It’s pretty straightforward to choose tires for your passenger vehicle or light truck. All you need to do is to read some reviews online, find a tire that suits your driving needs, and purchase a set. Today, you can find information on almost every tire made for passenger cars and trucks, even some lesser-known models.
However, it’s completely different from semi-truck tires. For these products, it’s tough to find valuable information online. Instead, companies usually use the experience they gathered over the years, often exchanging between tires to see which work the best. Some companies even use different tires on different trucks to see which models work better.
Moreover, companies seek other qualities in these tires when compared to passenger-car tires. For example, instead of grip and traction, companies are interested in longevity, toughness, and rolling resistance first and foremost, and then with traction, grip, braking, and stability. In other words, these tires will be used for heavy-duty applications, where resilience and stamina are required.
The reason for this is simple – companies want tires that will save them money. That’s why purchasing cheap commercial truck tires isn’t always the most reliable thing to do. These tires might be cheap at first, but they might not last as long as premium tires. In the long run, some more expensive tires might prove to be more cost-effective.
Furthermore, cheaper tires might have higher rolling resistance, which might increase fuel consumption from 1-2%. This can have a great impact on the fuel consumption of a fleet of semi-trucks, which is why the best commercial truck tires must have excellent eco-credentials.
Now, of course, there is an increasing number of excellent budget-friendly tires that will last for a long time, and also reduce the fuel consumption of your fleet. That is, of course, if you can find those models.
Fortunately, you arrived just in the right place to find about the best semi truck tires. To help you identify the best tires for your fleet, we created a list of the ten best tire brands for commercial trucks. Inside each brand, we will identify the best tires for the steering axle, best drive tires for semi-truck, and best trailer tires for semi-truck.
For those that don’t understand commercial truck tires, we also created a detailed buying guide. In the buying guide, you can learn everything there is to know about these products, and what things you need to pay attention to.
- The 10 Best Semi-Truck Tires Available in 2020
- Buying Guide For Commercial Truck Tires in 2020
- Final Words
The 10 Best Semi-Truck Tires Available in 2020
1. Michelin Commercial Tires
Michelin is by far the best-known commercial tire company – you can find these tires on trucks even in the most remote places on earth.
Their tires offer a successful mix of toughness, outstanding treadlife, excellent performance in dry and wet conditions, low-rolling resistance for less fuel consumption. If you mostly use Michelin’s tires on paved roads, they will probably have the longest treadlife of any other competitor in the segment. Their best models are:
Michelin X Line Energy Z - Steer Tire
For steer tires, from Michelin’s commercial lineup, we recommend the X Line Energy Z. This tire offers plush ride quality, while also providing the driver with excellent grip in the corners and great steering feel. Moreover, the X Line Energy Z is exceptionally durable – we’ve heard companies getting up to 200,000-miles of treadlife, which is certainly impressive.
Michelin X Line Energy D - Drive Tire
For drive tires, we recommend the X Line Energy D, a tire that not only provides excellent grip over dry tarmac, but it also works outstandingly well over rainy and snowy surfaces. Moreover, you can expect better fuel efficiency, despite the exceptional overall performance. The X Line Energy D is one of the toughest truck tires you can get – some examples exceed 400,000-miles of treadlife.
2. Bridgestone Commercial Tires
Bridgestone is the closest competitor to Michelin in terms of quality, durability, performance, and price. In our opinion, Michelin and Bridgestone are so closely matched that it’s tough to recommend one over the other. That said, we’ve heard that Bridgestone tires last a tad longer when driven over uneven surfaces, such as dirt and gravel. Their best models are:
Bridgestone R284 Ecopia - Steer Tire
For steer tires, the best Bridgestone truck tire is the R284 Ecopia. This tire has the best low-rolling-resistance technology around and can make great savings to your company. Moreover, the tire offers exceptional grip and steering precision over dry and wet surfaces. Companies are getting around 150,000-miles of this tire, which is certainly impressive.
Bridgestone M726 ELA - Drive Tire
For drive tires, we recommend the M726 ELA, largely due to its outstanding durability. We’ve heard companies getting over 400,000-miles of these tires, a pretty significant number indeed. Moreover, the deep tread of the M726 provides the driver with excellent traction on wet and snowy surfaces and even mud.
