General Tire is a subsidiary of Continental North America and makes tires for the parent company’s many North American buyers.
General is part of the “old boys” club of tire manufacturers, having spent close to a century in the business.
Despite its longevity, General Tire’s ethos remains the same: provide tires that offer stability, safety, control, and durability. But are its tires quiet? Let’s find out.
Are General tires quiet or noisy?
While General is not a premium brand, its tires offer plenty of ride comfort for buyers. General Tire products provide quiet performance similar to expensive, top-range models, resulting from General’s use of several noise-reduction features like Acoustic Modulation Sound Technology.
Are General Tires Quieter Than Other Brands?
General Tire is hardly what you would describe as a premium brand.
Therefore, it does not offer the same level of quietness as premium brands, such as parent brand Continental. Nevertheless, some General tires fare well against their more expensive rivals in terms of quiet performance.
However, compared to budget tire brands, General tires are quieter. These budget tires, often more than not, do not emphasize user comfort and ride quality.
In contrast, ride quality is the number one principle guiding General’s product philosophy. For years, General has committed to making tires that perform well and are comfortable to use.
Acoustic Sound Modulation Technology (ASMT) is proof of General’s dedication to improving ride quality. A noise-reduction feature, the ASMT minimizes vibrations and road noise on tires for smoother performance.
The Acoustic Sound Modulation Technology comprises a polyurethane foam layer bonded with the tire’s cavity. This foam cushions the vibratory effects of road obstacles and prevents tire cavity resonance (TCR), which causes road noise.
Another of General’s noise reduction efforts is its use of a Twin Cushion Tread Compound on its tires.
This tread design uses a high amount of silica, which allows the tire to absorb vibrations with ease. Road vibrations contribute to tire noise, so this tread compound helps lower road noise.
How Are General Tires Tested for Noise?
As part of its pre-production process, General conducts assessments for its prototype tires.
These tests cover aspects of the tire’s performance, including wet/dry performance, resistance to hydroplaning, braking distance, etc. Rolling noise, too, is tested.
Below is a rough guide to General’s noise assessment procedure:
1. The Venue:
Tire noise assessment usually takes place in a test zone that measures 20m x 20m.
This area has a track in the middle where the test vehicle (using the prototype tires) moves through.
Both sides of the track have two microphones that record tire noise from the passing vehicle and analyze the volume.
2. The Assessment:
Tire noise assessments often happen in three ways:
- Coast-by assessment
- Drive-by assessment
- Cruise-by or constant speed assessment
Each of these tests requires the vehicle to pass by the microphones.
The difference is the manner in which the vehicle passes by the microphones.
In the coast-by assessment, the driver enters the track at a specific speed, and then the driver kills the engine and moves the vehicle into neutral.
Thus, the driver passes through the course with his engine off and “coasts by the microphones. Typically, the driver will repeat the maneuver, entering the speedway at different speeds.
The drive-by assessment is the exact opposite of the coast-by assessment. In it, the driver approaches the track at a stable speed (typically around 30 mph), with the vehicle in second or third gear. As the driver enters the racetrack, the driver floors the accelerator and zooms past the microphones.
The last test, i.e., the cruise-by test, is much simpler. The driver simply has to approach the course at a constant speed and drive through without accelerating or decelerating.
As the vehicle goes through the track at a constant speed, the procedure is also called the “fixed speed assessment.”
The aforementioned assessments only monitor exterior noise on tires.
Interior noise assessments often take the form of:
- a dummy test and
- a human driver test
In both, engineers monitor the amount of tire noise passengers can hear. What differs is how they measure the noise.
In the dummy test, engineers monitor cabin noise via microphones placed in the ears of a dummy sitting in the vehicle. Before this, employees place the dummy in the passenger seat and then accelerate the vehicle to a particular speed.
As the tires spin and produce noise, the mikes record the interior noise. Immediately, measurement devices connected to the mikes analyze the sound pressure to determine the noise level.
The human driver test involves a test driver going over rough patches of road and reporting his impressions of interior noise. In most cases, the track may have been prepared in advance to mimic real-world driving conditions. Thus, manhole covers, expansion joints, and speed bumps may litter the test road.
