Well, it’s that time of year again. Winter’s winding down and Spring is right around the corner. Or, at least that’s what I’m telling myself as once again I’m watching flurries fall in Southern New Hampshire. Anyway, with the impending arrival of Spring, it’s time to start thinking about removing my winter boots and strapping on some fresh new summer sneakers. I’ve been doing a fair bit of research on The Tire Rack and have come up with a few options, but there are so many variables in the tire-buying process that it makes it difficult to come up with an informed decision.

The manufacturer’s copy is obviously designed to sell their tires over those of their competitors’, but that really isn’t worth much when making objective comparisons across brands, and sometimes not even *within* brands. Even worse, the only hard data provided by the manufacturer on a given tire’s grip and longevity — the UTQG or “Uniform Tire Quality Grade” — is a value derived by the manufacturer that’s not verified by an independent party and can’t be used to compare two tires from different categories or brands. Sites like the Tire Rack are great in that they provide lots of data and allow customers to review the products they’ve purchased, but even there you’re not likely to find someone who’s reviewed the exact tires you’re interested in *on your car*. So, hoping for the next best thing, I thought it’d be fun to see what MotoringFile readers have to say on the subject!

My goal is to find a three-season street-biased tire that will (in order of importance):

* not be a runflat (**updated**)
* have lots of grip
* be moderately priced
* have reasonable longevity (I’ve gone through more than one set of tires per summer for the last three years)
* and remain fairly quiet over the life of the tire

I’ll do a couple of track days and a half-dozen autocrosses this year. I will probably get a set of DOT R-compound tires in the hopes of removing the compromise between grip and longevity, so I’m leaning toward a less aggressive tire for the street. In the past I’ve used the Yokohama AVS ES100 and Kumho Ecsta MX, both of which only rated a “meh” rating from me, due to fairly rapid wear, and high levels of noise from the ES100s. The front-runner right now is actually an all-season tire, the Toyo Proxes 4, which still classifies as an “ultra-high performance” tire. I’m one of the proud few here at MotoringFile HQ who run 15″ wheels, which slightly complicates things. I’m planning to sport wider-than-stock 225/50/15 tires for a combination of good looks and lots of contact patch. That size does restrict the selection significantly, however.

So, what say you, the reader? What’s your favorite summer/three-season tire? How, where, and how much do you drive? How did *you* decide which tires to buy?


The Tire Rack
Tire Tech Information Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG) Standards
Yokohama AVS ES100
Toyo Proxes 4