How To Choose The Best Tires

The Consumer Reports Cars blog has posted a video on how to choose the best tires for your car. Here’s one interesting trick we learned from the clip: how to measure tire tread depth using coins.

If you don’t have a tire tread depth gauge on hand, you can use a quarter and/or a penny. Place a quarter upside down in the tread; if you see the top of Washington’s head, it’s time to go tire shopping. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head when you use a penny, it’s definitely time to replace the tire.



CR’s actual tire ratings are for subscribers only, but anyone can watch the video, read through the moderated forums, or read the Tire Buying Guide for basic info.



Video: How to choose the best tires [Consumer Reports Blog: Cars]

RELATED
“Tire buying guide” [Consumer Reports]
Tires & tire-talk forums [Consumer Reports Forums]

Comments

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  1. RickScarf says:

    When you buy new tires, I highly recommend buying them from tirerack.com and getting them drop-shipped to a store to install them (I was lucky enough to have a mechanic friend working at a dealership, but YMMV as I would expect if they also SELL tires a store might not like you for trying this). The tires arrived in 2 days and even after paying for the shop to put them on and balance them, I saved a ton of money on the deal.

    • teh says:

      @RickScarf: I actually like Costco for tires — inexpensive, but good quality and a great guarantee. They will rotate and fill the tires with nitrogen free for the life of the tires and if you need a patch while on a trip, you can take it to any Costco. I’m sure Sam’s Club, Les Schwab, and other places will do the same, but I tend to be partial towards Costco. (Funny how treating your customers well means repeat business.)

      • SarcasticDwarf says:

        @teh: Costco can also be cheaper than Tirerack at times. In August they had a coupon for something like $60 off a set of four. When comparing the costs of tires from tirerack, shipping, and installation Costco was about $10 cheaper.

        And yeah, the free rotation is nice to have.

      • hewhoroams says:

        @teh: I just bought new tires from Costco for pretty much those reasons.
        Pricing was slightly lower than Belle Tire and Discout tire too.

      • FLConsumer says:

        @teh: Does Costco do alignments? I know Sam’s doesn’t. Any money I “save” from buying new tires at Costco would be negated by the unnecessary wear of the car not being aligned properly, or me having to take the car to yet another mechanic to get the alignment set after getting new tires.

        • SOhp101 says:

          @FLConsumer: Your tire shop gives you free alignment??? Sign me up!

          No tire place in Southern California that I know of gives a free alignment when you purchase tires.

        • reefer says:

          @F

        • teh says:

          @FLConsumer: I think that they do, but they may not do it for free. Give your local store a call to check.

        • GearheadGeek says:

          @FLConsumer: Unless you use the Braille method for parking (and roughly at that) modern cars generally don’t need alignment all the time. You can tell from the way your car drives or the tires wear if it DOES have an alignment problem, but the last time one of my cars was actually out of alignment was when some dimwit plowed into the side of the car with his pickup truck.

          Now, if you live in a pothole-ridden area, your mileage may vary.

    • _NARC_ says:

      @RickScarf: Exactly what I do, but make sure you talk to your mechanic ahead of time! Usually they make part of their money on the tire cost, and you may need to pay more for the install if you have your own tires.

    • nucwin83 says:

      @RickScarf: TireRack has good deals, so does DiscountTireDirect. But as @_NARC_ pointed out, expect a mount and balance fee (15$ – 20$ per wheel from what I’ve seen around here) when calculating your savings.

    • AD8BC says:

      @RickScarf: Last year when my truck needed a new set of tires I did lots of research and it came down to the Tire Rack (they started near my hometown and my dad knows the family) or Discount. I went with Discount because I travel so much I could be taken care of anywhere… but the costs were very similar.

    • Jeff-er-ee says:

      @RickScarf: Absolutely agreed. I used Tire Rack for tires on my wife’s car and we saved a ton. Tires arrived at my local shop within 2 days, and everything went swimmingly. They have some decent reviews on the site too, both by buyers and by “experts” on their staff. Not sure how they’d stack up against the CU staff though.

    • miss_chevious says:

      @RickScarf: I’m also a big fan of TireRack. And they have tire “experts” on the phone who can help you pick out the right tires for your car and for what you want to do (for example, I drive with snow tires in the winter and performance tires in the summer, and they helped me pick out brands that would do what I wanted to do without costing a zillion dollars).

