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The 10 Best Tires

results are based on 609 reviews scanned

Score
Yellow first place 1 Westlake Westlake Westlake RP18 Touring Radial Tire - 215/60R16 95H
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2 Westlake Westlake Westlake RP18 Touring Radial Tire - 225/60R16 98H
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Orange best value 3 Westlake Westlake Westlake 24540038 RP18 Touring Radial Tire - 205/65R15
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4 Hankook Hankook Hankook Optimo H724 All-Season Tire - 235/75R15 108S
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5 Goodyear Goodyear Goodyear Fortera HL Radial Tire - 245/65R17 105S
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6 Milestar Milestar Milestar Grantland ATV Radial Tire - 235/75R15 108T
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7 Milestar Milestar Milestar MS932 All-Season Radial Tire - 205/55R16 91V
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8 Milestar Milestar Milestar MS932 Sport All Season Radial Tire
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9 Starfire Starfire Cooper Starfire RS-C 2.0 All-Season Radial Tire
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Cooper Starfire RS-C 2.0 All-Season Radial Tire Review and Comparison
Cooper Starfire RS-C 2.0 All-Season Radial Tire Review and Comparison
10 SUMIC SUMIC Sumic GT-A All-Season Radial Tire - 195/65R15 91H
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Your Guide To Buying Tires

By Yehudah Posnick

When buying tires, you should consider the weather conditions where you’ll do most of your driving. If you live in an area where there is snow half of the year, winter tires are a necessity. If you live in the American southeast, all-season tires will probably do the trick for wet and dry weather. If you like going off the beaten track, then you can look into all-terrain tires.

But even when you have decided which type of tires are best for you, there are still a lot of other variables: there’s aspect ratio,  load index, and speed rating. There is also information about how to check your tires’ treads, and when to replace them. You should also be informed about how to select tires if you want to perform an upgrade. 

To help you make the right choice, we have put together this buying guide with some vital information about tires to make the correct purchase. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of tires,

  • See useful tips about that type of tires,

  • Read reviews of different brands of tires, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of tires, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Tires

Here is a brief summary of the types of tires:

  • All-Season: These are designed for basic performance under all weather conditions: summer heat, and winter ice, and snow. These are recommended for sedans and minivans. They have a long tread life and are comfortable, versatile, and durable. But, they may not have precise handling ability.

  • All-Season Truck Tire: These are recommended for light-duty trucks, SUVs, and crossover vehicles (= a combination of SUV with a passenger vehicle).

  • All-Terrain truck tires: These are specialized tires for light trucks, all-terrain vehicles, off-the-road trucks, and SUVs. These have a deeper, more open tread pattern. It has a better grip on paved and unpaved roads--even dirt, sand, mud, gravel, or snow--but they give a noisier ride as well.

  • Mud-terrain tires: These are for people who drive off the road with their vehicle over 80% of the time. They have a deep tread for gripping unpaved surfaces, such as dirt, mud, sand, and gravel. They will be noisier, guzzle more gas, and last for less mileage than an all-terrain tire.

  • Performance All-Season Tires: These are recommended for newer sedans and SUVS. These have better handling and grip, with dry and wet traction. The tread life will be shorter than a regular all-season tire.

  • Ultra-high performance tires: These are recommended for sports and luxury sedans. They have the best performance for grip in dry and wet conditions because the tire’s tread is wider. But they can also give a stiff and noisy ride. They will have a shorter tread life as well.

  • Winter tires: They are equipped with more slits, for better traction on snow and ice. But they wear out easily and don’t grip as well as regular tires on paved roads. You should change over to these in the winter, and replace them when winter is over, so as not to wear out the treads unnecessarily. They should be bought in sets of 4, where you replace all the tires at once so that they wear evenly.        

What Reviewers Say

  • Rotating tires: A set of tires will not get worn down evenly. In order to extend the life of your tires, it is recommended to rotate the tires every 5000-8000 miles.

