The tires that come on a new vehicle direct from the factory are known as original equipment (OE) or stock tires. Replacement tires are any other tire, which may be purchased thereafter. Replacement may be necessary due to wear or the age of OE tires. Or you may decide that you would like a new tire that delivers more of a particular feature.
An OE tire isn’t necessarily an average tire. Many new vehicles come with OE tires that are top-of-the-line, offering high performance handling and acceleration. And different models of the same vehicle can come with an entirely different brand or style of tire.
This is because automakers develop each model of vehicle with specific performance goals in mind—from fuel efficiency and wet traction, to ride comfort and dry handling. Putting an ill-suited tire on any vehicle can result in diminished results at the vehicle’s intended purpose.
Because vehicle manufacturers want to please their customers, they design vehicles with specific tires in mind to create optimal driver satisfaction. When you take a new vehicle for a test ride at a dealership, you should experience the ideal performance that vehicle offers—the suspension and tire perfectly complementing one another.
After you spend a considerable amount of time driving your new vehicle, you may decide that you’d like to take advantage of some alternative tire enhancements. These enhancements may include decreased rolling resistance, increased hydroplaning resistance, improved dry traction, longer treadwear, better ride comfort, and reduced road noise.
Finding a replacement tire with any of these benefits is as simple as browsing the features of the tires fitting for your vehicle. There are also guides you can use to learn more, and product reviews. Just know that choosing a tire is always a negotiation of options, because certain features may diminish others.
But if you’re happy with the OE tire on your vehicle, there’s no need to go with a different one. Check the sidewall for the embossed brand name and specs. You should be able to find a direct replacement online. Your owner’s manual may also offer recommendations on replacements.
In some instances it may be appropriate to replace only two tires at a time, but replacing the full set is strongly recommended. No matter which tire you select, the key to getting the best performance is always proper routine maintenance.