    • tbax929 says:

      @RickScarf:
      I don’t know if they’re everywhere, but most people I know (including me) bought their tires at Discount Tire.

  2. teh says:

    In addition to checking tread, remember to check the rubber for cracks, bubbles, or other faults. Having a blow-out on the freeway also isn’t good.

    • nucwin83 says:

      @teh: Don’t forget tire pressure. And remembering to rotate your tires when you get your oil changed. The basic stuff that too many people just don’t bother keeping an eye on.

      • teh says:

        @nucwin83: I agree on every point and raise you one “don’t drive like an idiot” — one more thing too many people also don’t bother keeping an eye on.

  3. ExtraCelestial says:

    I was just talking to the guys at NTB about this. They have posters with the coin test as well as a chart that shows which car problems could cause certain areas of your tire to be worn.

    How much are tires supposed to cost?

    • MacMasterShane says:

      @TinkishDelight: There’s no flat answer. it’s like buying a meal. size and quality will play a big deal in it.

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      @TinkishDelight: Size and purpose are the deciding factor. All terrain tires for a truck will run you in the area of $800. You could pay half that for a cheap set of passenger car tires. Any tires that are for larger (over 16 inch) rims, wide rims, etc are going to be absurdly expensive as well. The easiest way to tell is to go to tirerack, filter out tires by companies you have never heard of, and look at the best and most reviewed tires.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        @SarcasticDwarf: Thanks I’ll check out the site.

        @MacMasterShane: Thanks for ruling out all season. According to the video the ones I have are pretty good (they’ve saved me from collision countless times) but last I checked they no longer make them.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        @SarcasticDwarf: a CHEAP set of passenger car tires should be around $150-$200. You should be able to get pretty decent tires for $100 per tire for a standard transportation unit… I paid about $140 per for V-rated performance all-seasons the last time around (Costco.) Performance-wise I’m very happy with them, they’re vastly better than the OEMs but they’re a little more noisy.

  4. Odiwan says:

    The best way to buy tires for Acuras is to buy the OEM tire. I listened to consumer reports on what was the best tire for my TL and couldn’t keep them balanced.

    • MacMasterShane says:

      @Odiwan: That sounds like an installer problem actually. not that they would ever fess up to something like that.

      there’s no reason a tire other than the oem model, as long as it was a quality tire, should go out of balance without a significant loss of wheel weight or a severe alignment issue. If your not wearing through them very quickly, i’m willing to bet that you kept loosing wheel weights because they were poorly, or improperly installed.

    • SOhp101 says:

      @Odiwan: Ew. I’d have to disagree. I have a Honda and Honda/Acura tend to like using Michelin MXM4’s which are expensive AND crappy.

      • admiral_stabbin says:

        @SOhp101: I have to second your disagreement. My Cadillac is wearing the original Michelins that it came with…and they are teh suckz0rz. That being said, not all car manufacturers OEM those lame Michelins…for example, VW/Audi put Continentals on their cars. Great tires, but they go through tread so fast I think of them as “trial tires”. ;-)

        To the other comments about balancing…it could also be a damaged rim. Trying to balance a tire on even a slightly tweaked rim is a challenge.

      • cluberti says:

        @SOhp101: Indeed – the Odyssey I purchased came with Michelins that might as well have been ice skates, and it wasn’t winter or an ice rink where I was driving. Replaced them with a set of Goodyear TripleTreds and the car has better handling, stopping, and is QUIETER by far than the OEM tires.

    • Chmeeee says:

      @Odiwan: OEM tires on a lot of cars are overpriced and underperforming. The manufacturers jack up the price for tires that are commonly installed as OEM, since they know a lot of people won’t comparison shop before replacing with the same model.

      If you couldn’t keep the tire balanced, either you had bad luck with getting a bad tire (should be replaced under warranty), or your installer sucks at balancing.

      • ICherub says:

        @Chmeeee:
        Amen. I’ve driven Mustang GT’s for about 20 years and the stock tires (Gatorbacks) are both awful and expensive. My 2002 came with essentially the same tires as my 1984-1/2 Mustang, just larger and with slight modifications of compound.

