What every best Tires has:
- A good warranty.
- Good road manners.
- Good grip.
ConsumerReports.org tests dozens of passenger tires in four categories: All Season, Performance All Season, Ultra High Performance All Season and Ultra High Performance Summer Tires. (They also test truck tires and winter tires, and we cover those in their own reports). Each tire completes a series of identical evaluations, receiving individual scores for wet and dry braking, handling, resistance to hydroplaning, ride comfort, noise, rolling resistance and tread life. Performance on ice and snow is also tested. Each tire receives an overall rating as well.
TireRack.com, a retail website, publishes an extensive, ongoing customer survey. With hundreds of thousands of consumer reviews, the site breaks down the best models of tires, including 13 categories of passenger tires. However, reviews are restricted to the 25 or so brands available at the site, including Goodyear, BFGoodrich, Pirelli, Michelin, Firestone and more.
The editors of TireRack.com continuously evaluate tires as they are introduced to the market and compare different groups of tires within the same categories (such as max performance summer) using a real-world course and a test track. Though this is a retail source, and editors typically find something nice to say about most tires, they are also not bashful about pointing out areas where a particular tire falls short.
Editors include five tire models in this test, all of which fall into the max-performance category of summer tires. Using former racer Spencer Geswein and a Tire Rack test track, each tire is evaluated for wet performance, dry performance and on "real world factors" such as price and ride comfort, then ranked from worst to best.
This Canadian nonprofit association is funded by membership fees, with no subsidies from the automobile, oil or insurance industries. The APA picks the top all season standard and touring tires for passenger cars and compact SUVs based on ratings from a panel of tire experts along with their consultant, tire reviewer Michel Poirier-Defoy. A number of tires are profiled, and top picks among standard and touring tires are named. Most tires are available in the U.S.
You can find hundreds of tires on Amazon.com, including those sold directly or through third-party sellers. Some tires get dozens or even hundreds of reviews, but most get only a handful, and you have to factor in installation (and possibly shipping) into the price. There is also a vehicle selection process to find out if a tire will fit your specific car, but our testing showed that it can be inaccurate.
Using several 2008 Ford Mustang GTs, automotive journalist Jonathan Lamas tests three sets of ultra-high-performance tires: Continental ExtremeContact DW and DWS, Goodyear Eagle F1 and BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS. He completes five types of tests at a California speedway: dry handling, wet test, oval course, road course and road test. Though he doesn't name an overall winner, he ranks the best performers for each test.
While you won't find any comparative tests or roundups at AutoGuide.com, there are a handful of reasonably detailed single tire reviews. The quality varies a little depending on the author, but most include impressions from driving tests, though not the rigorous testing found at TireRack.com and ConsumerReports.org.
Tirestest.com is an owner review site that collects feedback from car enthusiasts from around the world. Users can rate their tires on criteria such as breaking under wet and dry conditions, traction under wet and dry conditions, ride comfort, noise, wear and more, and can state how many miles have been driven on those tires, which provides some context. Not all tires are available in the U.S., and many have little feedback, but others draw more than enough feedback to help readers draw meaningful conclusions.
JD Power and Associates report that vehicle owners most often stick with the brand of tires that originally came with their new car. This survey rates owners' satisfaction with those brands. Among passenger car owners, Michelin tires ranks first in all segments surveyed, including luxury, passenger and performance sport tires.