Review and compare car tyres from Dunlop, Kumho, Michelin, Yokohama, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Bob Jane, Pirelli and Hankook on durability, wet weather handling, dry weather handling, stopping ability, noise, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
As the old saying goes, ‘You get what you pay for’, and nothing applies to this more than car tyres. With an influx of cheap car tyres flooding the Aussie market, it’s tempting to just put on the cheapest bits of rubber and drive away, with the number of brands out there making it hard to separate those that burn rubber and those that simply burn through your wallet. But that’s where Canstar Blue can offer some guidance, as we conduct an annual survey of motorists to find out which tyre brands are stopping the others in their tracks, and the results over the years tell a compelling story you can’t simply ignore.
This year, more than 800 motorists took part in our research, rating their tyre purchase on factors such as durability, stopping ability, wet and dry weather handling, noise whilst driving, and value for money. Nine big brands feature in the results, with Dunlop knocking off Michelin for the top spot.
Here are the best car tyre brands in Australia, as rated by motorists in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Kumho, Michelin, Yokohama, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Bob Jane and Pirelli all received four stars for overall customer satisfaction this year, while Hankook received three stars. Michelin scored the only five-star rating for durability, with Dunlop, Kumho, Yokohama and Pirelli also getting in on the five-star action in specific areas.
Michelin and Pirelli have dominated our car tyre comparison over recent years, with Michelin winning four times since 2012 and Pirelli stealing the spotlight on a couple of occasions. But with Dunlop now on top, is it the start of a new era? We made the point earlier that you generally get what you pay for with car tyres, and here is some evidence as far as consumer satisfaction is concerned.
Read on as we provide an overview of what the nine tyre brands in our report have to offer, before going into detail about what you should look for in a good set of new tyres.
Owned by American tyre giant Goodyear, Dunlop provides all manner of car tyres for vehicles including small, city-dwelling runarounds, through to big performance behemoths born for the race track. You can search Dunlop’s tyres by vehicle type or size, with most tyres featuring Dunlop Touch Technology, which incorporates a specific bead seat system – a flatter tread profile with an asymmetrical tread design.
Expect the most budget-friendly tyres to come in at around $80 each, while the most expensive will set you back close to $1,400! This price is for the Grandtrek PT3 which is a serious performance tyre. In fact, Dunlop provides a variety of car tyres for the enthusiast, from track tyres to slick tarmac tyres, to rally and kart tyres! Its tyre range features:
Dunlop received five stars for overall customer satisfaction in this year’s review, in addition to five stars for wet and dry weather handling and stopping ability, with four stars in all other categories.
Kumho is a South Korean tyre brand, producing a range of tyres for most types of vehicles and scenarios. Expect tyres for passenger, 4X4, SUV, light commercial, trucks, busses and racing cars. Kumho boasts its ESCOT (Excellent & Smart Contour Optimisation Theory) technology, which is claimed to maximise tyre performance by optimising braking capabilities and improving steering. This is said to maintain the tyre shape throughout the speed range, plus retain the tyre’s ground contact pressure distribution.
Kumho perhaps stands out most for its budget-oriented consumer tyres that can be found for less than $80 each at their absolute cheapest. However, Kumho is no slacker in the performance category, as its top-range tyres can cost more than $400 each. Its mid-range performance tyres can be had for less than $200 each and expect interesting model names like ‘Ecsta’, ‘Road Venture’, ‘Le Sport’ and the following:
Kumho received four stars for durability and overall satisfaction, along with three stars for noise whilst driving. However, it also scored five stars across all other categories, including value for money.
French tyre manufacturer Michelin is one of the largest in the world and it has a range of other interests outside of tyres – ever heard of the Michelin Star restaurant ratings? But back to tyres and the Michelin Tyre Company is one of the oldest – yet most innovative – out there. It has a number of dealers across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. You can browse its tyre range by vehicle type, driving experience or product family, with a tyre selector tool also available online, allowing you to enter either your car model or specific tyre size to find a suitable match.
Michelin provides a wide range of eco-focused tyres, as well as some exciting performance models. The performance range is called ‘Pilot Sport’, which costs upwards of $900 per set. Everyday drivers are not left out though, as Michelin’s ‘Energy’ range starts from about $150 a tyre. These tyres are recognised for their impressive fuel saving and for being eco-conscious. Specific tyres on offer from Michelin include:
In our latest review, Michelin earned five stars for durability, as well as four stars for dry weather handling, stopping ability and overall satisfaction. It received three stars in all other categories.
