In the past, there was a clear distinction between premium and budget tires in terms of performance and durability. In other words, the “you get what you pay for” phrase was the golden rule when buying new tires. However, the line has blurred in recent years thanks to the push of budget-oriented manufacturers to produce better tires for the same price as before.
One of the companies that really stands out from the rest is General Tire, known for producing high-quality tires at lower prices than premium competitors such as Michelin, Bridgestone, Continental, and Goodyear. The AltiMAX RT43 is their grand-touring all-season offering that since the time it was introduced in 2013 has become a very popular alternative to the products of the previously mentioned premium companies.
The value aspect is certainly one of the reasons why the AltiMAX RT43 is very popular with buyers, but there’s also the fact that the tire is available in a wide range of sizes. Not a lot of grand-touring tires cover the 13-inch and 14-inch category like the RT43, while also covering the mammoth 20-inch wheels of sporty sedans and crossovers.
Yes, the AltiMAX RT43 is available in sizes ranging from 13- to 20-inches in diameter, 185mm to 245mm in width, and 70 to 45 in sidewall height. That’s one of the most comprehensive portfolios that covers a lot of subcompact cars, compact cars, mid-size sedans, family minivans, compact crossovers, mid-size crossovers, and even some sporty coupes.
Cars that are best-suited candidates for the AltiMAX RT43 are those that you drive daily or transport your family in. Vehicles like the Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Altima are prime candidates for sure, but also minivans like the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica, crossovers like the Jeep Patriot, Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, compact vehicles like the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Mazda 3, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta and Kia Spectra, and even sub-compact vehicles such as Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit. In other words, if you own a vehicle that’s not sporty or premium, chances are there is a size available.
What are the features of the General AltiMAX RT43?
According to General Tire, the AltiMAX RT43 is a grand-touring all-season tire that is a member of the AltiMAX family of flagship tires. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean that the price of the tire is on a flagship level – the AltiMAX RT43 is still much cheaper than grand-touring tires from premium manufacturers. Its main design goals are a quiet and comfortable ride, all-season traction, and enhanced and even treadwear for extended treadlife.
General Tire achieved that with the use of Low Surface Abrasion Technology, which reduces tread distortion as the tire rolls, resulting in less surface abrasion and prolonged treadlife. Then, the AltiMAX RT43 is equipped with Twin Cushion Silica Tread Compound, which is a combination of a high-density all-season compound on the top for better traction throughout the year, and low-density foundation compound that absorbs vibrations from the road and provides much better ride quality.
The advanced dual tread compound is molded into symmetric tread design with one continuous center rib and independent tread blocks. According to General, they were designed with sound wave suppression technology that reduces the noise while the tire is rolling. This is something that’s not often seen in grand-touring tires in this price range and is certainly welcome.
Wet handling is covered with the use of Anti-Slip Sipe Design Technology that increases the number of biting edges. This not only improves traction in wet conditions, but it also improves traction in light snow. Remember, the AltiMAX RT43 is an all-season tire after all.
Like most grand-touring tires, the internal construction of the AltiMAX RT43 consists of twin steel belts reinforced by two layers of spirally-wrapped polyamide for excellent high-speed stability, while the polyester cord body further enhances the ride quality in conjunction with the dual tread compound.
What are the maintenance indicators?
General Tire made sure that the owner of these tires knows when the time comes to replace them and they should be applauded for that, especially because other manufacturers in the price range don’t offer any indicators whatsoever and tell you to use the penny test.
The AltiMAX RT43 is equipped with Replacement Tire Monitor, that’s a proprietary General Tire technology. The RTM (Replacement Tire Monitor) provides the user with a warning when the tire is worn and has to be replaced. More precisely, the inscription “Replacement Tire Monitor” shows three times on the circumferential rib of the new tire. That means that the RT43 is completely new.
However, over time, some letters on the Replacement Tire Monitors will start to fade away. Just before the tread reaches the minimum tread depth indicated by the TWI (Tread Wear Indicator bars), the inscription will change to “Replace Tire.” And yes, you heard that right, the AltiMAX RT43 is also equipped with tread wear indicator bars like most premium tires.
On top of that, General even uses Visual Alignment Indicator (VAI), which shows if there’s a wheel misalignment. The VAI is represented three times in the circumference of the tire by two additional sipes (1.6mm tread depth) on the opposite shoulder blocks of the tire. If these sipes wear off differently (one side more than the other for example), it means that there is a potential misalignment of the wheels. This is also something that other companies don’t offer on their tires and is welcomed, especially because premature tire wear is often caused by misalignment.
The best thing about the AltiMAX RT43 is that you won’t need to replace the tires for a long time. Users report that they last really long, while General Tire covers the excellent treadlife with 75,000-mile treadwear warranty. Sure, some premium manufacturers offer an even better warranty, but the RT43 is one of the best in its price range.
Is it good for off-road driving?
The AltiMAX RT43 is designed to only be used on public roads. That doesn’t mean that off-road driving is out of the question. This tire can tackle some lighter terrain without a lot of mud or sand, and certainly without any big uphill sections. It can also work on gravel, provided that you drive carefully. That said, if you want a proper off-road-focused tire, you should look elsewhere – all-terrain tires are a good starting point.
How does it behave on dry tarmac?
The General AltiMAX RT43 is not the best tire in its category when it comes to handling, for sure. However, the tires that are better than the RT43 are often much more expensive. For the price, this tire offers excellent handling. Responsiveness is surprisingly good for a lower-priced product, especially on models with smaller sidewalls.
Traction is excellent, even on vehicles with more powerful engines, while the grip is on par with the best in the grand-touring category. In the braking test, the AltiMAX RT43 also performed very well – certainly better than most budget-oriented tires.
Overall, the AltiMAX RT43 does the job it was designed to do in dry conditions by providing a safe and reliable driving experience.
How is it over wet and slippery roads?
It’s the same story when it rains. The AltiMAX RT43 isn’t the best grand-touring tire for rainy conditions, but it’s one of the best in its price range. The tire resists hydroplaning very well, even in puddles of water. Traction is also very good in heavy rain and perhaps only slightly limited on damp surfaces. Nonetheless, we weren’t able to find any issues with grip in wet conditions, and the braking performance is top-notch. Overall, the RT43 is a very safe tire both in light and heavy rain.
With that being said, how is it in snowy roads?
Like with most all-season tires, the AltiMAX RT43 isn’t designed for severe winter weather. That said, it works in lighter snow by providing the driver with good traction and braking performance. In this regard, it is certainly one of the best grand-touring all-season tires right now. That said, it’s still not completely safe for winter driving as even moderate snow provides a big obstacle for the RT43. Suffice to say, you should replace these tires with winter ones if you live in areas with harsh winter conditions.
Is it comfortable and refined?
Of course, it is. This is one of the quietest and most comfortable tires you can put on your vehicle, even when compared to premium grand-touring tires. The ride quality is supremely smooth over smaller and bigger bumps, while noise is a non-issue at highway speeds.
You can see more General AltiMAX RT43 Review here: Video created by Michael C
Should I buy the General AltiMAX RT43?
Yes, you should buy the AltiMAX RT43 if you want a dependable all-season tire that works throughout the year, and one that is also comfortable and correctly priced. The RT43 is one of the best tires overall in the hotly contested grand-touring category, which is very high praise given its lower price point.
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