 17 and I thought that would be the OEM size
That's right, OEM are 235/50R17 and I somewhat regret having gone with 235/55R17. They fit, but look a bit too large for the wheel openings, though the car does seem to ride smoother. When I first started looking locally, the rep at the local NTB recommended 55 as he said the extra sidewall provides a better ride. The day after having the new 55 size Continentals mounted I drove the car 600 miles from Dallas to Kerrville, taking rural often winding roads through the Texas hill country and the bird handled wonderfully, negotiating curves with ease at 60-65 MPH. Nothing like rear wheel drive, and from what I understand the weight in the car is well-balanced. Quite a difference from my 2017 Ford Fusion daily driver.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2004
235 50 R17 is the original manufacturer tire spec. There are lots of options out there people have tried but that is the original size.
If I keep the car long enough to need new tires again, I'll go with OEM 235/50R17 rather than the 55's. But hopefully won't have any issues with the larger tires, other than that they just look too big for the car. I am concerned about tires striking the wheel wells if the car moves significantly on its suspension, but so far that hasn't happened. I need to add a post for advise on suspension, or search existing posts, as my car has original struts and bushings. It had 22K when I bought it in 2016 and now has 38K, and the last time it was at the dealer for an oil change I was told bushings are beginning to crack but no mention of issues with struts. I imagine the struts aren't what they were when the car was new, despite low mileage, because aging must still be a factor? It seems a bit "bouncy" under some driving conditions, but I don't know how it drove when new since it was already 13 years old when I bought it (production date July 2013, VIN ends 695 so I guess that means it was the 695th 2004 in production). If I do replace, are there AM parts that are as good or better than OEM? Haven't done any research on that yet. Thanks.
 
Joined
Aug 9, 2005
Thunderbird Year
2003
Most people and I will now include myself (since I do to drive race cars anymore) can not tell a good tire from a bad ball joint, or a tire with too low 3PSI air pressure from a flat tire. So when someone tells me a car 17 years old drives smooth and ride fine I know they have no idea what they are talking about.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2002
I'd like to get some new wheels with wider stance and lower profile tires for my 2002 Bird. Any good experiences and web sights you could share? They tell me that the wheel pattern is from Jaguar Company? I would love some info and pictures of some 2002 birds with cool wheels. Wolfe
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Thunderbird Year
none
got my 04 merlot with 14k on the clock put conti extreme contacts on it and it feels nice tires turn in fast it’s hard to get a squeal out of them.compared to my 1993 Bmw 525 you definitely can tell the birds got no roof to keep it stiff.still love driving it though.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2003
I was at Discount Tire today and inquired about replacement tires for my 2003. My tires are in great shape with plenty of tread left, but are now 10 years old and have been in storage for awhile. Discount Tire recommended the Barum Bravuris 5HM in the stock 235/50/R17 size. I learned that Barum is a sister company to Continental and has been around 147 years. The performance looks really good and on par with Michelin, especially since we don’t plan to use the car in the snow. The tires are $88 a piece and $563 out the door with four replacement certificates at Discount Tire. Does anyone have experience with this tire on the 02-05 Thunderbird? The reviews I found are very good on different applications.
 

