Hooniverse Asks- Do You Care About Your Car's Brand of Tire?

Stones

Your tires make up one of the most important aspects of the safety and handling capabilities of your car or truck. Because of that, you’d think people would be pretty brand loyal, either always replacing worn out tires with the OEM selection, or with a favored alternative brand, chosen after much research and deliberation. 

The thing of it is, which the exception of some whoop-dee-doo performance cars, especially those that require specific rubber – hello Michelin TRX owners – I see a lot of cars out there with all kinds of brands on them, almost as though some people are just buying by price rather than performance.

Me, I like to pair my cars with tires of the same nationality. That’s why my British cars roll on Dunlop, while the Z will be getting Yokohamas when I replace its rubber. I’m just kidding actually, the Dunlops were well rated for the cars at the time, and I actually currently have Yokohamas on my Chicago-built Ford, which originally came with Italian branded, but Brazilian-sourced Pirellis. What about you, how do you make tire buying decisions, and when you decide, does brand really matter?

Image source: JasonLiebig via Flickr

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64 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- Do You Care About Your Car's Brand of Tire?”

  1. Josh_Howard Avatar

    It depends… if I'm buying a new car, it doesn't matter as much because I know I'll be changing them later. If I've owned the car for a while, I'm usually pretty Khumo biased. That doesn't mean I won't buy another brand. The only brand I refuse to buy is Goodyear. I have never known a friend or family member than had good experiences with them.

    1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar

      I used to like Kumhos a lot…then the last batch were KR21's, made in China, which lasted all of 28K miles on a perfectly-aligned, gently-driven, '02 Lexus RX300.
      Imma gonna fix THAT!
      Put OEM size BFG All-terrains on it.
      Yeah, they hum a little, but it's worth it.

      1. Josh_Howard Avatar

        Yeah.. seems like every brand just about can be hit or miss depending on what tire it is. I stopped running the tire I liked because they stopped wanting to make it for a 15" wheel.

  2. OA5599 Avatar

    It can depend on how many I'm replacing. If one tire needs replacement, due to a road hazard, for example, I get another identical tire for replacement. Tire dimensions can vary from brand to brand and model to model, even within the same nominal size. Sure, the new one will have a little more circumference because it won't be as worn as the other three, but at least it will have similar characteristics.
    When I buy 4 tires, honestly, one of my biggest factors is what the tire store (or another local branch) has in stock, and then value and specifications.

  3. JayP2112 Avatar

    Early on- no. I was looking for the best performing tire for the price. If that meant Yokohamas on my German car or Bridgestones on my Brit, fine.
    Lately I've been on a Goodyear kick. 2nd set of Goodyear F1 Supercars on the car and on my 2nd set of Goodyear Wrangler Radials on the truck.
    But if the tread looks like crap, I won't use them. I'm looking at you BF Goodrich G-FORCE T/A KDW!!!

  4. Kogashiwa Avatar

    I choose my tires based on careful research but the exact brand isn't an issue. Although somehow I'm happier with my decision if I end up with Dunlop or Yokohama.
    I do know to avoid "Hercules". Previous owner put them on my IS300 and they have the approximate grip of a cue ball. They're near new though so I feel bad replacing them till they're a bit worn down. Which as hard as they are could be a while.

  5. muthalovin Avatar

    Nah. My DD is our beater truck, so whatever the tire store has in stock.
    On the bike, I absolutely stick with Pirelli's, and specifically, I am enjoying the Diablo Rosso IIs I bought this spring.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      The Rosso II and it´s equivalent Metzeler roadtec z6 are very good but get tricky in wet conditions.
      Most Bridgestone are excelent when new but they all wear squared of.
      The best tire for motorcycle sport touring IMO is the Michelin Pilot Road III.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        Motorcycling in Austin is dangerous in the dry, so I don't even bother going out in the wet. When there is a 20% chance of rain, I know that that day will not be a riding day.

  6. Maymar Avatar

    On the car, absolutely not. It's not deserving of a penny more than it needs to keep running.
    On the bike, I really should replace the front tire, as I've locked it up without trying already, and my father-in-law admitted to finding it a little spooky handling. That said, I'm not too concerned with brand, as long as it doesn't kill me.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      you should be concerning, on a bike it makes a hell of a difference what brand and what model to use.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        Fair enough – it's not to say I'm going to cheap out, just that I have no particular brand allegiance, just as long as it's something half-decent.

  7. Preludacris Avatar

    Brand agnostic, more concerned with performance : price ratio.

