Need advice on tires. Worth paying more? Real difference with rating/pricing? (details below)

Adding a very detail post about my car, but this can be used for anyone looking for new tires.

TL,DR Worth buying the higher price, rated “better” ($70-85 avrg) or “best” ($80-100 avrg)? Actually better and safer?
Buying at discount tire with warranty. All season 185/65r/14. Got recommended Michelin defender, continental controlcontact tour (made only for this company, similar to other conti) and I was looking at pirelli p4 4 season. All rates “Best”. Also a falken sincera and kunho k12 rated " better."

More details below

Need to replace 2 all season tires, decided to replace all of them on a 99 Toyota (150k miles). Currently have basic tires (Goodyear viva 2, came when bought car). They have worked fine during the Colorado winters, but are not the best for heavy snow. I am a careful winter driver. Since have a little more money and driving more for work (city/highway/little mountain driving), I decided that I should upgrade my tires. After looking at reviews the best rating tires (good, better, best), see some complains similar to the ones on the lower quality tires. Of course customer reviews means that you don’t know how the person drives.

Desire/complains: current tires have thin sidewalls; That is how I had to replace one of them. Safe and good driving on snow. Speed rate of T or around, no need for performance tires. Smooth ride would be nice but safety comes first.

Car also in need of new battery since current is 2008 and is starting to have slow start-cranks. Winter is coming!

Thank you. Any help appreciated!

I’m not really sure what you’re looking for here, but yes I would buy Michelins over Pirellis for general applications.

This must be coming off a phone because the spelling, synatax and punctuation is pretty poor. It Makes this very hard to read.

Tires are the only thing between you and sliding off the road to your death. Harsh but true. Buy the best tires you can find (and pretty much you get what you pay for…) for the way you use them. Sites like and others rate tires for various conditions. If you want all season, they should perform very well in the rain and snow. Anything else is secondary. That is the best way to compare tires. Do a little comparison shopping online before you decide which tires you want. I would say Khumo makes good tires at a bargain price. Michelin makes great tires at a strong price. Considering you are buying very small, low cost tires, you should be able to afford the best.

Agree; tires are the absolute last thing I would skimp on. Next last is brake repairs. Get the best ones rated for your car and type of use; if you observe all speed limits and live in a moderate climate you don’t need extreme speed ratings.

I’m not going to try and rate tires but $15 a tire seems a pretty small price difference for chinching on tires. What’s that come down to, about $3-4 a year difference? Last ones I bought were $150 for Generals and the Michelin was $270.

i wish I could find new tires that cheap for my car. I’m looking at about $200 PER TIRE. :frowning:

If you mean Kumho Solus KR21, then my Outback is running them now. The Conti’s are what the Kumho’s replaced. I perceive them to be equal in quality and snow performance. In my case, there was a $30 difference per tire between the Conti’s and the Kumho’s, so I went with the cheaper Kumho’s. They spent last winter in the Denver area and did just fine. I think both will yield 45K miles before replacement is required.

No experience with Michelin Defender, but am told they are very good tires.

Consumer Reports publishes its test results of tires in different categories and this may be helpful to you. We have Michelin tires on our Toyota 4Runner SUV and on our Toyota Sienna minivan. My wife was along when I was replacing the tires on the 4Runner and she insisted on the Michelin tires over Cooper tires were priced somewhat lower. When the Sienna was ready for tires, I bought the Michelin. I think others who responded to this thread are correct in advising to buy the best tires you can afford.

Just go to a quality local tire seller that you trust. IME, they will offer a variety of choices from “budget” to “Exotic,” but a good retailer won’t stock garbage on his shelves!

I’ve also had about enough of the “spare no expense…isn’t your life worth it?” argument. Sure, that’s a good argument against buying garbage tires (which is why you go to a trusted tire dealer), but the thought that ONLY the most expensive tires are safe is 100% BALONEY. Many advantages to more-expensive tires aren’t things that make them safer, but last longer, better MPG, etc.

Same for brakes…“more expensive” more frequently equates to “longer-lived, quieter, less dusty” than “safer” (by whatever metric you choose). I run AAP’s cheapest pads on my F150…they have “F F” cold/hot friction ratings…nice, safe, fade-resistant. Where they fail to measure up is in longevity, but that’s deliberate on my part: as rotor replacement necessitates a hub overhaul on that vehicle, I choose soft compounds that maximize ROTOR life, not pad life.

If folks sweated the “nut behind the steering wheel” as much as they sweated tires and such, we’d ALL be better off!

Been there, done that…go cheap and shop locally with research from Tire Rack on line and CR. I would go for an inexpensive tire that does have as good snow rating as possible. No sense getting the highest quality and longest lasting…it may outlast your car. They make cheaper tires with a little more block treading and are more open on the sides. They are better in snow but will be noisy and not handle quite as well in the summer. But you have an old Corolla…it matters less. Be sure and rotate often to maximize the life as much as possible. Get 4 with a package that allows you to do it. If you are willing to rotate yourself, skip the package. Use Tire Rack ratings as a guide.

@bscar2‌ I have a similar problem with are cars. They solution as you know, buy cheap compacts with little cookie cutter tires. Few are cheaper then old Corollas and Focus type cars.

I agree with @dagosa. Do your research on Tire Rack and then go to a local independent tire dealer (preferably not a chain like Goodyxxr, etc).

The first set of tires I bought cost $13 each. They were a new pair of snow tire retreads. Those days are long gone.

This remarkable nature photography of a falcon resting in a tree might have some indirect implication as to why older cars still need reasonable tires.

Look on door decal for car tire speed/load rating. Your car might be S rated or T. Perhaps H if it is a sport model. We had a 2010 Camry with Bridgestone el42 tires. Surely the worst snow condition tire ever made. Car did seem to drive ok in summer/fall. Literally could not move in winter. Point is, some tires look good and perform terrible in varied conditions. Do you live in Cali? Or Wisconsin?

Heh heh, we had a couple Falcons, and you’d never be able to get it to jump a curb let alone a tree. One of the roads I drive once in a while has a race car up in the tree. Looks really strange but the guy just used a crane to put it up there. I think it looks a little tacky myself but its in a rural area.

Did they have the usual pink flamingos around the base of the trees ?


I don’t recall anybody outright saying that only Michelin or other expensive tires are safe

Aren’t you exaggerating a little bit, to make your point?

I bought my first new car back in 1978–an Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. It came with Firestone 721 radial tires. These tires had tread separation problems including the ones that came on my car. The Firestone dealer gave me an “adjusted” price that I thought was way too high. I went down the road to Quality Farm and Fleet and bought the “Duralon” radial tires for less money than the adjusted price at Firestone. These Duralon tires had better traction and wore twice as long as the Firestone 721 radial tires.
When I bought the 2011 Toyota Sienna I now drive, it came with Firestone tires. These tires wore out in 35,000 miles despite keeping them properly inflated and doing the tire rotation at 5000 miles. I bought Michelin tires and these tires not only have better traction, but I think they will last longer. They still have good tread at 60,000 miles.

LOVED the Falcon photo! Thanks.

Had the car in the tree been a Corvair instsad of a Falcon, it would have been upside down and facing the other direction.

I found myself wondering if the Falcon was a photo from a flood-ravaged area. Or maybe even a tsunami.