Yokohama is part of the Yokohama Rubber Company, founded close to 100 years ago in conjunction with US manufacturer Goodrich. Nowadays, the brand is based in Tokyo and offers all manner of tyres, from everyday tyres to 4WD tyres, to performance tyres. It boasts its Orange Oil technology, combined with natural rubber to create a tyre that’s said to be 80% petro-chemical free. Its range also features a unidirectional tread pattern to increase straight-line acceleration.
Prices range from around the $100 mark all the way up to nearly $600 for the ‘Advan’ sport tyre range. Indeed, Yokohama comes with a rich racing pedigree and sponsors various motorsports events around the world. For consumers in Australia, keep an eye out for various deals, cash-back offers and discounts when buying Yokohama tyres. You’ll find the following models from the brand:
Yokohama scored joint top spot for value for money, with four stars in all categories, including durability, stopping ability and overall satisfaction.
Goodyear is an American tyre manufacturer that was founded in Ohio over 100 years ago. It was one of the first manufacturers to make a tubeless tyre and supplied racing tyres to Henry Ford. Goodyear still sponsors many motorsports events and this is carried over into its tyre range. Some of the technologies that accompany Goodyear tyres are 3D-BIS Technology, claimed to improve tyre stiffness and stability, SoundComfort Technology to reduce interior noise, Run On Flat to keep you on the road even after a blowout, and Active Braking for supposedly better handling.
Goodyear’s Eagle range is performance-oriented and tyres can cost up to $800 each, with its consumer range a lot kinder on the wallet, with the cheapest tyres costing a little under $100 each. You can search Goodyear’s tyres by vehicle type and tyre size, or by specific characteristics such as ‘all-terrain’ and ‘wet dry performance’. Its range includes:
Goodyear performed consistently in our 2020 ratings, scoring four stars across most research categories, with the exception of wet weather handling, where it received three stars.
Well-known within the market, Bridgestone has a history dating back to Japan in the early 20th century. Since then the company has become one of the leading tyre manufacturers in the world, but its tyres can still be fairly budget-friendly. Expect Bridgestone’s cheapest tyres to come in at less than $80 each, while the most expensive performance-oriented tyres cost over $800 each, meaning Bridgestone has you covered from the race track to the city streets. Also keep an eye out for various bonus deals that Bridgestone regularly offers, including cash-back, ‘fourth tyre free’, as well as a services program which entitles you to extra discounts.
Some of the technology behind its tyres include Bridgestone’s Run Flat Tyre system, which is claimed to incorporate a reinforced, thicker sidewall to safely carry the weight of the car for a short period with no loss of driving control. You’ll also find its Ecopia fuel saving tyres with lower rolling resistance boasted to deliver a fuel saving of 4.2% compared to a conventional tyre. The range features:
In our 2020 review, Bridgestone was rated four stars across every single research category, making it a solid option for your next set of tyres.
The only Australian-owned tyre company in this review, Bob Jane is based in Melbourne. Named after motorsports legend Bob Jane, motorists can expect plenty of budget-friendly car tyres, with the brand also one of few not associated with selling re-tread tyres. As Bob Jane covers a wide variety of vehicle services, you can also purchase Road Hazard Warranty, which covers you for punctures, accidental cuts, accidental curb damage, impact breaks, staking, or other damages from unforeseen road hazards.
Bob Jane provides two kinds of everyday consumer car tyres – named the All-Rounder and the Xenon. The All-Rounder is reasonably budget-oriented and can be had from around $89 per tyre. The Xenon is a more performance-oriented model, but still comes in relatively cheap at about $120 per tyre. If you like Australian brands and budget-friendly tyres, Bob Jane could be the one for you. The following two tyres come in a number of different specifications:
It was a mixed bag for Bob Jane in our 2020 review, rated four stars for overall satisfaction, value for money, dry weather handling and stopping ability, while also scoring three stars on durability, wet weather handling and noise whilst driving.
Premier Italian brand Pirelli is known for its racing pedigree and its sponsorship of various motorsports events. Its tyres feature Pirelli’s Noise Cancelling System (PNCS), claimed to reduce noise inside the vehicle. In addition, they’re boasted for Pirelli’s Seal-Inside Technology, allowing you to continue to drive your car in case of a puncture.
Indeed, Pirelli’s car tyres seem to be synonymous with performance. But performance evidently does not come cheap, with its most expensive car tyres costing up to and over $1,500 each! These prices are generally reserved for the most uncompromising driver on the race track and are available in diameters of 20 inches and over. The more consumer-friendly tyres can be had from around $100 each, which will likely suit many daily commuters. No matter your pricing range, be prepared for model names including ‘Cinturato’ and ‘Scorpion’: The Pirelli tyre range includes:
Pirelli earned four stars for overall satisfaction and three stars for durability and value for money, but scored five stars for wet and dry weather handling, stopping ability and the only five star result for noise whilst driving.