  8. Sjalabais Avatar

    I don't care about the brand per se, but I want quality – really rather a test winner. In some situations the tires are the most important part of a car. My summer wheels have been Uniroyal Rainexpert on several cars, Nokian Hakkapeliita 7 w/ studs on my winter wheels.
    I have even passed on a good Volvo 940 deal because the car was rolling on cheap Chinese tires mounted the wrong way. Didn't find much else that was wrong with the car, but f* up the tires is a cardinal sin.

  9. buzzboy7 Avatar

    Brand is meaningless to me. Price and quality are where it's at. And sometimes, you buy what you can find. For example our '79 300SD takes some weird sized tires on a 14" rim and it got whatever we could find in that size. My street car? Currently it's got the cheapest thing we could find, because we bought them on vacation one year and just needed tires.
    Next set of tires I buy will probably be Eagle F1s by recommendation from a friend who uses them almost solely.
    Also, driving a slow car makes you care less about tires. My VW had Winstar Phaser tires on it. Not enough power to need more traction. My Forester has… chinese junk on it because it's got AWD, 150hp at the crank and doesn't see snow/ice/slush.

  10. LTDScott Avatar

    Nope, because tire technology progresses so quickly that you can't really say that one brand is better than another overall. What used to be the hot tire a few years ago may be completely outclassed now.
    Having said that, I try to buy the best that I can within my budget, and do a lot of researching before purchasing.

  11. mx6matt Avatar

    Attractiveness of the tire, especially the tread pattern, counts more for me than brand. Recently had a choice between Dunlop and Sumitomo (which are probably the same tire under the skin), and i went with Sumitomo because they had a very cool tread pattern that complimented my car nicely. The Dunlops had kinda odd-looking tread that blended into the sidewalls in an unattractive manner. Sumitomo's turned out to be awesome tires all around, not just great looking. No regrets.

  12. GTXcellent Avatar

    The only vehicle in our fleet I'm really picky with is my wife's SAAB 9-3. Continentals for the summer and Hankook iPike snows for winter. We did run Goodyears for about 15,000 miles and was so disappointed I made our local tire shop specially order Continentals again.

  13. BobWellington Avatar

    I buy based on value and quality. I've currently got some General Grabber AT2s on my Explorer. They're basically BFGoodrich All-Terrains without the ridiculous cost.

  14. nataku83 Avatar

    I don't shop by brand, but find that I tend to gravitate toward a few brands as a result of detailed comparison shopping. Basically, Dunlop , General and Kumho seem to offer the best blend of value and performance. Usually, Dunlops go on the 'performance' cars and Generals / Kumhos on the more budget minded cars.

  15. engineerd Avatar

    If I listen to the overlanding community, the only tires I should be running on the Jeep are BFG A/Ts or, even better, KM2s. However, talking to guys here in Michigan, the tread pattern isn't the greatest for the sandy trails here, and they get hard as a rock in the winter. Anecdotal evidence suggests Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs are actually preferable for the types of conditions we get here in the Dirty Mitten. So they are probably the way I'm going to go when I get new tires for the Jeep in the next year or so.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      I greatly disliked the Wrangler MT's that were on my Cherokee but loved my BFG AT's. This is PA though, our ground is very much clay. Asphalt conditions are similar though and the wrangler's sucked on the road.

      1. engineerd Avatar

        Good to know. I'm finding a vast majority of the people who have driven on both are preferring the newer Duratracs (I think they were introduced in '09) over the BFG ATs, especially in sand and snow.

        1. pj134 Avatar

          That could definitely be. When I last shopped seriously for truck tires KM2's were just hitting the market. Those Wrangler MT's will probably make me avoid Goodyears for life though.

  16. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I care about performance, not brand. The one and only time I bought a set of new tires, The Tire Rack's selection tool was very helpful, though it take me a long time to work through all of the parameters, ratings and reviews. Prior to that, I mainly bought used tires from cheap tire stores, and that worked out very well, always buying pairs of tires. I'd pick up nails in my tires every few months, so there was no reason to get too picky. Once I bought a pair of Pirellis from NTW, and they were easily the worst radial tires I ever had, developing sidewall blisters in both with a few months.

  17. Mechanically Inept Avatar

    Well, seeing as that I've been driving for a bit over six years now, I've only assisted in wearing out a few sets of tires, so I haven't had enough time to develop any kind of brand affiliation. I guess all I can say is that the OE Dunlops that came on our Honda Fit were shitty and wore out fast, as were the Bridgestones that replaced them, not to mention overpriced and bad in the snow. Last winter, once I finally convinced my mom that a set of snow tires is significantly cheaper than a car accident, the Fit received a nice new set of Blizzaks. That was the first time I'd ever driven a car with snows, and I was blown away by the improvement. Other than that, the Michelins that I had on my old Dodge Caravan (can't remember the tire model) were absolutely fantastic, performed great in the snow, and looked brand new after nearly 30,000 miles. The tires outlasted the car, and I finally blew the 3-speed tranny with one too many brake-torque peel-outs in April of last year.

