Be Careful of Cheap Tires

Given a choice, most car owners’ would like a set of “A-list” tires on their car. You know, brands like Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Yokohama and others. Problem is that these A-listers are often priced twice what the B-listers are, and many of us end up going B purely for financial reasons.  Nothing wrong with that, of course. The less expensive tires are usually perfectly adequate and safe to use. According to Reedman-Toll of Drexel Hill, a local Nissan dealer in Drexel Hill, PA, they just lack some of the premium features, things like lengthy tread warranties, puncture protection, lifetime free tire rotations, for example.

For those that really want to say some money, though, there is yet another tier to choose from. These are the C-list tires and they can be really inexpensive and often are not nearly as good as they should be.  Problem is that it isn’t always easy to tell what constitutes a C-list tire. Sometimes the price is an indicator, but not all the time.  For obvious reasons, you can’t generally ask a tire salesperson unless you really trust them; they are likely to steer you into whatever tire is giving the best promotion at the time. So how do you find out?

Tire Reviews

The best way to find out which tires are strong performers is to look at customer reviews. Find a website that allows drivers to comment on car issues and you will be able to assemble a list of the good ones.  There are dozens of forums out on the net that discuss tire performance. You will find that people will comment on every aspect you can imagine; things like treadwear, noise, vibration, handling, traction, to name a few. Try to read a lot of comments so you get a good statistical profile of what’s out there.

Cheap does not always mean bad

The tire business is about as competitive as any product marketplace in the world. There are dozens of major tire manufacturers (maybe hundreds) and each one would like to sell more tires every year. As a result, new tire models and styles are constantly being released.  A common conclusion when you look at a product spectrum like this is to assume that the cheaper ones suffer in performance in some way. After all there is the old saw that goes something like “You get what you pay for.” Well, this may be true in many situations but it is not a hard and fast rule. Let the reviews be the judge. You may find some really affordable tires that perform almost as well as the high priced ones.


Believe it or not, consumer tires aren’t regulated very tightly by the Federal government. There are some regulations promulgated by the Department of Transportation but not a lot of testing is involved. Basically the government recognizes that tires are designed and manufactured to quality standards dictated by the original manufacturers. What you should know is that some companies, many of them being Chinese, do not have the foresight to make tires that are well-suited to the specific requirements of the U.S. consumer. In 2014, Consumer reports tested several dozen brands and the three worst tires, Geostar, Sunny, and Pegasus, were all Chinese. This does not mean that all Chinese tires are poor, just some are.


If you really want to get the most for your money, and plan to steer clear of substandard tires. And consider the safety issue. It simply isn’t worth compromising your safety to save $30-$40 per tire.

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Published on: January 30, 2017

Filled Under: Auto Tips and Guides

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