When it comes to buying car tires, the option is not as simple as looking out of your house window, checking the weather, determining what season it is, and then cracking on shopping for new pneumatics.
The same is also true for SUVs, trucks, and other heavy vehicles. (In fact, it’s even more important for these types of vehicles, because traction plays a major role in how well these will handle on the road.)
More often than not, getting the proper type of tire for your vehicle is a process that demands you to do a lot of homework, lest you end up with four large rotund objects that you don’t know what to do with.
Imagine buying a brand-new expensive set of tires only to discover that you’ve bought yourself winter pneumatics, while on the calendar on the wall it clearly says ‘July’.
Easy mistake to make for a rookie, but if you don’t want to waste your time and money returning the new tires and getting the proper ones, you may want to look into the exquisite details of car tires and what kinds of them are available on the market.
In this article, we’re going to talk about tires that are made in the USA, or that at least can be made in other countries, too, provided the manufacturers have provided the said nation with a license.
Also, we will venture to answer some of the most frequently asked questions in this category, so you can have a clearer idea of what you’re getting into when buying a new set of tires.
Here’s the deal.
Our Favorite American Tire
Best American Tire – A List of Products
1) Carlisle – Radial Trail
- Excellent heat-resistance on the road
- Best used for trailers
- The load capacity of up to 2,150 pounds
- Complex tread wear for a better grip while driving
- Using these tires for purposes other than for fitting them on a trailer (setting them up on a passenger car, for example)
- The appearance may look a tad plain to some people
Thanks to its improved tread wear, this tire from Carlisle will be able to withstand rough conditions such as those involving plenty of snow, ice, hail, as well as stray tacks, nails, or glass shards on the tarmac – with ease.
Of course, given enough time and abuse, even the toughest tire will eventually start showing some signs of wear ‘n’ tear, but thanks to the reinforced tread wear rate of this model, you can rest assured that this tire will serve you well for many seasons to come. (Provided you take good care of it, that is.)
Also, if you happen to be living in a hot climate, setting up a set of these tires on your car will likely spare you a lot of effort regarding maintenance, because the folks at Carlisle have made sure that this tire model is heat-resistant. So, these tire will outlast the majority of other tires out there on the market, all thanks to their excellent longevity and heat-‘tackling’ properties.
Last but not least, we should point out that this particular model is a trailer tire, meaning it is only suitable for trailers. The load capacity amounts to 2,150 pounds.
2) Nitto – Ridge Grappler Al-Season Radial Tire
- Reduced tread flex
- Stone rejectors are there to protect the tire against stone drilling
- Excellent off-road grip thanks to staggered shoulder legs
- Can withstand up to 3,970 pounds of pressure
- More of an off-road and heavy-vehicle friendly option (that means it’s not that great for open roads where it’s a great many treads can’t be put in action.)
- Some potential customer may not like the design of this tire
Although this manufacturer comes from Japan as opposed to the US, we’ve still included it on this list because this company also hires workers from the S and has its production facilities in this country.
Capable of withstanding a whopping 3,970 pounds of pressure, these tires are an excellent solution for an owner of a large SUV-like vehicle, where stability and good grip are of utmost importance. (And load capacity, too, of course.)
Stone rejectors, in particular, are one of the characteristics that make these tire as popular as they are. Thanks to these, you can rest assured that the possibility of stones drilling into your tires is far less likely with these tires on your car’s wheels than if the tire you bought didn’t have any.
3) Mickey Thompson – Mud Terrain Redial Tire
- A single tire can support a load of up to 3,195 pounds
- Reduced heat buildup
- Enhanced cut and chip protection
- Comes with a special four-chip side biter pattern (responsible for excellent traction and stability on the road)
- These tires give your car a cool and aggressive look
- Some vehicle owners may not appreciate the appearance of these tires
- Only suitable for SUVs, pickup trucks, and other similar large vehicles
Capable of withstanding loads of up to 3,195 pounds, these tires from the Mickey Thompson company represent one of the best examples of how a tire can make an off-road vehicle even tougher than it previously was.