Based out of South Korea, Hankook is a tyre company with both an ‘everyday driver’ and ‘performance’ focus. It provides a range of tyres suited to everyday drivers, with tyres starting at around $75 each. Its performance range however, named ‘Ventus’, is naturally a lot dearer, with the most expensive coming in at around $500 per tyre. For that, you can expect scintillating performance in very large wheel sizes – 20 inches and above. And the fun doesn’t just stop there, with Hankook also providing a large range of off-road tyres for the popular 4WD segment, which can be had from about the $200 range.
With its tyre design, Hankook boasts an optimum proportion of Dyna-ProFET rubber and silica for reduce rotational resistance and the amount of fuel used for driving. In addition, its tyres feature Hankook’s 3-Dimensional groove pattern for improved performance on dry or wet roads. Its range includes:
Hankook received three stars for overall satisfaction, wet weather handling and value for money, but earned four stars in all other areas, including noise whilst driving, dry weather handling, durability and stopping ability.
Beyond the nine leading brands listed above, there are a few other noteworthy names that may be worth a look into the next time you’re down at the tyre shop. Brands who just missed out include Continental and Toyo.
Continental is one of the largest and oldest tyre manufacturing companies in the world, with its roots extending from Germany. Continental differs to many of its competitors by offering not just tyres but also brake systems, powertrains, chassis components and tachographs among other products. Whether you’re doing the school drop off, cruising your city’s streets, or enjoying an off-road weekend, there are plenty of tyres to choose from.
None of its tyres could be considered especially ‘bargain basement’, with most prices sitting around the $300 mark, but you can expect a steadfast German approach to tyres that will ensure your car remains surefooted no matter where your wheels take you. Its cheapest tyre range, the ‘ContiPremiumContact’, starts from $135, while its most expensive ‘ContiSportContact’ tyres can be had for more than $600 per tyre. Here are a few options from the brand:
Toyo is a Japanese brand that makes a range of budget-oriented tyres that can be had from about $70 per tyre. Toyo also has a large range of SUV tyres, with the most-costly coming in at over $1,000 each! Also in the upper echelons of prices are various performance car tyres under the ‘Proxes’ model name which could set you back up to $700 each! However, most tyres cost around $100 each, which could represent a great option when looking for a cheap tyre for everyday needs.
The combination of Toyo’s silica-tread compound and tyre construction is claimed to provide predictable vehicle control in a range of weather conditions and road surface types. In addition, an ‘E’ mark on Toyo tyres indicates that it has low rolling resistance and wet traction, as verified by the Japanese Automobile Tyre Manufacturers Association (JATMA). Some of its tyres include:
In addition to the two above, other car tyre brands available include:
In fact, there are so many brands out there, that the dilemma is choosing the one that’s right for you and your budget. Sticking to leading brands may be a good bet to ensure optimal performance, but it could still pay to shop around. After all, nothing deflates the mood on a road trip quicker than a flat, so looking into all of your tyre options could not only save you on the bill, but leave you driving away with extra peace of mind.
With many brands out there, picking the best car tyres will be a daunting task for many, particularly if it’s your first time! To help you better-understand your wheels, we’ve outlined some key areas that you should take special notice of.
The tyres you need for your car can be determined by the tyre specifications detailed in your owner’s manual, or on the sidewall of your tyre. The specs will be a series of numbers and letters, for example: 245/40R18 93W.
This code relates to several requirements that are necessary to know when choosing tyres. To explain this in detail, here’s the breakdown:
To help maintain speed capability, and the handling characteristics of your car, it’s important to replace your tyres with a speed rating equal to or greater than that of the original tyres. Keep in mind that other tyres will also fit your car, but it’s recommended to closely follow the specifications provided by your car manufacturer.
To find out what tyre pressure your car tyres should be at, check your vehicle’s tyre placard. This can typically be found in the driver’s door jamb, otherwise, it might be located under your bonnet, in the glove-box or behind the fuel filler flap. Your car’s handbook may also include the tyre pressure. Here’s an example:
It’s recommended by tyre retailers to check tyre pressure every two to four weeks. Poor tyre pressure maintenance can jeopardise your car’s performance and in turn, your safety. As tyre pressure naturally decreases over time, it’s important to check it regularly to help optimise tyre life and fuel consumption. Tyre pressure checks can also help identify any damage or punctures in your tyres.
While a tyre blowout is a good indication that you need to replace your tyre… there are a number of other, more subtle, indicators that your tyres may need to be replaced. Here are some of the more common ways to check if your tyres need replacing.