Bridgestone R197 - Trailer Tire
For trailer tires, the best Bridgestone product is the R197. This tire provides the driver with an excellent performance overall, great hauling capabilities, low-rolling-resistance technology, and outstanding treadlife, even when used over uneven surfaces.
3. Continental Truck Tires
Continental is another company that has a great foothold on the commercial truck tire market. Their products are known for outstanding performance, especially in foul weather, but also excellent treadlife, fair pricing, and ground-breaking fuel economy ratings.
Continental HS3 - Steering Tire
For steer tire, we recommend the Continental HS3 family of tires. We’ve heard that these tires perform outstandingly well on dry and wet roads, as well as over snow, dirt, and gravel. Moreover, you should get around 150,000-miles of these tires, which is up there with the best in the category.
Continental HDL2 - Drive Tire
For a drive tire, we recommend the HDL2 tire. This product has a deep and aggressive tread pattern, which works outstandingly well over wet and snowy surfaces. Furthermore, the HDL2 has excellent low-rolling resistance for better fuel economy, while the treadlife sits at around 350,000-miles.
Continental HT3 EcoPlus - Trailer Tire
Finally, the HT3 EcoPlus is the best trailer tire from Continental, and also one of the best trailer tires overall. The biggest reason why is the outstanding toughness of the HT3 – this tire can withstand a lot of weight on its shoulders. Companies report a treadlife of around 200,000-miles, which is impressive for a trailer tire.
4. Pirelli Commercial Tires
You might know Pirelli primarily for their high-performance car tires, but they also produce outstanding truck tires. Their best models are:
Pirelli H89 Plus - Long Haul Steer Tire
From their lineup of commercial tires, the H89 Plus is the best steering tire. Companies get around 150,000-miles of this tire, primarily thanks to the tread pattern with stone-retention, which doesn’t let debris get into the tire.
Pirelli H89 Drive plus - Drive Tire
For drive tire, the H89 Drive Plus is an excellent option – the tire works outstandingly well over dry, wet, snowy, and icy surfaces. The H89 Drive Plus also provides the driver with a smooth ride, while companies will be happy to hear about the 320,000-miles treadlife.
Pirelli H89 Trailer - Trailer Application
Finally, the H89 trailer tire brings outstanding sidewall toughness and exceptional treadlife to the mix, which makes it an outstanding option for companies that want to maximize the investment.
5. Goodyear Commercial Tires
Goodyear had some problems with their commercial tire lineup in the past, but today they are back in the game. Just be sure to purchase one of its “G” series tires, as other products aren’t as good. The best thing about Goodyear commercial tires is that they can take up to three retreads, just like Michelin tires.
Goodyear Marathon LHS - Steering Tire
For the steering axle, we recommend the Marathon LHS, a tire that provides excellent performance, uniform wear, and great fuel efficiency.
Goodyear G572 Fuel Max - Drive Tire
For the drive axle, we recommend the Goodyear G572 Fuel Max tire, which brings one of the best low-rolling-resistance technologies on the market. Moreover, this tire has a premium enhanced casing that ensures outstanding treadlife, and highly-siped grooves for outstanding dry and snow traction.
Goodyear Fuel Max SST - Trailer Tire
For the trailer, the Fuel Max SST offers an outstanding combination of performance, durability, and fuel consumption. This tire also comes with Puncture Sealing Technology for peace of mind.
6. Cooper Roadmaster Tires
Cooper’s Roadmaster lineup of tires is the best among the budget-friendly offerings, in our opinion. These tires offer outstanding durability and treadlife, excellent performance, exceptional fuel efficiency, and outstanding support in the U.S.
Cooper Roadmaster RM832 EM - Steer Tire
From their lineup, we recommend the Roadmaster RM832 EM steer tire for its excellent fuel efficiency, great performance, and outstanding durability with stone protector ledges.
Cooper Roadmaster RM852 EM - Drive Tire
The RM852 EM, on the other hand, is the best option for the drive axle. Thanks to the 3-D micro-gauge siping, this tire performs outstandingly well over wet and snowy surfaces. Moreover, the RM852 lowers fuel consumption on any truck.
Cooper Roadmaster RM872 EM - Trailer Tire
Finally, the RM872 EM provides reliable and long-lasting performance for long-hauling trailers.
