Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max Review: Improves Economy, but Struggles in Other Areas

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  • Reliable traction, handling, and braking on dry roads
  • Improves fuel economy by a significant margin when compared to regular tires
  • Very comfortable over smaller and larger imperfections
  • Long treadwear warranty
  • Doesn’t feel very responsive
  • Wet traction, handling, and braking are below average in the category
  • Snow traction and braking aren’t competitive to other all-season tires
  • There is a lot of road noise at highway speeds

Ever since the first hybrid vehicles launched, car manufacturers searched for ways to improve the fuel economy. Apart from designing these cars to be aerodynamically as slippery as possible, they also addressed to tire manufacturers for low-rolling-resistance tires.

Now, the savings a set of low-rolling-resistance tires will make aren’t significant, at least not in the short term. Nonetheless, the value of these tires increases the more you drive them.

Take the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max as an example. According to Goodyear, this passenger all-season tire will save the owner up to 2,600 miles of range throughout the lifetime of the tire. And, the lifetime of the tire is rated at 65,000-miles, the treadwear warranty that Goodyear provides.

The thing is most eco-focused tires that we tried before skimp in the performance department. To put it simply, you can’t make a tire that has less resistance when rolling without damaging traction and braking. It’s how physics work.

Still, some tire companies do a good job of delivering safe handling and braking for daily driving, while also lowering the rolling resistance. And, at least in my experience thus far, you can’t go wrong with tires from premium manufacturers, such as Goodyear.

That said, Goodyear announced the Assurance Fuel Max almost a decade ago as the OEM tire for the Chevrolet Volt. This means that the tire is pretty old by now – most of the competition already has newer products launched on the market.

Even worse, the Fuel Max comes from a time when low-rolling-resistance tires weren’t that impressive in how they performed on the road. Hybrid and electric vehicles from the era weren’t known for good handling, and tires like the Assurance Fuel Max were the main culprits.

So, does that mean that Goodyear’s eco-friendly tire doesn’t deserve the place on your rims? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for in a set of tires. Of course, you can find the answers in my detailed Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max review. Or, jump over to the conclusion, where you can find my TL;DR thoughts and advantages and disadvantages of the tire.

Before I start sharing my thoughts, though, let’s see what features Goodyear utilized in its eco-friendly all-season tire to make it viable for buyers.

The Assurance Fuel Max is a passenger all-season tire designed to fit compact cars, hybrids, mid-size sedans, minivans, and even some crossovers. And, according to Goodyear, the main quality of this tire is the advanced low-rolling-resistance technology.

However, given the fact that it’s over a decade old by now, the Fuel Max isn’t available in many sizes. You can still find popular dimensions online, but they usually range from 15-inch wheel diameter and up to 17-inch wheel diameter. If you have a crossover with 18-inch tires, you won’t be able to find a suitable size.

The main feature of the Assurance Fuel Max is the tread compound. Goodyear utilized rubber that was developed at the molecular level for lower rolling resistance, while also retaining usable traction and grip on various surfaces.

Overall, at least when the Assurance Fuel Max was new, the tire provided 27% less resistance, which improved fuel economy by 4% when compared to similar all-season tires from that era.

That doesn’t sound like much, but it still equates to savings of 2,600-miles worth of fuel after 65,000-miles are driven. Not bad, sure, but we can’t say how the Assurance Fuel Max compares to newer all-season tires with more modern low-rolling-resistance technologies.

Another unique feature of the Assurance Fuel Max is the tread pattern. Goodyear utilized two distinctive zones. The Dry Tread Zone features strong shoulder blocks for increased responsiveness and steering feel, and also for better highway stability and cornering capability.

The Wet Tread Zone, on the other hand, utilizes Dual Aquachannel grooves for better water evacuation and increased hydroplaning resistance. Normally, this tread zone also increases traction and improves braking in the rain.

Furthermore, the tread pattern also features a continuous notched center rib with circumferential shoulder grooves, which further improves stability over dry and wet roads, provides snow traction, and improves the treadlife.

