Best Car Tires: Replace Your Old and Worn-Out Tires

Keep your vehicle moving and enjoy a smooth ride with our top choices for the best car tires

byLinsay Thomas, Norah Tarichia|
bmw f80 m3 hankook ventus v12 evo2 tires
Peter Nelson

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BYLinsay Thomas, Norah Tarichia/ LAST UPDATED ON May 9, 2023

Assuming that you are not replacing your tires with the same brand and model from the factory, it's important to choose some of the best car tires based largely on driving conditions and desired service life. This can make for one heck of a decision-making process, as the market is quite crowded with great choices. But that's where we come in.


Especially in the performance-minded all-season segment, which is standard equipment on many modern cars, and offers a lot of versatility for those who drive through all four seasons on the same tread pattern.


Your tires are your primary source of connection to the road, and you don’t want to settle for low-quality tires—nobody wants to compromise their safety behind the wheel. But you also don't want to be taken to the cleaners and spend more money than you really need to. Here are a few of the best car tires that will not only mean a safer driving experience, but also have great grip, life, ride quality, and economy.

Best Overall
Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Michelin Defender LTX M/S

Summary
A durable, all-season tire that maintains traction and handling on highways and city roads during dry, wet, and winter conditions.
Pros
All-season capabilities. Long tread life. Great performance on slippery surfaces. Excellent performance on highways and city roads. Promotes a smooth and quiet ride. Ideal for a variety of vehicles.
Cons
Poor off-road performance. Average handling for an all-season tire.
Best Value

Continental Pro Contact TX Performance Radial Tire

Summary
A standard, touring, all-season tire designed to provide traction in dry, wet, wintry, and light snow conditions.
Pros
Affordable. Provides all-season traction. Promotes hydroplaning resistance. Conserves fuel. Great wet-braking grip.
Cons
Poor sidewall-structure construction. Lower mileage than most all-season tires.
Honorable Mention

Hankook Ventus V12 EVO2

Summary
A maximum performance summer tire designed to deliver comfort and control in dry and wet conditions.
Pros
Durable construction. Great dry handling and traction. Water resistance. Minimal road noise. Great cornering capabilities. Lowers rolling resistance to promote fuel economy
Cons
Poor performance on snow and ice. Has a low treadwear mileage.

Summary List of Best Car Tires

Best Car Tires Reviews & Recommendations

The Michelin Defender LTX M/S are some of the best tires on the market due to their all-season capability. The tire is molded from the Michelin Evertread compound that holds up during the toughest weather conditions all-year-round. It has a symmetrical tread design comprised of stable independent tread blocks with high-density, 3D Active Sipes (those are the teeny treads within the tread) that deliver all-year traction in dry, wet, and wintery conditions.

Pros

All-season capabilities

Promotes a smooth and quiet ride

Long tread life

Great performance on slippery surfaces

Cons

Average handling for an all-season tire

Poor off-road performance

The Continental Pro Contact TX Performance is an affordable, performance all-season tire featuring EcoPlus technology, which helps extend tread wear, promotes fuel economy, and maintains wet-braking grip in dry, wet, and mild wintry conditions. The tread compound features polymers and additives that also promote fuel efficiency, improve treadwear, and increase traction on slippery roads. Continental includes its ComfortRide technology to improve the shock absorption capabilities of the tire for a smooth ride. You could get years of solid service from the tire with periodic pressure rotations and monthly pressure checks.

Pros

Great wet-braking grip

Promotes hydroplaning resistance

Good overall all-season traction

Cons

Poor sidewall construction

Lower mileage than similar tires in its class

The Hankook Ventus V12 is a high-performance tire designed for drivers that love to feel the rush of the road. The tire’s construction is made up of high-grip, silica tread compound, featuring a styrene polymer that promotes fuel economy without compromising on traction in dry and wet surfaces. The tire has a directional tread design with notched shoulders and 3D intermediate ribs strategically positioned next to a continuous rib center to enhance dry traction and handling.

Pros

Strong value in an everyday performance tire

Excellent wet traction

Low noise

Cons

Less than ideal sidewall stability

Lower treadwear means decreased life

Poor traction on cold, wintry surfaces (though, this is common for tires in its class)

Honorable Mention

Falken Ziex ZE960

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The Falken Ziex ZE960 is on the lower-end of mild all-season performance tires. Its asymmetric tread pattern and robust construction means it has good grip at all speeds, and even includes features that help it carve through snow, making it a great choice for someone who drives through all four seasons.

Pros

Good handling for a performance all-season

Great stability at speed

Good snow traction

Cons

Users report lower-than-expected life

Higher noise than its competitors

The Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4 is historically the top dog in this segment, and its price certainly reflects that. However, as the competition has built up in the past couple of years, it's been at the risk of being dethroned from every other brand we mention in this review. It's still a great choice, offering great all-around grip, low noise, and good overall life. It falls short in cold, wintry conditions where other tires perform noticeably better.

Pros

Great handling

Great wet road traction

Low noise

Cons

Poor winter performance

High price

One of the Michelin Pilot Sport All Season 4's top competitors is the Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS. And not just because of the price. This tire excels in all categories, from dry summer performance to shallow snow in the winter. Its tread includes lateral slots feature chamfered edges to improve rubber-to-road contact and aid in dry braking, then its massive amount of sipes bite into the ground in slippery conditions, aid in evacuating water, and maintain performance over time. Users didn't find much to point out on the negative side, either, besides its very high cost-of-entry.

