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Quality over price: Cheap vs. premium tires

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When it comes to choosing the right tire for your truck or SUV, a number of considerations must be carefully weighed. Some of these may include reliability, customer ratings, expert reviews, stopping distance, tread block design, fuel efficiency, brand, and perhaps most importantly… budget.

Isn’t it funny how something as simple as a tire can be so complex? For while something as simple as a budget tire may not always be the bargain it promises down the road.

While most commuters have a set goal of purchasing quality passenger car tires at affordable prices, there are certain pros and cons associated with pretty much any compound they procure. May it be a budget buy or a set of premium tires, there are perks and pitfalls to each that must be considered.

Expensive tires vs. affordable tires

Let’s not beat around the bush. A set of new tires can be really expensive! While budget tires might be the most affordable option, premium tires have their own perks.

However, being that prices on everything have gone up recently, budget tires have become far more appealing to many, and not just because of their pricing.

Advantages of affordable tires

The primary reason why most drivers choose budget tires over premium tires is financial constraint or frugality. This is especially true when it’s an unplanned purchase, like when a blowout occurs. Although they might lack many of the advanced features and engineering of pricier compounds, most budget tires nowadays are of solid design. Furthermore, they are almost always tested to a point where they conform to international regulations.

Increased NVH levels, poor fuel economy, less grip, and inferior lifespan all remain real concerns though, so keep that in mind if you opt for a bargain tire.

With that being said, many people still invest in premium tire compounds over budget tires, and here’s why…

Advantages of premium tires

With premium tires, there are a number of associated benefits that simply cannot be achieved on a set of budget tires. That price tag might be steep, but like many higher-quality products, value isn’t just measured upfront. Looking toward the long term, you’ll find that premium tires often end up bringing the highest return on investment.

They last longer, and offer a more comfortable driving experience via reduced noise levels, better grip, and more balanced control. Premium tires also help increase overall fuel efficiency, handling, braking, and longevity.

Factors to keep in mind when judging quality vs. price

When choosing a tire, the following factors should be considered.

Durability and grip

Be it for everyday driving or off-road adventures, durability ranks high on the list, just beneath budget and brand recognition. Harder tires might last longer and offer greater fuel efficiency, but they tend to suffer in the grip department. In contrast, softer compounds are sticky but wear out quickly. So always check the warranty rating of a specific compound to make sure you are getting the balance your driving style requires.

Tread

The rubber that is around the outer side of the tire is what directly comes into contact with the ground the most. This is what is commonly referred to as the tread of a tire. The thickness and pattern of the tread not only determines the cost of the compound in question, but its longevity, loudness, and ability to perform in an array of different conditions. The engineering that goes into this portion of the tire is extremely important, hence premium tires run a bit more.

Handling

Top-tier tires tend to have better handling, which is crucial when it comes to driving basics. Like turning for instance. Safety and performance matter people. Don’t compromise here.

Braking distance

Last but not least comes braking. Not only should the reduced stopping distance provided by a tire be taken into consideration, but its ability to do so tidily in wet conditions as well. Tires that come with a shorter braking distance are more effective and hence more expensive as well. However, the average trip to the ER tends to be far more pricey than a set of fresh rubber, so bear that in mind when it comes time to buy.

Final words

Clearly, choosing the right tire for your vehicle depends upon a number of factors, and for many of us, it will never be a simple task.

This is precisely why having a proper set of premium tires that are intended to work safely in tandem with your truck or SUV, as well as your driving style should always outweigh your desire to save a few dollars.

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