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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.
Michelin Defender LTX M/S
Continental Pro Contact TX Performance Radial Tire
Hankook Ventus V12 EVO2
Summary List of Best Car Tires
Best Car Tires Reviews & Recommendations
Promotes a smooth and quiet ride
Long tread life
Great performance on slippery surfaces
Average handling for an all-season tire
Poor off-road performance
Great wet-braking grip
Promotes hydroplaning resistance
Good overall all-season traction
Poor sidewall construction
Lower mileage than similar tires in its class
Strong value in an everyday performance tire
Excellent wet traction
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)
Good handling for a performance all-season
Great stability at speed
Good snow traction
Users report lower-than-expected life
Higher noise than its competitors
Great wet road traction
Poor winter performance
Excellent dry traction
Excellent wet and mild snow traction
Barely any noise to speak of
50,000-mile warranty lower than others'
Good dry traction
Above-average wet traction
Great tire life
Great snow traction
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.
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.Learn more