Techincal editor Kim Reynolds got a flat tire in the T&C. "The digital display came to life showing a countdown of the right rear tire's pressure: 29 psi, 28 psi, 27 psi. And it was raining hard. I immediately headed back to the office."

For those interested in knowing what's involved with changing a tire on a Chrysler T&C, pay attention. "Changing it was a riot as you've got to lower the space-saver spare with a crank thingy working through a receptacle in the floor between the front seats. This lowers the tire into a position below the vehicle that's very difficult to reach. There's a cable that has to be disconnected, and the best way to get at the tire at all seems to be to lie on your back, scoot under the van, and kick it with your foot. Imagine that in the rain.

"The next day, I went to a Bridgestone/Firestone dealer (the stock tires are Bridgestone Turanzas) and asked for a new one pronto. They said they were clean out of them. So the guy says, "Here's a great tire that'll work perfectly." It was a Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza (actually two of them for left/right symmetry, plus the flat tire and its counterpart were badly worn). Evidently, the Dueler Alenza is actually a pretty good tire (more highly rated than the Turanza at the Tire Rack), but it's sort of goofy-looking as TR classifies it as a SUV/truck tire."

Feeling slightly uneasy about a truck tire on a minivan, Reynolds contacted a friend. "I e-mailed a buddy at Bridgestone and asked him if the Alenza was okay for this application, and he replied with a message that they'd be sending two replacement Turanzas. But what was interesting was that, when I went to the tire store for the swapping (a different store, but near the first one), I asked the guy if the Alenza was a good choice for a minivan. He said, 'Sure, I recommend them all the time.'"


2008 Chrysler Town & Country
Months/miles in service 9/22,665
Avg econ/CO2 18.8 mpg/1.03 lb/mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $416.14 (3 - oil change/inspection/rotate tires, replace A/C filter, transmission service, replace air filter)
Normal-wear cost $864.68 (replace front brake rotors and pads, brake system fluid flush, replace rear tires)