  18. mdharrell Avatar

    An exhaustive list of the car tires I've purchased in the last decade: 4.00×8, 145/70R12, 145R14, 155R15, and 6.00×16.
    My choice of brand usually comes down to "Hey, they make this size!"

    1. Felis_Concolor Avatar

      As one who is still mulling over whether or not to purchase vintage 12×4.5 Cromodoras in a 4x98mm bolt pattern for my Haflinger along with a possible set of 10" wheels meant for a Fiat 500, I understand your situation. It'll be fun to see what I can find for such small wheels, although I'm certain there are a few not-for-pavement models available from my local tractor or ATV supplier.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        I've managed to find DOT-rated tires in all the sizes above, although it hasn't always been straightforward. For 10" wheels the various Mini specialists still carry a selection of street and track tires but curiously not a lot for off-roading.

        1. Vairship Avatar

          Even for the Moke? 😉

  19. Senor Smee Avatar

    Always had good results with Michelin, so i stick with them.

  20. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    Cars and trucks: Tire Rack's reviews and my favorite tire store owner's recommendations are all I care about.
    Motorcycles: There's no good source for informed, unbiased, extensive reviews, so I lean more toward brands I know. Bridgestones are very uneven; some are great, lots of their OEM tires are crap. Pirelli wants silly money for theirs. Avon does too, but they offer a really wide range of funky sizes, which is admirable. A few of the low-end Asian brands such as Kenda and IRC are really stepping up their game lately, Hyundai-style. But Conti and Metzler are usually in the price/value sweet spot for me.

    1. Preludacris Avatar

      Kenda makes pretty good mountain bike tires, FWIW.

  21. faberferrum Avatar

    Not really. I'm very happy with Nokian Haakepellitas for winter tires, which are a necessity here in Saskatchewan. Other than that, I've got a large stockpile of tire what-have-you in storage. Mostly bought from the junkyard, when I see some likely-looking tires, I buy them and squirell them away. It helps that most of my fleet runs 13 or 14 inch rims, so stuff is pretty interchangealbe. Several of my project cars have come shod with rotten Goodyear Corsas, which has biased me against that brand.

  22. Carter Avatar

    On my old B-body RWD cars it was always whatever snow tire was cheapest. Run with the snows on year round and don't sweat the handling or having to put summer tires on. Just replace em when they burn out in two years.
    I'll never buy Bridgestone Duelers again as long as I live. Worst wearing and handling tires that I ever had on my old Suburban. Being in the Northeast where we get snow and ice, I'm partial to Mastercraft Courser MSR on trucks. Great tread wear even when I left them on for the summer, good price, and they handled much better in the winter than the Duelers.
    My 2001 LeSabre has something Goodyear, probably Integrity, on it. They performed wonderfully in the snow this winter. For a car that handles worse than any truck I've ever driven I can't imagine needing any better tires on it than these. I think they're the OEM option.

  23. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

    For me, if I find a tire I like, I stick with it until they quit making it. Tires are too expensive to gamble with, so why deviate from something I am happy with?
    As such, I'm currently on my 5th set of Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110s.

    1. Kogashiwa Avatar

      I'm mostly impressed that you can remember their full name.

      1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

        I've had plenty of time to practice…

        1. Maxichamp Avatar

          Did you go to SS? I heard it was awesome.

          1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar

            No, sadly… I woke up feeling like hell from the night before and seriously couldn't drag myself out of bed…

  24. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar

    I used to be a hard-core Michelin guy…then I had a set of ultra-sucky X-Ones.
    I'd also gone to BFG A/T's on the Grand Cherokee, which rocked in snow/mud season…and that was all but three months of the year where we lived, but since then, it depends greatly on what I expect.
    I want the best I can have at a price I can afford. I don't usually put a second set of whatever I've had on (on 4-wheelers), but the set of shoes on the '05 STS when I bought it were Continental Extreme DWS's. They're they absolute perfect tire for that car. Just. Perfect. I went with four more about six months ago.
    My wife's 2002 RX300, even though it doesn't go off-road (much), has five BFG A/T's on it after the Kuhmo KR21's I put on there last time were shot before 30K miles. Made in China…
    I'd been happy with Kumho in the past, though. Quite happy.
    On the motorcoach, it got truck tires, six of them…Toyo T140Z's, I think, in low-profile at that! 275/70/22.5.
    That was an expensive day at the tire shop…
    For two-wheelers, I was a Metzler guy, for the most part. Just worked out best for the riding I did. Had tried Dunlop, Michelin, and another one, I think. It's been a while.

