My driveway is steep. Over the past couple of months, I started noticing the CTR’s traction control light blinking when I drove up it. I also noticed it when joining traffic on a 50-mph boulevard near my house. I’ve put on most of the Civic’s miles commuting, but several trips to the hills surrounding L.A. as well as Randy Pobst “dusting off” the racing line at Willow Springs (three laps without a data logger attached—doh!) means the stock Continental SportContact 6 tires were, well, tired. Replacing with original equipment would cost $1,217 in total, but a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S shoes ($1,288) would afford us an opportunity to evaluate something different. Our friends at TireRack shipped us a set, and we couldn’t be happier. The Michelins produce noticeably less road noise and offer a more supple ride. Imagine the difference between thumping the ground with a clenched fist versus your open palm.
Meanwhile, the car’s B1 service light appeared, so it went for its second oil change. Since the tires were new again, they didn’t need rotation (that’s the “1” part of B1). I found a coupon that lowered the price from $97 to $50, but there was a surprise ahead: rear brake pad replacement. Wait, what? The FK8 Civic Type R uses Brembo front brakes/pads (yes, they squeak with light pedal pressure at low speeds), and those were healthy. The rear brakes, however, have different pads and are used by the “VSA” stability control system, even in R mode with the system in its (mostly) defeated mode, to keep the car steady. Replacing those pads cost $222.
Back to the Track
So the new tires make the Civic Type R quieter and smoother, but do they improve measurable performance? In a word, “barely.” Check the chart to see a tenth here and a foot there. By the way, that 1.6-mile road course is Streets of Willow race track, where the Civic Type R holds the lap record for stock front-drive cars. We’ll take that and the more livable nature the Michelin PS4 tires provide.
Michelins are quieter and smoother, but do they improve measurable performance?
More on our long-term Civic Type R here:
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