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Tire Reviews

By: Carl Laron on September 21, 2017

Editor's note:
Whether you want a terrific all-season tire for your family ride, or a high performance summer tire for your sports car, a Michelin tire will be your best bet. Want a good all-season radial at a value price? Then General has the perfect choice. Bridgestone scores well among extreme performance tires for the track as well as the road, and they make the top run-flat, too.

Michelin Premier A/S Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - V, H Size range - 15" to 18" Tread warranty - 60,000 miles

Best all-season tires

Michelin Premier A/S all-season tires hit the top of the charts in expert testing, and get high praise from owners, too. The Premier A/S is a strong dry-road performer, but its true strengths show through when weather conditions are less than ideal -- even if faced with light to moderate snow. It also uses a special tread design to maintain traction throughout the tire's life, handling and breaking just as well at the end of its usable life as when new. See our full review »

General AltiMax RT43 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - T, V, H Size range - 13" to 20" Tread warranty - 6 years/75,000 miles (T-rated); 65,000 miles (H- and V-rated)

Best discount tires

The budget-priced General AltiMax RT43 is more than just a cheap tire -- experts say that it's a great performer, too. It's available in T-speed rated versions, ideal for family sedans and other sedate rides, and H-speed and V-speed rated versions for a sportier "grand touring" experience. Performance is impressive -- for the price -- in all speed grades. In an oddity for an all-season tire, the T-speed version is a standout on light to moderate snow. See our full review »

Bridgestone DriveGuard Review
Runners Up
Specs that Matter Speed rating - V, T, V, W Size range - 15" to 19" Tread warranty - 6 years/50,000 miles

All-season run-flat tires

For cars that have run-flats as original equipment, or for anyone who wants the security of a tire that won't leave them fumbling with a spare on a dark night or a rainy day, the Bridgestone DriveGuard is an easy choice among run-flat tires. You can drive on them up to 50 miles after a complete loss of air pressure. They're also reported as comfortable and quiet, with good handling under a variety of conditions.

Michelin Pilot Super Sport Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - Y Size range - 17" to 22" Tread warranty - 6 yrs./30,000 miles

Best summer tires

The Michelin Pilot Super Sport is a top performer on the track and on the highway. Unlike some competitors, it doesn't lose its composure on wet roads. But when surfaces are dry, the tire really shines, holding its own against even pure performance tires when it comes to traction, handling and breaking. Durability (for the class) is a highlight as well, and the tire is covered by a six-year, 30,000-mile treadwear warranty. See our full review »

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Speed rating - V, W Size range - 16" to 19" Tread warranty - None

Best performance tires

If you want to maximize the performance and handling of your sports or exotic car look no further than the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11. It's a terrific performer at the track, holding its own against more extreme performance tires. But unlike some tires in this category, it's well-mannered on streets and highways, too, and won't deliver a white knuckle experience if things turn a little damp. However, like virtually all "performance" tires, there is no warranty on treadwear. See our full review »

The right set of tires is vital for safety and handling

Your tires are one of the most important components of any car. 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. For driving under winter conditions, we also have a separate report on snow tires.

Types of 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.

Run-Flat Tires

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 provide a measure of security (no changing of flats at night on a deserted road), but trail standard tires by a smidge in comfort and handling.

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. However, they are only an appropriate choice if you religiously change to winter tires when temperatures fall, or live in areas where winter is not a factor.

Performance Tires

Performance tires aren't the best choice for most family vehicles, but if you have a high performance sports car or exotic, they could be your first choice if you want to tap its full potential. They are designed to provide maximum speed and handling on dry roads and closed tracks. Some can handle wet surfaces fine, but others struggle and are more subject to hydroplaning. They also shouldn't be driven in even near-freezing temperatures, let alone if there is any ice or snow.

A word on pricing

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 -- but not always -- 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 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 those are required in your state), to get your final cost.

Finding The Best Tires
Our Sources
"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.

But expert reviews only provide part of the picture. We also consulted thousands of owner reviews at retail websites for additional feedback on durability, ride comfort and tread noise. These are particularly helpful in judging real world performance on roads and highways rather than test tracks, and can reveal things that don't turn up in short term testing -- such as how well a tire wears and its overall real-world durability.

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