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Are More Expensive Tires Actually Better?

If you’re like me, chances are you dread buying new tires. Tires can be expensive, confusing, and if you have to switch between seasonal tires, they can also be a hassle. On top of all of the different types, sizes, and brands, the prices on tires can range from relatively affordable, to impressively expensive. If you’ve ever stared at a wall of tires trying to figure out if you really need the most expensive set, chances are an online search didn’t really help much. But maybe you don’t need the most expensive tires on the market.

Quality and pricing

You may have heard the common phrase that you get what you pay for, and that’s just as true with tires. If you buy generic-brand tires online from websites like Amazon, chances are you may find yourself replacing them more often than not. But that doesn’t mean that some of the lesser-priced options are bad. In fact, unless you are running a performance-oriented car, chances are you don’t need the most expensive tires on the market.

A Goodyear Wrangler tire sits during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225
A Goodyear Wrangler tire sits during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Built Ford Tough 225 practice on July 7, 2006 | Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images for NASCAR

What factors into tire price

When comparing the price of tires it is important to remember that there is more that plays into the price than just the brand. The size of the tires is determined by the wheels you have on the car. The specific tires types of tires can affect the price too, like snow tires versus all-season tires. All of these factors can change the price of your tires greatly, and it’s something to keep in mind when you’re checking out pricing.

Stacks of car tires
| Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Should you buy the most expensive tires?

The simple answer is almost a non-answer, it doesn’t matter how expensive your tires are. The easiest way to know if a tire is worth buying is to check out reviews for that specific tire size and brand. You might be surprised to find that a lot of the more modestly priced tires are just fine for your normal driving habits. In fact, chances are you are going to be wasting your money by just opting for the most expensive tires.

Motorcycle tires are displayed at moto show
Motorcycle tires are displayed | MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

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So, while you may not want to buy the cheapest tires that you can find, chances are you also don’t need to buy the most expensive. While the most expensive tires are still great quality, the difference isn’t that significant for standard commuter cars. So the answer is no, you don’t really need the most expensive tires you can find.