  25. Batshitbox Avatar

    Which brand? The one on the front-left, front-right, rear-left, rear-right, or the full spare?
    Nothing but Continental's for my bicycle.
    Generally I've run Dunlop's on the MC.

  26. Neen85 Avatar

    I support Pirelli only so that they continue to make fantastic calendars.

  27. MVEilenstein Avatar

    I'm more loyal to a tire shop than I am a tire brand. My Focus is riding on Kumho somethings, and the F-150 has a set of Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor tires. They came with the truck, but they ride great, last for a long time, and aren't terribly expensive to replace ($500-600).

  28. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar

    I've always bought the most recent studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta's when I've needed winter tyres, they've always been good and i don't see any reason to change.
    For summer tyres I buy whatever suits my need the best at the time. The last time I bought new summer tyres I needed 215/35 18" tyres in a day, the only ones available were Yokohama Parada Spec 2's. They were excellent when new, but became quite slippery in the rain after one summer. Illegal(under 1,5mm thread) by the end of the second summer.

  29. facelvega Avatar

    I'm surprised at how many people here don't seem to care much about driving. Tires matter more than any other item for performance, you can feel it when you get new tires, and the comparison tests online and in the glossy mags make it clear that there are hard, real braking and cornering gaps between different tire models. Throw in bad weather, and the differences are outrageous, even within a single tire type.
    Caring about cars like we do here and then being indifferent or just brand-conscious towards tires is like painstakingly building up a beautiful stereo system, and then using whatever speakers they had on sale at Wal-Mart.

    1. facelvega Avatar

      Also, thinking about the big new Wombat wheels from a couple of days ago, and how wheel size is also critical for performance, I remembered this little C&D story infographic:
      <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/media/51/effects-of-upsized-wheels-and-tires-tested-chart-photo-341448-s-original.jpg"&gt;

    2. mdharrell Avatar

      I am passionate about driving but indifferent towards performance.

      1. facelvega Avatar

        No question, your kind of car collecting has a different tire agenda by far. But in this thread, people mostly seem to be talking about their daily drivers and semi-classic beaters, when performance (be it handling, safety, comfort, off-road capability, fuel economy) does matter.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          The cars I discuss here are my daily drivers and semi-classic beaters. I don't own anything else.

  30. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    I'm usually very particular about tires.
    When I first started buying wider tires for a car, the '97 Sentra I previously owned, I put Futura GLS Super Sports on it, because they were the right size and back then there was no Tire Rack, plus I could get a discount on them from work. They were so hard, and the Sentra's suspension so short traveled, that the two or three times I replaced them, they had almost brand new centers and completely slick flat shoulders both inside and out (I drove like a bat out of hell back then).
    Later, when I had the Lancer, I went with Kumho Ecsta Supra 712's in a 21540R17, which I was very particular about, because on that car, most tire books said to run a 205, but the car looked stupid with 205's and I had a book at work that listed the 215 option, even though they were harder to come by. Also, it had Evo-sized 21545R17 Kumho 711's when I bought it, and even though they looked great on it, they rubbed the inner fenders on full lock.
    Now, with the '07 Rabbit, it came with some decent Continentals, but they wore out similarly to the way my in-law's Michelins did, very suddenly, in a scary in the rain kind of way, which is not good in Florida. After some research, I went with Yokohama Avid Envigors and I've been using those ever since. Great in the dry, great in the wet.
    On the Miata, I'm not sure what i'll get. It has Falken ZE 912 on it now, but I'm not sure if they're good or bad yet, or if I'll just want to go up to a "15 tire and wheel and possibly have to change tire brands. Oh well, I'll worry about that when the time comes.
    But I do put a lot of thought into it, as it is the most important part of the car and really determines how much fun the car is to drive.

    1. Preludacris Avatar

      I'm running Falken 912, in 205/50-15. I'm not sure if they're good tires either (all I know is I do know they're an order of magnitude better than the 6-year old bald ones they replaced).

  31. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Gislaved snow tires absolutely blew me away with their performance. Rock solid handling in blizzard conditions at highway speeds, where other cars were just pinwheeling off the road all around me.

  32. quattrovalvole Avatar

    I've had a really long experience with Bridgestones. I have a set of Potenza G019s on my Civic at the moment and I'm quite happy with it. Used Turanzas and Potenzas before and they've been perfectly fine for the job too..
    As for winter tires, does anyone have any recommendation on a good & cheap ones? I was going to go with Blizzak WS60 or Michelin X-Ice 2. Just wondering if there's another brand that offers similar performance for less money.

