Best Tires for Dry-Weather Performance

Consumer Reports' testing shows stopping distances can vary significantly

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Chevrolet Silverado tire testing Consumer Reports

Braking distance is a performance trait that's easy to overlook, because it isn’t something a driver can readily measure. But the ability to brake in a brief, controlled manner can mean the difference between a quick, predictable stop and a scary collision.

The ability to hold the road during hard braking is one of the numerous tests Consumer Reports conducts with each of the hundreds of tires we buy each year. And we look at more than just stopping distances to understand the full context of how a tire performs in an emergency situation.

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Our test engineers also put each tire set through our accident-avoidance maneuver, which simulates dodging an object that suddenly appears in the road. This is a rapid lane change, then a return to the original lane of travel. In addition, the test driver rates the steering feel experienced on our test track. The stopping distance, speed through the accident-avoidance course, and steering rating provide a full picture of how a tire’s grip can help avoid a collision.

We identified the best tire for dry weather in each of eight categories: all-season, all-season truck, all-season SUV, performance all-season, ultra-high-performance all-season and summer, winter/snow, performance winter/snow, and all-terrain.

“These tires shine in their respective categories for stopping better than their peers,” says Gene Petersen, Consumer Reports' tire program manager. If you usually drive in mild weather and stop-and-go traffic, these tires are worth considering, he says.

Within each tire category there are other good choices, especially when you consider other factors like wet braking and winter traction.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some shoppers might want to consider mobile installation—when technicians come to your home or business to replace tires. Tire Rack’s website lists mobile install services among its independent recommended installers. (Learn more about how to determine whether you need tires and how to address car maintenance during the pandemic.)

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