There is a wide variety of tire types out there to suit any driver’s needs. For most people, though, a huge concern is how the tire rides. Here we’ve compiled a shortlist of 3 of the best tires that strike the perfect balance between comfort and noise level.
Figure 1: Tires can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and noise level. Source: Fitment Industries
Buying tires is one of the most important things a car owner can do. It is also one of the most often overlooked. The right set of tires can do wonders for your car’s handling and safety. There are different tire types for performance, inclement weather conditions, and overall speed.
With so many options in the field, finding the best tire for comfort and noise is no simple matter. Luckily, that’s what this post today is all about.
What Makes a Great Tire for Comfort and Noise?
There are a few factors that lead to great feeling tires that don’t create a high-pitched whine or change tone at different speeds.
The first factor is a varied tread shape. The treads on a tire will directly contribute to the noise that they make. Because of this, the tread should contain different shaped blocks that are positioned on different parts of the surface. This will lead to a more even distribution of pitches as the tires run along the road. You will not be getting a constant pitch that can become more noticeable over time.
Another factor that determines the comfort level of a tire is its age. No matter how well you take care of them, they are going to start to show signs of wear that can affect the sound as you’re driving.
“Something that happens to tires over time is that they go through heat cycles,” says EricTheCarGuy. “During those heat cycles…they get hot, they get cold, and as a result, the rubber starts to get a little bit harder.” Because of these heat cycles, tires can go from being sticky and soft to harder and more likely to transfer energy into the car.
Rolling resistance is perhaps the biggest contributing factor when looking for the best tire for comfort and noise. Rolling resistance is the amount of force necessary to move a tire over a surface.
A tire with a low rolling resistance coefficient will move easier over the road than a tire with a low rolling resistance. It will require less force to get the wheels rolling and will be a smoother, more comfortable ride. This is why tires with lower rolling resistance can raise their fuel economy by up to 10%.
Figure 2: The smaller a rolling resistance coefficient is, the more efficient a tire will be in distributing the force. Source: Engineeringtoolbox.com.
How Did We Pick the Best Tires for Comfort and Noise?
The tires on our shortlist have exceptionally varied tread shapes and have some of the lowest rolling resistance on the market. These tires are not all going to be ideal for hazardous conditions, though. If you live in an area that has a lot of inclement weather, these might not be your best choice.
Figure 3: All-season tires tend to be slightly noisier, but many of them have included features that help mitigate this problem. Source: Nestlords.com.
All of these tires are going to run between $100 and $250 depending on retail. If you need the best tire for comfort and noise, you are not going to want to go for the cheapest option. Finding a good quality tire might cost a little more. Fortunately, just like with many things on your car, tires can be looked at as an investment. Spending a little bit more up front could save you some serious cash in the long run.
Not all tires are created equal, of course. Just because a tire is a little bit less expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it will be of a lower quality. The point is to find a tire that will work best for your car, your driving style, and the type of driving that you usually do.
That being said, our list has taken all of the above into consideration. Each one of them is an exceptionally comfortable and quiet tire that will be a good choice for a wide variety of applications. By knowing what goes into designing them and the reasoning behind the features, you can be sure you’re choosing the best tires for comfort and noise.
Figure 4: P245/45R19 model of the Goodyear Eagle RS-A2. Source: Goodyear.com.
The Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 is an all-weather tire known for its steering responsiveness and comfort on the road. They are meant to be used in all kinds of conditions and come stock on many new domestic cars and trucks. Because of this, they will be perfect for general use.
Figure 5: A 9.6-inch section width is a great choice for maximizing the surface area of the tire. Source: Goodyear.com.
These tires come with a relatively low tread depth. Most new tires have a tread depth of 10/32” or 11/32”. The Goodyear Eagle RS-A2’s come stock with the former. This gives them a lower rolling resistance right off the bat that will automatically give you a quieter ride.
The section width is another contributing factor to the smooth ride these tires offer. With a 9.6-inch width, they have a wider surface area that can grip more of the road. This allows for smoother handling and a “road hug” that will keep more of the tire touching the asphalt at any given time.
The Eagle RS-A2’s also come with wide circumferential grooves. These grooves sit in the middle of the tire and are the deepest area in the entire tread pattern. The wider these grooves are, the better they are going to be able to handle things like water, snow and ice. They create lateral edges that bite into the surface instead of slipping over it.
Figure 6: Silica disbursement helps create a lower rolling resistance. Source: Bridgestone.com.
These Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus tires are another great choice for all-season touring tires. They have been outfitted with Bridgestone NanoPro-Tech molecule design. This unique proprietary blend allows them to be harder than average tires rolling right out of the shop.
By using a process to disperse silica into the rubber, these tires are going to have a lower rolling resistance. As we know, this is ideal for people who want the quietest ride. It has also proven to be more fuel efficient and better performing in wet conditions.
Bridgestone has developed a formula to make sure the silica is evenly dispersed into the rubber. This formula allows the rubber molecules to bind with the silica instead of mixing with it. This is a key step that can offer not only improved handling and a quieter ride, but also a much better wear life of the tire.
Figure 7: Notice the deep 11/32” tread depth. Source: Bridgestone.com.
The lower rolling resistance is also helped by a deeper tread depth. Coming in at 11/32”, the deep treads help make up for any traction that may be lost by the lower resistance. Some models of this tire are available with a 12/32” tread depth for even more grip on wet or icy surfaces.
The feature that makes this tire one of the best tires for comfort and noise is the RENOA silencer grooves. These grooves are specifically tuned to be quiet at any speed. They trap sound before it has a chance to leave the tire tread, making them incredibly effective at dampening road noise. This kind of material technology is one of the best new innovations in tire design.
Figure 8: Classic sculpting with a new twist on the compound. Source: Michelin.com.
These Michelin Defender LTX tires boast the ultimate amount of tread life and durability. The compound that this tire is made up of has been designed to take abuse in all kinds of conditions. This means that they will ride smooth for longer even if your town doesn’t have the best roads or if you are a heavy-duty driver.
A tire expert at Michelin told us, “the Evertread compound gives them at least a 10% longer life in serious conditions. The Defenders also have a low rolling resistance that can save you 65 gallons of fuel spread out over the entire life of the tire.”
The sculpture of the Defender LTX is the same as previous incarnations of this tire. However, the difference lies in the Evertread compound. Michelin has taken an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to their design. Their time-tested, asymmetrical mold has been working for years, so they aren’t about to change up a good thing.
When looking for the best tire for comfort and noise, you should always think about a warranty. Michelin offers a 70,000-mile warranty for the Defenders. That should give you some peace of mind that you’re getting a tire that will hold up to even the most severe road conditions.
Sources: Michelin.com; interview with Michelin tire expert conducted 10/12/20.