Hyundai Tucson | Terrible experience with the OEM Nexen Tyres

Nexen are cheap Korean tyres and not of good quality. All 4 tyres had failed – as in the internal radial belts had given way.

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Terrible Experience with Nexen Tyres

Background

I recently returned from a driving holiday. We spent 6 days driving to various destinations. The itenary was Chennai – Yelagiri – Srirangapatnam – Virajpet – Bangalore – Chennai. We did an overnight stop at every location, except Virajpet, where we stayed for four days.

I have a Hyundai Tucson AT GLS (2017) model. The vehicle had done only 11,000 km. It was still on OE Nexen tyres. Prior to starting off, I did all the usual preparations – tyre pressure, fuel, fluids, etc.

Danger signs

Mid way through the holiday, my car started pulling to the right. The pull was distinct. If I started from a halt, at slow speeds, without holding the steering wheel, it immediately turned to the right. I had never experienced this in my vehicle before.

My initial thought was that I either have a flat, or I have low tyre pressure. I kept checking my front right tyre. At Coorg, I got all my tyres inflated again to the right pressure. No luck – the behaviour continued.

The pull was distinct at low speeds, but at higher speeds, the car seemed to become stable. Therefore, I decided that either it’s a wheel alignment problem, or a suspension problem, which I would get fixed after I returned home.

Experience at the tyre shop

The day after I returned, I took my car to a tyre store to get the alignment checked. The technician, started fitting the alignment equipment to each wheel, when he suddenly stopped and called me over. He was at the front left tyre, and in his view the tyre had to be replaced, there was no point in doing the alignment.

I took a closer look. There were metal wires protruding from the tyre. Basically, the radial belt in the tyre had failed and the steel wires were starting to protrude from the tyre.

I called the store owner over for a look and he confirmed that it was a complete tyre failure and it needed to be replaced.

His views (do not know if correct or not):

  • Nexen are cheap Korean tyres and not of good quality.
  • Since Nexen is not present in India, there is no way to enforce any sort of warranty.

I took the decision to replace all 4 tyres, despite having done only 11,000 km. Tyres are crucial for vehicle safety, and since this is our primary family vehicle in which we do driving holidays, I did not want to take a chance.

On our trip, I was regularly cruising at speeds above 100 km/h. If the tyre had failed at that speed, I would have had a catastrophic accident!

The dealer did not have the size (225/55 R18) in stock. Why, oh why, do OEMs choose strange tyre sizes. He promised to get them the next day. I drove home very gingerly at 20 km/h.

The next day, I drove back to the store, again at excruciatingly slow speeds.

The dealer had managed to procure Bridgestone Turanza T001 tyres of the right size. When the vehicle was jacked up and all 4 tyres had been removed, the dealer and I had a close look. Clearly, all 4 tyres had failed – as in, the internal radial belts had given way. The tread was uneven, and the tyres looked just plain strange.

The scary thing is, that this was not visible from external inspection when the tyres were mounted on the car. It was just sheer luck, that in one of the tyres, the belt wires had actually pierced the rubber and were protruding.

Final thoughts

I count myself, and my family as very lucky, to have returned home safely. I am very disappointed with Hyundai. The Tucson is the most expensive vehicle I have ever purchased – almost Rs. 30 lacs. At this price point, I expect the manufacturer to provide a set of good quality tyres.

I had no experience with Nexen, but had naively assumed that since they are imported, they must be good! Well, I will never make that assumption again.

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