        The biggest problem comes when you don’t need to replace all 4 at once, though. You have to decide: do you mismatch, buy more than you really need to replace, or buy a set and CL the good old ones?

    • DoubleEcho says:

      @Odiwan: Yeah, you’ve never owned a Mazda Protege with OEM tires I assume.

      The stock tires on the Protege are made in the depths of Hell, while some demonic being has his eyes on each driver. He gleefully rubs his hands and cackles when you try to drive in rain, or if you’re really brave, slush/snow.

      Apparently Mazda thought that only people in the South were going to buy the Protege, so they made the stock tire a SUMMER tire. Great idea! It was so great that I nearly killed myself in the first minor snowfall. I’ve never had any set of tires with that low of gripping power on any surface. Looking back, I should have known when I was chirping tires far too easily on damp roads.

  5. MacMasterShane says:

    1. Don’t buy into the nitrogen thing. it’s entirely a scam on consumer level cars and tires. I race, and i still don’t use nitrogen. most race teams don’t either as the minor benefits don’t outweigh the cost. the markup on nitrogen is nearly 80%, and often the guy offering it to you is being commissioned to sell it. a rep may be making as much as 10 bux on a 20 dollar nitrogen fill.

    2. All season tires are good at nothing. it’s like asking a surgeon to be a master at brain and foot reconstruction. they’re two polar opposites. if you drive in winter alot, and ever see an unplowed road, buy snow tires. the one time you don’t go in the ditch because you were able to properly turn and stop, has instantly saved you the entire cost of the snow tires, mounting and balancing, and probably the cost of a whole ‘nother set of wheels to mount them on, with the added by-product of not being injured or without your car for weeks while it’s being fixed.

    3. Penny trick is great for measuring tires, but most people do it wrong, and who actually carries pennies anymore? Every tire legal within the last 10 years has a wear bar molded into the tread. it’s a horizontal bar, straight across the middle section of the tire, that is noticeably taller than the bottom of the tread around it. if your tires have worn to the point the tread is flat with the wear bar, it’s time to replace them.

    • Jfielder says:

      @MacMasterShane: #1, I disagree with. While I wouldn’t pay for nitrogen, a lot of shops in my area include it for free, I used to work at a tire shop when we started filling with nitrogen, and it’s all I use in my current vehicle. I run winter tires and summer tires, and from the time install the tires, to the time I take them off, total pressure loss is usually less than 1 psi. Try that with an air filled tire! #2, I mostly agree with, but #3 I have to disagree with. While all tires have a wear bar, that bar is at 2/32’s of tread (equal to lincoln’s head on the penny), and in my opinion, in a rainy or cold climate, 2/32’s is very low tread. 4/32’s (equal to washingtons head on the quarter) is a much much safer time to replace those tires. And no, I do not work in the tire industry.

      • Orv says:

        @Jfielder23: I don’t think the lack of pressure loss is due to the nitrogen. I think you just have good tires and rims. I run air in my tires and I sometimes go a whole year without having to top them up.

      • MacMasterShane says:

        @Jfielder23:your trying to replace a chemical change with any sort of decent tire maintence. even a nitrogen tire will slowly loose air depending on the quality of seal on the bead. you should be checking your tires pressure frequently.

        I’m willing to bet, if you swapped out for air in those tires, you’d see same kind of response with leakage. i wouldn’t know how much my tires leak over the coruse of a summer/winter, because i actually check their pressures frequently, and keep them properly inflated at all times. i maybe had to drop 2 psi total in them over the summer?

        I’ll agree, that people should be replacing their tires well before they reach the wear bars, but realistically… few do. The only tires i run that low are my race tires, and that’s assuming they’re not the rain set :D

        i’m a bit confused though… two of your statments contridict each other… “I used to work at a tire shop” and “And no, I do not work in the tire industry.” seem to be at odds with each other.

        i don’t work in the tire industry, and have zero association with it. i work in tech support for an ISP.

        • Thrashy says:

          @MacMasterShane: Ahh, racing tires…

          Friend: But those tires can’t be safe! There’s no tread left on them!

          Racer: Do you see rain anywhere? Is there a puddle on course?

          Friend: Uhh… no.

          Racer: Then tread is unnecessary! Now pardon me while I go get my set of spares from the tire-shaving guy.

