Putting the best tire brands onto your automobile is one of the smartest things you can do as a motorist. Good quality tires will last longer than cheaper models, will wear more evenly, will enhance your braking abilities, and will actually save your money on fuel.
So, even though they may cost a little more upfront... you could actually save money in the long-term by having a good tire brand on your car or truck. Unless you're supremely confident with a carjack and a spanner, you're going to need a garage to fit these tires for you.
Some services are happy to fit tires that you've bought yourself (just check with your local garage) and you will save money by doing things this way. We recommend something like tire rack, which will sell you tires, and then help you get them fitted at an approved local dealer.
The range of brands is designed to fit passenger cars, light trucks, minivans and SUV/crossover vehicles, with many of them made to suit a variety of climates. Competitively priced, the Defender range is also competent in all-weather conditions, even snow and ice.
The Premier A/S is an all-season tire that’s designed for ‘Luxury Performance Touring’ cars or minivans. There are thirteen different tires in the range, prices start at $166.00 and end up at a sizeable $600, depending on the model.
Been has four main brands, NF era for performance, April for car passenger, Radian for SUV and Light trucks and Win guard for snow and ice. Not all its tire models are worth considering, but the ones that are, like the Aria AH7, perform brilliantly and often undercut the competition on price.
This is Been’s strongest point and why we rank them as the best budget tire brand. It’s great in snow and ice, delivers the goods in both dry and wet, handles well, is quiet, comfortable and economical.
The Been Win guard Sport 2 is regarded as one of the best winter tires on the market, and great value to boot. Radian tires range from the relatively unassuming GTX targeted at SUVs, through the MTX, that looks as if it’s designed climbing Everest.
Filling the gap are the all-season ‘street sport’ HP for high-end consumers, and the HEX for highway terrain, which is also out pick of the bunch. Aside from General and Uniroyal, Continental owns Demerit, Beirut, Viking, Enslaved, Major, Matador and Sportive brands.
Continental manufactures a full range of tires for the auto sector in line with the other top manufacturers, subdivided into Passenger, Light Truck/SUV, Performance and Winter, and for the most part, they’re highly rated by the industry and consumers alike. Similarly, it's US-specific brand, General ('General' is the trade name for Continental Tire of the Americas, LLC) is highly regarded, even though its range is limited by comparison.
As the world's oldest tire manufacturer it's no surprise that Continental ranks highly in both consumer surveys and expert reviews, in most cases coming just behind Michelin and the more high-performance Pirelli. Continental’s TerrainContact was in development for three years with more than 1,500 tires tested over 2 million miles.
They rate highly in both consumer surveys, user reviews and expert reviews and beat even the Michelin Defender when you factor in price, and you should as the price is low and tread-life massive. The ExtremeContact Sport summer tire is a great option for performance cars.
It’s quiet, brakes brilliantly and costs less than the Michelin Pilot 4, the other tire in this category you should consider. It ranks highly in both customer and expert reviews, but has slipped a little in recent years and been pipped to the post by Michelin even in the performance categories.
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. The Sottozero 3 is a good winter tire made better by its competitive price.
This reliable level of quality, coupled with its racing pedigree, means Goodyear is a tire brand many people have a special place in their hearts for. According to Consumer Reports the Assurance CS Fuel Max is Goodyear’s best tire and is outstanding when it comes to rolling resistance, which means you save money on your gas and impact the environment less.
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.
It’s designed to work on all sorts of surfaces and weather and even copes well with snow. There are also some big tire brands that we've reviewed that didn't quite make the cut for this guide.
Yokohama Tires also produces some decent rubber for the road, but again fails to excel and doesn't quite hit the right spot in terms of cost. If you are particularly environmentally conscious though they are a good bet as it uses low-environmental impact materials and manufacturing processes.
Cooper Tires also makes solid off-road rubber, but doesn't quite hit the value mark in our comparisons. And if you want high tread-mile warranties then Han kook Tires is a safe bet, although once again it's not the most affordable.
It's worth noting that installation isn't included and typically costs between $10 and $50 per tire. If you're not getting free shipping to a local service station, then you shouldn't buy tires from that retailer unless you've done the calculations, and it's still cheaper than the competition.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)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. Make sure the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head is pointed toward the tire as you slide it into the groove.
