Best Tires for SUVs: Keep Your SUV Moving Through All Road Conditions
Experience enhanced ride comfort and longer service life from your tires with our top picks for the best tires for SUVs
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A key ingredient to having a powerful SUV that can help you navigate through the wettest rainforests to the busiest highways is having a set of SUV-specific tires. Anything less may leave you with a blowout while you’re off-roading. If you own an SUV, check out the top tires in our buying guide, which are guaranteed to keep your SUV operating at its optimal level.
- Best OverallBridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza PlusSummarySummaryAn elegant, all-season tire designed to provide all-year traction and enhance fuel efficiency.ProsProsMaintains traction in harsh weather conditions. Offers a smooth and comfortable life. The service life may stretch to over 80,000 miles.ConsConsLimited traction in deep snow. Poor braking on ice. May develop road noise after 30,000 miles.
- Best ValueGoodyear Assurance CS Fuel MaxSummarySummaryA fuel-efficient, all-season tire that provides all-year traction in dry, wet, and light snow conditions.ProsProsAffordable. Great wet traction. Long-wear capabilities. Low rolling resistance for improved fuel economy. Promotes a smooth and comfortable ride.ConsConsLess than average winter traction. Performance drops after 30,000 miles. Not suitable for off-road driving.
- Honorable MentionPirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season PlusSummarySummaryAn eco-friendly, all-season tire designed to provide more miles per gallon and the best traction in dry, wet, and winter conditions.ProsProsPromotes fuel economy. Reduces carbon emissions. Quiet on the road. Great dry road handling. Suitable for SUVs, prestigious pickups, and crossovers.ConsConsNot the most comfortable tires. Short tread life. May start to shake after 20,000 miles.
Why Buy The Best Tires for SUVs?
- Improved performance. The quality of your tires determines your braking distance, how well you make a turn, and stopping time in case of an emergency. Old tires have worn-out treads that are slippery and often take too long to stop when braking. It’s better to replace them with a new set of performance-oriented tires that are easier to control and brake fast enough to avoid accidents.
- Enhanced safety. Depending on the new tire’s tread-wear rating, your sport utility vehicle will be cushioned for safety for at least the next 50,000 miles of its life. You may spend a lot of money replacing the entire set, but it’s a small price to pay to maintain safety.
- All-year traction. Most SUV tires are designed to maintain maximum contact with the ground, especially during high-velocity situations. However, not all tires can maintain the same performance during all four seasons. That’s why you need two sets of tires: all-terrain tires for improved summer performance and mud or snow tires for enhanced traction on loose surfaces.
- Comfortable driving. SUV tires, especially ones with thick and deep-functioning tread patterns, make you feel like your vehicle is floating on the road. The tires also produce minimal road noise and are guaranteed to make your long highway or off-road drives more enjoyable.
Types of SUV Tires
All-season tires are designed to offer a smooth and comfortable ride, especially at high speeds. The tires maintain commendable traction in wet conditions and often exhibit uniform wear across the tread pattern. They can handle a little snow and slush on the road but are almost useless in deep snow.
Snow tires are designed for deep snow and icy roads. The treads have large gaps to pack snow for easy movement. These tires come with a Three-Peak Mountain SnowFlake symbol and are typically used when the temperatures drop below 45-degrees Fahrenheit. However, they have poor performance on dry roads and need to be removed once the winter season is over.
All-terrain tires can be ridden off-road and on highways. They offer a seamless ride and can effortlessly transition from the highway to muddy grass and back without losing their traction, braking power, or performance. However, you have to sacrifice gas and tread mileage with most of these tires.
Bridgestone is a Japan-based, multinational manufacturer of auto and truck parts. It’s the largest tire manufacturing company in the world and has had an 88-year run in the automotive industry. The company is a sponsor and tire supplier of motorcycle races as well as sports car and touring car races. It’s also the official tire for the Olympic Games and the National Football League. One of its top-rated SUV tires that are a testament to its innovative culture as an apex tire manufacturer is the Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus.
