Trying to decide on a new set of tires can be extremely stressful. There’s a lot of factors to consider like what the weather is like where you live, whether you are traveling mainly in the city or hitting some off-road trails, your budget, safety features, what will work for your specific vehicle make and model, and whether you want to make adjustments like adding a lift kit.
Further confusion can come in when you are trying to decide if all-season tires are right for you or if you need winter tires. All-season tires are made from rubber that maintains its flexibility no matter what mother nature throws at it, but just because it bears that label doesn’t mean it can do the job.
Thankfully Consumer Reports cuts through some of the confusion by doing extensive lab tests on several brands of tires, so making a decision is as simple as doing a little research.
Consumer Reports is known for having high standards when it comes to its reviews, so it’s important to understand what exactly its idea of a good quality tire is when you are looking over reviews.
Each product that is reviewed is tested for a specific set of criteria. In the case of tires, it is: dry and wet braking, ride comfort, noise, handling, snow traction, ice breaking, rolling resistance, and tested tread life per miles.
General Altimax RT43 (T)
The Altimax received the highest score out of 22 tires with an overall score of 70 from Consumer Reports and 3.9 out of 5 stars from consumers.
Wet braking and ride comfort were rated good while everything else received marks of very good. Consumer Reports found no shortcomings for the Altimax. The tread life is good for 80,000 miles and it sells for $86.95.
Michelin Defender T + H
The Defender’s score was 67. Consumers who reviewed gave it a rating of 3.2 out of 5 stars. The noise test was rated excellent, while snow traction, hydroplaning, dry braking, and handling were rated very good.
The Michelin Defender sells for $122, making it the most expensive tire on this list. While there were no lows from Consumer Reports, but consumers reported that noise levels increased with wear. The tread life for the Defender is 90,000 miles, which is better than the General Altimax.
Continental TrueContact Tour
Consumer Reports gave TrueContact a score of 66. Consumers gave it 2 out of 5 stars, but that was out of only 5 reviews.
Wet braking earned a mark of fair, while snow traction was given a mark of excellent. The TrueContact was given low points for a “relatively average dry stops and fair wet stops for an all-season tire.” The tread life is good, 95,000 miles, which is the highest tread life to make the list. The TrueContact tire sells for $97.
Falken Sincera SN201 A/S
The Sincera SN201 tied with the TrueContact and the Nexen Aria with a score of 66. Only one consumer has reviewed it, and they gave it a score of 1 out of 5 stars.
Consumer Reports gave very good marks for snow traction and said the Sincera tire is “A good choice for all types of weather conditions.” It sells for $79.
Nexen Aria AH7 (T)
Consumer Reports gave the Aria tire a score of 66. Consumers seemed to like this tire more than others on this list, as they gave it a 3.6 out of 5 stars.
It received overall good or very good marks, and Consumer Reports was impressed with the 90,000 mile tread life, snow traction, hydroplaning resistance, and dry braking.
Any of these models are a good choice when it comes to all-season tires. However, be sure to do your research and talk to car care professionals to find out which tire suits your vehicle the best. While it may be a pain to shell out a small fortune for tires, it will save you in the long run.