Pros

Excellent dry traction

Excellent wet and mild snow traction

Barely any noise to speak of

Cons

High price

50,000-mile warranty lower than others'

Firestone's been in the game for a while now with its Firehawk line of tires, with the AS proving to be its most multi-faceted, versatile option yet. Pricing is a bit higher and might not be by a more luxury-centric brand like Pirelli, but Firestone boasts that this tire is significantly grippier over its previous generation. This is thanks to what it calls a 20% increase in biting edges, meaning it cuts right through water and snow and makes confident contact with the roadway.

Pros

Good dry traction

Above-average wet traction

Great tire life

Great snow traction

Cons

On the higher-end pricing-wise

Lacking high-speed cornering stability

Our Verdict on the Best Car Tires

Our top pick is the Michelin Defender LTX M/S, mainly because it’s a high-performance, all-season tire that’s suitable for a wide variety of cars. It also has a great construction that promotes longevity.

If you need a quick tire upgrade at a convenient price, you could go for the Continental Pro Contact TX, which is an inexpensive tire that doesn’t compromise on quality.

FAQs

Q: Is it okay to replace only one tire at a time?

A: If you need to upgrade your tires, we recommend that you replace all four tires at the same time. Preferably, replace them with a matching set of tires (same brand and quality) to maintain the stability, balance, handling, and safety of your vehicle. That will also contribute to even wear of the tires as the tread depth and design will match.

Q: Why should I opt for new car tires?

A: Safety: If you drive around with old tires with worn-out treads, you risk losing control of your vehicle due to minimal traction. Replacing your tires with better quality tires with an aggressive tread design is the only way to ensure that your car maintains a comfortable grip on dry and wet surfaces and has maximum control and stability.

A quiet ride: Old tires often create a low-pitched sound, especially when you are cruising down the highway. That could be an indication that the tire rubber is worn out and getting weak. Consider buying new tires made of high-quality rubber that will cushion the tires and minimize road noise.

Security during a blowout: Even the spare tire wears out with time despite being used only in emergencies. You need to grab a new spare tire if the old one has too many punctures or worn-out treads so that you don’t get stranded the next time you have a flat.

Q: How do I get the right tire size for my car?

A: The easiest way is to look for size markings on the side of your car. It may be a number like 195/55-15, where 195 represents the width, 55 the height, and 15 the size of the rim in inches. You should then get a tire that matches the specifications or a slightly bigger tire if there’s enough space for it on your car. Alternatively, you could consult a professional car dealer on the different tire sizes available for your car’s year, make, and model.

Q: What are the different types of car tires?

A: Passenger tires or original equipment (OE) come as a factory set for most vehicles. They are designed to be safe on the road and are for the average driver with average driving habits. The tires sport high mileage ratings and some have the all-weather capability. You can replace OE tires with a better quality tire as long as it’s of the same size.

All-season or all-weather tires are designed for all weather conditions. They are typically constructed with deeper treads to maintain traction on wet and dry roads. They are also designed to provide all-year safety and performance without compromising on durability. However, most all-season tires may not be able to handle deep snow.

Snow tires are designed to improve traction and handling when driving on ice and deep snow. Some come with studs for an extra grip while other tires are studless but have deeper and wider treads that pack chunks of snow to facilitate car movement. Snow tires, however, are only good for the cold seasons as they often exhibit poor performance on a dry road.

Performance tires are designed to offer sports cars and other vehicles increased traction, cornering capability, and handling response especially at high speeds. Performance tires improve precision on the road, but that often comes at a cost of higher gas mileage, shorter tire lifespan, and reduced rider comfort.

Q: How long do tires last?

A: It depends on the tire type. All-season tires have a lifespan of about 70,000 miles. High-performance tires, like the ones on most sports cars, only have a tread life of 25,000 miles. That’s because they are made from a softer rubber compound that gets eaten away by the pavement faster. Ultra-high performance tires have a shorter lifespan of only 10,000 miles.

Q: How can I tell that my tires need to be replaced?

A: A standard tire has an average lifespan of five years, but high-quality brands usually last longer. However, you should replace your tires if the tread is less than 0.12 inches. Most professionals do the penny test, where you put a penny inside the tread and if the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, then you need to get your tires replaced.

Q: What are some quick tips for making sure I get the most out of my tires?

A: Rotate your tires to promote even tread wear and to prolong their lifespan. That will consequently improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency and promote a smoother ride. Include the tire rotation service with your regular oil change schedule. Alternatively, consult your owner's manual to know when you should do a tire rotation.

Always check the tire pressure to ensure that your tires are well inflated to promote better handling and braking, improve fuel mileage, and maintain the condition of the tires. It also reduces the risk of a blowout. However, you should inflate your tires according to the weather conditions, as warm weather tends to increase the air pressure while cold weather lowers it.

To prolong the lifespan of your vehicle, you should schedule a car alignment service at least twice a year, and keep your wheels well balanced. Also, don’t speed and avoid hard braking or hard starts.

Q: What are some other considerations when selecting the right tire?

A: Cornering Ability: This is the measure of a tire’s ability to negotiate a corner at high speeds without bending the rims. It’s often determined by the construction quality of the tires, handling capability, and the vehicle’s suspension.

Speed Rating: This is an indication of the tires ability to safely move from point A to B at high speeds over a given timeframe. A higher speed rating translates to better handling and control of your vehicle at high speeds. It also means that the tire is heat-resistant.

Q: What can I expect to pay for car tires?

A: Under $100: Most tire types within this price range may not come with the most durable construction, but you can expect to get decent traction on wet and dry surfaces and a comfortable ride. However, you will not find many winter tires within this price range unless they are from new entrants in the tire market.

Over $100: This is the price range for most winter tires, all-terrain tires, high-performance tires, and some of the best all-season tires. Expect to find tires with great traction and even ones that promote fuel efficiency. The products here are designed for longevity and are often backed with treadwear warranties by the manufacturers.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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