American road users have access to the best tire brands in the world. This level of choice is a real advantage, because it allows you to get the exact tires you need for any specific type of driving - whether you're looking for wet, snow, or all-weather models. However, for those less familiar with tires and the inner workings of their automobile generally, it can be intimidating to face so many different options. Our guide to the best tires aims to not only make recommendations for you, but also to talk you through the process about what to consider when changing the rubber on your car, jeep, truck or any other type of vehicle.
An all-seasons tire
More than just a safe pair of hands, Defender tires come with a huge warranty of up to 70,000 miles and have consistently topped the charts as the ultimate all-season tire. Competitively priced, the Defender range is also competent in all-weather conditions, even snow and ice.
A good deal on treads
The Aria is an all-season tire that really does perform well in all weather. It’s great in snow and ice, delivers the goods in both dry and wet, handles well, is quiet, comfortable and economical. It also comes in plenty of sizes, so the chances are there is a set to fit your car.
Good for off-roading
The General Altimax RT43 is one of the best all-terrain, all-season tires you can buy right now. They rate highly in both consumer surveys, user reviews and expert reviews and , when factoring in price, beat more popular brands in the same category.
Sit in the lap of luxury
The P Zero is the tire that you’ll find on many of the world’s most exciting, and expensive, supercars including the Ferrari 599 GTB, Lamborghini Huracán, and McLaren 720S. If that’s not enough of a sell for you it is also quiet, stops well in the wet and is resistant to hydroplaning.
Affordable premium tires
If you’re looking for high-performance tires for your sporty car without breaking the bank, then the Eagle Exhilarate is one of the best choices around. The premium tires handle brilliantly in the wet and dry and even brake well on ice. They’re also surprisingly quiet.
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.
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.