7. Yokohama Commercial Tires
Yokohama is another company that offers budget-friendly commercial tires without sacrificing overall performance.
Yokohama 101ZL Spec-2 - Steering Tire
From their lineup, the 101ZL Spec-2 provides excellent performance, impressive treadlife, and remarkable fuel efficiency for the steering axle.
Yokohama 709ZL - Drive Tire
The 709ZL, on the other hand, offers outstanding treadlife, optimized fuel-efficiency, and exceptional mileage, despite costing a lot less than the competition. Yokohama even covers this tire with a 7-year warranty.
Yokohama BluEarth 109L - Trailer Tire
Finally, the BluEarth 109L brings excellent fuel-efficiency for the trailer axles, without skimping on load ratings and stability.
8. BFGoodrich Truck Tires
BFGoodrich is a company under the umbrella of Michelin that focuses on lower-cost commercial tires, but one that still offers compelling products for transportation companies. BFGoodrich provides a 5-year warranty to all of its truck tires.
From BFGoodrich’s lineup, we single out the BFGoodrich Highway Control S for the steer axle. This tire provides safe drive over slippery surfaces, enhanced fuel economy, and long treadlife. For the driven axle, we recommend the DR454 for its excellent dry and wet traction, as well as fuel-saving properties.
Finally, BFGoodrich’s Highway Control T trailer tire provides even wear, long treadlife, and outstanding fuel efficiency.
9. Toyo Commercial Tires
Toyo is a Japanese company that focuses on offering great value to its customers. Their tires are known for the low prices, but also durability, performance, and fuel-efficiency.
From Toyo’s lineup of commercial tires, the M177 steer tire, the M647 drive tire, and M157 trailer tire all offer excellent treadlife, good fuel efficiency, and tough casings for hauling weighty cargo.
10. General Tire Commercial Truck Tires
General Tire is an American company that focuses on offering durable and great-performing truck tires at lower price points than the premium competition. Despite the low price, many companies are delighted with the durability and cost-effectiveness in the long run.
From their lineup, we single out the General HS steer tire, General HD drive tire, and General HT trailer tire. These products offer excellent performance over various conditions, including rain and snow, tough casings for hauling heavy cargo, even wear, exceptional treadlife, and improved fuel-efficiency.
Buying Guide For Commercial Truck Tires in 2020
1. Features of Commercial Truck Tires
Commercial truck tires are different from passenger-car or light-truck tires in many ways. Here, instead of comfort and performance, the focus is on durability, cost-effectiveness, fuel, consumption, and stability. Here, instead of driving experience, companies often look at the numbers.
However, there are also intangibles that can completely change the experience of owning these tires, such as warranty and technical support. These things often brake or make a truck tire brand, which is why many well-known companies from the passenger-car world can’t succeed as easily in the truck world.
Let’s have a look at each thing you need to consider when purchasing commercial truck tires.
Quality and Durability
The thing that most affects purchasing decisions is quality and durability. Tires that last longer are the most cost-effective, especially for a larger fleet of tires.
Moreover, tough tires are essential for trucks that are driven over uneven terrains, especially dirt and gravel. This happens mostly for trucks that are used for mining and oil, but any truck can come across uneven roads.
When it comes to durability, the most important thing is the tread of the tire. This is the part of the tire that touches the ground. Over time, the tread wears down, which hurts the overall performance of the tire, especially over wet and snowy surfaces. When there is no sufficient tread, the tire becomes useless.
The sooner the tread wears down, the less cost-effective the tire is. In other words, the frequency of changing the tires will be more common. For maximum cost-effectiveness, in the long run, you should look for tires with a long treadlife.
Today, almost every truck tire has some sort of low-rolling-resistance technology. As a result of that, less force is required from the engine to keep the truck at speed. Usually, these tires will give you fuel savings of up to 3%, which is certainly not insignificant when you consider a fleet of tires.
The thing is, some lower-quality tires offer low-rolling resistance at the expense of performance. Typically, tires with better low-rolling-resistance have lower levels of grip and traction, especially over slippery surfaces.
That being said, premium tire manufacturers offer the best combination of fuel efficiency and performance in their products.
