By Timothy Boyer
Tires can make a huge difference in your driving and riding experience and safety. And while looking for tires, don’t fall for advertisement gimmicks and tire models a tire center may be pushing because of poor sellers that they need to unload. Instead, be sure that you base your buying decision less on the price, and more about what impact the tire choices have toward braking, handling, ride, noise, and fuel economy.
What Car Tire Buyers Want
With that in mind, a recent tire survey consisting of 15,945 CR member responses tallied by the good people at Consumer Reports found that car owners are clear on their top preferences when buying a new set of tires:
• All-weather grip (54 percent)
• Brand (43 percent)
• Handling (40 percent)
• Treadwear warranty (40 percent)
With consumer needs in mind, CR analysts performed extensive tire testing that revealed that there are significant differences between brands and models—particularly in grip and tread life.
“The best tires shine for impressive braking and handling, hydroplaning resistance, and for all-season and winter tires, snow traction and stopping on ice are important,” says Ryan Pszczolkowski, Consumer Reports’ tire project leader. “By choosing a top-rated tire, drivers can often enhance the performance and safety of their car.”
To help steer car buyers in the right direction, CR analysts developed a brand rating based on individual tire tests and have recently presented the Brand Scores for 16 of the 32 brands tested with each tested using four or more car models.
TIRE BRAND REPORT CARD
Here are the ranked tire scores calculated for the top four brands
NO. 1: MICHELIN. SCORE: 69
While Michelin tires are often among the most expensive models, CR analysts report that they tend to be a good value when factoring in performance and tread life.
Recommended Michelin Tires
• All-season: Defender T+H
• All-season performance: CrossClimate2
• All-season SUV: CrossClimate SUV
• UHP summer: Pilot Sport 4s
• UHP all-season: Pilot Sport A/S 3+
• Truck all-terrain: LTX A/T 2
• Winter/snow: X-Ice Snow
• Performance winter/snow: Pilot Alpin PA4
• Truck winter/snow: Latitude X-Ice XI2
NO. 2: VREDESTEIN. SCORE: 68
Among the oldest tire manufacturers, this European tire maker has been building tires for more than a century and is turning its focus toward North American tire buyers.
Recommended Vredestein Tires
• UHP all-season: Quatrac Pro
• SUV all-season: HiTrac
• Truck all-terrain: Pinza AT
• Performance winter/snow: Wintrac Pro
NO. 3: CONTINENTAL. SCORE: 67
While a notable brand, Continental tires often rank among the best tires, but not always—five of the eight tested Continentals earned a CR recommendation, so tire buyers will want to pay close attention to each models’ particulars and performance findings.
Recommended Continental Tires
• Performance all-season: PureContact LS
• UHP summer: ExtremeContact Sport
• Truck all-season: TerrainContact H/T
• Truck all-terrain: TerrainContact A/T
• Winter/snow: VikingContact 7
NO. 4: GOODYEAR. SCORE: 67
One of the largest tire manufacturers in the world, Goodyear puts out some solid tires; however, each model needs to be assessed for its performance ratings to ensure you find the correct one to meet your needs.
Recommended Goodyear Tires
• SUV all-season: Assurance ComfortDrive
• UHP all-season: Eagle Exhilarate
• Winter/snow: WinterCommand Ultra
To find out more details about how the remaining twelve brands did under Consumer Reports tire brand scoring system, be sure to become a member of CR where I have found that a little investment in a membership today can definitely pay off in your purchases tomorrow toward automotive-related products and advice.