Since I only drive about 2500 miles per year, is there any reason not to get cheaper tires rated for, say, 40,000 miles rather than more expensive tires rated for 80,000 miles (diff. in price might be $120 total)? If tires need to be replaced even every 10 years regardless of miles, I won’t reach the miles of even the dirt-cheap tires. Is there a difference in over-all quality that translates to over-all “safer” for the higher-rated tires? And would they last longer before the sidewalls start to dry and crack, or is rubber just rubber regardless of tire cost? Thanks.
When I buy tires, I look at the date of mfg on the sidewall 05/09 (May '09), 'cause I don’t want to buy tires that are sometimes 4 years old before they even get put on a car. I’ve always found , since I drive <8K year, that the rubber gets old before the tread wears, so I get “less expensive” (rather than “cheap”).
For tread compounds, there is a technology triangle with Treadwear / Traction / Rolling resistance. In your case we are only interested in the treadwear / traction part of the equation. And, of course, tires with large traction rating would be safer.
No, tires with large UTQG treadwear ratings don’t have different sidewall compounds to ward off the effects of dry rot.
If you are looking for “safer” tire, you’ll want ones with as much capability as possible. Since tire size is pretty closely linked to load carrying capacity, then the only additional capability you will find is speed rating - and faster is more capable.
Cost is a whole 'nother issue. Some tires cost less because they aren’t made as well. some cost less because they just can’t command the price. The trick is to find a tire that is a bargain - one whose selling price is below is actual value.
So, NO, don’t buy a tire with a large UTQG treadwear rating. Buy a tire with a large UTQG traction rating (AA) with as high a speed rating as you feel you can afford - then look for bargains.
Find the least expensive tires and likely be satisfied. Store brands are good to key on in as they are typically made by Cooper tire a decent company.
All tires are a compromise between traction, tread life, noise, rolling resistance, and probably other factors. Your question is really too general. Take a look at the reviews of the specific tires you’re considering (such as on Tire Rack’s web site) and see if the cheaper tires meet your needs in those areas.
2wd or 4wd? If you’ve got the 4wd version, it takes light truck tires which will generally hold up better than the passenger tires the 2wd truck takes. I’d say if you’ve got a 4wd, I’d say spring for some decent LT’s, but if it’s a 2wd whatever’s on sale should do.
As already noted, check the date of manufacture and if you park out of the sun, like in a garage, you should be safe longer than ten years, but still not forever. I don’t know of any rattings for rot damage.
For the small distance you drive, I would go to Costco and buy the cheapest tires that fit on your vehicle. Costco has lifetime free rotation and balance checks. We will do this for replacing the summer tires on my wife’s Nissan which is only driven 4500 miles per year. The winter tires are Michelin X-ICE, also from Costco.
If there is no Costco near you,. I would buy the least expensive tires at Walmart. I’m sure there is one near you.
I second Docnick’s opinion.
I bought a pair of tires for the front wheels from Walmart for a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass with the 4-4-2 trim package that I don’t drive very far in a year. Six years after I bought the tires, I noticed a bad vibration. When I checked, the wheel weights had come loose on the right front wheel. I took the weights off which reduced the vibration, but it was still there. I found my receipt in the glove compartment for the tires, so I went back to Walmart. I told the service manager about the weights. He asked if, after removing the weights, how severe was the problem. “Well”, I replied. “I was coming home on the interstate the other day and a Ferrari tried to race me. I was doing well until I got to 110 and then the vibration was so bad I had to drop back and I was really embarrassed”. The service manager looked at me, looked at the car, just shook his head and said, “Maybe we had better balance both front wheels”. There was no charge. They honored the lifetime warranty.
I agree with Doc and Trieaq, except that I’d shop for a good price mounted and balanced. In my area I’ve found less expensive perfectly good tires for lower prices than Costco and Walmart.
One other point. Since you’re only driving 2500 miles a year, tire aging will be your biggest concern. You should check your tires for signs of cracking as they age and monitor your tire pressure. It would be pretty easy to not realize a tire has gone low or the rubber is drying out. If you see signs of cracking in the sidewall, have the tires checked out.