  • Keep tires properly inflated: Experts say that keeping your tires properly inflated will give you better gas mileage. The car, in general, will get better miles per gallon, and it will preserve the tires’ treads as well.

  • Protection against damage: There are tires that have special features to reinforce them against damage. For example, there are shoulder lugs that keep the tire from suffering damage from impacts, abrasions, and cuts. There are also measures to prevent punctures and splits.

Important Features

  • How to check your tires treads: When the treads on your tires have worn down, it’s time to replace them. Experts say that if the tire’s tread depth is 4/32” or less, you should replace the tires. There is a special tire tread depth gauge to make these measurements. But a layman’s method of checking is to insert a quarter in one of the tire’s grooves. If can see all of George Washington’s head--it’s time to change the tire.

  • Codes on the tire’s sidewall: If you look at a tire’s sidewall (the part that is visible when you attach the tire to the car’s wheel), you will see a string of letters and numbers, separated by slashes (“/”). Here is a key to some of the codes. Let’s say that you see the following code: P205/65R15 92T:

    • First Letter--Tire type: The first letter in the tire code is the tire type. In this example, the letter “P” indicates that the tire is for a passenger vehicle. You’ll also see:

      • “LT” (for Light Trucks, which need higher inflation pressures than a passenger car),

      • “ST” (for Special Trailer),

      • “T” (Temporary, for spare tires),

      • “AT”--This indicates all-terrain tires that are special for more rugged vehicles.

      • No letter--If there is no letter in the tire code, it indicates that the tire is a Euro-Metric tire. Metric tires will typically have a higher load capacity. The best is to replace tires with new tires that are the same size and load capacity. 

  • Tire width: The next three digits of the code is the tire width in millimeters. In our example, it is 215 mm. When replacing your car’s tires, the best approach is to match the specs from the old tire with the new tire.

  • Aspect ratio: The next two digits after the slash mark are the aspect ratio: This is the ratio of the height of the tire's cross-section to its width. In this code, the aspect ratio is 65. This means that the height is 65% of the tire's width. In numbers, that translates to a height of = .65 x 215 mm = 139.75 mm.

  • Tire Construction: The letter that follows describes how the tire’s layers are wrapped around the inner liner. This can be:

    • “R” for a radial tire, where the layers of material run radially across the tire.  

    • “B” for a bias belt, where the sidewalls and tread are the same material, and

    • “D” for diagonal.

  • Wheel Diameter: The next two digits in the code is the wheel diameter--the size of the wheel in inches from end to end, upon which you place the tire. Here, in our example, the metal wheel is 15" in diameter.

  • Load index: The next two digits tell you the maximum load that the tire can support when properly inflated. There is a conversion table to convert the number to the weight limit in pounds and kilograms. A load index of 119 can bear a load of 3000 pounds, while a load index of 92 can carry a load of 1400 pounds.

  • Speed rating: This is the maximum speed capability of a tire. It is given as a letter, ranging from “A1” (3 mph) to “Y” (186 mph). In our example, “H” indicates that the tire can go at a maximum of 130 mph, or 210 km/h. It is not recommended to exceed the speed rating. A higher speed rating means that they handle and grip better on dry and wet roads.

Top-Rated Brands

Achilles--is a brand of tires by the manufacturer PT Multistrada Arah Sarana, abbreviated “MASA”, founded in 1991 in East Cikarang, Indonesia. They make tires for passenger cars, performance cars, SUVs, light trucks and commercial vehicles, and more.

Milestar--was founded in 1972, as a brand of Tireco, Inc. located in Fontana, California. They make passenger, commercial, and specialty high-performance tires.

Nokian--is a Finnish company, founded in 1988, as a branch of the Finnish Rubber Factory. They make tires for winter and summer, as well as all-weather, studded and non-studded tires.

Goodyear--was founded in 1898 by Frank Seiberling of Akron, Ohio. They chose the name “Goodyear” after the inventor of vulcanized rubber, Charles Goodyear. They are famous for making tires for automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, and more.

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