So you want to buy new tires for your car but don’t know what to look for? Don’t worry, we’re here to help you out. First of all, there are a couple of things you have to consider and know before making your purchase. All tires have markings on the side indicating the brand, the size, and usually even the make. We’re not too worried about the make and model at this point, all we care about are the numbers indicating the sizes.
Car Tires Sizes
As an example, let’s take P 225/55R17 72W numbers. The first part, P, indicates that the tire is designed for passenger vehicles. LT stands for light trucks, ST is for special trailers, and so on. The second part, the number 225, indicates the tire’s section width (width from one sidewall to the other, measured in millimeters). The number after the slash, in this case 55, is the aspect ratio, or in other words the height of the side. It’s expressed in a percentage based on the tire width. So, again, in this case it would be 55 percent from 225.
R indicates that it’s a radial tire, and all modern tires have this marking. The numbering after the R, 17 in this example, gives us the tire’s wheel diameter measured in inches. It’s basically a rating telling you what wheels the tire will fit on. Last but not least, you have a load index and a speed rating right at the very end. 72 is the maximum load carrying capacity of the tire, and you have to check with your manufacturer’s recommended numbers and make sure to either meet them or exceed them. Most normal sized cars only require a 70 load index or so, so all our recommended tires will do great for normal cars. If you drive a large car, you might need to check. “W” is the tire’s speed rating, which in this case means the tire can be driven of speeds up to 168 mph. Again, make sure to check with your manufacturer and the official requirements.
Car Tire Compound
There are basically three main types of tires: summer, winter and all-season. Summer tires have good grip in dry and in light rain, but are next to useless in snow. Winter tires are excellent in the rain, snow, and even ice, but they lack the grip summer tires provide when its dry and wear out a lot faster if driven on dried up pavement. All-season tires are a perfect blend of both, offering decent amount of grip and great longevity no matter where you ride.
Best Car Tires
|Car tires||Load capacity||Maximum speed|
|Michelin Primacy MXM4||100||149 mph|
|Westlake RP18||91||149 mph|
|Uniroyal Tiger Paw||100||130 mph|
If you’re looking for motorcycle tires as well, check out our best motorcycle tires guide. If you’re just looking to do some general maintenance, don’t forget to check your oil. You can find our best synthetic engine oil guide here.
Michelin Primacy MXM4 Touring Radial Tire
Michelin is arguably the most famous tire brand in existence. Present in almost every form of motorsport, they make incredible tires for normal passenger vehicles as well. Usually associated with performance, their summer tire lineup is considered the best in the business. This particular tire is the Touring version intended for all four seasons, so it’s actually an all-season tire. Even still, the grip on offer is borderline insane. The Primacy MXM4 provides ultimate road-holding capabilities, but it does come at a premium. Slightly more expensive than the other tires on this list, the Michelins are not for everyone.
Michelin Primacy MXM4 Key Specs
- Load Capacity: 100
- Speed Rating: V
Designed for speeds up to 149 miles per hour, they really are on the cutting-edge of all-season road tires. Don’t think low winter temperature performance has been disregarded however. They provide amazing traction even in low grip situations, and are actually recommended as a brand by a lot of car manufacturers. Available in multiple sizes, the MXM4 is an outright beast if you want to extract the most out of the tires and your car. Summer-tire levels of grip with all-season tire practicality. A perfect mix of both.
Westlake RP18 Touring Radial Tire
Westlake is a U.S. tire manufacturer operating under the Tireco brand. They’re mainly known for designing, producing and selling affordable car tires, and that’s what their latest Touring radial tire is. If you want the best car tire wrapped in one amazing value for money package, this is it. Made entirely in the U.S., you’ll be supporting the country’s economy as well. This particular tire is a 205-section model fitting 16-inch wheels, but other sizes are available as well. Designed as an all-season touring tire, the thread and siping provide amazing performance all year round.
