Consumer Reports New Cars – November 2019

(Kiana) #1
Owners of all-wheel-
drive vehicles may
need to replace all
four tires even if only
one is damaged so

that tire diameters
match, which ensures
even traction and
prevents damage to
the AWD system. This

can be costly when
just one tire goes
flat or is damaged.
Now there’s a less
expensive option:

shaved tires. Owners
can buy one tire
from Tire Rack
(888-541-1777) and
the company will
shave it to match the
tread of your other
three tires. The service
costs about $25 to
$35, which is a lot
cheaper than buying
four new tires. Still,
shaving a tire is
likely to nullify its
treadwear warranty.

Additionally, shaving
a replacement
tire makes the most
financial sense if
the remaining
tread on your tires
is no more than
about half-worn, at
approximately 6⁄32”.
Other retailers may
offer a similar service,
but the equipment
required to properly
shave a tire’s tread
isn’t common.

IT’S HARD TO overstate how impor-
tant tires are to safe driving. After all,
they’re the only part of the car that
touches the road. That’s why so many
consumers in colder climates spend the
time and expense to swap winter/snow
tires twice a year to ensure that their
vehicles have the best grip possible.
With that inconvenience of swapping
in mind, manufacturers have recently
introduced an all-weather tire designed
not only to perform well in the snow
but also year-round. Some cost more
than the average price of performance
all-season tires, but buyers will come
out ahead by avoiding the cost and
inconvenience of seasonal tire changes.
“The best all-weather tires have
proved to provide year-round traction
that truly combines all-season and
winter/snow performance,” says Gene
Petersen, Consumer Reports’ tire-
program manager. “Some can cost
more than performance all-seasons, but
they represent a good value.”
These do-it-all tires offer unique
tread designs and enhanced rubber
compounds that increase traction
across a broad range of temperatures.
They’re different from typical all-
season tires mainly because they
provide better traction in the snow.
For this reason, they have the same
mountain/snowflake symbol on

the sidewall as winter/snow tires.
In our latest testing, CR evaluated
five all-weather models: the Goodyear
Assurance WeatherReady, Michelin
CrossClimate +, Nokian WRG4,
Toyo Celsius, and Vredestein Quatrac

  1. From this category, the Michelin
    CrossClimate + shined as the top-rated
    all-weather tire thanks to its uncom-
    promising grip. This tire is impressive
    on the road, but it has a few practical
    drawbacks. Not only is it pricey, but
    it’s also only sold in limited sizes—so it
    may not fit your vehicle.

CR’s Unique Testing
As the tire market evolves, so do CR’s
testing methods. We replaced our basic
cornering test with a more dynamic
evaluation of acceleration, braking, and
handling on a 2-plus-acre course over wet
asphalt. This new all-in-one test better
reflects real-world challenges drivers face.
Overall, we purchased more
than 630 tires this year for our full
test program, covering 63 models for
all-season, performance all-season
(which includes all-weather tires), and
winter/snow categories.
We tested them at our track in
Connecticut for wet and dry braking
and handling, ride comfort and quiet-
ness, snow traction, and resistance
to hydroplaning.

Our testers evaluated each tire’s
grip on ice at a nearby skating rink.
We also commissioned outside labs to
measure each tire’s rolling resistance,
which affects fuel economy. Finally,
we conducted extensive treadwear tests
on public roads in western Texas.

Warranty Worries
Most tires met or exceeded their
warranty projections in comparison to
our tread life test results. Even those
with a shortfall were usually off by a
small amount. Of course, tread life will
vary based on where and how you drive.
However, the T-speed-rated
Sumitomo HTR Enhance L/X missed its
warranty projection by 25,000 miles. It
has a 90,000-mile warranty but would
last only 65,000 miles based on our test
projections. According to a Sumitomo
representative, customer satisfaction
levels are “nearly 100 percent” with the
product and mileage warranty. “It is
our goal to provide top quality products
at affordable prices,” the company said
in a written statement to CR.
We deduct points from the Overall
Score for all-season and performance-
all season tires that under-perform
their warranty. (Winter/snow tires
don’t carry a mileage warranty and are
intended for limited, seasonal use, so
we don’t assess their tread life.)

Do I Have to Replace

All 4 Tires?







Y^ I



Free download pdf