Tyre treads are designed to remove and disperse water between the tyre and the road to help maintain grip and traction during wet weather. However, due to the constant contact with the road, the tread wears down, and becomes less effective as time goes on. The tread can be identified as the grooves you see in your tyre, with tread indicators also found inside these grooves, which show you how your tyre is travelling. Tyres without much tread left are known as ‘bald tyres’, which often come with a traffic ticket from your local police officer should you be pulled over.
Age is also a factor when it comes to replacing your tyres. As tyres age, the compounds that hold the tyre together begin to break down, particularly if you leave your car exposed to the elements. As a result, even if you don’t drive often, tyres can still become unsafe after a long period of time, with most tyre manufacturers recommending that tyres be thoroughly inspected every year once they reach five years of age, and be immediately replaced if they are over 10 years old.
You can tell the age of your tyre by inspecting the identification numbers on the sidewall of the tyre, generally prefaced by DOT. The last four digits are the date of your tyre, with the first two indicating the week of the year, while the last two digits indicate the year itself. Pictured is an example from Bridgestone.
Tyres are generally on the checklist when you take your car in for a service, regardless of whether it’s a major or minor service, although it’s always best to check with your mechanic before you hand the keys over. You can also ask for them to specifically check your tyres for damage or leaks, and whether they need replacing if you’re worried about what’s between you and the road.
While you’d generally look to replace all of your tyres at around the same time, sometimes life just doesn’t let that happen, with a flat tyre, or a fender-bender prompting thoughts of rolling down to the shops for a replacement tyre (if you don’t already have a spare in the boot).
From a legal perspective, there is no law or regulation in Australia against replacing just one tyre on your vehicle, although it isn’t recommended. The reason being is that replacing all four tyres at the same time ensures that the vehicle is evenly balanced as all four tyres behave the same way, allowing the vehicle to move as it should when accelerating, braking and turning.
Replacing just one tyre however, can cause a difference in traction due to the different levels of tread on the tyres. Putting one brand new tyre – with a full tread – on a car where the other three tyres have a far lower tread, can make the car feel different, and potentially perform differently, particularly in vehicles with AWD.
If you do purchase just one new tyre, many retailers and tyre manufacturers look at ‘shaving’ the tyre so that the tread length is similar to prevent any difference in traction or control, although this may cost you a bit extra. Alternatively, online forums are full of recommendations of buying two tyres and rotating your old tyres to keep your vehicle balanced, although this will depend on if your car is a front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or AWD.
In Australia, the legal tyre tread depth is 1.5mm, with a tread depth between 1.5 and 1.6mm generally considered worn out, meaning you should be looking to replace them. A new tyre typically has a tread depth close to 8.0mm.
All car tyres have tread wear indicators in the tread grooves. The tyre’s tread grooves are designed to disperse water away from the tyre’s contact patch when roads are wet. Once they wear out, the tyre should be replaced.
Depending on the tyre size, brand and car type, tyres can cost from $80 to $800+. According to Canstar Blue’s survey, the average spend on new car tyres is about $270, down from $300 last year. Our survey also revealed:
With all of this in mind, it’s important to do your research before jumping into a car tyre purchase, with tyres as much of an investment in safety as they are a car expense.
We get it – buying new car tyres doesn’t seem like the greatest way to spend hundreds of dollars, and it’s not. But buying quality tyres is an investment in your vehicle and your driving experience. Even your safety potentially. Our research over the years proves that the big name brands are the most popular with Aussie motorists. The smaller brands simply get nowhere near them in terms of customer satisfaction. But digging a little deeper into your pocket and deciding to pay more for quality is the challenge we motorists face. But if there is one takeaway message from this report, it’s that those people who do buy those big name brands generally don’t regret it.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Content Projects Lead, Dean Heckscher. He’s our resident expert on all things automotive, health & fitness, streaming and more. Dean is also one of Canstar Blue’s customer research report producers, helping to turn complicated subjects into easily-digestible information for our readers. He’s passionate about helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services.
Picture credits: Vladimir Razgulyaev/shutterstock.com, wk1003mike/shutterstock.com, Chutima Chaochaiya/shutterstock.com
|LOAD INDEX||LOAD AT MAX PSI (Kg)||LOAD INDEX||LOAD AT MAX PSI (Kg)||LOAD INDEX||LOAD AT MAX PSI (Kg)|
|SPEED SYMBOL||SPEED (KM/H)|
|G||up to 90|
|J||up to 100|
|K||up to 110|
|L||up to 120|
|M||up to 130|
|N||up to 140|
|P||up to 150|
|Q||up to 160|
|R||up to 170|
|S||up to 180|
|T||up to 190|
|U||up to 200|
|H||up to 210|
|V||up to 240|
|W||up to 270|
|Y||up to 300|
Our latest customer satisfaction research into car tyres saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased new car tyres in the last 2 years (not retreads) – in this case, 834 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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