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Getting Tired

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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The original factory tires on the Cobalt SS/SC were Pirelli P-Zero Rossos.

They are a maximum performance summer tire, but are no longer available in the Cobalt's original 215/45ZR18 size — and haven't been for some time.

When I bought the Cobalt back in 2013, I needed to replace the tires and really needed an all season because it's a daily driver and I run into all four seasons. So, I went with the best performing all season tire made at the time, the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+. To be sure, they perform phenomenally, but on my factory Cobalt, they ride and drive on the street like crap.

As I mentioned in a previous Bench Racing post, they need precise tire pressure to be tractable in the least, but they were never great. They always tramlined and pulled on the steering wheel a bit, and would often make the steering float a little as they went from one line to another. When they weren't at exactly 32 psi, they had a host of drivability problems depending on which direction they moved away from that pressure.

Consequently, when I read that the Pirelli P-Zero All Season Plus tires were nearly identical in performance on the track but were much more drivable on the street, I decided to take a chance and have them installed when the Michelin's recently wore out a second time.

To be fair to all parties, I've never been a big fan of Pirelli's and I've absolutely adored every other Michelin tire I've ever had on a car. These Pirellis, though, solved every single driving faux pa I was experiencing with the Cobalt.

Don't get me wrong, they aren't a replacement for repairing a bad suspension or shitty brakes, but she smoothed right out and the steering response is a dream. And in this case, my entire suspension is already brand new and perfectly aligned.

Toni, the Cobalt's wonderful service writer — who's babied this car for years — made sure the installation was flawless and that the Cobalt drives like a new car.

Can't thank her enough.

In case you were wondering, no alignment or anything was done in conjunction with the tire swap, just the tires.

Until next week, I hope your ride is rolling as nicely as the Cobalt!

Ryan

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