When faced with picking new tires for your car, there are a couple of obvious question to ask yourself: Why would I want anything other than the same tire that's already on my car? Didn’t the manufacturer choose the best tires when it designed my car?

Sure, the tires that came on your new car might have been designed specifically for it. Car manufacturers, for instance, might specify a fuel-efficient tire with good wet grip and that doesn’t bellow road noise into the passenger cabin—but treadwear and snow traction might not be high priorities. There are always trade-offs.

That's where replacement tires can shine, many claiming long treadwear and good all-season grip. Or perhaps you want something that has better cornering feel but that won’t last as long.

Regardless of which brand of tire you choose, be sure to replace your tires with the same size and speed rating as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. You'll typically find this information on a driver's doorjamb placard. For more information on the tires that came with your car, consult your owner's manual. (Check our tire pressure gauge buying guide.)

Replacing tires is a good opportunity to fine-tune your car to your own preferences. A good tire dealer will know local roads and conditions, and will ask you questions: What kind of driving do you do? Where do you drive on vacation? What aspects—ride, handling response, fuel economy, or long tire life—are most important to you?

With this information, your dealer can help you find a tire that will improve the way your car drives—or, more specifically, make it drive more like the way you want it to. And check Consumer Reports tire Ratings for our latest test results to see whether that tire is worth your hard-earned money.

Check our tire brand guides for Bridgestone, Continental, Cooper, Firestone, Goodyear, Michelin, Nitto, Pirelli, Toyo, and Yokohama.