Treadwear Testing Frowns on Ultra-High Performance Tires

Most car owners are apt to pick tires that are affordable and long-lasting. Perhaps it is because buying new tires is just another expensive chore on the seemingly endless list of car maintenance that needs to be tended to. For drivers who have more performance-oriented cars, however, tires can be a bit more important. With so many options and brands of performance tires on the market, should you be making the upgrade to ultra-high performance tires?

What are ultra-high performance tires?

Ultra-high performance tires are usually denoted with UHS in the name — typically someplace obvious, like at the beginning. Consumer Reports tests and rates these tires just like they do many others, but they also note that UHS tires typically don’t come with any kind of warranty — which may seem a bit odd to some buyers. While most people will never actually use the available warranty on their tires, it does give drivers a feeling of security in knowing that the manufacturer backs their products.

Two cars drifting around the track
A stack of tires on the side of a drift track Volodymyr Tarasov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media, Getty Images

What treadwear testing reports

Consumer Reports conducts rather extensive testing on tires to rate them on a variety of factors. Treadwear is something that most buyers care about because the average buyer is looking to spend money on the tires that are going to work well for as long as they can. Performance tires are usually expected to have shorter lifespans, but ultra-high performance tires received pretty abysmal treadwear testing reports.

According to the website’s testing, UHP tires could become worn out relatively fast, sometimes in as few as 25,000 miles. For perspective, the treadwear ratings of some other options tested by Consumer Reports were rated for as many as 95,000 miles.

Interesting findings for UHP tires

Among the report, there was one finding in particular that seems rather interesting. There was no correlation between the treadwear of the ultra-high performance tires and their price, which seems rather odd. Typically we expect a more expensive product to be higher quality, and many of us associate that with meaning it will last longer. Instead of longevity, the more expensive UHP tires offered better braking and handling.

A quick tread check on a worn tire
A man checks the tires on a long-distance coach | Christophe Gateau/picture alliance, Getty Images

NHTSA Tire Grades Tool Will Help You Buy the Best Tires

Some drivers who own performance-oriented vehicles care may be more inclined to change out tires often enough to make UHP tires worth buying. If you’re picking tires for your weekend roadster that doesn’t get as many miles, UHP tires can also be a great choice, and, of course, if you’re looking to put performance, braking, and handling over cost and longevity, UHP tires are still one of the best options out there.