        • MauriceCallidice says:

          @MacMasterShane: “”I used to work at a tire shop” and “And no, I do not work in the tire industry.” seem to be at odds with each other.”

          Once statement is in the past tense, the other is in the present. Seems pretty clear to me.

    • Orv says:

      @MacMasterShane: For me the biggest barrier to getting snow tires was always figuring out where I’d store them. Four tires on rims, even for a small car, take up a lot of space. And they’re dirty so you can’t just throw them in the bedroom closet.

      • MacMasterShane says:

        @Orv: Your shoes are dirty, has that ever stopped you from throwing them in a closet?

        Any good shop can provide you, for free, tire bags. when you switch tires, they can bag them, and you can easily store them in a closet, without getting anything dirty.

        I’ve got 4 sets of wheels and tires, so I’ll put them anywhere god gives me space.

      • cgraham says:

        @Orv: Some shops will store your summer/winter tires for you. My local shop does.

      • Wrathernaut says:

        @Orv: They do take up space, but a quick wipe down with a rag and simple green + four large trash bags go a long way in keeping things clean.

        Clean them really well and you’ve got a Jalopnik-approved coffee coffee table/ottoman.

  6. Howie411 says:

    I like to buy my tires at Costco. Great prices, they use Nitrogen to fill them. Lifetime rotations too.

  7. Pibbs says:

    If you’re in the Northeast, as a general tip, don’t go to Town Fair Tire unless you know what you want ahead of time. I did tons of research online (tirerack.com is the best) before I walked in, let them do their shpeal on why the tire they make the most money on is the best, and then got the best pricing on the tire I wanted. And a Free GPS!

    • Chmeeee says:

      @Pibbs: Town Fair is such a ripoff. I looked at the prices on their site, and they appeared to be competitive with Tirerack for what it supposedly included. $66/tire versus $51 for the same model & size, but including mounting, alignment, lifetime flat repair, etc. I place the order… then it tells me that balancing, valve stems, and the actual alignment aren’t included. When I talk to the store, the price magically went up from $266 to $410. No thanks.

      Including mounting but NOT balancing is deceptive marketing IMO.

      • Pibbs says:

        @Chmeeee: I had the same thing happen when I bought tires, but overall, when I looked at install pricing from the local tire rack recommended installers, and added the cost of tires and shipping from tire rack, it ended up about the same. I definitely agree on the deceptive marketing practices, they are sneaky about that.

  8. DrMorison says:

    +1 on the tirerack.com post.

  9. angryneo says:

    So…you’re saying “don’t buy used tires from a local Used Tire place”? One tire for $25 isn’t a good deal?

  10. bibblenorn says:

    When we were living in Maryland (about 6 months ago) we got a hole in one of our tires. We did the test with the penny, and we could see the tread went past the head on the coin, indicating to us, based on penny-tire-checking lore, that we still had some time left to decide what we wanted.

    2 tire stores REFUSED to patch the tire saying that state law said we had to buy new ones, and the penny test just didn’t apply (they even verified we were doing it right).

    Being desperate, we had to drop the cash shortly after, without being able to shop.

    Guess the penny thing isn’t a sure bet.

    • MacMasterShane says:

      @bibblenorn: Penny test is Federal DOT… state laws may be different, but unlikely.

      • The Cheat says:

        @MacMasterShane: It also depends on where the puncture is on the tire. Supposedly you shouldn’t patch a puncture through the tread or too close to either side. They won’t do sidewall damage for sure.

        • MacMasterShane says:

          @The Cheat: I know, but he didn’t say they were arguing about the placement of the hole, but the depth of tread. that was just another book i didn’t feel needed to be opened.

    • jaydez says:

      @bibblenorn: Sounds like the tire place pulled the wool over your eyes.

    • nstonep says:

      @bibblenorn: The penny test really isn’t for deciding whether or not to patch a tire. It’s for deciding whether or not to change a tire.

      They DO sell at home kits for patching tires which you probably should’ve used when they wouldn’t patch the tire; but if 2 places said that they probably had a good reason (tread plugs don’t hold). And if you drive a heavy car that could tip over you don’t want a plug breach. I’ve done it once and had to change a tire at night in front of a Japanese mafia club in queens. Good times!