To make sure that their tires last a long time, the folks at Mickey Thompson have made sure that they are well-protected against chips and cuts, which can thin out the protective layer of the tire or even cause a blowout if you’re not careful. With this model, however, the likelihood of that ever happening has been brought to a minimum.
The pattern on this tire is a story in itself. The name that the folks at Mickey Thompson decided to go for is ‘Four-Pitch Side Biter’, which gives these tires a fantastic grip both on and off the road. What’s more, it gives the vehicle they’re on a uniquely aggressive look that is bound to increase the ‘cool factor’ of your car or SUV or pickup – no doubt about it.
The Most Prominent American-Made Tire Brands
Although originally an Irish brand, Dunlop is a company that has become a part of the Goodyear corporation since, meaning that its tires are nowadays manufactured in the US.
If you’re wondering about the name Dunlop, it’s the last name of the inventor of an air-filled tire, a bloke called John Boyd Dunlop. In a way, this brand has the luxury and prestige to boast the name of the inventor of an entirely new breed of tires for themselves.But their tire-making prowess doesn’t end there.
When it comes to the sort of tires this company makes, you can count in models for regular passenger cars, SUVs and trucks, motorcycles, and even those little go-karts.
Speaking of Dunlop, we cannot omit to mention the Goodyear tire company, which owns Dunlop, as well as two other subsidiary brands.
This year, the Goodyear company will have existed for something like a hundred and thirty years, which is a lifespan worthy of admiration, so to speak. What we also must mention here is that Goodyear represents one of the biggest tire-making businesses in the world, as well, so it would not be an exaggeration to say that this company has reached the ranking of a global business.
As far as the types of tires they manufacture, you can count in everything from passenger car tires to light trucks, heavy trucks, and SUV’s, all the way to those special tires for racing cars.
With a history that’s more than a hundred years old, Cooper tires represent one of the oldest tire manufacturers in the US, assuming the spot number 5 on the list of the most prominent tire makers in America.
Cooper tires are well-known for their reliability, excellent performance on the road, as well as their affordability.
The types of tire this company makes include everything from regular passenger car tires to trucks and racecars.
Hoosier is a company with an interesting history. In the 1950s, a racing driver called Bob Newton had enough of regular tires, which impaired his performance, so he decided to make the tires he needed – himself. With the help of his wife Joyce, Newton started a company that would only produce high-quality tires for race drivers.
Today, the mission of this business remains unchanged.
Hoosier is still very much a business dedicated to making excellent racing tires. Some of the categories of their tires include asphalt tires, dirt racing tires, as well as many other different models dedicated to various forms of racing. (The dimensions of the tires wary considerably, the composition varies, and so on.)
Other Non-US Brands…
that do, nevertheless, have their production facilities in this country would include such global tire manufacturing giants as Michelin, Pirelli, Yokohama, and many others.
While these businesses didn’t start in the USA, they do currently have their facilities in America and employ American people, so if one of the motives for buying a particular sort of tire happens to be economic patriotism, you’ll be helping the US economy by either going for US brands or one of the other non-US brands, but which work and operate within the US.
Tire Buyer’s Guide
While no tire, no matter how well-developed, will ever be completely impervious to the detrimental effects of heat on tires, one thing is for sure – the more heat resistance a tire has, the easier it can tackle rough terrain in hot climates. (Also, the more it will last, overall speaking.)
So, if you happen to live in hot climates or just any sort of climate with a fair share of hot days within a year, you may want to look at the heat-resistance factor of the tire you’re looking to buy.
While the quality of the build of the chassis and other parts of your car does play a role in how much cargo the car will be able to carry, you should never underestimate the importance of proper tires in this category.
For example, if you were to buy a brand-new pickup truck, and at some point decide it’s time for new tires, you will have to buy a set with the same or higher load capacity to ensure that you will be able to transport the amount of cargo you’re used to.
If you fail to do this, you may experience a tire blowout or even damage some other parts of your cargo from over-encumbering it without proper support.
