Those owning a first-generation Cadillac SRX know you have to put up with a few inherent problems that were designed into the automobile. Some things are minor, like the strange operation of the fuel filler door or the poor placement of the menu buttons for the driver information center .
Others are more serious like the staggered tire set up on the SRX from 2004 through 2009. Here we’ll discuss why this is such an obstacle, if we should change tire sizes, and review the choices available now that the original Goodyear Eagle RSA are getting expensive and harder to find.
Staggered Tire Design
This is a situation when the rear tires are a different size and configuration than the ones installed on the front of the automobile. In the case of a first-generation cars the front are 235/65R17. On the rear the size is 255/60R17. The back are wider and lower profile than the front. This configuration was launched in an effort to improve handling of a vehicle that is part car and part sport-utility. One thing you can’t argue is the handling on the SRX is amazing.
SRX Tire Problems
The first disadvantage of this factory faux pas is they can’t be rotated. This can accelerate wear since the tires are trapped in their current positions. Although it’s true you can rotate them from side to side this is not as advantageous as cross rotating them like you would on a normal automobile. The bottom line is tires on an these cars just won’t last as long. My own personal experience has been about 25,000 miles. However, I have met other first-generation owners that have fared a little better.
Another problem with the SRX tires, if you hit a road hazard and need to replace only one, choice is limited in the oddball sizes. Personally, I prefer to have all mine matching in brand and model. With the original equipment Goodyear Eagle RSA being discontinued they’re harder to find and prices are rising quickly.
Do Not Change Sizes
It’s tempting to ignore the factory recommendations and put cheaper tires of a different size on the automobile. I have seen this first hand and the results are dramatic. Changing the aspect ratio of the tires, which is the sixty or sixty-five middle number and the speed rating, which is the letter H is the easiest way to find cheaper 17 inch tires. The effects on the handling are extremely negative. I took a ride in such a vehicle and I would call it dangerous. Although it’s annoying, having different sized tires on the car, you don’t want to change the handling characteristics. Therefore, stick with the factory size, load rating, speed rating and inflation recommendations.
What Can Go Wrong
I was forced to make a poor decision in an emergency situation. My Cadillac SRX was out of town when it hit a road hazard taking out one of the worn front tires. Late on a Saturday afternoon I headed over to the closest tire shop and asked them what they had in stock in a 235/65R17 104H. They only had one choice in stock. This was the new Firestone Destination LE2.
I bought two and had them installed because the factory Goodyear Eagles were near the end of their life anyway. I figured the car would need rear tires in about six months and I would just go with the Destinations in all four corners. I later learned the Firestone Destination is not available in a 255/60R17. Now I’m stuck with a mismatch of brands on the front and rear of the car. This doesn’t make me happy, but I really do like the ones I have on the front. They’re much quieter than the Goodyear Eagle and wet traction is excellent.
How to Buy Tires for First-generation Cadillac SRX
If you’re only buying two you should make sure the brand and model you select is available in the other size you’re not buying. An easy way to find this out is to use the Tire Buyer shopping tool. Just below where you enter the size you’re looking for, you can click on a button that says “different sized tires on the rear”. This allows entry of the two different sizes in one search field and will only return results of models available in both sizes.
The good news is several premium manufacturers like Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, Dunlap and Continental all have current models in production in both front and rear sizes for our Cadillac’s. The bad news is these are not cheap. If you’re like me, you had money when you bought the car and now you’re broke and looking to save money. There are lower cost alternatives offered by Yokohama and General Tire Company. My only experience with these two brands is that you get what you pay for.
There’s nothing wrong with the cheaper ones, but they don’t seem to last as long as the premium brands. I can’t recommend what tires are best for your situation. I can tell you what I would like to get for my car next time. I like the Dueler H/L Alenza from Bridgestone. They’re available in both oddball sizes and are very much like the Firestone Destinations, I now have on the front. If funds were unlimited I would probably go for the Michelin Latitude Tour HP or the MXV4.