Who Makes The Best Original Equipment Tires?
Our tire-centricity knows no bounds. And so you'll probably think we're crazy when we advise that before you purchase a new car you at least give a glance and some consideration to the original equipment (factory) tires.
But the fact of the matter is, tires often have significant bearing on vehicle performance and comfort, and therefore your enjoyment of a new car. They can turn a seemingly capable 4x4 that you thought would conquer winter into an ineffective sled. Tires can also adversely influence the dynamics of a new performance car, or cause ongoing discomfort in your luxury auto.
And tires are an expense liability -- if you get the wrong set straightaway, then that can mean replacement sooner than later. And it's doubtful that you budgeted for tires in the first two years of vehicle ownership. (For real world examples of just how badly this can go, see The Five Worst Original Equipment Tires of the 21st Century.)
A recent JD Power Customer Satisfaction Study gives us some insight as to what tire manufacturers can be counted on for quality original equipment tires, and where there might be cause for concern and further investigation.
Use these results as a reference point, and a source for general conclusions, e.g. in general, original equipment Michelin tires are probably a safer bet than original equipment Toyo tires. However, in all instances we would encourage specific tire model research as every tire manufacturer makes tires at both ends of the qualitative spectrum. You can start that research in our Tires section.
Now, we're not suggesting that you turn away from your perfect vehicle because of mediocre tires, but you need to at least know what you're getting into, e.g. winter capability will be marginal, road noise is higher than ideal, treadlife is limited to about 25,000 miles, etc.
And if you're 50/50 on two different vehicles and one comes with superior rubber, you can probably guess our advice...