Economy Tires – What Makes Them Cheaper? (Explained)

Because economy tires may look similar to premium tires, it is essential to know what separates economy tires from others and what you can expect if you want to upgrade.

We’ve looked at how long economy tires last, and now we’ll dive into WHY they’re so cheap.

Let’s dive in.

What Makes Economy Tires Cheaper?

Economy tires need to be replaced more often because they cannot last as long. The equipment only makes them available for the highway on an average day, not considering extreme weather conditions that other tire grades consider.

What Characterizes Economy Tires?

When you are looking at tires and want to know if they are low-end or not, there are a few characteristics that will identify them and let you know that the tire you are considering is not a premium tire.

  • Cheaper Price
  • Thinner Tread Patterns
  • Less mileage lifespan
  • Noise Level
  • The smoothness of the Ride
  • Tire Brand name

Cheaper Price

One of the first things that will indicate an economy tire is the price tag.

Economy tires are always significantly cheaper than premium or other specialty tires you may need for your vehicle.

Those that are cheapest will typically also be the least durable and made with the cheapest parts.

Thinner Tread Patterns

In order to get the best quality tire, you need a decent tread pattern. The thickness of your tread pattern is important because it helps against leaks if you drive over something sharp.

They also handle bad weather better.

Larger grooves help stabilize your vehicle while traveling at fast speeds and when trying to use the brakes all of a sudden.

This is why economy tires are often recommended for general highway driving and are not meant for long commutes.

Less Mileage Lifespan

Economy tires have a way of lasting several thousand miles less than premium tires.

Your economy tires may last you only around 30,000 miles while higher grade tires can last 50,000 or even 60,000.

This means that they will wear out faster and will need to be replaced more often. Depending on the cost of the economy tire set, when you buy two sets instead of one premium set, you could end up paying more for your tires.

Noise Level

The louder the tires, the chances are they are economy tires.

In these cases, the reduced amount of rubber on the economy tires means that they will be louder when driving.

While some performance tires want a loud sound during drag racing and other sports, your average tire should not be loud if it is supposed to be higher quality.


When you are driving down the highway, no matter what the speed, the ride should be comfortable and smooth.

If you are having a rough and bumpy ride even when you are on a freshly paved highway, chances are the tires are economy and not the best quality.

Economy tires do not stop the bumps and shocks that you may feel when you are traveling like a higher quality tire will do.

Tire Brand

Some tire brands are known to be premium tires, and these are the big names that you see in every tire store.

If the tire brand you are looking at is something you have not heard of before or not seen a lot of, then chances are it is an economy tire brand.

Some of the better are Michelin tires and they are typically worth the extra money.

There are also good quality tires at the economy level, but because the brand isn’t known, they have an economy tire price. As more customers purchase and review these tires, their popularity does have the ability to boost them from economy to premium tires.

What Do You Get When You Upgrade To Premium Tires?

If you have been purchasing economy tires and want to make the switch to premium tires, there are several upgrades to expect with premium tires.

  • Quieter rides
  • Longer mileage expectancy
  • Comfortable tires
  • Well-known name brands

When you purchase premium tires, your tires will be quieter when you drive, making the ride smoother.

If you switch from economy to premium tires, you will start to miss the roaring from your tires and appreciate the quiet hum that comes.

You can also expect your tires to last twice as long or longer because they are more efficient and made from higher-quality products.

The drag from the economy tire to the premium tire will be very different. With a strong tire drag, which is found in economy tires, there seem to be more issues with them wearing down quicker than others. This is not the case when you choose premium tires.

Because it is not dragging, you are also boosting your gas mileage, saving money at the pump.

Are More Expensive Tires Really Worth It?

If you use your vehicle regularly for long commutes and driving in areas with extreme weather, it is worth the extra money to upgrade to a more expensive tire.

Since the more expensive tire has more rubber and can last for double the miles, you end up buying two sets of cheaper tires in the time you would buy one premium set.

The thickness of the tread and amount of rubber will protect you for years and over many miles. Also, you want to be comfortable when you are spending an extended amount of time in your vehicle.

Are Economy Tires Really Cheaper in the Long Run?

The answer to this question really depends on how much you commute regularly and where you drive your vehicle. Economy tires are good for those vehicles that do not travel much throughout the year and never go off the road.

If you put less than 10,000 miles on your vehicle annually, your cheaper tires will last you a while and may be worth the cheaper price.

However, if you are a big commuter, traveling long distances regularly in your vehicle and also traveling for vacation, economy tires are most likely not cheaper than making the switch to premium.

You will be changing these tires often and not having a comfortable ride when traveling.

When you invest in premium tires for bigger commutes, they will last longer, be more durable and keep you comfortable while you are driving.

What is the Quality of Tires on New Cars?

When you purchase a new car, many manufacturers choose one of the recommended premium tires. You can expect about 50,000 to 60,000 miles out of a new set of tires and a brand name that is well-known.

These tires have lots of rubber and come with heavily engraved tread, especially if you are in an area with harsh winters or lots of rain.

If you live in a drier climate with less precipitation, the manufacturers may go with a cheaper tire.

Final Thoughts

Economy tires should not be written off as poor tires because they work well for a lot of different people.

Going with the cheaper tire is not a bad option if you have short commutes and do not plan to do a lot of driving from your home regularly. They are also good for areas with an average climate that does not have a lot of harsh weather. I

If you do live in an area where ice and precipitation are common, then maybe you should consider upgrading your tires to a premium brand.

The type of tire you choose is all based on the vehicle you have, how often and far you drive, and the conditions in which you are driving. Let those factors guide you in your decision when deciding whether to purchase economy tires or not.

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