  11. MacMasterShane says:

    Also, Don’t trust TireRack.com’s tire ratings. they are entirely customer driven. if there’s one thing I’ve learned from buying tires, most people will drive their tires so bad that any new tire will feel amazingly diffrent and better.

    being that most drivers will never push their car or tire in any way, are not qualified to judge a tire on anything but ride quality and road noise. when looking for reviews of tires, stick to tire rack’s data, their own internal tests, and quality magazine comparisons.

    One of the worst tires i’ve ever driven on was the Kumho Ecsta 712, it did nothing well, but still had one of the highest ratings in it’s class mainly because it was the cheapest, so everyone bought it, and re-affirming their own purchase, they all rated it a 10

    • jaydez says:

      @MacMasterShane: I had those tires years ago. They were ok when new, but when the tread got low they were super sticky and would launch like a bat out of hell.

    • Jfielder says:

      @MacMasterShane: I put kumho ecsta 711’s on my trans am before when I was broke, and for the money, they were awesome tires…. but I also only paid 36 dollars a piece for them. Employee pricing FTW.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @MacMasterShane: Another clue to the problem with TireRack’s ratings is that you’ll see lots of polar-opposite ratings for the same tires on the same type of car. Ain’t quite scientific…

  12. halcyondays says:

    Nitrogen is a scam. The air is 78% nitrogen already – you are paying extra for something you can get for free.

    As for tires, don’t buy cheap. Spend the money on Goodyear or similar quality.

    • Jfielder says:

      @halcyondays: I covered this in another post, but nitrogen certainly is not a scam. I can attest to this. My tires lose less than 1 psi every 6 months with nitrogen. One of the other benefits is that the nitrogen is perfectly dry. Which means you will have less corrosion on the wheel, which also means less air loss.

      • Jfielder says:

        @Jfielder23: But…. also. I wouldn’t pay extra for nitrogen. It should be included in my opinion.

      • treimel says:

        @Jfielder23:

        I’m sorry, but you’re not even making the right claim–there is nothing about nitrogen that makes it less susceptible to leaking. The claim is that it will vary in pressure less in aextreme heat-cycling; that’sd it. For the road, that’s a completely useless “advantage.” If you’re getting it free, great, but paying for nitrogen in a non-racing application is pure bs.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @Jfielder23:

        It doesn’t stop corrosion from the outside, where most of the moisture would be anyway. (And ALL of the salt, if applicable)

        Also, unless the air is particularly humid, it isn’t going to precipitate out most of the time, and when it does, it’s most likely to be when the tires are cold…when they’re sitting still. The moisture will then collect against the tire, not against the wheel.

        And when the tire is spinning, the same will be true, except it won’t even get to drip down on the wheel.

        My tires lose that much pressure with AIR.

        Oh, and if your wheels are aluminum, it’s extra-pointless.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        @Jfielder23: I have partial nitrogen in my tires because I bought them from Costco and they do that. I say partial, because they don’t evacuate the tire before filling, so it’s roughly 1/3 regular air anyway. I don’t care one way or another, since any decent commercial compressor system should have a dryer in it (as much for protection of the system and the accessories you connect to it as for tires you might fill from it) so that air should still be relatively dry. It’s not bad, there’s NOTHING wrong with a partial nitrogen fill, but it’s not worth any money.

    • duffman13 says:

      @halcyondays: Goodyear/michelin/etc is overkill IMHO. As somebody whoy races and is pretty demanding on my daily tires I go through sets fast enough to have tried more than a few brands.

      Goodyear, Yokohama, Pirelli, and Michelin are extremely overpriced for what you get. For the money Bridgestone, Continental, and Toyo have probably the best all around lineups for performance and price. Falken and Hankook have impressed me alot in the bang for the buck category and I haven’t experienced or know of any major failures from anyone who owns them, the Falken FK452 is probably the best tire for the money that I’ve ever ridden on, and it’s a fast tire too.

      The brands to stay away from are things like sumitomo, Fuzion, et al.

      • webweazel says:

        @duffman13: Actually, if you’re going to go for quite a long time on those tires, meaning not a lot of mileage per year, the better brands are worth the extra $$$. I used to detail cars for a living, and I have found that the quality/dry rot issue does not come up very often for the good brands. Goodyears stand out the most. The treads would be worn down with a lot of mileage, and still almost always look brand new. The cheapos would still have a lot of meat on them, be all cracked and dry rotted, and generally look like they were dragged behind a plow.

