It doesn’t matter if your DB9 is a daily driver, track day star or a garage queen, eventually you’ll have to change your tires. They will either wear out or get too old and become unsafe. I use my car as a daily driver, and after about 4 years, 15,000 miles and 4 track days it was time to replace them.
I did my research about my replacement tire options, and I’ve written that up in another article where I share what I learned (I suggest you check it out here). In summary I decided to get a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S in the original sizes. This article covers what I did after that decision.
Where to get them?
There are two options to follow I think:
- Go to a tire store that sells and installs the brand you want
- Order them yourself and find a place to mount and balance them
My reluctance with purely using a tire store stems from a few things:
- They certainly won’t have these sizes in stock, so there is no advantage. You can’t just drive in and drive out a hour later. They will have to order them.
- A generic tire shop may not know how to treat your DB9 properly. I called my favorite Les Schwab tire store (a large US chain that has helped me out in the past) to enquire if they could order, mount, balance and install four new Michelin’s. “Sure” the manager said, but when I asked if they knew about the specific lifting points on a DB9’s chassis, what I got more or less was a “We’ll figure it out”. I’m sorry, but a 20 year old kid working the lift ‘figuring it out’ on my car was not a comforting thought. Read here all about the Aston owner that went in for tires and had his car written off from incorrect jacking at a Firestone Dealer.
I opted to go with option 2 – ordering them myself. I went to TireRack.com and used their tire lookup tool and got just the right set of tires for my car, adding them to the cart and checking out. The total cost was $1,127 USD including the $42 shipping (here is a copy of the online receipt in case your interested). They even had a promotion running, and I received a $70 Visa Cash card from Michelin along with the purchase (which more than offset the shipping).
How long did it take to get the Tires?
Just 20 hours! From the moment I finished the purchase online until UPS dropped them off at my office. TireRack’s delivery logistic system is utterly amazing. This wasn’t the first time I’ve ordered from them, and in every case they’ve been delivered in about 1 day.
They came bundled, the two front tires and the two rears. TireRack just tapes on shipping labels and UPS does the rest.
Finding a place to get them installed
As noted above, finding an installer that will handle an Aston Martin properly was my main worry. Where I live (Sacramento, California) there isn’t an Aston dealer for 120 miles. I wasn’t going to waste a day taking my car to them. The fanciest dealer we have is a Maserati store, and I’ve dealt with them in the past. They have one Aston Martin experienced master technician on staff, so I wrang them up to enquire how much to mount, balance and install the four tires. $100 USD total. Fair enough.
Getting the Tires to the Installer
The next challenge for me was getting the tires from my business to the Maserati dealer. In hindsight, I should have had them shipped direct to them (TireRack has an option to drop ship to your installer). But alas, I didn’t think that far ahead (but now you can). Not surprisingly, I couldn’t fit the four tires in the trunk of the DB9. I enlisted the help of my Sweetie and her VW GTI Hatchback, and those four giant tires fit just fine into back. She followed me over to the dealership, and now I am even deeper indebted to her.
Getting them Installed
Mounting & Balancing
Whenever you mount new tires, you should get them balanced. Without this you will surely get some strange vibrations feeding back into the car, and wear the tires unevenly. Most any installer will always balance the new tires on the rims, but be sure to ask that they are. This would be a terrible corner to cut, wrecking your new tires quickly.
Old Tape Weights and Residue
I am a fussy anal retentive type A person, so ask that the dealer take the time necessary to remove the old tape weights, and clean off the old tape residue on the rims. Looking through the spokes of your stylish Speedline 10 spoke wheels only to see a patch of old tape glue smothered in brake dust drives me crazy. The dealer gladly obliged.
The dealer needed just a couple of hours to mount, balance and install the new tires. Plus I had them tackle one more thing while there were at it….
Best Time for a Wheel Alignment
Aston Martin’s need a proper four wheel alignment same as any other car. The suspensions are adjustable to be able to dial in an exact geometry. The absolute best time to get a wheel alignment is when you install new tires. This removed the variability that worn tires can impose. I asked the Maserati dealer to perform a computerized four wheel alignment, which was not a problem. I asked for one thing special. To be ‘in spec’ alignments are given as a target, plus or minus a tolerance. For example, Front Toe In was to be 0.04°, +/- 0.4°, meaning any value from 0.01° to 0.08° was in spec. I asked the dealer to take the time to fettle it to perfection, aiming for the exact value for each setting. This took them a bit more time, but the technician nailed it. The computerized summary shows it (check it out here). In a future article I will cover more of the details about the alignment [Coming Soon]
- Purchase and ship four new tires from TireRack.com = $1,127 USD
- Dealer mount, balance and installation = $100 USD
- Dealer four wheel alignment = $250 USD
All totaled I spent $1,477 USD [plus dinner for my Sweetie driving the tires over in her car]
Did running around doing this myself save any money? You bet! In one of the online forums recently another owner posted his recent maintenance cost from an Aston Martin Dealer in Southern California, and the total for the tires, install and alignment was about $2,387 (just about $900 more). Check out his expenses here.
I am pleased to say things went perfectly. I now have some sportier, grippy Michelin’s on my car and am enjoying the ride. Looking forward to the next four years wearing them out with some pleasurable drives. I think for the next set I will try the slightly larger Sport Pack sizes of the Michelins.
Here is a short video of the process as well.