When purchasing tires, the wide selection that’s available can be a little overwhelming. Choosing the right type of tire depends greatly on where you live, what the weather is like, and what type of driving you’ll be doing.
However, there seems to be a misconception that cheaper tires make noise, and while there will be some minor sound differences, this is largely nonsense. The cheapest tires online do not inherently make more noise than their more expensive counterparts.
In fact, a well-maintained set of all-season or summer tires isn’t going to make any more or less noise, regardless of the price of those tires. However, certain winter tires, especially those with studs or chains added, are going to make more noise than any standard tires.
Of course, you want your winter tires to have studs to maintain grip in snowy conditions, so a bit of added noise is the tradeoff for driving with the safest possible tires in inclement weather.
Common Causes of Tire Noise
Far and away the biggest factor in tire noise is not the tire itself—it’s the road. Asphalt and concrete roads have completely different sound profiles. Asphalt tends to be quieter and smoother, while concrete tends to be noisier. Anyone who’s glanced away from the road while on the highway and ran over the rumble strips knows what a loud road can sound like. Similarly, gravel and dirt roads can be very noisy.
Outside of what the road is constructed of, there are other reasons for tires to make noise, and most of them are due to poor maintenance. Things like vibration or shakiness may occur when your tread is wearing away unevenly; this could be due to a variety of factors, such as improper balancing or failing to rotate your tires regularly. It could also be due to things such as chronic underinflation or overinflation of your tires.
In cases such as these, a mechanic may be able to balance out the tire with weights to help it last a little longer, but in most cases, they may recommend replacing the tires altogether.
Are Cheap Tires Safe?
Safety is a relative topic depending on how you use your vehicle, but yes–cheap tires are generally safe. Each type of tire sold in America is rigorously tested and approved before it goes on sale. However, you should evaluate your own personal driving habits and the environment where you do most of your driving before deciding on a tire.
For the vast majority of us, a typical all-season tire is just fine for our daily commutes to and from work if we live in a populated area–this is because the roads in these regions are usually well-maintained. When there is snow or ice in these areas, the roads are plowed, and if it rains, water flows quickly off the roads and into storm drains.
Additionally, for those of us living in areas where it snows or rains for a short period of time each year, it can be useful to know how to get cheap winter tires.
Tires, even those on the cheaper end, won’t make noise when they’re properly maintained. At the end of the day, choose your tires based on your expected use and environment–if you only drive around town in a well-maintained area, low-cost tires are fine; if you drive in challenging environments or extreme weather, you should consider a higher-quality option for the safest ride possible.
Wondering whether or not winter tires are cheaper than all-season tires? Be sure to look at our recent article!