Goodyear is a US-based tire manufacturer with over 100 years of experience in the automotive industry. The company also has a few other subsidiary industries under its umbrella, including Dunlop Tires, Just Tires, Goodyear Chemical, Fierce, Lee, and Regetta, among others. Goodyear is also the best-rated tire supplier in Formula One history. One of its most affordable tires for SUVs is the Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max.
Headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Firestone has had 118 years of experience as a tire manufacturing company. Harvey Firestone founded the company, and it’s the first-ever company to pioneer the mass production of tires. In addition, Firestone is the official OE supplier of Ford Company due to the long-standing relationship between the founders of both companies. One of its best-selling, all-season tires for SUVs is the Firestone Destination LE.
Pirelli is an Italian tire manufacturing company that was founded in 1872 by Giovanni Battista Pirelli. The company is focused on producing high-performance tires for motorcycles, bicycles, and cars, which are sold in over 160 countries in the world through a chain of over 14,000 distributors and retailers. Since 1907, the company has been sponsoring sports competitions, including FIA Formula One World Championship. One of its high-quality, all-season tires is the Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season Plus.
Best SUV Tires Pricing
- Under $200: You may find some of the best all-season tires, summer tires, and snow tires within this price range. Price is not the main factor for determining how well the tire performs in terms of traction, control, and stability. That mainly depends on what the manufacturer puts into constructing the tire. However, the lower you are on this price range, the less tread mileage you get.
- Over $200: Expect to find some of the best SUV tires from top tire manufacturing companies in the industry in this price range. This includes the latest releases that are aimed at improving what the preceding tires failed at. Be aware that some brand-name tires are a bit overpriced and offer minimal performance improvements. Be sure to read consumer reviews before you invest in any tire within this range.
Size is an important component when it comes to tires. The right size promotes a comfortable ride and will determine your SUV’s stopping or braking power as well as its fuel efficiency. Your owner’s manual or old tire’s sidewall will provide the tire size information. They will also give you a range of other tire sizes that will fit in your vehicle.
The mileage or the life of the tire majorly depends on the brand and the technology that goes into constructing the tire. Some manufacturers maintain high standards with their tires and may have a tire with a 100,000-mile tread life, while others in the same category may have a life of only 50,000 miles. The type or purpose of the tire is also a contributing factor to the tire mileage. For instance, on-road tires last longer than off-road tires.
- Speed Rating: This is the T marking on your tire. It indicates the maximum speed that the tire can attain and maintain without sustaining damage. Ensure that you don't go beyond the indicated speed limit to prevent a tire blowout.
- Load Index: The load index is denoted by the first two numbers after the tire size. It indicates the maximum weight that each tire can safely carry. The higher the load index, the higher the carrying capacity.
- Rolling Resistance: This is the force required to roll a tire at a fixed speed of 50 mph. The lower the rolling resistance, the higher the fuel efficiency. Rolling resistance varies with different tires and is often determined by the tread design, tread compound, tire size, and construction.
Best Tires for SUVs Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Tires for SUVs Overall: Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus
The Bridgestone Dueler is an elegant-looking, all-season tire that delivers all-weather versatility, including light snow traction. It features a cushioned, symmetrical tread pattern for enhanced driving comfort and to minimize vibrations and road noise. The tire features a continuous center rib boost and notched shoulder blocks for increased highway stability and responsiveness. Twin steel belts hardened with spirally wound nylon make up the tire’s internal structure for H, V, and W speed-rated sizes to reinforce the tires under the tread area.
The Bridgestone radial tire includes sipes, lateral notches, and wide circumferential grooves that help the tire maintain all-weather traction and further enhance ride comfort. The tire is a little over 40 pounds and is available for 15- to 20-inch sizes. It also has an impressive 80,000-mile tread warranty and can take you to the 100,000-mile mark if you aren’t an aggressive driver. Lastly, a treadwear indicator lets you keep track of when to replace the tires.
A downside to the product is it’s constructed with wide tread widths that limit traction in snow conditions. It also takes too long to brake on ice. You would have to change to winter tires during the cold season. Moreover, the tires may start to produce vibrations and a lot of road noise after going through half of their service life.
