Everyone likes to find ways to save money. With respect to your car, there are times when you can opt for lower octane fuel, more affordable oil, and non-OEM parts. But should you skimp when it comes to buying tires?
Recently, Engineering Explained looked at the performance variation as your tires get older. Once it's time to actually change them, Engineering Explained has a video out that explains whether you should spring for that expensive set or just get a budget set and pocket the savings.
The data for this video comes from a study conducted by AAA. The test used a 2017 Ford F-150 and a 2017 Toyota Camry as the test vehicles. From there, the study utilized 12 different all-season tires that fell into two different price categories for each of the test vehicles. Each car used six different tire sets, with each set tested as new and also as a set worn down to 4/32nd.
That's a lot of tires, but it's also a lot of data which in turns makes for a better test. And it also makes for a lot of data, broken down here in terms we can better understand.
The cheapest tire is the $80 Fuzion Touring while the most expensive is the $205 Michelin Defender. Besides the sets of new and worn tires, both the cars and all sets are tested to find their stopping distances in both wet and dry conditions. It's no surprise that the more expensive tires generally stop better when brand new. In some cases though, it's not by much. Additionally, there are instances when a less expensive tire out performs a more expensive set of rubber, such as the Nexen CP671 when compared to the Goodyear Eagles fitted on the Toyota Camry.
As the worn tires are tested, however, we start to see far more interesting results. The more expensive tires when worn down degrade quite a bit. The stopping distances increase more dramatically compared to when the tires are new, which is not ideal. By contrast, the less expensive tires tend to have a closer range between new and worn. That would lead to a driving experience that remains more consistent over the life of the tire. That's not the case for every tire though, as the pricey Michelin Premier had the tightest stopping distance range between new and used testing.
Because the range of results is so varied between both the expensive and less expensive tires, a test like this helps to shed light on what sort of tire works best for you. The answer isn't simply that you should buy the most expensive tire out there. In fact, the data points to some great deals that can be had on cheap tires.