All tires are made of either natural or synthetic rubber, depending on the seasons and vehicles they are suitable for.
Because of this, most tires look similar and are often construed to be so.
Are tires all practically the same?
Tires are not all the same. Individual manufacturers use proprietary technology and designs to create their products. While the underlying reagents of tires may be the same, each brand has distinct qualities that distinguish their products from others.
It is these slight differences in design and production that sets premium, midrange, and budget tire brands apart.
And that’s why you may need to pay an extra $100 for performance tires.
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Does it Matter Whether You Buy a Premium Brand in Tires?
Yes, it does. Premium tires may cost a lot, but we assure you they provide greater quality and durability than cheap tire brands. Moreover, the amount of research and effort that goes into the construction of these tires cannot be matched by inexpensive brands.
At the initial stage, the companies’ chemists research and prepare chemical compounds for production of these tires.
Engineers develop tire structures and tread patterns. They also build expensive research centers that mirror all seasonal conditions, from the most severe heat to the harshest winter.
Experienced drivers then test the tires to determine their behavior in real-life conditions.
If any tire fails the test, the companies repeat the whole procedure. All these steps ensure that premium tires meet the best standards.
Compared to premium brands, cheap brands provide much lower quality.
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You may need to purchase three sets of a cheap tire brand within the lifespan of a premium tire set.
We advise that you restrict the usage of cheap brands to temporary spare tires, if you can afford more quality tires.
However, if your vehicle doesn’t see much use, cheap tire brands might work for you.
What Type of Tires Can You Buy?
When it comes to choosing the right tire, you must consider the tire brand and the model of your vehicle.
We recommend that you buy premium or midrange tires. Premium tires offer prime quality and performance and deliver optimal driving experience when paired with powerful cars. They are engineered to improve handling, boost fuel economy, and deliver whistle-quiet rides. Besides, they last long. Some, like the Pirelli Four Seasons, can even last as long as 90,000 miles.
The only issue with these tires is the price. Usually, they cost a lot and are often beyond the budget of low-income owners.
If you are a little tight for money, we suggest that you wait till premium tires are on sale before you purchase them.
Some premium tires that boast incredibly high performance include Michelin, Pirelli, Bridgestone, and Continental.
Midrange tires can almost match the performance characteristics of premium brands. However, they don’t provide as much quality or last as long as a premium brand tire.
As you would expect, they are cheaper than premium tires.
If you will do more city driving than highway driving, you are better off buying midrange tires.
Some quality midrange tire brands you can buy are Firestone, BF Goodrich, and Yokohama Tires.
Because they often lack quality, longevity and performance, we don’t advise that you buy economy tires.
Nevertheless, if you are buying the tires for a garage queen, you might as well go ahead. It makes no sense buying expensive tires that you won’t use often, especially if you can’t afford it.
Are All Tires Made of the Same Material?
No, they are not. Tires may look similar, but they are actually made of slightly distinct materials that make for the differences in durability, quality and performance.
For instance, premium brand tires contain strong chemical compounds that make them perform better than cheaper tires.
They are also composed of tougher rubber, so they last longer than budget tires.
That said, all tires share similar features like fabric and wire, and chemical compounds like carbon. In addition, they are all made of either synthetic or natural rubber depending on the seasons that they are built for.
Speaking of seasons, winter and summer tires have different materials. Engineers build winter tires with a soft rubber that stays flexible rather than freeze in the winter.
In summer, this pliable rubber prevents winter tires from gripping the road.
On the other hand, summer tires are made of hard rubber that grips the road perfectly in hot weather but freezes in frosty weather.
What’s the Difference Between High-end and Low-end tires?
There are several differences between high-end and low-end tires, including:
High-end tires last longer than low-end tires. Premium tires are made of longer lasting rubber that can withstand rough driving and bumpy roads with little wear and tear.
In contrast, low-end tires contain softer rubber that suffer wear and tear easily and require several replacements.
While high-end tires may cost more than low-end tires, they actually turn out to be more economical in the long run.
