I have an extra set of Ensaves, practically new without measurable wear. I got them for $160 and I had to swap out the replacement tires. I'm replacing the OE wheels and tires with "Imola" rims from a mini Cooper. They are 15x5.5 but weight 12 pounds compared to the OE rims at 13. The tires are 185x60x15 Ecopias, EP422 plus at around 17 pounds per tire, versus the Ensaves at 13 pounds per tire.
The larger diameter will drop my revs per mile by close to 6% (1.058 multiplication factor on odometer reading). Hoping I will not see too bad a MPG drop all things considered.
The Ecopias I have to replace the Ensaves are 11/32nds tread depth, giving you 9/32nds to worn out. Their tread wear rating is 640 compared to the Ensaves 340, which is higher than the OE Bridgestones.
Just want to point out that the tire industry, at least in the US, doesn't use a universal testing methodology for the tire wear rating. This means the values is not comparable between manufacturers.
Would it even be fair to compare wear rates? I mean it's going to vary hugely depending on the type of journies you do, surfaces you drive on, driving style, how much weight you carry etc, much like fuel consumption. A friend of mine used to change his tyres every two weeks and he didn't do mega miles. I've been through a set in less than 5k before now, but I've also had 15k in the same car on the same roads. Too many factors to consider in my opinion.
Just like mpg it's no guarantee but at least you can see that in the official testing cars A, B and C did x, y and z respectively and the same could be said of tires. Now it only works for tires within the same company. I'd rather across the board even if my results don't match the tests, just like now with mpg.
Driven until they were bald, I could probably get another 20+k miles. Best time in a tires life for mileage.
I've seen fairly consistent wear to grading standard over the years. I could just replace them with the set of Ensaves I had waiting, but with the new axle, I just want more handling for emergencies.
It will be seen if I want to keep the larger wheels and tires, but mid 60s mpg seem to be fairly easy now. Under best circumstances maybe 115. When you get to this level in mpg, every small improvement is amplified. It may be that the rear axle improvement covers the larger tire penalty. You never know, but I sure enjoy finding out at 3.3 cents a mile.
The alignment issues are possibly related to shipping. If they yank the cars down for shipping, you can get alignment issues if the cars aren't aligned on the PDI. I forget which, but there was a high volume manufacturer which recently ran into issues with this.
I originally thought the same thing, shipping damage, until I actually tried to bend the axle using a 6 foot piece of aluminum pipe, giving me a leverage factor of about 12 to one. A member on the Mirage forum, 3dplane, a tech at a dealership went through the process and also had no luck cold bending the axle stubs. Only heat (think acetylene torch) would move the stub axles.
That pipe was giving me about 2400 pounds of torque on the 1 inch diameter axle shaft. Like trying to bend a leaf spring, about 20% more force than the whole car weighs. It would have ripped the tie down hook out of the bottom of the trunk floor. Probably blown out the rear shocks.