With new technology comes a new pricing scale. Automotive tires are no longer just rubber tubes on steel rims. Technological breakthroughs in chemistry and engineering have brought us tires that are now puncture-resistant, directional, and even house sensors that can notify the driver of the air pressure in each tire. All of this new research and technology does not, however, come cheap. The cost of tires has nearly doubled over the past twenty years, far surpassing the inflation of the very vehicles they come equipped upon. As such, finding a good deal on tires is becoming an extremely difficult task. If you’re in the market for some new treads, have a look at some of the best tires available under $100.
Quietest Option: Michelin Harmony
There are several sizes of the Harmony which cost more than the $100 limit here, but it does start in the neighborhood of $75 depending on location. That’s a great deal for a tire that provides the silent, comfortable ride that the Harmony exhibits. It is an all-season tire, which means it’s perfect for drivers in any climate, but it is not the most aggressive tire in mud and snow. Don’t let that deter you from this model though; the continuous center rib provides an extremely comfortable and quiet ride. The 6-year/80,000-mile treadlife warranty is right on par with Michelin standards, and above average for this class tire.
Best Performance Option: General G-Max AS-03
The G-Max AS-03 is “for driving enthusiasts who want a combination of a performance appearance, responsive handling and Z-speed rated (or higher) durability along with all-season traction, including in light snow.” (www.tirerack.com) These tires are often used as original equipment on several sports cars, performance coupes, and sedans. They feature a directional tread pattern that utilizes wide angled sipes and stiff sidewalls for better handling and traction. The price starts at just under $90, depending on location, and features a 6-year/40,000-mile treadlife warranty. The stiff sidewalls provide better, more aggressive handling.
Best Winter/Snow Option: General Altimax Arctic
The Altimax Arctic is one of the most aggressive tires available in the entire winter/snow line, let alone for tires under $100. It is available studded, which only adds to its traction capabilities. It starts around $56, depending on location, and features a directional tread pattern to combine superb dry road handling with aggressive wet traction. The 270-degree high-density siping channels snow and water very well during acceleration, braking, and cornering. The downside is the lack of a treadlife warranty, which is not unusual for winter tires.
Best All-Season Option: Hankook Optimo H727
The Optimo H727 won’t turn many heads with its symmetric tread design, in fact it’s rather bland compared to some, but it will with its 5-year/100,000-mile treadlife warranty, ride comfort, reduced road noise, and starting price of $67. The four major circumferential grooves help to evacuate water through mild high-density siping. The treadlife warranty all but guarantees that this could be the tire you ride on for the entire life of your vehicle. It is perfect for all size cars, minivans, and midsize crossover SUVs.
Best Budget Option: Yokohama AVID Touring-S
The AVID Touring-S features “Silent Shoulder variable tread block sizes and a central Twin Rail Stability Rib to reduce tread pattern noise while offering confident maneuverability. The intermediate tread blocks feature Tapered Rain Channels working in tandem with circumferential grooves to help evacuate water and enhance wet traction while Cross Traction sipes provide biting edges to increase traction in wintry conditions.” (www.yokohamatire.com) The 5-year/65,000-mile treadlife warranty is quite impressive considering the $58 starting price.