Over the past few years I have been watching tire sales, looking at tire quality and have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the big question. That question would be is it better to suck it up and put top quality tires on your vehicle or run inexpensive tires and change them more often. The real answer does come down to personal preference however I have to say that I myself prefer to run cheap tires and change them every 30-40 thousand miles if need be. Of course when making this decision I ran my own tests to answer the following questions.
Question #1 By running cheap tires am I sacrificing safety? I have 2 children so this was very important. What I found is that 9 times out of 10 the cheap tires performed as well as the expensive tires. Sure tire companies will tell you that there state of the art tread design will cut through rain and stop hydroplaning as an example. I have to say that going through a 1 foot deep puddle the laws of gravity and water mass defiantly out do the tread design. The fact is that hit at the right speed and force no tire tread design is going to stop you from hydroplaning. So in this case the cheap tires worked just as good as the more expensive high quality tires. The next part of this question is are these cheap tires more apt to blow? The best answer to that is it is very unlikely. Most flat tires are caused by either under inflation ( which is the fault of the operator for not checking tire pressures) or by road hazards. 9 times out of 10 a road hazard is going to blow your tire no matter what the quality is. The only exception is if you are running run flat tires which cost at least 4 times the money.
Question #2 When I figure the cost of tires including labor etc. which scenario works out better? Here again we will look at the difference in tires and costs. We will look at the same sized tire (225-60-16) in 2 different brands that can be purchased through An online tire store. The first tire will be the Sumitomo Htr Plus priced at $68.00 40,000 mile tire and the Bridgestone Potenza RE92 priced at $152.00 which is a 36000 mile tire.
First of all the Bridgestone tire is over double the price and will have less life the the Cheap Tire. The only benefit is a slightly better ride. but the price tag for a set of 4 is $336.00 more. I don’t know about you but my 4 year old car does not have a brand new suspension and no matter what will not ride like I am riding on air. I really do not think I will notice the difference and will gladly pocket the $336.00 and buy the cheap tires. heck i might take that money and go to the cape for the weekend riding on my cheap tires.
Final question. I plan on driving this car into the ground and I want only the best. This is the best yet. I don’t know how many times I have heard this one or should I say said it myself. First of all even if I do drive the car forever. I will still by the cheap tires. The reality however is that I have never, Not once bought a new pair of tires and wore them out. It will never happen. I get an itch and sick of the car I am driving and go buy another one. I can’t control it it just happens. And when it does boom I will buy another set of cheap tires for that car. it is that simple.