$1,000 Makes a Difference in Tires, But There's a Different Point Here

The folks over at Donut are doing their Hi-car, Lo-car challenge with a new pair of vehicles, and they are experimenting with tires yet again. While the world prepares for winter, their episode focuses on performance summer tires, so it may not be exactly about what to buy right now, but what you should think about next spring. We think it is about more than that, and the name of the game is the importance of tires.
$600 versus $1,600 tire test made by Donut Media 35 photos
Tire test made by Donut MediaTire test made by Donut MediaTire test made by Donut MediaTire test made by Donut MediaTire test made by Donut MediaPlus-sizing graphic for wheels and tires on Tire RackStanced Acura on aftermarket wheels and tiresUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsUUHP tire comparison test by Tyre ReviewsMichelin Pilot Alpin Winter TiresPirelli P Zero and Mclaren 765LTPirelli P Zero and Mclaren 765LTMichelin All-season CrossClimate TiresThe profile of a summer tireAn example of an All-Season TireLeft: H/T tire; Mid: A/T tire, Right: M/T tireA stack of used tires before recyclingYokohama hobby tire for classic carsContinental Conti GreenConcept tireContinental Conti GreenConcept tireContinental Conti GreenConcept tireContinental Conti GreenConcept tire2022 Corvette C8.R Championship Edition up for grabs2022 Corvette C8.R Championship Edition up for grabsExample of typical tire rotation patternWheel and tire fitment - aftermarket componentsAftermarket wheels and tiresAftermarket wheels and tiresUsed tires
We have hundreds of articles about tires on our website, and there are countless others on the internet. By now, you would expect everyone who has access to an internet connection to be an expert on tires. As well as on cars in general, physics, medicine, sports, politics, parenting, and whatever else lies in between all those topics.

Well, in real life, you are going to find that many people have not read as many articles about tires as you have. Some might have never read anything about tires except for the price tag – if they bought them themselves, and the tires did not come with the vehicle when they got it.

Moreover, some things that you read online about tires may be wrong, or they may not be right for you, because they portray someone's experience with a tire on a particular car in their conditions, not yours.

For example, if someone claims to have bought a new set of tires from a certain brand but complains about durability or the fact that they did not last as many miles as they had hoped, you cannot have any idea of what their driving style was, if the tires were inflated correctly, and if they are just too aggressive with the vehicle to obtain a reasonable mileage with that brand and type of tire altogether.

UUHP tire comparison test by Tyre Reviews
But wait, there is more. What is a reasonable mileage to you for a new set of tires? Well, what is reasonable to you may be too little for many, or impressive to the person who complained about durability.

It is all relative because it involves using a constantly degrading product in real-life circumstances that differ dramatically from one user to the other because of the users themselves, who might not be honest when talking about their driving or poor decisions.

Tires are often recommended as one of the first modifications that you can do to a vehicle when you are interested in performance. If you have a used vehicle, there is a good chance that its tires are not new. Getting a set of new tires should bring an improvement, while a set of performance tires from a premium brand should go the extra mile on that aspect.

What matters most is that tires are consumables, and they will wear out quicker than they should if you are over-driving the car, as racing drivers might explain. The excessive wear may also come if you are driving with incorrect tire pressure (too high or too low) or if you are abusing the vehicle through donuts, drifts, handbrake turns, and hard cornering, as well as last-minute braking.

Tire test made by Donut Media
It should come as no surprise that going to a track day might destroy your mildly worn street tires, especially if your vehicle has plenty of power and torque available at your right foot. There is a chance that an economy car with low power might generate the same outcome, but it will depend on the track, as well as on the driver, not just the vehicle and the tires.

As for Donut Media's test with $600 tires “from Walmart” (brand is irrelevant here) versus $1,600 tires from a premium brand, everyone expected the more expensive ones to outperform the cheaper ones. It was normal and natural, and it rarely happens the other way around.

What should also be noted is that those expensive tires might outlive the cheap ones, but it is impossible to predict this for someone else. You have to make that call for yourself when getting new tires. What we suggest is that you consider your intended usage scenarios while being realistic about yourself and day-to-day life and adapt your decision accordingly.

Remember that tires can be changed when they are gone, you can revert to a brand or try something else if your experience did not live up to expectations. On the flip side, crashing your car because you skimped out and wanted to go fast with second-hand Chinese tires is going to cost more than a $1,600 set of new tires.

Aftermarket wheels and tires
If you are currently using tires that are getting closer to their wear points, or tires older than five years, or are unsure how good your tires are, please be sure to adapt your driving to the level of grip that you can trust to obtain from those tires.

Realistically, not the theoretical grip when you are in Forza Motorsport on your favorite track, and nothing can go wrong on the next corner, and if it does, there is always the restart button. The latter does not exist in real life.

On the other hand, getting the most expensive tires that will fit your car but you cannot genuinely afford is an unwise decision because you will never get to enjoy them out of fear of excessively wearing them out. Yes, people who thought about that exist, and they have shared said thoughts with other human beings.

Editor's note: For illustration purposes, the photo gallery shows both images of tires, and snapshots from the YouTube video embedded within the article.
This article was not sponsored or supported by a third party in any way.


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