Best Value Tires for SUVs: Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max
The Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max is an affordable touring tire designed to offer reliable, all-year traction. It’s characterized by reduced rolling resistance to enhance the vehicle’s gas mileage and also includes a fuel-saving tread compound that controls the energy used when the tires roll. The internal structure is reinforced with twin steel belts and a polyester casing that enhances the ride quality.
It has a unique tread design that features inboard and outboard Dry Tread Zones, which include sturdy shoulder blocks for optimized handling in dry road conditions. A central tread zone coupled with Dual Aqua-channel grooves increases the tire’s water evacuation properties to promote wet weather traction and resist hydroplaning. The tire also includes sipes that increase the tire’s biting edge in wintry conditions. It’s available for 16- to 19-inch tires and has a 65,000-mile tread guarantee.
A major drawback of the product is that it has poor traction in the snow just like most all-season tires. The treads are too closely packed to help your vehicle move through deep snow. Also, the performance drops and the tires become noisy after half of their service life. The tires may have a shorter tread life with aggressive off-road driving.
Best Tires for SUVs Honorable Mention: Pirelli Scorpion Verde All-Season Plus
Backed by a strong brand reputation, Pirelli Scorpion Verde is an eco-friendly tire that reduces a driver’s carbon footprint while at the same time helping save money on fuel expenses. It’s branded with the “Eco-Impact” icon on the sidewall, and it reduces carbon emissions. It's an all-season tire with proven fuel-saving technology that reduces rolling resistance, and its lightweight construction enhances fuel economy by providing more miles per gallon.
The product is a premium performance tire that maintains excellent traction in dry, wet, and light snow conditions. Pirelli included its latest design elements and technology when manufacturing this tire to give it a decent service life and great all-condition handling. It also has a strong braking grip and low noise levels, even when the treads start to wear out.
Some disadvantages of the tire are that it performs poorly in deep snow. It’s also not the most comfortable tire, as it feels rough on a highway. It also has a short tread life for an all-season tire, and it may not make it past the 50,000-mile mark, especially with aggressive off-road driving. Moreover, the tires may start to shake after 20,000 miles.
- Take note of the tire's manufacturing date, which is indicated on the sidewall (the section between the rim and tread of the tire), to determine the tread life of your tires. It's given by the last four numbers after the 'DOT' marking. For instance, 1016 means that your tire was made on the 10th week of 2016.
- Remember to ask the mechanic to keep a record of the tread depth of your tires every time you go for an oil change. That will help you determine when it’s time to change the tires with respect to the manufacturing date. Alternatively, insert a penny into the treads, and if you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head then your tires are good for a few more miles.
- Road damage may unexpectedly shorten your tire’s service life, and it mostly occurs on the tire’s sidewall. The damage is irreparable, but you can detect it before you get a tire blow out. Look for bubbles that resemble little marbles or balls buried under the sidewall and replace the tires before the damage gets worse.
Q: Can I replace only two tires?
A: If you don’t need to replace the complete set, at least ensure that the new tires are installed on the back axle. It helps the vehicle maintain control on wet roads and slippery surfaces. Moreover, it’s best to maintain traction in the rear wheels because the vehicle may spin off the road if you hit the emergency brake.
Q: Are all tire damages repairable?
A: No. You have to buy new tires if your old tires have sidewall damage or if there's a cut or tear in the pre-existing repair. Also, it's not possible to replace worn-out treads or tread indicators and punctures larger than 0.25 inches.
Q: Could I use a repaired tire before I get a replacement?
A: It depends on how well the repair is done. Tire repairs should be in line with the procedures set by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). If not, you may end up with a burst tire, which could be catastrophic. Also, you should only use a repaired tire for a month at most and avoid high-speed or off-road driving.
The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is our top pick. It's an elegant-looking SUV tire with a durable construction that's built for high speeds.
Our pick for a budget-friendly but high-performance tire suitable for all-season driving is the Goodyear Assurance CS Fuel Max.
Share your thoughts on our buying guide in the comments below.
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