How does performance catergory play into my tire choice?

Thursday, January 6, 2011 by Mac McNabb
You started your search. You looked at the options, sorted by best sellers and three tires came up in your size.
  1. Ultra High Performance All-Season (UHP All-Season)
  2. Grand Touring All-Season
  3. Ultra High Performance Summer (UHP Summer)
Right away you can see that one doesn't belong. The UHP Summer tire is the odd one out because you know that you drive in the cold. So now on to the other two.

For example, tire one is the Continental ExtremeContact DWS. Tire 2 is the Kuhmo Ecsta LX Platinum. Compare survey results.

Continental DWS Survey Results
ExtremeContact DWS

Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum Survey Results
Kumho Ecsta LX Platinum
Which tire is quieter? Which tire is smoother? Which tire is longer Lasting?

The numbers indicate the DWS is all of these things when actually the LX Platinum tire should be smoother and quieter, while being longer lasting. The issue is perspective. Your vehicle came from the factory with a high performance tire that was loud and uneven wearing. It lasted 20,000 miles. You buy the DWS and it is the quietest your car has ever been! You rate it a 10.  It lasted 40,000 miles; you gave the tread life a 9 on your review. It was noticeably smoother, so you give it a 9. That is all true, however you have never driven that car with a touring tire because it's a sports car.  The same rule applies to the person that has the BMW 5 Series that is used as a touring vehicle but had run-flats. They get rid of them, buy the LX Platinum and give it straight 10s for comfort because it is so much better then where they came from. 
 
Use this as a rule of thumb. UHP All-Season tires are designed to grip at all costs while working over a range of temperatures including below freezing. Grand Touring tires are designed to give ultimate ride and noise comfort with a reasonable compromise between longevity and traction. Passenger All-Season features longevity and low rolling resistance at all costs.

Tires are designed to do a certain thing and there are no right answers, only try to match your expectation with what the tire can deliver. That is the key to having a good tire experience.  Get searching now to find your new tires!

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