Do OEM recommended tires make sense? Audi "AO" tires. 2018 Q5


I have two sets of wheels for my 2018 Audi Q5 – 17" for Winter and 20" for the rest of the year. I’m ready to replace both sets. The Audi dealer tells me that the “AO” designated tires have sidewall specs and chemical additives that support the Q5’s drive train and suspension functions. The local tire dealers have mixed opinions. What makes sense here? Thanks for your assistance.

Audi spec tires will keep the car riding and handling the same as it came from the factory. That said, the same brand and model of the tire, but nott AO, will be very close to original and will cost a bit less.

Unless you are a very sensitive driver, it is unlikely you will be able to detect a difference.

That model needs tires with a different chemical composition than all other vehicles?
To me, that sounds like dealership BS, so that they can sell tires to you at a marked-up price.

But, rather than simply trusting my gut feelings, I went to the Tire Rack website to see what tires are considered to be appropriate for your car, and there are a LOT of tires, of various brands. Do yourself a favor, and surf the Tire Rack website to see for yourself. Even if you don’t buy from Tire Rack, their site is a very valuable source of valid information.


For every day driving I see no reason for AO ( Audi Original ) tires . I really doubt a person could tell the difference as long as the new tires were the correct size and were not some cheap replacement .

This is another time to look at Tire Rack web site .

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While it is true that manufacturers often work with tire companies to make model-specific tires, other quality tires should work well as long as the regular specs (size, load rating) match the originals.

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Wow! The CarTalk Community sure does respond quickly. Thanks to all of you. BTW what are your opinions about “Performance All Season” vs. “Performance Summer” tires when it comes to ride quality? Will keep using Snow tires for Marquette MI winters.


What brand/spec tires do you have now? Non winter tires.
If price is close for dealer tires vs non Oem then why?

From Tire Rack/Pirelli;

Limited sizes of the Scorpion Verde All Season are available with Pirelli Noise Cancelling System, which involves the manufacturer adhering a layer of sound-absorbing foam to the inner liner of the tire to reduce cabin noise in the vehicle.


Pirelli Scorpion Winter 235/65 R17 104H
(Audi Original AO)

Rest of Year:

Michelin Premier LTX 255/45 R20 101H SL BSW 60,000 mile warranty
All Season, Not Summer
(Audi Original AO)

Good point. Availability of the AO versions is limited. Pricing is similar. My top concerns are ride performance quality/performance and not violating my Audi extended warranty.

I’m assuming that “manufacture” means Pirelli and not Audi. Right?

Yes, that is part of the manufacturing process of the tire.

You won’t violate your warranty using non AO tires…

Unless you are a very spirited driver, I’d recommend performance all season tires rather than performance summer. The all season tires will handle rain a bit better and work better when those early cold snaps catch you still on your summer tires in the fall. And if you get a little snow in September before they are switched. Some performance summer tire don’t perform quite as well in cold temperatures OR snow.

Just what I needed to know. Thank you!

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Friend has rft tires and might get reg tires when due. He has tpms so it’s fine.

Thank you!

If this was a high performance sports car, like a 911, I might give some attention to getting Porsche-spec tires. Maybe.

@CapriRacer - any comment?

Suggest consulting Consumer Reports tire reviews, which are based on independent, quantitative testing as opposed to “user opinions”. I’ve found the snow/ice ratings to be particularly useful as there can be considerable variation among “All Season” rated tires - some are hopeless in an inch of snow, others retain traction in several inches. The same goes for snow tire ratings, some models are better than others.

In general, quality brand tires that match the size and speed ratings of your originals should be safe, but you might notice variations in parameters like noise, adhesion in different conditions, gas mileage, and performance at the margins, like how a tire handles when drifting through a high speed turn, etc. All designs involve trade-offs and you might want to experiment to see which you prefer. Inflation pressure affects handling and wear, too - you might experiment a few pounds (often upward, it might not be wise to go much lower) from the car manufacturer’s recommendation and to determine what’s best for your situation.