12 Tires Car Experts Buy for Their Own Cars
Whether you're driving in extreme conditions or just running around town, you want the best tires possible. Auto pros swear by these picks.
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Best all-terrain tires: Toyo Open Country A/T II
Mechanics and other car professionals have the advantage of seeing how a wide variety of tires perform, so they know exactly what to recommend to clients—and what to use on their own cars. Jake Lane, a director and automotive pro at NuBrakes Mobile Brake Repair, tried out his fair share of all-terrain tires, including ones from BF Goodrich and Falken, before settling on a favorite. “These Toyo Open Country tires are by far the best in terms of sound, grip, and longevity,” he says. “The set of Falkens had a beefier look on my truck, which I liked, but the rubber was super soft and didn’t last nearly as long. The Toyos aren’t too expensive either, so it all made for a great buy.” If you haven’t been paying much attention to your tires, you need to start: Tires are actually the most important safety feature on your car.
Best vintage-car tires: Vredestein Sprint Classic
Tom Kearns, the VP and Chief Designer at Kia Design Center America, opts for Vredestein Sprint Classic tires on his 1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce. Kearns says he “wanted a classic period look but with modern tire technology,” adding that the Vredestein tires “look the part, perform well on winding canyon back roads in my area, and wear great.” Plus, when compared to the pricey Michelin XWX (which will set you back more than $400 per tire), the Sprint Classics are a great value.
Best sports-car performance tires: Bridgestone Potenza
When Bill Swoboda isn’t working as the Business Services Support Manager of Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, he’s racing his Mazda Miata Spec with street-legal and endurance-race-tested Bridgestone Potenza tires. One set can withstand an eight-hour road race, and he says they even held up on a Daytona road track during a 14-hour race. If the Potenza tires are good enough for a day of racing on world-renowned racetracks, they will suit your everyday sports-car needs just fine.
Best value tires: Continental Extreme Contact DWS06
Greg Kopf, brand ambassador for CARiD.com, loves these Continental tires because “they offer a great option for those running a lower-profile tire who want to run an all-season rather than a specific summer tire.” These tires are also less expensive than other all-season options in a lower-profile size, making them a great value. Kopf adds, “This would be my go-to tire for a sports sedan or coupe that’s driven year-round.” Speaking of good value, here are the best car deals under $18,000.
Best snow tires: Michelin Pilot Alpine PA4
A car lover in central Wisconsin knows a thing or two about winter driving, so we talked to Tom Kostrivas, co-founder of Throttlestop, Elkhart Lake’s newest automotive destination for motorcycle enthusiasts and vintage car lovers. So, what does he recommend for the snowy months of the year? Michelin all-weather tires like the Pilot Alpine PA4. He says they have “a softer compound, which performs better on ice, with minimal sliding because the tires make better contact with the road.” Kostrivas notes that people in Wisconsin put these tires on all kinds of cars—those with all-wheel drive, as well as front- and rear-wheel drive.
Best long-lasting tires: Pirelli P4 Seasons Plus
If you want your tires to last (and who doesn’t?), check out the Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus tires, according to Jake McKenzie, content manager at Auto Accessories Garage. “These durable tires are rated to last for 90,000 miles,” he says, “but in independent tests conducted by Consumer Reports, they found they actually last even longer—up to 100,000 miles.” That kind of long-lasting performance can save drivers thousands of dollars over time.
Best everyday tires: Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+
For spring, summer, and fall, you can’t go wrong with these Michelin tires, according to Bryan Rodgers, owner of Rodgers Performance, a top-dealer alternative Audi repair and service specialist in Ottawa, Canada. He also has another suggestion to go along with these everyday tires: “For an everyday car used for city and highway driving, picking up kids, getting groceries, etc., a 2011 Audi Q7 will do the trick.” But before you buy new tires, know which cars you should buy used—and which you shouldn’t.
Best eco-friendly tires: Bridgestone Ecopia EP422
Not too long ago, eco-tires were specifically designed for eco-friendly cars to get better miles per gallon. “Now, eco-friendly tires can be put on any vehicle,” says Kopf. “I would recommend these tires for anyone who doesn’t have a hybrid or electric vehicle but is looking to increase their MPG and fill up less often.” In particular, he recommends the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422. “The tires are without a doubt premium,” he says, “and you will get exceptional performance as well as reduced rolling resistance—all at a good price.”
Best mud-terrain tires: Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac
If you’re going to be dealing with a lot of mud, Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs are a good bet. In fact, they’re Lane’s top choice for his Chevrolet 1500 truck. “I can say without a doubt, they’re my favorite set of tires yet,” he says. “I love an aggressive tire on a truck, naturally, but I hate the whine that comes with most off-road tires.” Lane gets none of that with the Duratracs. In fact, he says they’re the “quietest off-road tire I’ve been around, while also boasting the super beefy look I want.” The only downside to the Duratracs may be their price, but Lane says they’re worth it for the quality and look.
Best long-distance-driving tires: Firestone Destination LE2
One of the first sets of tires that Lane had on his last truck was the Firestone Destination LE2s. He says that “while not an all-terrain tire, they offered a decent upgrade over other road tires in terms of quality and looks.” He adds that these tires ran great on the highway and improved MPG, albeit only slightly. Don’t miss these 20 other car accessories that will change the way you drive.
Best extreme-heat tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport
“The best tires for boiling climates would be Michelin Pilot Super Sport Tires,” says McKenzie. “They are made from a blend of two rubber compounds that allow them to perform at their best even when very hot.” Making sure you have the right tires, especially in extreme weather conditions, will help your car run better and last longer.
Best cold-weather tires: Bridgestone Blizzak WS80
When dealing with the cold and all the different kinds of precipitation that come along with it, drivers should look to Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 tires for a safe, durable option, says McKenzie. “These effective snow tires offer a combination of circumferential and lateral grooves, which will keep water, slush, and snow away from the contact areas of each tire,” he explains. For more insider info, check out these 30 things your car mechanic won’t tell you.