Tires are one of the most crucial parts of any vehicle as it is the only component that is in contact with the ground. The more efficient a tire is at transferring the energy to the road, the more efficient the car will be.
We go through lots of tires during the lifetime of a car, and a good set of new tires is an expensive proposition. As a result, many drivers tend to cheap out when replacing them. Does that compromise safety, and does it have any other effects? Let’s find out.
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Are Cheap Tires Worth it?
It is OK to not buy the most expensive set of tires in the market. You should keep in mind that it is the quality of the tires that matters and not the price. To a certain extent, you indeed get what you pay for when buying a new tire.
But most of us will never need the ridiculous amount of grip promised by the manufacturers of these expensive tires. They are certainly good to have, but practically are we ever going to make proper use of them?
We do not drive on tracks at the absolute limit of the tires, we drive on roads where we require decent grip during all conditions, be it rain or snow. And there are cheap tires that can do that well. You just need to know what to look for in the cheap tires to ensure that they are up to the mark.
How Much Do Cheap Tires Cost?
On average, cheaper tires will be in the $50-$150 price range, depending on what type of vehicle you are buying the tires for. Tire costs vary a lot depending on the size, style, and brand. For example, the tires for an SUV with 18-inch wheels will be more expensive than the tires of a hatchback with 15-inch wheels.
Try to shop online and keep an eye out for sales, promotional offers, and discount codes to get the tires at the cheapest price. Even if you are shopping from dealerships, buy during clearance sales, and do not hesitate to ask for discounts.
Most tire shops will be happy to give you some additional discounts when purchasing a set of four tires, you just have to ask. Installing the tires can cost about $15-$45 per tire.
Are Cheap Tires Safe?
There are cheap tires that are safe, and there are tires that are not. The hard part is to figure out which one is which. Thankfully, there are a few ways that even inexperienced customers can use to distinguish them.
To ensure the quality of the tires, one thing that you can do is refer to the Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG) on the sidewall of the tire. The speed rating on the tire indicates the maximum speed that it can sustain for long periods without undergoing significant degradation. It ranges from S(112 mph) up to Y(186mph).
The traction rating is represented as AA, A, B, or C. It is the rating of traction when the tire is tested for straight-line braking on a wet surface. AA is the best, and C is the worst. It is not the end all be all rating, as the tires are required to perform well under a whole host of other conditions. But it gives you a parameter to compare tires.
The temperature rating refers to how well the tires can withstand heat at high speeds. The ratings are represented by A, B, and C, where A is the best and C is the worst.
Finally, the number written after “TREADWEAR” will represent the durability of the tread as compared to the industry standard, which is 100. If the rating is 200, the tire will last twice as long as the industry standard, and if it is 90, it will only last 90 percent as long.
All of these ratings will be on the sidewall, and the speed and load requirements for your car will be in the owner’s manual. Compare them to make sure that the tires meet the minimum requirements.
To get an idea about real-world performance and safety, search on the internet in forums and review blogs where users of the particular tires have shared their experience.
Also read: Wider Car Tires: ALL Pros and Cons
Do Cheap Tires Last Long?
The longevity of a tire is determined by the hardness of the rubber compound used and the quality of the construction. The harder the rubber, the longer the tire will last, but the performance will not be as good as a soft tire. Soft tires perform better but degrade much quicker. Reinforced construction of sidewall also extends the lifespan of the tires.
Making a tire that performs well and lasts a long time requires the manufacturers to perfect their formula through proper research and experimentation. And requires the use of the best manufacturing practices, both of which are expensive.
So expensive tires usually last longer, but there are cheap tires that can handle high mileage. Refer to the range provided by the manufacturer and also by the users that have previously used the tires before making a decision.
Are Cheap Tires Loud?
Cheaper tires are often constructed using less rubber, and the build quality too will not be that great. As a result, it can be very noisy, especially at higher speeds. The noise can get very annoying if you are used to quieter tires.
The higher noise can also be caused by other reasons, such as deeper treads or lower-profile tires, so it cannot be solely attributed to the price of a tire. But, indeed, cheaper tires generally tend to be louder compared to expensive tires.
Also read: 15 Cars that NEVER Rust (100% Galvanised)
Do Cheaper Tires Have Thicker Tread?
Thicker treads require more rubber which means they are more expensive to build. So cheaper tires usually have thinner treads. Thicker treads with wider grooves improve the grip under situations like rain, mud, and snow. But the downside of thicker treads is increased noise from the tires.
Do Cheap Tires Have Worse Performance?
Yes, cheaper tires do perform a bit worse in comparison. Manufacturers of expensive tires conduct extensive research and studies to introduce tires with advanced technologies in the market. They also use high-quality raw materials and expensive manufacturing processes to make sure that their tires have the best performance.
Cheaper tire manufacturers often use older technologies that still meet all the required standards. They may not have the lowest braking distance or the quickest acceleration, but they will be good enough to get you safely from A to B.
Are Cheap Tires Less Comfortable?
The higher quality construction of the expensive tires also allows the tires to soak up the bumps much more effectively than cheaper tires. More shock will be absorbed by the tires, which reduces the amount of vibration that gets inside the cabin. It increases the overall ride quality and comfort.
Cheaper tires also tend to produce more road noise and minor vibrations, which also reduces the refinement inside the cabin.
What are the Best Cheap Tires?
These are some of the best tire brands in the world that produce high-quality tires with wallet-friendly price tags.
Hankook manufactures high-quality tires with above-average mileage. Some of their tires even get a 100,000-mile warranty. They are available for retail at a very economical price range. They make tires in all of the common sizes, although they lack options in the all-terrain segment.
General Tires is a subsidiary of the world-renowned tire manufacturer Continental. They share a lot of technology and construction methods, so you can be sure about the quality of the tires. The tires are made in the US, but they are built to pass the toughest safety tests around the world.
Kumho is a South Korean tire company focused on making affordable tires that prioritize safety and performance. Their high-quality materials and innovative technologies have catapulted them into world fame. They are well known for their summer and all-season tires.
Ironman produces high-quality tires at relatively low prices. They make tires for all kinds of vehicles, including SUVs, sedans, trucks, and more. They make mud-terrain tires for offroad uses as well.
Falken is a Japanese tire company known for the dependability and versatility of its tires. They provide a lot of bang for your buck, especially if you are looking for cheap performance tires.
What Cheap Tires Brand Should You Avoid?
These are some of the tire brands you should avoid at all costs. The tires from these manufacturers are known to have some issues that affect safety and performance.
Westlake tires are manufactured by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company. These tires easily get damaged from potholes and other imperfections on the road.
These tires make a lot of noise, and the compound used is very soft. As a result, it wears out faster and has a higher risk of getting punctured.
3. AKS Tires
They are very cheap, but the tire wears out much quicker. The grip levels in dry and wet conditions are dangerously low.
Their tires are generally made out of low-quality materials that are not very good at providing adequate grip or performance on the road.
It is a famous Chinese brand known for its cheap all-season tires. The grip is not very good, and the steering responsiveness is also very low.
So, What Tyres Should You Buy?
You should focus on the quality of the tire over the price. Go online and search for the best tires for your particular type of car. Thousands of professional reviews of tires in all price ranges are within your fingertips. Make sure to buy from a well-reputed brand that offers a good warranty.