      • Pibbs says:

        @duffman13: I’ve got Contis that I just bought to replace stock Pirellis. I think they are a much higher performing tire, even though they cost the same as the replacement Pirelli.

        Fuzion tires really aren’t that bad, I had a set of ZRis on my Firebird for summer tires, and they stuck like glue.

  13. breese524 says:

    One thing to be aware of when evaluating a tire review is whether or not the test car is similar to yours. Some tires may test well on one car and suck on another.

    Also, discount tire seems to be a decent place to get tires. They’ll rotate and balance for the life of the tire as well.

  14. Riff Raff says:

    Of all places, I have had a fairly

  15. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The major chain stores will all match tire racks price if you bring in a printout including shipping.

  16. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    The tires you get with a car purchase are B-Grade. The tires you get when you go online or to tire seller are A-Grade.
    The difference is QC and manufacturing. The tires for car makers are cranked out and inspection is not as thorough as it is with other plants that make smaller quantities.

    I was told this by a reliable tire place (RW Tire in Bordentown, NJ) when those Firestones were in the news.

    • duffman13 says:

      @SigmundTheSeaMonster: funny thing about those firestones a racing tire guy told me, they weren’t defective tires, it was that ford was deliberately under-filling them to make the explorer ride more comfy. Since most people don’t even do basic auto maintenance like checking tire pressures every 2-3 weeks ond filling them if needed, tires were blowing out due to abnormal loads on the sidewall from the deficiency in air pressure once they dropped below 22psi or so.

      • GearheadGeek says:

        @duffman13: Well, Ford’s RECOMMENDED inflation pressure for the Explorers with Firestones was low for the no-load, low-speed pressure. Then people did as you said, ignored the tire pressure entirely. Then they loaded the Exploder to GVWR or above without increasing the tire pressure to that recommended for high-speed driving/high loads and went buzzing down the highway at 80 mph in the hot summer.

    • nstonep says:

      @SigmundTheSeaMonster:

      Not true on performance and luxury vehicles. Most performance cars ship with A-Grade zr tires for a very good reason; that’s what they need. When the cobalt ss supercharged came out it shipped with pirelli p-zero neros; it’s saturn brother shipped with dunlop sp sport 9000s. Those are both top of the line performance tires. I believe the wrx ships with potenza re92s.

      I can’t really vouch for other cars…I know bmw does put some crappy tires on their factory vehicles (continental, I believe).

  17. nstonep says:

    The best tires are:
    DUNLOP (I believe they’re owned by goodyear)
    General (if you’re being cheap)

    nothing else.

    • jaydez says:

      @nstonep:

      Good, I’m replacing my stock Michelins with Dunlop SP Sport Signatures (maybe..unless I can find a good high milage summer tire) in the spring and picking up a set of General Altimax Arctic in a few weeks for the winter.

      • reynwrap582 says:

        @jaydez: I just got some General Altimax Arctics for my Crown Vic. Haven’t put them on yet, but went out when we had a cold snap a few weeks ago (14 degrees) and the rubber was still nice and squishy and grippy, whereas my all-seasons felt like cold solid steel. So, hopefully that’s a good indicator of their winter grippiness.

  18. duffman13 says:

    Shane, I’m going to have to disagree with you on the all-season thing. Not because of the winter part, but the summer side of it. Most summer tires you find are rated UHP at the lowest, and generally have a lower treadwear/useful life as well as costing more due to their performance-oriented nature.

    Also, if you live somewhere with mild winters you can usually don’t need to buy winters as well. Heck, when I lived in MD, so few people had them that any sort of serious snow closed everything anyway.

    • MacMasterShane says:

      @duffman13: Genralizations like that are no longer true. with even UHP tires reaching over 300 treadwear raitings, acheiving 3-4 summers minimum is an easy task.

      i myself on a daily driver Subaru WRX have gotten 2 summers easily out of a Dunlop Z1 Star spec, an Extreme performance rated tire (by tire rack) with only a 200 UTQG, and will get at least half a 3rd.

