Should You Stick With Your Original Equipment Tires?

Posted on: 11 June 2019


From the factory, your car comes equipped with a particular brand and size of tire. This particular tire has been chosen by the manufacturer because it represents a specific blend of performance, longevity, and comfort. The characteristics chosen reflect what the vehicle's manufacturer believes will appeal to the widest audience possible, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those tires are good for your particular needs. If it's time to replace your vehicle's tires, it may be time to consider a change.

All-season vs. Summer vs. Winter Tires

The vast majority of new vehicles are equipped with all-season tires from the factory. These tires offer balanced performance across a variety of driving conditions, although generally without excelling in any role. The primary advantage offered by all-season tires is that you can continue to use a single set of tires throughout the year. This is cheaper upfront, although this savings can be deceptive as year-round use will wear your tires out more quickly.

On the other hand, summer tires tend to excel in dry performance and often offer excellent performance in the rain too. They are not suitable for cold temperatures and should never be driven in snowy or icy conditions, but they are a great choice if you live in a warm climate or if you intend to switch between tire sets seasonally.

Winter tires sacrifice performance (and, in some cases, ride quality) for superior grip in snowy conditions. Winter tires are always a great choice if you live in an area that receives snow. In fact, tests have shown that tires are far more important than driven wheels in snowy conditions. This means that even a rear-wheel drive vehicle equipped with snow tires can be expected to outperform an all-wheel drive vehicle on all-season tires in the snow. As with summer tires, these are not intended for year-round use, and you will need to swap tire sets in the spring.

Performance vs. Comfort

Believe it or not, your tires have a huge impact on how well your vehicle rides. As your tires wear down, your vehicle will likely seem noisier and handle potholes and other road issues less gracefully. Ride quality tends to vary even among new tires, however, and choosing new tires often means deciding whether you prefer greater performance or greater ride quality. Tire wear throws an additional wrench into the decision-making process. Not all tires wear at the same rate, and choosing a higher performance tire may also mean replacing your tires more often.

Manufacturers often rate their vehicles on these qualities, but it is important to seek out objective reviews as well.

Which Tire Is Right for You?

If you are happy with the way that your vehicle performs on its original tires, then your best option is to simply replace them with another identical set. If you're looking to change it up, however, then the most important thing you can do is decide on your priorities before you begin your search for new tires. This checklist will help you narrow your options down:

  • Are you willing to deal with a slightly harsher or noisier ride in exchange for better performance? Consider high-performance summer tires.
  • Do you live in an area that receives more than a few days of snowfall per year? Consider purchasing a set of both summer and winter tires.
  • Are you primarily concerned about minimizing costs? All-season tires are likely your best option.

Ultimately, choosing a tire is a matter of personal preference. Once you have decided where your priorities lie, it will be much easier to select a tire that will give you the balance of handling, comfort, and inclement weather performance that you need. For more information, reach out to a car tire sales dealer near you.