Tires that need TLC?

I just got a quote on a set of tires from the local Firestone. The lady at the front desk told me the tires I was considering “need TLC,” as in more frequent alignment and balancing. She tried to upsell me to a more expensive set that supposedly wouldn’t need as much maintenance. I know some tires last longer than others but I’ve never heard of this. Is there any truth in it? FWIW, the tires I was considering, Primewell, are the same brand our regular mechanic installs.

More frequent need for balancing? After my very negative experience with Continental tires, my reaction is… maybe…
More frequent need for alignment? Nope!

How would a more expensive tire negate the need for wheel alignment, or–conversely–how would a cheapo from Firestone result in your front-end needing more frequent alignment?
Ergo… she was pushing a load of bovine excrement in your direction.


Baaa-Looone-Eeey She was just trying to upsell you to a better tire.

For what it is worth, I wouldn’t use a no-name cheapo tire like Primewell on anything but my wheelbarrow.

Those 4 little rubber patches holding your car to the ground is the only thing between you and death. More expensive tires are better tires for traction, life, noise, handling, ride and overall reliability. How much is your life and your families’ lives worth to you? End of tire rant.


I used to know a guy who complained non-stop about the cost of tires, and who actually uttered the following words: They’re just a hunk of rubber

His car had tires of 4 different sizes and brands mounted on it, and I refused to ride in it.


this depends:
My work vans absolutely eat Goodyears for lunch. Wear the inside edges like nobody’s business. Put a set of Michelin’s on them- and they wear much more evenly, last longer, and handle better- without an alignment.

But I %100 agree with @Mustangman- i’d stay away from cheap tires.

Since there are only about half a dozen companies in the US that actually manufacture tires regardless of brand, it stands to reason they’re more similar than different IMHO. Remember that these are going on a 10 year old Corolla that just turned over 114k. It’s not getting top of the line Michelins in any case. If you’re willing to send me a check for the difference we can discuss it.

Sorry but the age and mileage on the car has zero to do with the quality of tire you put on it. The performance requirements of the tire do not decrease with the age of the car. You don’t need to spring for the most expensive tire at any point in the car lifespan but thinking you can put the cheapest tire available on it just because it is 10 years old is ludicrous.

Btw- most tires aren’t made in the US anymore. Those are made by Giti tire in Singapore. The quality in tires is far from a constant…


No, it doesn’t. There are wide variations in design and quality. That $40 tire will not out perform a $100 tire. But you do what you conscience will allow.

Tires are the one thing you can easily replace that can make a major difference in how your car drives, handles, and stops. Bottom of the line tires can be much worse than mid-level tires. No need to go for the best, but mid range can be a lot better.


Yeah the only problem with that statement is Primewells are U.S. based or manufactured.

Yep, there are LOTS of Chinese factories now exporting tires to the US. I’m sure some are fine, but I know that some are junk. I’d want a major brand on the sidewall.

A 10 year old Corolla that just turned over 114k is about mid life, if taken care of.
Certainly worth another 5-7 years rolling on high quality rubber IMHO.


I hope you’re right bur I’ve only owned one car that wasn’t ready for the junkyard at less than 125k even with proper maintenance. Frankly, I don’t expect to put another set of tires on it after these but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m not putting $800 worth of tires on it in any case.

Neither a brand name nor a high price is any guarantee of quality. Readers of Consumer Reports have known this for years. If paying more gives you peace of mind that’s wonderful but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have “better” tires. Contrary to what some folks have implied, I have never said all tires are the same, and I suspect the people making the assertion know that. There are tiers of tire quality within brands. I need a set of good mid grade tires and that’s what these are, mid grade; they are categorically not the cheapest tires I can find. If someone knows where I can get them for $40 please let me know. If someone is willing to send me a check for the difference let me know that too. Firestone is the US distributor for Primewell and they stand behind them. I doubt that would be the case if they were complete crap. I have little doubt Primewell is Firestone’s bait-and-switch brand, which is why I was steered toward a more expensive tire, but surely they sell a few occasionally.

All that said, does anyone have an opinion of Kenda tires beyond “They’re junk”? And yes, I already know they’re Chinese. is a good site for ratings and reviews.
I bought tires twice there for my previous Matrix, which is very similar to your Corolla.
And I paid much less than $800 for some Yokohamas and Continentals that worked well.

One idea, if you are buying 4 tires there will likely be an $80 fee ($20 per tire) for mounting & balancing. You could do that yourself and save the $80.

Here’s what you said that caused me to believe you do think that way:

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It’s about $125 for a set of four for mounting, balancing, disposal, etc. and I don’t have access to balancing equipment but thanks for the suggestion.

Yes, comparable tires like mid grade Goodyear, Bridgestone, Cooper, etc. are going to be more similar than different. That doesn’t mean any two random tires will have no differences or that one company’s top end tire won’t be “better” in some way than another company’s cheapest product. I hope that clarifies things. Now if I could get an opinion on Kenda that would be great.