Performance might not be the first thing that comes on the company’s mind, but this is still crucial for a reliable fleet. High-quality tires usually have better traction, higher levels of grip, and much better stability at higher speeds.
As a result of that, these tires will reduce the number of accidents with the trucks. Of course, good tires can save the lives of truckers, but also limit the spending associated with the accidents. Moreover, with tires that perform excellently on the road, the goods in the trailer will be much safer.
So, don’t skimp on performance. You might not be the one to drive on these tires but think of all the drivers that spend half of their lives on the road. We believe that they deserve a safe and reliable set of tires.
Warranty, Maintenance, and Retreadability
An extended warranty can save you a lot of money down the road. Many premium manufacturers cover their semi truck tires with extended warranties, often covering up to three retreads of the tire and multiple types of defects.
Because of that, we recommend closely reading the warranty information on each commercial truck tire you are thinking about purchasing. Some manufacturers might offer more extended warranties, but they won’t cover retreads.
But what is retreading? It’s a process of replacing the tread of the tire with a new one. Typically, the tread of truck tires is the first to wear down, especially compared to the sidewalls, which can last for a very long time.
Installing a new tread on your fleet tires is much cheaper than purchasing new tires. And, if the job is done at an authorized service, the new tread should last as long as the one that came from the factory.
That being said, if the retreading isn’t done correctly, the tires won’t last as long. Moreover, in this case, the tires might be hazardous to drive, as the tread might entirely fall off the tire.
Each truck commercial tire manufacturer has technical support, but the quality of the assistance varies between manufacturers. For peace of mind, we recommend choosing tire manufacturers that offer full retreadability for the whole lifecycle of the tire, repair of defects, excellent workmanship, and regular tire inspection.
Moreover, good technical support will give you advice on how to use their products in order to limit treadwear and maximize performance. You should feel like the tire manufacturer is working with you and helping you maximize profitability. Premium tire companies usually have outstanding technical support, but their products are also much more expensive.
2. How to Maintain Commercial Truck Tires Properly
Commercial truck tires are often subjected to hefty loads, which is why they should be regularly inspected for even the smallest defects. Here is every step you need to do before hitting the road:
- Check the pressure when the tires are cold before you hit the road. Improperly pressurized tires will wear down faster, and they will not provide the driver with the best possible stability.
- Inspect the tires for cracks, chips, gouges, and treadwear before each trip. That way, you will ensure that the driver and goods are safe.
- Repair, retread, or replace tires that don’t meet FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Compliance and CSA regulations. If not, FMCSA can assign eight penalty points for separation between the tread and sidewall, or a tire with an audible leak. FMCSA can also give three penalty points for exceeding the weight rating of the tire, or if the tires are underinflated.
- Rotate the tires regularly to limit uneven treadwear.
- Wash the tires and the wheels to remove debris and elongate the life of the tire.
- Exercise good driving habits! Respecting the speed limits not only makes driving safer, but it also extends the treadlife of truck tires.
3. Sidewall Markings and Treadwear Indicators
Each commercial truck tire has sidewall markings that show the dimensions of the product, maximum load ratings, load index and speed rating, treadwear, traction, and temperature grades, internal composition of the tire, U.S. DOT safety standard code, reinforced marking (if any), and ECE type approval mark and number.
Most tire manufacturers also employ treadwear indicators on the tread of the tire, which can visually show the tire technician when the tread is worn down to very low levels. When the treadwear indicators are apparent, it means that you should either retread the tire or replace it with a new one.
4. Commercial Truck Tire Recycling
Tire rubber usually takes from 50-80 years to decompose naturally. That’s why, when you can’t use the truck tires anymore, it’s best to give them for recycling. That way, you will limit the impact on the environment but also save money. Later, the same rubber can be used for the production of asphalt, floor mats, soil additives (mulch), and artificial grass (AstroTurf).
Purchasing truck tires often takes time and a lot of research. Choosing the wrong tires for your fleet can often result in loss of money, so be sure that you buy the right tires for the needs of your fleet.
We are confident that the tires we provided in our Top 10 list will provide you with reliable and durable performance, and especially that they will save you money in the long run.
Nevertheless, it’s always best to try the products on a part of the fleet, since some tires work better in said environments than others.
In the end, be sure that you regularly inspect and maintain your tires, as that is a big part of making them last longer!