WesTxStoner425

2004 Platinum over Sand interior
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Thunderbird Year
2004
2 Years ago, I purchased the Continental Extreme Contact DWS in the next size up, which in my opinion looks great in the wheelwells; there have been no issues with "wheel rub" when turning or going over bumps. BUT, I just purchased new tires for my wife's 2013 Infinity G37x sedan, and after much research (I always shop hard), I settled on Michellin CrossClimate 2's one size up from OEM (the plus sized tires were already on the car when we bought it at Carmax). Costco had a deal for $150 off when you bought 4, which brought the cost down from around $950 to $800, but getting them to install the plus size and lower speed rating (H 130 mph vs spec'd V 149 mph) was a battle. Costco generally won't install plus size tires unless they are less than a 3% difference in circumference; they also won't let you install a lower speed rating. I first battled them over tire size (their 'bible' had generic sizes which showed the difference was greater than 3%). I showed them that the circumferences of the actual Michellins were within 3% according to Michellin. I next had to fight them over the speed rating; I presented emails from Michellin that stated they recommended The Cross Climate 2's in the H speed rating and in the size I wanted for the Infiniti G37X. The tire shop manager had to go to his District manager to get final approval. This exercise was taking so long that I had practicallyh given up and had gotten a quote from another tire shop. This shop had recently changed ownership and was unable to sell me the TPMS modules, but said I could bring my own and they'd install them for free, so I bought a set of four form Amazon for $90. There are cheaper, but these had excellent reviews. I told Costco I'd already bought the modules, so they agreed to install them at no charge because of all the trips I'd had to make to get the tires I wanted. All this to say that I'd probably switch to these Michellins if I was buying new tires. The Continentals are great, don't get me wrong, but the Michellins were rated #1 of all the All-Season tires, scoring 90 or above in every category. And they look great, too, very aggressive. Just wait for another sale and get them, you will not be disappointed. This deal was strictly a Costco deal, but Michellin occasionally has a sale with other tire stores, too.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2005
I was at Discount Tire today and inquired about replacement tires for my 2003. My tires are in great shape with plenty of tread left, but are now 10 years old and have been in storage for awhile. Discount Tire recommended the Barum Bravuris 5HM in the stock 235/50/R17 size. I learned that Barum is a sister company to Continental and has been around 147 years. The performance looks really good and on par with Michelin, especially since we don’t plan to use the car in the snow. The tires are $88 a piece and $563 out the door with four replacement certificates at Discount Tire. Does anyone have experience with this tire on the 02-05 Thunderbird? The reviews I found are very good on different applications.
Dear Blackbird, I have a good story for you in tires…I own a 2005 that had its original Michelin’s until last year. After constantly being told they were too old to be on the car even though they still had over 60% tread remaining and no dry rot etc., I reluctantly went to my local Goodyear store and bought 4 new radials allegedly their best tires ($1,078.00) Covid kicked in and I left my Florida home where this car lives and returned to PA. I returned to Florida about 6 months later. Now this car sits in the garage at least 5 months every year on those old Michelin’s. Never had a problem. after returning this year, my brand new Goodyear’s with 450 miles on them had flat spots so bad it shakes you out of the car. After fighting with Goodyear they replaced them for free. Did I mention that I purchased every possible additional warranty feature they offered? Now they told me to expect the same to happen again unless I put the car up on jack stands with the wheels off the ground, which I did before leaving in May again for PA. I own six cars which I drive regularly but not many miles. My Armada and Murano each have Bridgestones. My new Mustang GT Premium has Michelin summer tires, my A8 has Pirelli P Zero’s, my 1967 Mustang GT has BF Goodrich TA’s. I have never had a problem with any of those brands sitting. I wish I still had my 15 year old Michelin’s on my 2005 Bird. So bottom line is, remember price isn’t everything. If your car is infrequently driven make sure the brand knows the car sits and they are willing to stand behind the tires. As for me I’ll only use the four brands I cited above. Good luck, Dennis
 

Hemi Bob

Active Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2019
Thunderbird Year
2005
Dear Blackbird, I have a good story for you in tires…I own a 2005 that had its original Michelin’s until last year. After constantly being told they were too old to be on the car even though they still had over 60% tread remaining and no dry rot etc., I reluctantly went to my local Goodyear store and bought 4 new radials allegedly their best tires ($1,078.00) Covid kicked in and I left my Florida home where this car lives and returned to PA. I returned to Florida about 6 months later. Now this car sits in the garage at least 5 months every year on those old Michelin’s. Never had a problem. after returning this year, my brand new Goodyear’s with 450 miles on them had flat spots so bad it shakes you out of the car. After fighting with Goodyear they replaced them for free. Did I mention that I purchased every possible additional warranty feature they offered? Now they told me to expect the same to happen again unless I put the car up on jack stands with the wheels off the ground, which I did before leaving in May again for PA. I own six cars which I drive regularly but not many miles. My Armada and Murano each have Bridgestones. My new Mustang GT Premium has Michelin summer tires, my A8 has Pirelli P Zero’s, my 1967 Mustang GT has BF Goodrich TA’s. I have never had a problem with any of those brands sitting. I wish I still had my 15 year old Michelin’s on my 2005 Bird. So bottom line is, remember price isn’t everything. If your car is infrequently driven make sure the brand knows the car sits and they are willing to stand behind the tires. As for me I’ll only use the four brands I cited above. Good luck, Dennis
DO NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT REPLACING YOUR MICHELINS. I bought my car with Michelins in the same shape as yours in terms of age, condition and tread depth, and look what happened to me on the Florida Turnpike at 75MPH before I could get the new set in.
 

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Joined
Sep 5, 2018
Thunderbird Year
2005
Thanks Bob. I really don’t feel bad about replacing my tires, only that I made a bad choice in replacements. The pictures of your tire appear as if the tire over heated and the tread de-laminated from the steel belts. Pretty bad. Glad you’re ok.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Thunderbird Year
2004
Anyone have any opinion on a set of decent tires for 11th gens? Have an 02 that needs a set. Not looking to spend a bunch of cash and not looking for high performance just nice solid street tires.
Thanks
Uniroyal tiger paws touring. Same size as original tires that came with the car. 109 each at Walmart. Very happy with them.
 
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