The SportCombi gets serious about rubber

Another week, and another Saab story to share.

Driving back from the airport last weekend in the SportCombi, we had the unfortunate luck of suffering a blow out –  one of the rear Bridgestone tyres completely gave up the ghost. Luckily though, we had just pulled off the motorway, and my son and I were able to hop out and change the offending tyre for the spacesaver which carried us all safely home.

This morning, I arranged to have 2 new rear tyres fitted, but as it turned out, these weren’t my worst type problem. I regularly check the tyres on all three Saabs, I hadn’t done a thorough enough job on the SportCombi, as although the tread depth was still legal, the far inner (hidden) edges of both front tyres were literally close to exploding; the rubber had begun to pull away and reveal the inner thread, not good.

Two hours later, nearly four hundred pounds worse off, and the SportCombi is a happy, safe Saab again, it’s also had some tracking alterations to ensure the new front tyres don’t suffer the same fate again in the near future.

When things like this happen, it serves to remind me just how important taking care of tyres are. One of the reasons I love Saabs is their superior safety, however, they still depend on 4 simple cylinders of rubber to keep my family safe, and at speeds Saabs are happy at, you can never underestimate their importance.

So what rubber best suits a Saab? Although I worship the handling and refinement of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s on my 9-3 saloon, I’ve become increasingly impressed with the all round capabilities of Kumho’s.

I recently put a full set on the Carlsson alloys for the 900, and the Mercedes Coupe before that, and they’ve performed faultlessly; great handing in both wet and dry conditions, extremely quiet, and a very attractive tread pattern. Although not cheap, the Kumho’s do represent a saving over say the Michelins and seem to suit Saabs well, so the SportCombi now proudly sits on a set of Kumho ECSTA LE Sport KU39’s.

I’ll report on their longevity in a few thousand miles, but until then, the SportCombi’s looking good with its new rubber.

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