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High Speed Rated Tires

In the same way that many standard cars, pickups, and SUVs come with passenger and low profile tires, many of the same vehicles also use higher speed rated tires. We have an article on speed rated tires in our Tires 101 section, but to summarize here: The rule of thumb is this: the higher the speed rating, the faster the tire will stop, the better it will corner, the faster it will wear out, and the more it will cost. There are of course many exceptions to this, such as the cheap tires that really don’t do anything very well and the higher speed rated tires that are rated at 60K, but in both cases it’s a compromise. The higher mileage tires won’t corner as well as the true high performance tires, and the cheap tires are, well… cheap. This is obvious even by looking at our categories.

The second important thing to know is that there is a valid argument to be made about keeping the original speed rating on the vehicle for safety reasons. Since the higher speed rated tires stop shorter and corner better, there is definitely a safety advantage. On the other hand, the highest mileage tires are only available in the lower speed ratings, and they are usually less expensive, so they have a cost advantage. We have heard of retailers who refuse to put a lower speed rated tire on any vehicle, sometimes insisting that there are law to that effect. If they choose to have this as their company policy, we understand that. However, since we have not found any laws, vehicle warranties, or insurance companies that require keeping the original speed rating on the vehicle, we leave it up to the customer.

Economy High Speed Rated Tires

As we keep saying, many current tires come in a wide variety of sizes, and that includes low profile, higher speed rated choices. For example, many of the economy all season tires come primarily in the H (130 mph) speed rating, and in the lower profile sizes, many of them are Z rated (169 or 186 mph). This is completely different than stating that they are true high performance tires, or have even been designed for high speed cornering. It’s actually more like they have been designed to meet the minimum requirements of the speed ratings. So in this section, we’ll discuss the economy tires that have higher speed ratings, but are not true high performance tires.

In some ways, this is a carbon copy of our article on the economy all season tires, since most of them come in the low profile, higher speed rated versions. Again, the Doral is one of our favorites. Though it is mainly an H speed rated tire (130 mph), it does come in a number of lower profile sizes. The HiFly comes in more lower profile sizes, and there are many that are Z rated (169 or 186 mph, see our speed ratings article in Tires 101). Other options that we use, and have had good results with are the Fuzion UHP (made by Bridgestone), the Capital and the Goodride. Of these the Doral (top left) is one we’ve sold for years and they’re a good quality economy tire, and the Fuzion (top center) is actually quite good. The HiFly (top right), Capital (2nd row left) and Goodride (2nd row 2nd from left) are tires that are newer to us, but so far they’ve been alright, and they’re very well priced.





High Speed Rated/Improved Treadwear tires

Traditionally, higher speed rated low profile tires were always low treadwear, usually 30-35K or lower. However, since these types of tire are on so many newer cars, there are numerous higher mileage tires now available. In this group, the higher mileage tires are usually only up to 60,000 miles, but even 45K is relatively good. The drawback is that a higher mileage, speed rated tire won’t stop or corner as well as a true high performance tire. But again, do you really need a high performance tire? These are some of our favorites:

Cooper CS3 Touring and Lifeliner GLS

CS5 Ultra Touring



Legend Tour
The Cooper CS4 (lower left) has been one of our favorite higher speed rated/higher mileage tires. Our customers have reported very good wet traction, good wear, and they’re very dependable. But since they’ve come out with the new CS5 Ultra Touring (Upper Right) they are phasing them out. The CS5 is so new that we don’t have a track record on them yet, but we expect similar, if not better results. We also like the fact that they’re made in the US. The H and V rated versions are rated at 60K. However, at 60K, they are still one of the best values of the higher speed rated tires.

The CS3 came out before the CS5, but it’s also a pretty new tire from Cooper. It’s pretty much the little brother to the CS5. In the higher speed ratings, they’re rated at 50K, but they do come in a bit cheaper than the CS5. So depending on the needs of the customer, they will sometimes be a better choice than the CS5.

