Perhaps. With driver and passenger, the F/R ratio is even more favorable to
winter traction. This ration also explains the recommendation for 35 psi
front and 32 psi rear, a compensation to improve handling that shouldn't be
I live in the midwest where long stretches of the interstate highways have
tractionized concrete. These surfaces aren't just noisy, they are
continuously grinding away at one's tires as evidence by the two black
stripes in each lane.
US 2001-2003 OEM Prius tire:
Bridgestone Potenza RE92 XL (Extra Load)
50psi max. cold pressure
US/Canada 2004-? OEM Prius tire:
Goodyear Integrity (Standard Load)
44psi max. cold pressure
note the low 160 treadwear rating on the 2001-2003 "Classic" Prius
tires. Although Bridgestone warrantees them for 40,000 miles, most
owners seem to get about 20,000 miles out of them, some up to 40,000
miles, some as low as 5,000 miles. So, your 20,000 miles on a set is
First thing to remember is to keep an eye on tire pressure. Toyota
recommends 35psi front, 33psi rear. However, many Classic owners have
experienced rapid edge wear, leading them to up their tire pressure.
Anything up to the max cold pressure on the sidewall is fine, but the
common choice seems to be around 42/40 or 40/38 or thereabouts.
Remember to keep the +2psi bias on the front tires. I tried going to
40psi all around once on my 2001 Prius - any time I had to do a panic
stop (my commute had lots of Dunkin Donuts shops on the way -
uncaffinated people suddenly stopping for coffee without signaling and
such - grr!) and any time I panic stopped the car felt like it wanted
to fishtail (back come around the front). I changed to 40psi rear,
38psi front, and the car just stuck and held in place when doing the
same stop. personally, I like a +2.5 to +3psi bias in the front for
Also, what type of roads are you driving on?
Do you often turn your tires when your car is not moving (scrubbing the
tires on the pavement)?
How quickly to you take turns? (I find myself taking turns far too
quickly in my Prius, as I don't really notice the speed...)
Have you had your alignment checked? If you're getting the average
20,000 miles on the OEM tires, then it's probably OK, but if you're
getting far less than that it's usually the alignment...
All can lead to higher tire wear.
There are alternate tires out there that you can investigate, which
have a higher treadwear rating (longer life). Your Toyota dealer will
only tell you about the OEM tires, but as long as you keep the same
load rating or better than the OEM tires, you should be fine. For
some suggestions, see:
BTW: you'll find far more Prius owners over at:
and for the 2004+ Prius: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/Prius-2G/
Bravo!! One of the best posts ever to the group! Should be enshrined in the
Prius Owner's Group Hall of Fame! Chock full of good info and good ideas.
oops. typo. should read "I changed to 40psi front, 38psi rear, and
the car just stuck..." Keep the higher psi in the front.
It was a well known problem with premature wear on the Potenzas that cam
e with the 2001. The ones on my 2001 lasted less than 15000 miles,
including a blowout on one. I replaced them with warehouse club
Michelins, which still looked good when I sold the car with 60000 miles
and I still got 50mpg overall. Many others were able to get a free set
of tires from the dealer when they first showed excessive wear. In
retrospect, that is what I should have done. I'm happy with the
Goodyears that are OEM on my 2004 Prius. 8000 miles and no obvious signs
of excessive wear.