The internal construction of the Assurance Fuel Max is standard for the passenger all-season category. The tire features twin steel belts on top of a polyester casing for better ride quality. Meanwhile, H-speed rated models also feature additional spirally-wrapped nylon for added high-speed capability.

What are the maintenance indicators?

Goodyear utilized the standard TWI’s (tread wear indicators) on the Assurance Fuel Max. These indicators let the driver monitor how much tread depth is left. That’s important – without sufficient tread depth, the tires won’t be able to provide good hydroplaning resistance, traction, and braking on wet roads.

On passenger all-season tires, the minimum tread depth for safe wet traction is considered 2/32-inch. Anything below that is deemed to be dangerous on wet roads, and especially extreme rainy conditions. Naturally, I recommend replacing the tires even before they reach this point, as snow traction will be long gone, and wet traction will be limited.

The TWI’s are narrow rubber bars built into the grooves of the tire. When the tire is new, the rubber bars are recessed into the grooves, but you can still see them upon close inspection. As the tire wears down, the TWI’s will become more visible. When the tread depth reaches 2/32-inch, the bars will be completely flush with the surface.

Fortunately, Goodyear provides a solid 65,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Assurance Fuel Max, especially for such an old tire. However, some newer competitors come with even better treadwear warranties.

Owners of the tire aren’t as impressed with the treadlife as the treadwear warranty might lead you to think, though. Still, you should get around four years of one set of tires between replacements, which is fine for the price.

How does it behave on a dry tarmac?

The Assurance Fuel Max won’t give you too much feel through the steering wheel, and it isn’t very responsive either. You simply can’t get engaged in driving with a set of these tires, especially on a twisty road.

That shouldn’t worry regular drivers, though. For daily driving, especially in urban scenarios, the tire performs admirably. The traction it provides is excellent for the category, and the cornering grip is above average. Moreover, the braking distances are sufficiently short for safe driving, and highway stability is excellent.

Overall, the Assurance Fuel Max is far from impressive in dry conditions, especially if you’re a spirited driver. Nonetheless, the tire at least provides a safe overall driving experience for typical driving situations.

How is it over wet and slippery roads?

The Assurance Fuel Max quickly starts to fall apart on wet roads. It’s not bad, especially when compared to some cheaper alternatives, but it’s far from the class-leading tires today. The tire definitely shows its age in wet conditions.

More accurately, the hydroplaning resistance is good, but the Fuel Max lacks enough usable traction. There is simply too much wheel spin when accelerating hard, and the cornering grip is below average. Moreover, the braking distances are longer than those of other premium tires.

With that being said, how is it on snowy roads?

Winter traction is another area where the Assurance Fuel Max suffers. You will get some traction over light snow, including good handling and braking at lower speeds.

However, more modern passenger all-season tires will provide you with much better snow traction, including usable traction over ice. For that reason, if you live in areas with harsh wintry conditions, you should avoid the Assurance Fuel Max.

Is it suitable for off-road driving?

Of course not! That was the last thing on the engineer’s minds when they designed the tire. Not only the Fuel Max lacks enough traction for proper off-roading, but the tread of the tire can also get easily damaged from sharp rocks.

Is it comfortable and refined?

Even though it’s over a decade old by now, the Assurance Fuel Max is still one of the most comfortable tires in the category. The ride quality is excellent on the highway, and it remains good when you hit a pothole.

Nevertheless, I can’t state the same about road noise. The Fuel Max is noisy on the highway, especially for a passenger all-season tire. The newer premium competition is much quieter on the road.

You can see more Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max Review here: Video created by GoodyearID

Should I buy the Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max?

The Assurance Fuel Max simply has too many compromises for an easy recommendation. Sure, it will save you money at the pump, but it falters in much more critical areas, such as wet and snow performance.

Goodyear’s own Assurance All-Season, ComforTred, and TripleTred tires are much better choices overall, especially if you care about performance and safety.

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