Car tires ratings and Reviews

Best Tires
August 17, 2015 – 12:30 pm
Tire Research: Tire Reviews &

The right set of tires is vital for safety and handling

Out of all the components of your car, your tires are one of the most important - safety, comfort and handling all depend on the quality of your tires. So many details factor into tires, in fact, that professional tests are typically extensive and very precise. Measuring braking distance in different weather conditions, evaluating handling in corners, and testing traction during acceleration are just some of the tests experts conduct in a tire review. Durability is a crucial factor too; a tire's ability to wear evenly and maximize your fuel economy will help save you money in the long run. Also important - and not to be overlooked - is the ride comfort the tire provides.

Not all tires fit all cars. If you go to a dealer, they will narrow your choices down the type of tire that is most appropriate for your car; from there, the decision rests on your driving style and budget. Most online sites that sell tires have some sort of tire-to-car fit check system, where you can put in your car's make, model and year and it will tell you if the tire will fit or not. However, some of these systems are more accurate than others: we recommend that you always double-check with the manufacturer to see if a given tire will fit your specific car. This report covers tires for passenger cars. We cover SUV and light truck tires in a separate report.

There are four main types of passenger car tires:

All-season tires: Experts say it's more accurate to call these three-season tires. Though the best can keep you on the road for the occasional snowstorm, and most have pretty good traction on the ice, if you live in a region with heavy snowfall consider switching to a winter tire for optimum traction for the cold months. Our separate report on snow tires includes a buying guide and a selection of the best tires for snow and ice.

Summer tires: Because summer tires don't need to bulk up on extra traction for icy roads, they focus on maximizing grip for higher speeds and increased maneuverability. The best summer tires will deliver good traction on both wet and dry pavement, as well as offering excellent street handing, even in corners. They should also muffle distracting road noise.

High performance tires: High performance tires break down into several subcategories - ultra-high performance, extreme performance and maximum performance - depending on their speed rating. To tap the full potential of your sports car or performance sedan or coupe, experts say a high-performance tire is essential.

Run-flat tires: Also known as zero-pressure tires, run-flat tires allow you to continue to drive up to 100 miles after the air is out of your tire, thus reducing the need for a spare tire. Run-flats are becoming more common as original equipment (OE) on performance sports vehicles and luxury cars; however, they tend to get poorer overall scores for customer satisfaction than more traditional tires, as detailed in the latest J.D. Power survey. Still, some cars are made to accommodate run-flats and don't have a space for a spare tire, making zero pressure tires almost a necessity. Run-flats are available as all-season, summer, or winter tires.

The best tires in the above categories can cost $150 each or more - sometimes much more (and run-flats tend to be the most expensive of all). There are tires out there that have excellent performance and a price tag of $100 each or less, but tires at that lower price point typically don't compare across the board to the more expensive tires. A shorter tread life is often one of the trade-offs for spending less money.

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Popular Q&A
What is the standard tire pressure psi rating for cars.

The PSI for cars is generally in the 30 to 35 range, but it does vary a lot from car to car based on factors like curb weight, etc

What is the inflation rate of an average car tire?

Most standard tires are inflated to about 32 PSI. Check your own tires though, misinflation can be dangerous!

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