Your high-end tires will handle terrible roads better than low-end tires. Whether you are driving on wet roads or going at fast speeds, high-end tires keep you in control of the vehicle. That’s why you should overlook their high price and buy them.
Except for a few budget tires such as Kenda, most cheap tires lose their grip on wet roads.
Drivers who use low-end tires may find it difficult to control their vehicles in slick conditions.
Driving with low-end tires will exhaust more fuel than a car with high-end tires. Premium tires roll over the road surface with less resistance, which reduces the amount of energy the vehicle needs to propel them.
Low rolling resistance means less heat generation, which translates to lower fuel consumption.
Because fuel efficient tires generate less heat, their tread lasts longer.
Conversely, most budget tires have less rigid side walls which have a higher rolling resistance.
This increases heat and pushes up fuel consumption. The higher rate of road resistance and heat also causes faster tread wear.
Most high-end tire brands have at least one model dedicated to fuel economy.
Some of them are the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max and the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus.
In contrast, drivers with low-end tires have to pay more for fuel because their tires have weak sidewalls.
High-end tires take hits and bumps nicely, so passengers don’t have to worry about discomfort.
The driving experience is quite different with low-end tires, as all occupants feel the impact of every rough patch on the road.
How Do You Know if a Tire Brand is any Good?
If you’ve never purchased a tire brand before, it’s often best to do due diligence before investing your money in the product.
Here are ways to determine if a tire brand is right for you?
Read Customer Reviews
Before you purchase tires, read real reviews of existing customers of the brand. Ensure you don’t limit your research to brand websites.
Brands are more likely to claim that all their models are excellent. Rather, scour the internet for customer forums that showcase people’s real life experience with different models.
Ask a Tire Expert
It’s good to seek the advice of someone who knows a lot about tires.
If you need a tire urgently, tire experts will provide you a thorough analysis faster than your amateur research. Besides, they can easily study your vehicle, compare different brands and make the right choice for you.
Search for Ratings from Independent Car Authorities
Car authorities like J.D. Power, Consumer Reports, and RepairPal provide factual ratings on tires, so you can consult them quickly before you make your purchase.
What Are the Best Tires for the Money?
Here are some of the best tires to invest in for exceptional performance, longevity, and superior handling:
For the best deals in gas mileage, choose Michelin tires. These tires are specially constructed to reduce the energy a vehicle consumes.
They are also notable for excellent handling and soundless driving experience. Some of the best Michelin models include:
- Michelin Premier LTX:
Built for performance driving.
- Michelin LTX A/T:
Offers flexibility between muddy and tarred roads.
- Michelin Latitude X-Ice:
Handles winter conditions excellently.
- Michelin Agilis:
For lifting heavy cargo.
Continental tires are most suitable to luxury vehicles and sport cars.
We recommend the models below for your vehicle:
- Continental TrueContact Tour:
It handles wet and dry roads commendably.
- Continental CrossContact UHP:
This tire is made for speed, so it’s perfect for sport cars.
- Continental WinterContact SI:
The WinterContact is Continental’s version of a winter tire.
- Continental ContiTrac:
This tire is your best option if you travel rough roads frequently.
Goodyear tires have some of the longest life spans. So, if you are mostly concerned with durability in tires, the Goodyear brand is for you. Their best models include:
- Goodyear Wrangler SR-A:
This tire is specialized for rough terrains.
- Goodyear Fierce Attitude:
The Fierce Attitude is most suitable for muddy roads.
- Goodyear Ultra Ice WRT:
The Ultra Ice is Goodyear’s winter tire.
- Goodyear Marathon:
This tire matches trucks well.
- Goodyear Power Torque:
The Power Torque is a purpose-built tire for tractors.
The BF Goodrich brand produces some of the best tires for car racing. The following models are their best releases so far:
- BF Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM 2:
Just as the name implies, the Mud Terrain works best in mud.
- BF Goodrich Advantage T/A Sport:
This tire performs best in low heat and in minimal snow.
- BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A Tour:
You can travel top speeds on bumpy roads with little wear and tear on this tire.