To get the most accurate information when it comes to how much load a tire you’re considering buying can take, be sure to consult a tire load index chart, where tires are separated into categories depending on how much load they can take on.
There are four main types of tire patterns – symmetrical, directional, asymmetrical, and then directional/asymmetrical.
The symmetrical type, as its name suggests, has the same type of grooves and lugs as the across the entire surface of the tire. The directional type, on the other hand, feature groves that all point to one direction, and their main purpose is hydroplaning. (Comes in handy during heavy rainfall, for example.)
The 3rd type is the asymmetrical tire, which combines the elements of the symmetrical tire with the directional ones – to be able to perform well on both dry and wet surfaces.
Last but not least, there’s the directional/asymmetrical tire, which allows you to both get rid of excess water underneath your wheels and ensure a firm grip on dry surfaces, thanks to their chaotic asymmetrical side, so to speak.
Simply put, tread wear represents the process of decay of a tire’s outer surface depending on how much pressure is applied to it and whether the tire is underinflated or overinflated.
Of course, even if the tires are optimally inflated at all times, they will still show signs of wear sooner or later, but it’s how much air is in them that will determine at what rate this will start happening.
Some tire-making companies advertise a special sort of tire that has been made out of some materials that will dramatically reduce tread wear.
So, if you’re looking for longevity in your tires over everything else, getting one of those models that have been optimized for slow tread decay can be a great idea.
One other important characteristic of a tire would be its durability.
Assuming you’re taking good care of your tires regularly, they can last you up to ten years, unless, of course, their quality of build is not that good.
The thing is, tires come in all shapes, sizes, and uses, so a high-quality racing tire can only last for half an hour in a race, and it then needs to be replaced in a pit stop, as they do in Formula 1 races.
On the other hand, a well-made passenger car tire can last for years, provided the weather isn’t too harsh to it. Typically, the recommended approach to expanding the lifecycle of your tires is to have two sets – one for warm weather and the other for hot weather.
Also, looking to buy tires from well-established brands can be a great way to ensure they will last longer than a cheaper tire you bought for its price.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What brand of tires should I stay away from?
While it would be difficult to say precisely what sort of tires you need to avoid regarding your vehicle, some tire brands have been getting quite a bad reputation in the last couple of years.
Some brands such as Westlake Tires or AKS Tires have their tire made in China, which does make them cheaper than the local brands, but it also means the quality is considerably lower, too.
Of course, not all Chinese tire brands make bad tires, but typically American companies that make their tires in China are to be avoided because cheaper production costs typically also mean lower quality of the build.
2) Are Michelin tires made in America?
Yes, they are.
Although originally a French company, Michelin has its production facilities around the world and the US is one of the countries where tires are made by local workers.
3) Are Walmart tires good?
Typically, the tires you can find in Walmart won’t be the highest-quality tires that a company who makes them is capable of making, so to speak.
That said, this doesn’t mean that all tires in Walmart are of bad quality. There are some decent brands sold in Walmart such as Douglas (made by Goodyear), but these are usually based models sold at a lower price.
If you want high-quality tires, you might be better off ordering them online or arranging visiting a tire store of a particular brand you’re interested in.
4) Which brand of tires last the longest?
Of all tires, the ones that are labeled ‘all-season’ tend to be the toughest because they’re built to work in both hot and cold weather.
Many brands are manufacturing such tires and some of the most prominent ones for the US market would include companies such as Goodyear, Cooper, Michelin, Continental, among the others.
5) Which tire is better, Cooper or General?
Representing probably two of the most popular all-terrain tire brands on the US market, Cooper and General share many of the important characteristics such as dry and off-road traction.
That said, Cooper tires tend to perform a bit better on wet terrain and in corners, while General tire does better in the winter and has slightly better tread longevity.
So, depending on what characteristics you require of your car tire, both of these brands can be an interesting solution.
All in all, the quality of the tires you buy for your car is one of the things that you cannot afford to ignore. For folks interested in buying American-produced tires, luckily there are a couple of strong brands that you can rely on at all times. We hope you learned more about American-produced tires in this article and we wish you a hassle-free purchase.