Warning ... long post follows:
... etc ...
I've driven with the RS-A tires for countless years, but that is the only tire our fleet services put on our P71s, so I don't have anything to compare it to. Fleet also put on new tires pretty regularly so I basically am used to never really driving on worn tires. RS-A did very well, grip always seemed find. I'll admit that I never paid any attention to tread wear as I wasn't paying for them. For pursuit purposes, if we got a one nail in any tire, they don't plug them and instead put on a set of all four new tires to ensure the integrity under high speeds and heat; so again, I rarely drove with tires over two years old.
We used a few Firestones, but not since in the '80s, never had a tire caused issue with flats though, but they did squirm more. We used Generals too up into the '90s, depending on contracts. I liked the Generals better than the Firestones for pursuit. After about 1998 until I retired in 2010 it was always Good Years, still is as far as I know. I saw a receipt once, contract prices was $32.50
each, but I'm sure that's some higher now. As to years service life, like you say, punctures were not repaired, tires were replaced and they wanted one to replace in pairs if much use. I was lucky if a pursuit rated tire saw 20K in police work, but I find they work really well if just riding with no hard cornering, acceleration, or braking. Over the 31+ years, I averaged about 32K miles a year working. You don't have to spin or slide them to accelerate their wear, just hard use will scrub them enough to increase wear rates a bunch.
During the '89 coal strike, I started plugging tires while in the coal fields and replacing the tires after my tour there was up, a Lt. questioned me as to if I knew Dept. policy, I told him "yes sir
", but then explained that I "had a choice, spend half a day looking for a local place to swap tires obtained from a truck to a highway shop to comply for high speed work while I was working in an area where the roads were unfamiliar to me which I wasn't gonna run but so fast anyway, or plug it and get on with the job
". He must have said something to the Captain 'cause a couple days later they put the word out to use plugs if we could and to replace the repaired tires in our home areas.
One day I and my partner (we were assigned 2 to a car
) had eaten a supper at a Bonanza, as we got back to the car I checked my side but he missed something on his side and as we pulled away, I heard a click click, we had a jack rock in the right rear, near new tire too. Was a gas station near us, there across from the motel, guy said he'd plug it, I took it off, he rolled it looking for the hole after he removed the jack rock, he lost the hole so I put some spit on the tire to show him the hole, he cursed quietly under his breath just loud enough I could hear ... mumbled that I had "dirtied" the tire and now he had to wash it off. I just grinned, "So the tire was OK to work on when it had been on the road running over sh*t like dead animals and whatever blew out of a local miner's pick up before they dumped their trash off the side of a mountain on the way to the strike post ... but a drop of spit from me was a no-no?
". He had made his point, I made mine. I just stuck the jack rock back in to plug the tire to save air until I got to my car to use my own plug then and put the wheel back on myself. He didn't present a bill, just complained that I didn't pay him. I told the Lt. he only rinsed the tire off with a cup of water, that I did the work. I got a kick out of it. Fun times!
Once, just before I retired, I had just put on 4 new tires due to wearing out 4, made a stop a couple weeks later, was walking back to my police car after signatures were exchanged, saw shiny things in my tread of the left front, I quickly looked closer, I had some nails in both left side tires. I returned to the violator motioning to him to stop, watching the ground close. I found a few loose nails. Looking later in the cross over that I had used for working radar, it had been salted out into the south bound lanes of the interstate too but I guess traffic had taken care of that
), as had the shoulder where we frequently used for stops past the guard rail in a wide barren spot. Violator had a new SUV heading out on vacation to Myrtle Beach with his family, he had luggage on a rear rack and on top, he had nails in all 4 of his tires. Neither of us had a flat yet though. I don't know what the violator did, I led him to the nearest tire shop as I went to lunch as he said he wanted new tires. I got a fellow with the Highway Dept. to run his magnet truck through the crossover, it cost me a couple hot dogs from the deli, he brought the sodas. My Sgt. had me replace all 4 of my tires "per policy" he said.
Another time, back in the '80s, I met a fast moving tractor trailer near the 187 mm, fancy rig, lots of pretty lights, released the hold button, checked his speed, was running well into the 80s, then he hit the brakes. It was on midnight shift so I knew he didn't see me, had to be a bird dog there too, I turned through a crossover, headed north to catch him, up near the 193 I felt the car getting loose when still on straight, speedo was in triple digits, caught him and made the stop near the 195 and as I got out to walk up I heard the left rear going "shhhh" as the last bit of air escaped, tire was smoking. So after all the paper work was done (2 originals and 2 sets of copies
), then I invited him to help me change my flat ... he graciously declined my offer, and shocked
I was too ... so there I was needing to change a flat in the dark on a windy interstate. Tire was trash anyway so I drove on off the interstate and pulled into 24 hr convenience store, got a cup of java and a burrito from the cooler, nuked it ... and changed my tire under the light after it cooled. That was a Goodyear Blue Streak on my '82 Plymouth, had a nail in it, I wondered if the truck driver threw it out?
We got all of our tires through headquarters but they were installed at our local service stations, garages, etc ... who charged disposal fees as they had to pay the landfill being a business as they were, so I usually took my old tires on home. I have storage out of sunlight in my shed, the tires were deemed unfit for police work, I have thus avoided most disposal fees, and I have never had a umbrella patch/plug fail, and very rarely a brown twist in string like plug. If I find a bad one I can't use maybe because of cracks or a cut, as a citizen of the county, I can "land fill" them for free up to 10 a year, and my wife 10 more. I would not waste time with a black twist in string like plug unless I were to find myself with only black twist in plugs and I was in a desert maybe. I have a tool bag with plenty plugs, tools, and a compressor I takewith me (sits beside the door, a habit started about 1990
). When I put 17s on the Mercury, I had plenty of 17s. It was either buy new wheels or buy new tires as the tires on the Mercury were showing small cracks near the beads. Was gonna buy new 235/60-16s but 235/55-17s work. I do keep an eye on my tires and I know how to read date coding.
I know, it is long post, but my coffee is good, "Tom Horne" is the movie, and yeah, I enjoyed the memories.