Michelin Primacy MXV4
Michelin Primacy MXV4

Best all-season tires

The Michelin Primacy MXV4 combines the grip of an all-season tire with the handling of a performance model. Experts say it's quiet, comfortable and fuel-efficient, with excellent braking on wet and dry pavement and some of the best snow traction in its class. The Primacy MXV4 is durable with a long tread life, and Michelin's six-year, 60,000-mile warranty is outstanding.
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Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP
Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP

All-season run flat tires

Run flat tires are designed to be driven on temporarily, even with a puncture or other loss of air, and reviewers say the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus ZP is among the best available among this type of tire. It's pricey, but this run-flat tire earns uncommonly high praise from experts and owners for handling and ride quality, while controlling road noise better than other run flats. It also comes with a 30,000 mile treadwear warranty.

Dunlop Direzza ZII
Dunlop Direzza ZII

Best summer tires

Reviewers say the Direzza ZII is a true racetrack-to-road tire, worthy of the Dunlop name. Its tight steering response, outstanding grip under acceleration and stability around corners translate to excellent lap times in tests and in use. Braking performance is also top-notch for this W-speed-rated tire, with a ride that is refined enough for daily driving on the highway.
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Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Michelin Pilot Super Sport

Best performance tires

The Michelin Pilot Super Sport is a top performer on the track and on the highway, and is a favorite with high-performance sports car owners. Tire experts say it reliably posts the fastest track times, demonstrating excellent steering response and ultimate traction. The Pilot Super Sport is Y-rated (retaining its performance at speeds up to 186 mph) and includes a six-year, 30,000-mile warranty.
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Kumho Ecsta PA31
Kumho Ecsta PA31

Best discount tires

For a tire that offers first-class handling for a great value, the Kumho Ecsta PA31 is a well-rounded choice, reviewers say. It ranks first for ride comfort and low tread noise in professional tire reviews and doesn't lose any performance on wet pavement. It's one of the longest lasting in its class and includes a six-year, 50,000-mile warranty.
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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 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.

There are four main types of passenger car tires:

All-season 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.

Summer tires: 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.

Run-flat tires: Also known as zero-pressure tires, run-flat tires allow you to continue to drive up to 100 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, they tend to get poorer overall scores for customer satisfaction than more traditional tires, as detailed in the latest J.D. Power survey. Still, some cars are made to accommodate run-flats and don't have a space for a spare tire, making zero pressure tires almost a necessity. Run-flats are available as all-season, summer, or winter tires.

The best tires in the above categories can cost $150 each or more -- sometimes much more (and run-flats tend to be the most expensive of all). There are tires out there that have excellent performance and a price tag of $100 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 four, plus any installation and disposal fees (for old tires, usually about $2 per tire), to get your final cost if you are replacing a full set.

Finding the best tires

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 that 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 life span, ride comfort and tread noise.

Finding the best tires

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 that 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 life span, ride comfort and tread noise.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best All-Season Tires | Best Summer Tires | Best Performance Tires | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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