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.
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.
If you do mostly city driving, you may want different tires to someone who spends many hours a week on the interstate. A tire is a rubber container filled with compressed air, but there's more than that going on beneath the surface.
There is a lot more than just air inside your tires, which is part of the reason they don’t explode or deflate totally and immediately when punctured. Underneath, there are steel belts, which hold the tire's shape and keep as much tread on the ground as possible.
It’s important to be knowledgeable when shopping for tires, and knowing what they’re made of is the first step to take. One way to see if your tires are aligned is to check the tread; uneven wear means you should have it adjusted.
This is awful because if your tires wear unevenly for too long, they won't perform optimally in terms of control, safety and tread life. Toe alignment refers to how much your tires tilt inward or outward from the center of your vehicle.
Another word you might hear at the auto shop is “caster,” which is the placement of the center of your tire when you look at it from the side of the car. Consult your mechanic and let them know how often you drive and in what conditions, so they can install your tires in a way that best suits your needs.
Even if you think several of your tires have more life left in them, Goodyear recommends replacing all four at the same time. Winter tires maintain better traction on icy, snowy or otherwise compromised roads.
According to Bridgestone, this is because the rubber used to make these tires is softer, allowing it to grip the road better. These tires have little metal studs embedded in the rubber that dig into ice, giving you a lot more traction.
They should only be used in extreme weather conditions and shouldn't be used on dry pavement, as they can damage the road. For example, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa and Kansas only allow studded tires during winter months.
Michigan and Florida only permit them with rubber stubs affixed over the metal, and Hawaii doesn't allow them at all. Bridgestone doesn't recommend you use these specialized tires all year because they wear faster on hot, dry pavement.
These usually come on the car when it leaves the factory and work in most conditions. According to AAA, when a vehicle's tire pressure is low, it affects braking distance and makes for less-responsive steering and poorer overall handling.
In addition, low air pressure causes the tires to have more surface area, thus lowering fuel efficiency. The regular air that goes into your tires comprises mostly nitrogen with some oxygen, CO2, water vapor and small concentrations of noble gases.
This option is appealing because nitrogen gas is less likely to seep through the rubber, so your tires stay inflated longer. Tires filled with pure nitrogen are also less prone to deflation when the temperature changes, which can be particularly useful for racing cars or driving in extreme climates.
If your tire pressure remains constant, you're more likely to see better gas mileage, which can save you money. Most gas stations have air compressors you can use to keep your tires appropriately filled, and you can often use them for free.
Nitrogen is much harder to find and usually requires a visit to a mechanic, so you're out of luck if you break down on the side of the road. Also, some mechanics charge to fill up tires with nitrogen, which can add to the overall cost of maintaining your car.
These ratings are mostly important for sport performance tires and trucks carrying heavy loads. Focusing on common tire sizes provides a better cross-section view of the brand's offerings and prices.
For example, Goodyear's average sedan tire is about $108, but this doesn't mean you won't find cheaper options. In these instances, we considered the lowest price listed by any of the retailers selling the same tire.
It's an excellent indication of a tire's toughness and lifespan, and represents great value if you combine a good price with a long tread-life warranty. For the warranty to be valid, you have to perform regular rotations and alignment checks, and you must keep a record of each maintenance session.
There are tires designed for all-season, winter, summer, all-terrain, fuel efficiency, sport performance and more. Most online retailers ask you to enter the tire size first, but this isn't always the case.
Buying tires online is a great way to avoid aggressive up-selling in a brick-and-mortar service station. Some retailers, like Tire Rack, provide free shipping to the installer of your choosing.
Fitting the tires to the rims is an expense you can't avoid, unless you have special tire-fitting tools in your garage at home. A bad alignment could cause your tires to wear out quickly and void the tread-life warranty.
Make sure to read the fine print while you’re ordering, so you aren’t stuck paying for installation if you don’t need to. We've highlighted which tire brands offer road test periods and which don't, in each review.
These tires theoretically save fuel because they require less power to move. The OE stands for “Original Equipment” and represents the tire the manufacturer chose for the car as it rolled out of the factory.