The Eldorado Legend Tour is also similar to the older CS4 Touring. It has most of the same characteristics: It’s made in the US by Cooper, it has a nice open tread design, the H and V rated versions are also rated at 60K, available in many sizes, and they’re also very dependable. However, the difference is that Cooper does put better quality rubber on their name brand tires. So the Eldorado probably won’t wear as well as the Cooper name brand, but they’re also less expensive. On the plus side, because of the more open tread design, this tire will most likely be better in snow than the CS3 or CS5.

Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring and Hankook H725

Tiger Paw Touring

Hankook 725
The Tiger Paw Touring is Uniroyal’s better all season tire. The H and V rated versions of this tire are rated at 55K. These are a good solid tire and are very well priced. We carry these in a number of sizes because they’re often the lowest priced higher mileage/high speed rated tires.

The Hankook 725 is really not a high performance tire. However, when Hankook updated this tire in early 2013, quite a few of the sizes became made in H and V ratings, while still retaining the 80K mileage rating. So with a number of sizes in this tire, you can have the higher speed rating and high mileage.

Nitto Motivo and Hankook H452 S1 Noble2

Nitto Motivo

Hankook S1 Noble
Nitto is a brand wholly owned and manufactured by Toyo, so they’re definitely good quality tires. The Motivo is the highest mileage rated true high performance tire currently available, and is rated at 60,000 miles. As stated, these are true high performance tires. They may not corner as well as the cost no object tires, but they have a lot of performance built into them. Also, like all of Toyo’s newer tires, they should be fairly soft riding and very good in the rain. We don’t carry these, but can usually get them in one day.

The Hankook S1 Noble is a newer design from Hankook. It is a 50K rated all season touring tire. It was ranked fourth in a leading consumer magazine’s “UHP all season” category right behind much more expensive competition. These may not wear quite as well as the Nitto, but they are very competent high performance all season tire, and they’re a bit less expensive.

High performance/Low Cost tires

In this category, we have the tires that are not just higher speed rated, but are actually made for improved cornering and braking – these are true “driver’s” tires. When it comes to high performance tires, there are quite a few tires that are true high performance tires, but are still relatively well priced. On the other hand, the absolute highest performance tires are very expensive. In reality, there is probably only a 10-15% performance difference (best guess) between this category and the ultra high performance/cost no object tires. This can make a huge difference in lap times on the race track, but for everyday driving – well, how fast do you want to go? If you want a good true high performance tire, but don’t want to break the bank, then this category is where you want to look.

There are really many good tires in this market segment. Most of which we have to order, but here are some of our favorites:

Sumitomo HTR A/S P01, and HTR ZIII

Sumitomo HTR A/S

Sumitomo HTR ZIII
The A/S P01 is one of the best deals in a high performance tire. They are rated at 40K, are all season, and have had very good online feedback concerning their wet traction capabilities. They may not be quite as high performance as some of the other tires in the category, but they are one of the lowest prices, and we stock some of the sizes.

The Sumitomo HTR ZIII is an older tread design, but for a long time it was our “go to” tire for folks that wanted a true high performance tire without breaking the bank. These should corner better than the A/S P01, but they probably won’t last quite as long, and they’re not all season. In the last few years, there have been a lot of new additions to the high performance/low cost category, but these are still very good.

Hankook Ventus evo V12 K110 and General GMAX AS-03


The K110 as we like to call it is Hankook’s better “touring” tire. Touring tires are made to be a good compromise between high performance, ride quality, and wear. These fit that bill very well. They are very smooth on the road, very good in the rain, corner quite well, and wear better than most of the true high performance tires. They also have one feature that we really like for BMWs. BMWs, for whatever reason, are very prone to uneven wear (cupping, see our Tires 101 article on Vehicle Alignment….). The best way to combat this is to use a tire that has a solid tread along the edge, like the K110. And since they’re very smooth on the road, they make them drive like a high end car should.