What General Tires Are the Quietest?
On average, General tires are comfortable to ride.
However, some are quieter and more comfortable to ride.
To aid your buying decision, we have reviewed the quietest General tires on the market:
General Altimax RT43 Radial Tire
General is renowned for providing excellent tires at prices lower than many premium brands.
This is particularly true with the Altimax RT43, a bestselling grand touring tire.
The Altimax RT43 blends superior performance with exceptional ride quality. Some reviews even suggest it is as quiet as premium competitors.
Responsible for the Altimax RT43’s quiet performance is the Acoustic Modulation Sound Technology (ASMT). This feature cuts down on tire resonance, minimizing the noise output.
In addition, a twin tread compound and a symmetric tread design provide added noise reduction. These features allow for noiseless riding experiences throughout the year.
Asides being quiet and comfortable, the General Altimax RT43 is an exceptional performer. Multiple sipes around the tread give the tire excellent grip while driving in light snow.
Similarly, circumferential grooves eliminate water from the tread while driving on wet pavement, protecting against aquaplaning.
General Grabber AT/X
The Grabber AT/X is part of General All-Terrain tires designed to provide superior traction on all surfaces.
In particular, the General Grabber AT/X shines on the off-road terrain, thanks to its aggressive tread design.
It also performs well in winter and has a Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification as proof of its exceptional performance on wet roads.
Off-road focused tires are hardly quiet, partly because of their wide, aggressive-style tread. However, the Grabber AT/X is a different breed and is surprisingly quiet for an all-terrain tire.
The secret to this is the Comfort Balance Technology that helps reduce tire noise.
This feature comprises an absorbent layer placed under the tread and isolates the vehicle from road disturbances and vibrations.
Besides performance and comfort, the Grabber AT/X offers durability. Thanks to features such as StabilEdge technology and DuraGen technology, the Grabber AT/X is durable.
It comes with an estimated tread life of 60,000 miles, which is one of the longest for an all-terrain tire.
General Altimax HP
The General Altimax HP is an all-season performance-focused tire made for coupes and sedans.
It features an attractive combination of all-year-round traction and ride comfort. Particularly, buyers love the Altimax HP tire because it gives value for money.
In terms of ride comfort, the Altimax HP uses sound suppression technology to minimize road noise and discomfort.
A Twin Cushion Tread Compound provides additional ride comfort for improved ride quality.
The Altimax HP delivers unflinchingly in the performance department.
A combination of directional tread pattern and sweeping grooves increase grip on wet pavement and reduce the risk of aquaplaning. Likewise, the silica-infused tread compound provides maximum traction and handling on dry roads.
Other exciting features on the Altimax HP include a Visual Alignment Indicator that warns users of uneven tire wear.
In addition, a Replacement Tire Monitor tells you when your tire should be replaced. Overall, the Altimax HP is a tire that does it all.
What General Tires Are Noisier?
Below, we review the noisiest tires in the General Tire lineup:
General Grabber A/T2
The Grabber AT2 is part of the General All-Terrain, which also includes the Grabber A/TX.
Unlike the latter, the Grabber A/T2 is noisier, particularly on the highway. Many buyers who indicated that the highway noise problem was a recurrently corroborated this fact.
This highway noise issue is likely due to the Grabber A/T2’s aggressive tread pattern. From consumer reports, the noise is highest when the vehicle is in the 30 to 40 mph range.
Some owners said the noise was manageable and didn’t affect ride quality greatly. However, a few owners said they had no choice except to return the tires, as the noise was unbearable.
Given the mixed reviews for this tire, especially concerning noise, we would advise that you consider some other model. The Grabber line has more quiet models, such as the Grabber A/T3.
Can You Make General Tires Quieter?
Noisy tires are very annoying for anyone; they make driving uncomfortable and decrease ride quality.
If your General tires are noisy, here are some things you can do to make them quiet:
- Make sure the air pressure in the tires is up to specification.
- Inspect wheel bearings and ensure they are in working order.
- Get your wheels aligned and balanced.
- Ensure you rotate the tires at regular intervals.
Which Tire Brand Is the QUIETEST?
Here are the quietest tire brands on the market: