2015 Ford Mustang GT: Tires and Tribulations
by Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant on November 16, 2015
To say that we've enjoyed our long-term 2015 Ford Mustang GT might be a bit of an understatement. A more expressive exhaust and a revised suspension have injected new life into the car and moved it back up the ladder of in-demand vehicles.
Senior Road Test Editor Mike Monticello drove the Mustang to a track-day wedding on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Soon after, Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr stormed around at a Willow Springs track day. A week later, the Mustang was called in to perform skidpad duty during a driving school event.
By this point, the tires were quite literally coming apart.
Halfway through its day at driving school, Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt mercifully halted our Mustang flogging while I made a few calls to procure a set of new OE replacement Pirelli PZeros. This was a Thursday afternoon. If I couldn't get a new set of tires by the next day, we would have to park the car for the weekend.
Tire Rack gave us the best price and shipped the tires out the same afternoon for next-day delivery. After driving school, I grabbed the Mustang keys and drove very carefully from Willow Springs back home to my apartment in Los Angeles.
Stokes Tire Service in Santa Monica called the next morning to tell us the tires had arrived. I made an appointment for that afternoon, intending to head straight home afterwards and enjoy the Mustang for the weekend. But what should've been a simple service immediately went south when we couldn't find the key for the locking wheel lugs. We searched every pocket, cubby and crevice of the car only to come up empty.
I believe it was lost to the same place that socks go when they're consumed by the dryer. That or it's on the workbench of the last person to remove the wheels.
We purchased these locks from Ford, so I thought I was in luck when I saw a dealership directly across the street. They must have a master set of keys in the service department. My plan was to have Ford remove the locked lugs and replace them with standard lugs borrowed from the tire shop. I would then go back across the street and complete the tire service.
This failed fast.
After going to the garage and checking, I was told that the guy with the master key was busy and that I could come in the next morning to remove the four lugs.
Cost for lug removal would be $65.
I passed and went back to the tire shop and asked if they had another solution. They had one, but it was guaranteed to damage the lugs and possibly the wheel. I told them to go ahead and accepted that I might have to explain to my boss why our Mustang had four damaged wheels.
Their answer to the problem was to tap on a bolt extractor socket and then back the lug off. These sockets have spiraled spines that catch on the lug. Then it's a simple matter of backing it off using a ratchet or breaker bar. The risk was that there was a chance the socket could slip off of the lug while under load and hit the wheel.
For the first time that afternoon, everything went as planned.
The troublesome locks were removed and placed where they couldn't cause any more problems: the garbage. Better still, there was absolutely no damage to the wheels.
Once we disposed of those pesky locks, things went as I had hoped a few hours earlier. Old tires were off, new tires were on, and I had a weekend of fun in our Mustang GT ahead of me.
Total cost: $1,229.12
Total Days out of Service: None
Reese Counts, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 16,954 miles