We understand the stress and pitfalls of buying new tires. Tires are a complex product to review because every car requires a very specific tire size, so just because you have your eye on some cool run-flat tires doesn't mean they'll fit your car. It often takes months of driving on a set of tires to determine whether they live up to performance expectations. So, to navigate these complications, we've reviewed tire brands as a whole keeping in mind overall value, tread life, and performance options.
An all-season tire
Michelin tires are rated highly across the board in virtually every category, by both consumer and industry experts. These all-weather tires have deep treads that are competent in snow and ice and should last for a minimum of 70,000 miles.
- All-season safety
- Long-lasting tread
- Could be more responsive
- Wet braking fair not great
The Michelin Defender LTX tires fit on most light trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles while the Defender T+H tires are smaller to fit on passenger cars. The only real drawback is that it's only average when it comes to wet stopping. But this is an area a lot of tires struggle in.
A good deal on treads
The Nexen Aria AH7 is unusual because it's an all-season touring tire that really does perform well in all seasons: it's great in snow and ice braking, handles both dry and wet conditions, and is resistant to hydroplaning.
- Good ranges
- Handles well on wet surfaces
- Could offer better rolling resistance
The Aria tires come in plenty of sizes, so chances are good you'll find the size that fits you family car. Riding on these tires is comfortable and quiet. It's uniformly design center helps prevent the tread from wearing down too quickly and also to handle various terrain and weather conditions. It doesn't have the best rolling resistance, though.
Good for off-roading
The General Altimax RT43 is one of the best all-terrain, all-season tires that are highly rated in consumer surveys, user reviews, and expert reviews. Its treads are deep to last a long time and provide a cushioned, comfortable ride
- Good quality
- Great all-season rages
- Long tread life
- Average wet braking
- Not eco-friendly
These tires feature low surface abrasion technology to help extend the life of the treads. They should last you for 75,000 miles without a problem. It uses an anti-slip design to keep the treads on the ground even in snowy and icy conditions. They don't have the best rolling resistance which impacts the overall fuel efficiency of your car and the environment.
Sit in the lap of luxury
The P Zero tires come standards on some of the world’s most exciting, and expensive, supercars including the Ferrari 599 GTB, Lamborghini Huracán, and Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT. It is also quiet, stops well in the wet, and is resistant to hydroplaning.
- Hydroplaning resistance
- Puncture control
- Not the best rolling resistance
- Could be more comfortable
- Not a long tread life
It’s a run-flat tire so you’re safe if you have a high-speed puncture, and is designed to perform in warm, dry conditions, perfect for a summer’s day out or when being pushed on a track. It’s got an attractive asymmetric tread for even wear, and low noise. It’s not particularly comfortable, and rolling-resistance and tread-life could be improved especially since these affect the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.
Affordable premium tires
The Eagle Exhilarate is one of the best tire choices for sporty cars. The premium tires handle brilliantly in both wet and dry conditions and even brake well on ice. They’re also surprisingly quiet.
- Great braking in all conditions
- Hydroplane resistant
- Low treat life
- Not the most comfortable ride
Goodyear tires have a serious motor racing heritage. It has always been well-received and well-reviewed, and its tires perform well in most tire categories. The treads wear evenly and feature ActiveBreaking technology that helps the tread maintain its durability even when you need to stop quickly. The tread life is pretty low, only 45,000 miles. They also aren't so hot when it comes to the all-important eco-friendly rolling resistance.
How to choose the right tires
Once you’ve decided to purchase new tires, think about the driving conditions you’re in. Consumers who live in hot, dry climates need different tires than those who live in cold, wintry climates. The type of driving you do should also factor in your decision. If you do mostly city driving, you may want different tires to someone who spends many hours a week on the interstate.
When choosing the best tire brand for your needs consider what conditions you do the majority of your driving in. For most, all-weather tires are ideal, but some may need specialized wet-weather or snow variants. If you live in a state with extremes of weather, it pays to have a spare set for winter (likely snow treads) so you're ready for when the weather changes.
Understanding tire sizes
Before you add a set of tires to an online cart, it's critical to make sure the tires will fit your car. Most online retailers ask you to enter the tire size first, but this isn't always the case. Either way, you need to record the size on the sidewall of your current tires.
If it starts with a letter, such as a P, this reflects the type of tire, whether it's a passenger tire or light truck. This is followed by the first number, the tire width. For most vehicles, this is a three-digit number and represents the tire's width in millimeters. Next is a slash separating the tire width from the aspect ratio, a measurement of the tire's height in relation to its width. Following the aspect ratio is an R (Radial) and the wheel's diameter. This last number designates the size of the rim the tire fits on.
For example, if a Toyota Camry has P205/65R16 molded into the sidewall of the tire, you need a radial passenger tire with a width of 205 millimeters and a height to width ratio of 65 percent fitting a 16-inch-diameter rim.
When should you replace your tires?
If you’ve had your car’s tires for a while and you’re not sure whether it’s time for new ones, there is an easy way to find out. Simply get a penny and slide it into one of the numerous grooves on your tire. Make sure the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head is pointed toward the tire as you slide it into the groove. If you can see the top of his Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. Being able to see the top of Lincoln’s head means you have less than 1/32 of an inch of tread depth on your tire and the integrity of the tire could be compromised. If the rubber ridges cover the top of his head, you're most likely fine to wait a while longer.
For best results, repeat the penny test on several spots along the tire because they can wear unevenly. If you have excessive wear in the center of your tire but not along the edge, this means you've been driving on overinflated tires. Conversely, if your tires are worn thin around the edges but not in the center, you've been driving on underinflated tires.
If your tire isn't wearing on one side more than the other and instead develops a scalloped pattern of wear, you could need more than just new tires. Talk to your mechanic about the possibility of bent or broken suspension parts. If there's something wrong with your suspension or shocks, your tires move more than necessary, causing the scalloped pattern of wear.
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