Westlake RP18 Key Specs
- Load Capacity: 91
- Speed Rating: V
Designed for speeds up to 149 mph, it’s a great choice for hatchbacks, sedans and even sports cars. The unique design with efficient siping disperses water effectively, even when the roads are soaked in the stuff. The lower profile design focuses on enhancing steering response and increase handling, bridging the gap between summer tires and all-season ones. With a 40,000 mile warranty, you can rest assured knowing your tires will last you for years to come. As a day-to-day tire, they’re unprecedented. Reliable, durable, and great value for money.
Cooper CS5 Grand Touring Radial
Cooper is a well-known manufacturer of high-performance tires. The CS5 is their latest and best all-season performer, primarily aimed at people who value grip and stability. The newest generation CS5 is made from a silica compound which gives superior performance in summer and winter. The improved braking and acceleration thanks to reduced rolling resistance is a welcomed addition too. Specially designed 3D Micro-Gauge grooves in the tire tread allow it to stabilize itself at driving speeds, giving you confidence. A great performer all year round, with exceptional performance come rain or shine.
Cooper CS5 Key Specs
- Load Capacity: 91
- Speed Rating: T
Rated for speeds of up to 118 mph, the CS5 can’t quite match the RP18 in terms of outright speed, but it too comes in various sizes. This particular example fits 16-inch wheels which can hold a 205-section tire, but larger widths are available as well. The asymmetrical tread pattern reduces a very common and irritating problem. Irregular wear, caused when a tire is wearing out faster in certain places than in others, is reduced by allowing tires to be rotated from one side to the other. Cars with a uniform pattern don’t allow that.
Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Touring Radial Tire
Pirelli’s all-season tire, cleverly named the P4 Four Seasons Touring, does exactly what you’d expect it to. Manufactured by one of the largest tire brands in the world, it’s a great product at a reasonable cost. There is really not much to say other than that it will perform all year round flawlessly. It offers better handling and steering compared to general tire brands, while simultaneously saving you fuel and increasing longevity thanks to reduced rolling resistance.
Pirelli P4 Key Specs
- Load Capacity: 215
- Speed Rating: T
Available in different sizes, this particular tire fits on 16-inch wheels which can accommodate its 215 section width. With a speed rating of T, it too can guarantee total safety up to 118 mph. Users reportedly experienced a much smoother ride after fitting these tires to their cars. That’s down to two things: a softer compound and a great tire tread, improving both safety and control. They’re by no means the cheapest tire out there, but the performance they offer far surpasses the cost. A solid value for money if you want a good performer.
Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring HR Radial Tire
Uniroyal is a well-known affordable tire manufacturer, but they’ve been known to impress with performance tires from time to time. The Tiger Paw range is an all-season tire designed for usage on passenger road cars. Available in multiple sizes, this particular example is a 205-section tire which will fit all 16-inch wheels. It doesn’t excel in summer or winter performance, only averaging on both occasions, but it does truly trump its opposition when it comes to longevity.
Uniroyal Tiger Paw Key Specs
- Load Capacity: 100
- Speed Rating: H
Rated for speeds of up to 130 miles per hour, the Tiger Paw can officially last over 70,000 miles. The factory warranty provided gives you peace of mind, and it nearly doubles the Westlake’s warranty of 40,000 miles. So while it may not provide exceptional grip levels, an insane speed rating or particularly good winter performance, its price and durability make it arguably the best choice if you want the best bang for your buck.
If you want the best performance available but still take affordability into consideration, the Westlake tire is a no-brainer. It does everything exceptionally well. The Cooper CS5 comes in at a close second, only being let down by its lower speed rating. Pirelli’s P4 is a great all-round tire, with a worldwide-known manufacturer to back its performance up. If it’s pure performance you’re after however, it’s going to have to be the Michelins all the way. Price being no issue, the Michelin tire offers the most amount of grip under any circumstance. Last but not least, we have Uniroyal. They’re almost as good as the other tires on this list performance-wise, but dwarf all of them when it comes to longevity. If you drive a lot day in and day out, and do a lot of miles each year, definitely the tire for you.