      Using the example from my own car, a general Exclaim and bfgoodrich Gforce sport are both available in the stock size, with treadwear over 340, and they’re both available under 81 dollars each (from tire rack). the Goodrich is the better option, but the exclaim will still stop, turn and drive better than an all season tire.

      while you can get away with an all season, it will make a huge difference that one or two times you really need the extra grip.

      • duffman13 says:

        @MacMasterShane: personally right now I DD on falken 912s and have hoosier A6s on my auto-X wheels. To do summers/winters would require 3 sets of wheels and storage for 2 sets at a time, plus being prohibitively expensive.

        I don’t disagree that all seasons are a jack of most trades but a master of none, but they will do the job for the vast majority of people out there south of the mason dixon line.

  19. H3ion says:

    When you buy tires, it’s a good idea to buy them in pairs; two front or two rear. I’ve been buying tires from NTB for years and have always gotten good prices and good service. They’ll match ad prices and occasionally have a sale on good tires. Personally, I prefer Michelin but I’ve also used Toyo and Continentals on sports cars.

    One thing people don’t do is bother to check their tire pressure on a frequent basis. A decent tire pressure gauge can make the tires last longer and drive safer. I also have a compressor in my garage but any gas station should have an air pump available.

    • MacMasterShane says:

      @H3ion: Absolutely. Tires AT MINIMUM should be replaced in pairs, always better to do all four, especially if your switching tire models.

      If you have an AWD/4WD vehicle though, it’s EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you swap tires in 4s. the difference in wear alone can cause severe damage to your differentials, specifically the center differential.

      blow that, and your looking at about a grand just to start.

    • mindshadow says:

      @H3ion: Not always true. My tires have to be bought 4 at a time (’98 Volvo V70 XC). The manual specifically warns against just replacing in pairs, and several fellow Volvo drivers have attested to the havoc that can happen if you don’t replae all four at once. The AWD bevel gear gets angled ever so slightly because of the unevenness of the treads and causes the whole gear to wear itself down. Now you have a $2500 repair (or you can take the gear out and make the car FWD, but what’s the fun in that?)

    • cluberti says:

      @H3ion: Never owned an AWD vehicle before, eh? ;) Volvo owners specifically can attest to buying all 4 at a time is almost essential, unless you like that kind of “will I crash today?” excitement while driving.

  20. Beef Supreme says:

    I will also reccomend tirerack AND see if you can find an online enthusiast community for your make and model and car and ask them what they use and reccomend. That way you know the reviews will be for your car model!

    • MacMasterShane says:

      @dfens42: @nstonep: don’t discount falken tires. Every one I’ve driven on, I’ve been exceedingly pleased with.

      Their price is low, and their grip, handling and stopping is all very comparable with tires costing 20-30 more each.

  21. shepd says:

    Worst tires? The ones I’ve got now, Enduro Runway (Yes, that is seriously the brand and model). Bought them purely on price alone, as $$$ was an issue when they needed to be replaced. $200 for the entire set, installation included.

    Do I regret it? Yes, although I would have regretted being out the extra needed money more. I just make sure to leave an excessive amount of space in front at all times, and I bought winter tires so I wouldn’t die. :)

  22. epi117 says:

    last tires i purchased i used tirerack.com of proces are great, love that i can read peoples reviews. Just take you time read alot reviews etc for eample for mx-5 miata.net was first place i checked to see what others were using…

  23. porscheman says:

    Research into what tires suit the vehicle. A brand of tire that works well on one make of car may not work so well on others. Most auto manufacturers design a vehicle with input from a tire manufacturer. Try and find out which one was involved with the development of your car. – With the internet, it is not that difficult to find the info.
    Also, DO NOT rotate your tires. All auto manufacturers and tire stores advocate rotating. All this does is even the wear out so you have to buy 4 tires at a time.
    I worked for a tire manufacturer for many years and it was found in tests that tires on the front of a car get a different “set” in them than the rears, due to the different suspension geometry front to rear. Rotating the tires can increase wear until they take on a new “set”, which can take up to 1000 miles.

  24. Sian says:

    putting cheap tires on your car is like putting a $20 power supply in your gaming PC.

    It just doesn’t make sense.

    Tires are the sole interface between your car and the road. For safety’s sake, it makes sense to not skimp here.

    <3 my Toyo Proxes T1R’s. Much quieter than the Bridgestone RE070’s my wheels came with.