News

The Tires That Come With Your Car Aren’t Always the Best. Here’s Why

Unless all you care about is efficiency or dry grip, there's probably a better tire than what the factory recommends.
Toyota

So, you bought a new car a couple years ago, and it’s finally time to get new tires for it. What tires should you get? While it may be tempting to just re-up on the same kind the car came with, that may not always be the best option. And it all boils down to the priorities of the manufacturer, rather than your priorities as an owner using their vehicle as a daily driver.

YouTube channel Tyre Reviews lays it all out in a recent video. According to the experts, automakers tend to prioritize four things when choosing a tire to ship a car with: efficiency, dry grip, noise and comfort, and of course, cost.

When it comes to EVs and relatively everyday vehicles, the tire that comes from the factory was likely chosen for its low rolling resistance, prioritizing superior fuel efficiency and/or EV range, since that is the tire that will be used in the EPA tests that spit out the mpg and range figures printed in brochures.

At the same time—and admittedly this is going to be a bit of a self-own by yours truly—Tyre Reviews says “dry handling is disproportionately high on the list thanks to magazines doing nearly all of their testing in the dry.” In other words, the tire chosen has to make us journalists feel like heroes on the sunny afternoon in Spain where we sample a car for the first time. It also has to put up numbers when the big outlets like Car & Trend, MotorDriver, and Edwards do their instrumented testing, which is almost entirely done in the dry.

While these aren’t necessarily bad things (who doesn’t like a car that’s efficient and handles well on a nice day?) it does mean that other tire-related aspects, namely longevity and wet grip, may not be as good as they could be if the automaker chose different rubber.

At the end of the day, though, it’s up to you to determine where your priorities lie and pick the right tire accordingly. The rest of the video provides some interesting insights to aid in that process and is definitely worth a watch. A key takeaway, though: Unless your priorities align perfectly with those of the company that built your car when it was trying to sell it to you, there’s probably a better tire out there than what the factory officially recommends.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach him here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com