  33. topdeadcentre Avatar

    Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus on the V70R. An excellent year-round sport tire (yes, I know, compromises are made), and pretty damn good in the snow. My previous Volvo 850 Turbo also had Pilot Sports, which were a huge improvement over the Goodyears that were on it when I bought it.

  34. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    I don't touch the real bottom-of-the-barrel brands these days; it's a false economy.
    When I got my current rims the front ones had "Sunny" brand tyres, which howled like both front bearings were shot and wouldn't track straight at all. Then I had Kumhos all round, which were great in the dry, indifferent in the wet and didn't last very well. But they were still decent value. I'm now running Hankook Evo V12s, which have a ridiculous name, but are actually alright.
    My other half decided to cheap out on her Peugeot and bought a pair of Rikens for the front wheels. On a holiday trip we had to mae an emergency stop, and the entire brand new tread pattern delaminated and blistered and both were immediately rendered scrap. As soon as we got home we replaced them for Michelins, which were still only £55 each (165 HR13).
    Basically, my rule of thumb is if you've never heard of 'em, and you don't know anybody wh can personally recomment 'em, don't buy 'em.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      For the DD I take any budget recommendation from sound-sounding consumer ORGANIZATION reviews, i.e., not amazon. Amazing: three sets of tires last 50% longer than two! (summer, winter, studded).
      For the project car, anything cheap with a name I've heard before will do. I just heard of Sunny tires, though…

  35. racer139 Avatar

    nope as long as the two on the back match and the two on the rear match and all are close in sidewall and width and match the season Im driving in I am good to go. In my younger years I use to use potenzas in the summer and some swiss brand In the winter. I have slowed down a bunch and dont really use them to their potential, so I dont bother buying them.

  36. mark Avatar

    For cars, I really like Michelins most of the time, but have never spent my own money on them. Just too expensive. The wife's Terrain came on Michelin Latitudes and they lasted 80k miles, so since she was buying, we got another set of Michelins. More often than not I've bought Goodyears w/ somewhat mixed results.
    I tried a few different Bridgestones, Firestones and even Daytons, and never really found them to be better than mediocre.
    As for motorcycles, I've never found a set of Bridgestones I liked. Too bad, because they're usually cheap. Mostly I run Pirellis, Metzelers and Dunlops. Michelins when the price was right. I like seeing Dunlop making more bike tires in their Buffalo plant. Just put a set of outstanding Q2s on my Aprilia w/ "Made in USA" on the sidewall.
    I'm a bit of a tire snob. No generics. No 'stones.
    Car no buys: Anything from the Bridgestone conglomerate and anything Chinese or generic.
    Motorcycle no buys: Bridgestones again and the low end Asian brands (Kenda, Maxxis, Cheng Shin (aka "Chin Sins"), Shinko, etc). IRCs are decent on dirt bikes.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      I had a lot of fun with Cheng Shin 858's front/rear on my KLR650, and also had success with a CS858 front/Kenda K270 rear combo…. then they quit making them. It just wasn't the same with a K270 on the front.

  37. shawn Avatar

    Ridiculous, most people don't even replace tires till the cores are showing, or after they took flat into a tire shop and the tech forces them to replace the tires. Brand? Lol.
    I thought it was amazing how many cars have "racing slicks" on them here in Seattle area since it rains so much here, than I was in California once a day after a rain storm, nothing but crashed cars on the morning news. Inspected some cars in the parking lot, thought I was at a racing school, so many bold tires.
    And yes, tread wear is not the whole story, rubber ages and harden which loses traction over time. I ran across a tire shop tech dumb founded that I didn't want to keep some old tires cause the tread depth is still within minimum, had to convince him that they are too old and no longer provide proper traction. Sigh /rant
    Brands matters in a way of quality control, tire shop guys will tell you which brands of tires are easier to balance, but really all that matters is if you get the proper types of tires for your region and seasonal weather.

  38. HTWHLS Avatar

    I'm only picky about tires for the Corvette and am now running Michelin Pilot Sports ASW +ZP and like them much better than the Eagles F1 that rode like crap after 18K miles. I WAS particular about the tires on the Impala but after 3 sets of Goodyear KDW's and getting what I feel was terrible grip and low mileage (despite religious rotation) I went with Kumho ECST and have been very happy.
    The Corvair is still wearing 13 inchers; I take what I can get.

  39. zsvdkhnorc Avatar

    Treadwright retreads lets you pick what brand you want on the sidewall from their selection.

  40. desolit Avatar
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