The General GMAX AS-03 is a 40K rated all season that is kind of the opposite of the Hankook K110. It has an aggressive all season tread design, so it’s one of our favorites for all wheel drive vehicles. These are quite good in snow, very good in the rain, corner and brake very well, and because of their tread style, they won’t grab the grooves in the road. Tires with straight grooves around the circumference can sometimes grab the grooves in the road, making the car feel twitchy or unstable. This isn’t usually a safety but can be pretty unnerving, but with the General, you won’t have the problem.

Cost No Object High Performance Tires

There are quite a few good tires in the market segment also. In many cases, it gets down to what tires are available in your particular size or sizes. However, suffice it to say that these are the tires you buy if you’re looking for the ultimate in performance, and cost is not an issue. These are good if you like to do autocross or track days, since they’ll be another step (or two) up in performance from the high performance low cost tires. There are also DOT approved race tires that will be even better than these, but many of those cannot be driven safely in the rain, but in the dry, when it’s not too cold – watch out!

Another important thing to know about the cost no object tires is the difference between all season high performance tires, and “summer” high performance tires. If you were look as the Consumer Reports ratings on “UHP Summer” and “UHP All Season” tires, you might notice that almost all of the summer tires had higher rankings in the rain than the very best all season tires. Now that should sound odd, but there are a couple of things that you should know about it: First, the reason for this is that the non all season rated “summer” tires are actually the top performance tires in the various manufacturer’s lineups. So not only will they be better in the rain, but their cornering and stopping performance will be better as well. Secondly, the all season tires may not be better performing overall, but the all season tire will be better when it gets very cold. One of the biggest distinctions between the “summer” and all season high performance categories is the useful temperature range. All season tires are made to be useable in a broad range of temperatures, even when it gets very cold. But most summer tires are not designed for this, and often can be very slippery when the temperatures get near freezing. So as good as they are when temperatures are higher, they can be just as bad when it get quite cold. The point of this is that if you live where it consistently gets to freezing temperatures in the winter, you will want to consider this when choosing your tires – or have two sets.

Again, there are a number of very good choices in this category, and it may come down to the size, or sizes that you need. For that reason, we’ll only mention a few of them here.

BFGoodrich G-Force Sport Comp-2

G-Force Sport
The G-Force Sport is BFGoodrich’s main high performance tire. There are priced between the low cost high performance tires and the most expensive, but corner almost as well as the very best. They’re also very round, so they balance very well.

Michelin Pilot Sport 2 and Pilot Super Sport

Pilot Sport 2

Pilot Super Sport
The Michelins have long been some of the best high performance tire available. The Pilot Sport 2 was developed when Michelin was involved in Formula One racing and is a direct “trickle down” from the engineering work they did there. It even looks a little like the older Formula One tires, since at that time they had four circumferential grooves. The Pilot Super Sport is the newer generation of the PS2, and is the next level better. Up until very recently, the Super Sport had by far the highest ratings of any street performance tire available. However, it’s not (yet) available in all the sizes, so the PS2 is a good alternative.

Pirelli P Zero

Pirelli P Zero
The Pirelli P Zero is the tire that just recently displaced the Michelin Super Sport at the top of the high performance ratings. It may be a coincidence, but it may have something to do with the fact that now Pirelli is supplying Formula One with their tires. So it you want the ultimate high performance street tires, and can afford them, this is one of the best.

Again, many more choices are available, but these are some of our favorites. For more choices, please visit our “Tires by Brand” and “Shop for Tires” sections. Thanks for looking!

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Souza's Tire Service is a pillar of the Auburn CA community. Souza's Tire Service is a leader in offering name brand tires and wheels for customers located in and around the Auburn, California area. Our goal is to focus on customer service. It is the foundation of our business. Souza's Tire Service employs a well-trained staff specializing in the sale and installation of passenger car, performance and light truck or SUV tires. Custom wheels are available at Souza's Tire Service. Special wheels and rims compliment any tire or customer vehicle. Take this opportunity to browse Souza's Tire Service website or call us for personalized service.

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