Skip to main content

We have a 2017 Ford Escape Titanium with the 19-inch wheel option, shod with factory Continentals. In winter, we run the Hakkapeliitta 9 studded on the base model Escape 17-inch factory wheels. The stock 19′s make turn-in and holding your line sketchy, and crossing pavement seams with super elevation changes kind of scary. I thought I was imagining it until my wife commented she sure liked how the car handled around town on the Hakkapeliitta’s. So it’s definitely not my imagination. Should I be selling the nice 19-inch wheels and buying some 17-inchers? I can’t believe buying the Escape Titanium 19-inch wheels would have an owner sacrifice handling for big-wheel glam. Has to be poor stock tires, right?

Susan and Grainger W., Revelstoke, B.C.

I believe most factory-installed tires are similar to the ink cartridges installed in your brand new $99 inkjet printer. They are only half full and not meant to go the distance. During pre-production vehicle-design periods, the manufacturer identifies all the parts of the vehicle that will be outsourced. Tires are one of those items. The tire-load and speed requirements for the vehicle in question are specified, and tire manufacturers bid for the contracts. You know the way it goes – it’s not about what’s best for the consumer, it’s about keeping production costs down, and tires are not exempt. Don’t sell your factory 19-inch wheels; research and replace the rubber with a better-quality tire.

Story continues below advertisement


I have a great little 2015 Toyota Corolla that I use as my winter car and a pristine 2007 Lexus SC 430 as my summer car. I find dealer prices for servicing very high and have had a local car clinic recommended by a friend. Given both cars are past warranty, what are the downsides of the local car clinic being used instead of the dealer?

Thanks, Geoff

Having been both a dealer technician and the local guy, I can understand the difficulty consumers experience. I don’t think it needs to be a difficult process, but for some, it is. Dealers are assumed to know everything, but they don’t hold a captive market in the tech skill-level department.

That being said, sometimes when a newer car has a complex problem and requires use of the latest factory scan tools for software updates, it just makes sense to return to the dealer. I know there are independent specialists for every brand, but it takes a couple of years for manufacturer information, tools and procedures to flow into the aftermarket world.

Both of your vehicles are older now, so I see no downside in looking for service outside of the dealer. Word of mouth is still my own preferred way of sourcing new clients, and you have done right in getting a referral from a friend. Test the water by starting with small repairs and building a relationship with the new shop. Most people are a better judge of character than they realize. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, there is usually a reason. Fine choice in the Lexus by the way, Geoff.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest discounts, rebates and rates on new cars, trucks and SUVs. Click here to get your price.

Story continues below advertisement

Stay on top of all our Drive stories. We have a Drive newsletter covering car reviews, innovative new cars and the ups and downs of everyday driving. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies