Helloooo. I haven’t updated this blog in a while and since a lot of people have been asking me to give a review about my most recent tire purchase; I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. (If you want to skip straight to the review, scroll down past the second picture)
As most of you know, I was in desperate need of new tires for several months. If you follow me on IG, you might have seen this photo:
Those are what General Exclaim UHP’s look like with close to 30,000 miles on them and too much toe in on the front tires. They were decent tires and maybe one day I’ll do a full review on them, as well as other tires I’ve had in the past. At any rate, shout-out Heist, you’re here for my review on the tires I bought a few weeks ago.
But first, the backstory…
Since late April, I began to fear driving my car because of my tires; I was waiting for a disaster to happen. I knew that in the next mile ahead, my front tires were going to explode. However imminent the danger was, I still drove as if I had a ton of tread left. Frequent visits to Mexican highways where I doubled the speed limit weren’t too uncommon. Could I or should I have exercised better judgment? Most certainly; no excuses!
Fast forward to July and a few thousand terrifying miles later, I began my tire search. There are a few criteria I have when buying tires. First of all, because I live in Texas, I only buy summer tires. Rain, sleet, or snow, I’ve never had a problem getting around Dallas in inclement weather. There’s more than enough traction on summer tires if you drive smart! Secondly, I was looking for a
cheap, inexpensive tire. I would love to run a set of Star Spec’s daily, but it just wasn’t an option. I had very, very little to spend all while keeping in mind that I had to get these things mounted and balanced which meant visiting Discount Tire; more on that later. Finally, I needed a tire that was going to last at least a year, which for me, is about 30,000 miles.
I began my search on the usual go to sites, Discount Tire and Tire Rack. I quickly realized that they had nothing to offer in a summer tire for the price I was looking for. Next, I searched for “cheap tires online” and found a few sites that had some of the cheapest prices I’ve ever seen. Red flags started going up left and right. How could these tires be so incredibly cheap?? Lionhart, Achilles, Accelera, Mayrun…who? There were brands after brands that I never heard of for as little as $55 per tire. I have to admit, part of me was elated, and on top of that, shipping was dirt cheap! These tires had to be absolute crap and that’s exactly what I had money for. So, I decided to find the best of the worse. Several hours later, I ended up with the Federal 595.
I’ve heard of Federal before and I’ve even seen some of their sponsored drift cars in person. That put my suspicions at ease a little. I spent several hours looking up all of the information I could find on the 595’s and Federal tires in general. As with most reviews you’ll find on the internet, there was a seemingly even mix of good and bad. However, the good reviews were actually exceptional reviews and the bad reviews weren’t really all that bad. I decided that these tires were going to be as good as it gets and added them to my cart. Before I confirmed my order, I called the company to make sure they were in stock. Unfortunately, they weren’t. I tried two other “cheap online tires” retailers and they both told me they were on national backorder. FUUUU!!! Of course, the only
cheap, inexpensive tires that I’m willing to buy aren’t available. Frustration! Anger! All of the usual emotions you experience after you spend hours doing something to no avail. Relax. Regroup. Try again tomorrow!
After accepting that loss, I moved on to my next choice; Achilles All-Season’s. Fuck!
Wash, rinse, repeat. More searching, more reviews, decision made. My search led me to www.tires-easy.com. As I entered in my tire size information, I found that they carried Federal tires. A quick phone call later and I found out they had 4 Federal 595’s in stock!! Excitement and joy set it and I placed my order. $383 shipped!
Two days later, I had my tires! Yes, that fast!
I know, I know. This is supposed to be a review about tires. I’m getting there. One last rant. Discount Tire needs to change their name. There’s nothing discount about them. They beat you up on mounting and balancing a set of tires. Add in disposal fees and that stupid TPMS rebuild kit at $7.50 a corner, and you’ll find yourself walking out the door $140 poorer. Firestone and NTB aren’t much cheaper either.
I’ve now had these tires for a little over 1,000 miles, of which the last 200 miles were on a spirited cruise with my car club. My initial thoughts…good lawd it’s nice to have traction again!! Shortly before my old tires ran out of life, I installed some COBB sway bars. It is so nice to be able to drive and feel the feedback from the sway bars again. LOL!
While I’m of the opinion that any DOT approved tire will perform just fine in the rain, I do realize that some tires perform better than others. Two days after I put the 595’s on, it rained; I’m happy to say that in normal driving, these tires were just fine. At around 80mph on the highway, during moderate rain, they became a little less responsive but nothing so great as to cause alarm. Again, you shouldn’t speed in the first place, much less when it’s raining.
During normal day-to-day driving, I knew these tires would be just fine. I wanted to do some spirited driving and push these tires to see how they would hold up as a possible budget autocross or occasional track day tire. As a reminder, I drive a 2008.5 Mazdaspeed3 with a few mods making approximately 285HP and 310TQ at the front wheels. Tire pressures are set to 34psi in the front and 32psi in the rear and I’m on stock springs and dampers with my alignment in OEM specs.
The first thing I tried with these tires was a launch from a stop. With TC and DSC off, while feathering the clutch a little, the tires spun a little but caught traction quickly. There was no noticeable wheel hop but I also have upgraded all of my motor mounts. If I dropped the clutch, the tires spun considerably, as you would expect. Overall, I expected a lot worse from a budget tire. Win!
For me, this is the biggest concern when buying a budget tire. Most of these tires have a soft to moderate sidewall which delivers, in my opinion, ‘decent at best’ performance during corner. To me, they seem to push through a corner before they start to grip. I noticed while my tires were being mounted that they were having a hard time getting the tire to “pop” while it was being inflated. It looked as if the tire wasn’t properly mounted on the wheel. After talking with the installer and the manager, they told me that the 595’s have one of the harder sidewalls they’ve come across. I was surprised to hear that from such a budget tire and was excited to see how they would handle lateral forces.
On the street, during our cruise, they performed very well around some fast, cambered corners. The initial bite on turn-in felt good, the response through some switchback sections was impressive and I felt that I could go a bit faster. However, and this might be a combination of a lot of factors such as road temperature (95* ambient temps); asphalt surface; too much speed; etc., I noticed that I had to provide a lot of steering input on some of the longer sweeping corners. It didn’t seem that I had surpassed the slip angle to the extent that the car started to push; it just felt as there was no grip.
Overall, I’m quite pleased. I can’t expect too much of these tires but for the price, as cliché’ as that is, they really perform as well as the reviews state they would. I hope to make it to an autocross event in the next month or two and I’ll chime back in with another review then.
Thanks for reading!