There’s no shortage of tire brands to choose from, with top online retailers like TireRack and TireBuyer offering dozens of reputable options, such as Michelin, Pirelli, Continental, and more.
Yet, the landscape is also saturated with “budget” brands that forego quality to reduce costs and undercut the market.
What are the worst tire brands? Considering factors like construction quality, material composition, owner reviews, and more, the following brands make some of the worst tires to buy:
As the only part of your car that touches the road, you really shouldn’t skimp on tire quality. Generally, budget tires wear faster, make more noise, and take longer to come to a stop. Moreover, cheap tires are far more likely to fail at highway speeds.
This guide covers seven tire brands you should avoid at all costs. But first, I will review what to look for in a tire brand.
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What To Look For In A Tire Brand
Meets Government Standards
For a tire to legally be sold in the US, it must meet government standards. Simply put, all tires must pass a series of durability tests measuring how they hold up when pressure is applied from various angles over time.
Additionally, tires should display a Department of Transportation (DOT) stamp on the sidewall, showing size, load ratings, tread thickness, and more.
Ample Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are a great resource for determining which tires to stay away from. Stick with reputable sites like TireRack, TireBuyer, DiscountTire, and TyreReviews, which all require users to register before posting, increasing feedback quality. Be especially careful with brands having limited customer reviews or where feedback appears fake.
One common mention among budget tire reviews is that they’re best for drivers that don’t exceed 45 mph. But ultimately, we don’t feel this instills much confidence even within the speed rating.
Industry Standard Construction
Quality tires should also have industry-standard construction components, like gum strips, belt stiffeners, belt wedges, bead fillers, and more. Each enhances tire performance, durability, and longevity, which directly benefits driver safety.
While cheap tires may look similar on the outside, they often lack the same construction components as more reputable brands on the inside.
Quality Materials/Research And Development
Tires are made from various compounds, including natural and synthetic rubber, nylon, steel, and more. Reputable tire brands invest heavily in research and development to produce a quality, long-lasting combination.
Budget tire brands, often imported from overseas, usually cut costs by using less natural rubber. Instead, they use hard-compound rubber that’s less pliable and more likely to crack.
5 Worst Tire Brands To Avoid Buying
Accelera is an Indonesian tire brand that’s been around since 1996. The brand is marketed as a producer of high-performance radial tires. Unfortunately, performance rankings from TyreReviews show even its most popular PHI tire performed poorly, landing in 152nd place vs. 192 rivals in the same category.
Moreover, looking at the budget brand’s website, our confidence did not improve. Nothing is listed about standard warranty or construction design/materials, just a few comments on tread patterns.
Owner complaints across various sites consistently mention Accelera tires having a poor grip and requiring excessively long braking distances.
Chinese budget brand Chaoyang is primarily a producer of bike tires. However, the brand also sells tires for passenger cars and trucks. Alibaba seems to be the primary outlet for Chaoyang tires, thanks to a 2015 partnership with the e-commerce platform.
While researching Chaoyang tires, we found no information about construction materials, design, or standard warranty. What’s more, many of the limited customer reviews appear fake.
Ultimately, nothing about Chaoyang makes us feel they are anything but tires to stay away from.
Triangle is another Chinese budget brand making some of the worst tires to buy. Like Accelera, Triangle’s most popular product is a high-performance summer tire. Unfortunately, compared to 192 competitors, the TR968 tire by Triangle came in 179th place.
The brand’s website does list a few design elements, like enhanced sidewall protection and optimized tread patterns. A standard warranty is also mentioned, good for 60 days. However, few details are shared beyond that.
While we found more retailers selling Triangle tires, the majority of customer reviews are negative. Most commonly, owners mention poor grip and excessive road noise.
Westlake Tires is part of China’s ZC Rubber Group, which also owns Goodride, Chaoyang, and other budget tire brands. In general, Westlake is marketed for the international market, making it likely the most common name on this list of worst tire brands.
While Westlake does have more customer reviews, they reveal some major flaws, like high road noise, poor grip, and a harsh ride. Common phrases echoed by owners include “unsafe,” “risky,” and even “never again.”
We found a few diehards among reviewers, but generally, customers seem to regret owning Westlake tires due to their subpar materials.
Part of Taiwan-based Nankang Rubber Tire, Geostar is the group’s “budget” brand, so quality is sidelined to allow for low pricing. Moreover, like other imported brands on our list, their online presence is nearly non-existent.
A 2014 report by Consumer Reports puts a set of GeoStar tires against other budget brands. Ultimately, Geostar comes out as the most well-rounded, but the site concludes that “bargain-priced tires such as these Chinese models isn’t the right choice for the long haul.”
According to Mavis, the brand’s most popular product is an all-season touring tire, the S6065, with an overall rating of three stars out of five.
Consider A Quality Tire Brand For The Best Experience
Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheap tire brands to weed through. Thankfully, if you follow our guidelines for what to look for in a tire brand, you should have no issue spotting which tires to avoid.
Consider Hankook tires as one example of a good brand, which also happens to be known for its budget pricing. The brand’s easy-to-navigate website lists the entire product lineup and covers each tire in detail. Tires are split into categories, and you can find a retailer using the built-in tool.
A simple Google search reveals a plethora of reviews to comb through, something that can’t be said for most cheap brands.