The right set of tires is vital for
safety and handling
Out of all the components of your
car, your tires are one of the most important -- safety, comfort and handling all depend on the
quality and condition of your tires. So many details factor into tires, in fact, that
professional tests are typically extensive and very precise. Measuring braking distance in
different weather conditions, evaluating handling in corners, and testing
traction during acceleration are just some of the tests experts conduct in a tire review. Durability
is a crucial factor too; a tire's ability to wear evenly and maximize your fuel
economy will help save you money in the long run. Also important -- and not to
be overlooked -- is the ride comfort the tire provides.
Not all tires fit all cars. If
you go to a dealer, they will narrow your choices down the type of tire that is
most appropriate for your car; from there, the decision rests on your driving
style and budget. Most online sites that sell tires have some sort of
tire-to-car fit check system, where you can put in your car's make, model and
year and it will tell you if the tire will fit or not. However, some of these
systems are more accurate than others: we recommend that you always
double-check with the manufacturer to see if a given tire will fit your
specific car. This report covers tires for passenger cars. We cover SUV and light truck tires in a separate report.
Types of Tires
Experts say it's more accurate to call these three-season tires. Though the best can keep you on the road for the occasional snowstorm, and most have pretty good traction on the ice, if you live in a region with heavy snowfall consider switching to a winter tire for optimum traction for the cold months. Our separate report on snow tires includes a buying guide and a selection of the best tires for snow and ice.
Also known as zero-pressure tires, run-flat tires allow you to continue
to drive up to 50 miles after the air is out of your tire, thus reducing the
need for a spare tire. Run-flats are becoming more common as original equipment
(OE) on performance sports vehicles and luxury cars; however, Bridgestone has
recently come out with a line of run-flats, the <product nid="1679074">Bridgestone DriveGuard</product>,
that are aimed at traditional family cars like minivans and crossovers, that
may not offer run-flat tires as an OE option. We evaluate those in our
discussion of <a href="/tires/best-all-season-tires"><u>all-season tires</u></a>.
Because summer tires don't need to bulk up on extra traction for icy roads, they focus on maximizing grip for higher speeds and increased maneuverability. The best summer tires will deliver good traction on both wet and dry pavement, as well as offering excellent street handing, even in corners. They should also muffle distracting road noise.
High Performance Tires
High performance tires break down into several subcategories -- ultra-high performance, extreme performance and maximum performance -- depending on their speed rating. To tap the full potential of your sports car or performance sedan or coupe, experts say a high-performance tire is essential.
The best tires in the above categories can cost $150 each or more --
sometimes much more. There are tires out there that have excellent performance and a price tag of $60 each
or less, but tires at that lower price point typically don't compare across the
board to the more expensive tires. A shorter tread life is often one of the
trade-offs for spending less money.
The price you pay for your
tires will also depend on the size. In general, but not always, the smaller the
tire, the cheaper it will be. For the purposes of this report, we used the
lowest tire price we could find for that particular tire model, so use these
prices only as a guide. Also, prices are for one tire only, so be sure to
multiply by the number of tires you need (generally, you should buy at least
two at a time so both front tires or both back tires have equal wear), plus any
installation and disposal fees, if any are required in your state, to get your
Finding The Best Tires
"Tell-All Ratings & Reviews"
"Tire Test Results"
To find the best passenger-car
tires, ConsumerSearch editors examined dozens of road tests performed by auto
professionals and tire experts. We selected tires that excel at braking
quickly, are responsive on the road, and maintain their grip on wet roads. From
there, we narrowed the field down by considering factors such as rolling
resistance (which can effect a car's fuel consumption) and durability. We
included hundreds of owner reviews at retail websites for additional feedback
on durability, ride comfort and tread noise.