Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
January 17, 2017

Last September we were invited by the Cooper Tire team to see its latest all season performance tire first hand. Thanks to Cooper Tire’s PR team we were met at the airport with a 2016 Mustang GT fastback shod in its brand new Zeon RS3-G1 all seasons. After a few pleasantries we were handed the keys and a map to have an afternoon poker run and get a feel for the new rubber. The GT handled beautifully on the tires and a typical south Florida afternoon downpour didn’t faze these RS3-G1s one bit, even in deep standing water at speed! You can see the original write up on the event and our thoughts on the RS3-G1 HERE.

Now that the Cooper Zeon RS3-G1 tires are available we’ve opted to toss a set onto our Fox Mustang daily driver for some long term testing of tread wear, handling, and braking. With a 50,000 mile tread wear protection (when all four tires are the same size, 25,000 miles on staggered fitments) we’ll most likely be holding on to these for a while and when those typical Florida rains hit come summer time we know we’ll have the confidence to hit the wet roads for work or play. Our Fox features a five-lug conversion with 2001 Mustang Bullitt wheel swap, so we ordered the OE size of P245/45ZR17s and had our local Cooper Tire dealer, Discount Tire, mount and balance them for us on their state of the art Coats tire changer and Hunter road force balancing equipment.

1. Our current tires have been on the Mustang for about four years; two years of heavy daily driving (about 80 miles a day) and two years of moderate driving. Our front camber wear finally forced us into new tires.

2. We opted to support the Mustang on jack stands at home and pull the wheels for a long overdue proper cleaning. The wheels were placed upright and prepared for a good scrubbing.

3. Using a wheel cleaner safe for Clearcoat aluminum wheels and a scrub brush the wheels were cleaned and old tape weights removed.

4. Flipping the wheels around we also cleaned the front of the wheel faces and removed the center caps so they wouldn’t get damaged or lost.

5. Cooper Tires innovative Wear Square in the center rib of the Zeon RS3-G1 is a Visual Wear Indicator (VWI) of the tire’s tread depth remaining.

6. Using the simple sidewall indicators, you compare these to the Wear Square on the center rib to determine how much tread is left and when to replace your tires. Smart!

7. Also found on the sidewall is the UTQG information. For such a great handling and grippy tire we were honestly shocked to learn this tire has a 500 treadwear (we’re more used to seeing 200-300 for performance tires). The AA for traction is obvious feeling how well these tires stick in corners.

8. Most people don’t realize that tires can “age out” as the rubber breaks down. For those of us with heavy left foots it’s not much of a problem, as we’re replacing tires before they can go bad. However, if you don’t drive your Mustang a lot be sure to check the date code on the sidewall and replace your tires if they’re older than five years of age.

9. Dropping our old wheels and tires and our four new Coopers off at our local Discount Tire (Florida store #10 in Lakeland, Florida), we were greeted by David Morris, senior assistant manager, and store manager Monte Marzilli. David helped us unload and immediately started breaking down our old wheels and tires on their Coats machine.

10. One by one the Bullitt wheels were rid of their old, worn out shoes and the new Cooper RS3-G1s were mounted up, new valve stems installed, and given just enough air to partially seat the bead.

11. From the tire machine the new wheel and tire combo hit the safety cage where each tire was filled to specs and the tire bead seated fully.

12. Next up was a trip to the Hunter balancing equipment. Hunter’s name is synonymous with quality tire balancing and their road force system, which simulates the tire on the road surface, ensures the most precise balancing.

13. With an OE wheel we could have used clip on factory weights, but we opted for adhesive backed weights to keep the rim face clean. Spun up for balance, we needed 2.50 ounces of weight total.

14. With the weights applied and the balance checked again we were good to go. One down, three more to balance!

15. All four tires mounted, balanced, and out the door in under an hour with a smile. Great service Discount Tire! Back home to mount these babies and go for a ride!

16. Back on the wheel studs, snugged, and on the ground, we broke out our ½-inch drive torque wrench and properly torqued the lug nuts. Yes, you should mount your wheels like this too. Put the impact gun back in the tool box!

17. Washed and ready to roll, and then of course it started to rain (doesn’t it always when you wash your Mustang?). We’ve only put a few hundred miles on our new Coopers since installing them, but as we roll through 2017 we’ll report back on how they’re doing.