When it comes to maintaining your vehicle there are few parts that are as important as your tires. Four contact patches, about the size of dinner plates, are all that is keeping your vehicle attached to the road. In this article, we are going to discover whether you should buy from an industry giant like Goodyear, or a smaller specialist like Falken.
The answer really comes down to what kind of performance you are looking for. Goodyear makes some impressive all-terrain tires and reliable passenger car tires. Though Falken also makes those tires, they specialize in making high-performance tires at an affordable price. You should pick the right tire for the right situation.
What is Falken?
Falken is a Japanese company that was founded quite recently in 1983. Though 39 years might seem a while ago for a lot of us, it is quite young in the world of tires. They expanded quite fast, opening to US markets only two years after the company’s foundation and later expanded into Europe in 1988.
The Falken company focuses on ultra-high-performance tires, but they also produce other kinds of tires. Falken has deep roots in the motorsport’s community, sponsoring drivers and teams as well as providing tires for teams.
Most notably they have been a part of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship, American Le Mans Series, and several drift championships. Recently their USA branch, Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc. bought Goodyear’s Dunlop Tires North America, which included a manufacturing plant in Tonawanda, near Buffalo, New York.
What is Goodyear?
Goodyear has almost 100 years more experience in the tire business than Falken as they were founded in 1898. Goodyear’s popularity quickly grew thanks to founder Frank Seiberling’s tire design. His design reduced the amount of maintenance needed on his tires in addition to making the tires easily removable.
Over Goodyear’s 124 years of experience, they have built up a stellar reputation. Goodyear also participates in motorsports, even becoming ingrained with the pinnacle of motorsports, Formula One. Though it has been some time since Goodyear has participated in Formula One, having pulled out in 1998, they still hold the title of most successful tire supplier in F1.
Goodyear tires hold the record for taking the most race wins, constructors’ championships, and the most race starts. Goodyear also participates in many more motorsports series along with being the only tire provider for NASCAR.
In 1970 Goodyear’s CEO had to make the choice to sink or swim as the radial tire was taking over the market. The CEO in question, Charles J. Pilliod Jr. was criticized for making the shift to radial tires because of the costs that would go into the conversion.
With an estimated investment cost of $600,000,000 to $900,000,000, Goodyear bought all the tools and equipment needed to begin manufacturing radial tires. 30 years later Charles J. Pilliod Jr. was credited for saving the company by making the switch to radial tires.
What are the pros and cons of Falken?
- Long-lasting tread life warranties, especially for high-performance tires
- Some of the most affordable tires
- Good high-performance tires
- Good all-terrain tires
- Not a large selection of tires
- Can be difficult to buy online
- Not the best winter tires
- Not the beast passenger car or truck tires
What are the pros and cons of Goodyear?
- All tires are built with durability in mind
- One of the largest tires selections on the market
- Very high degree of testing
- Readily available
- One of the most expensive brands on the market
What are the main differences between Falken and Goodyear?
The main difference between Falken and Goodyear is experience. Goodyear has almost 100 years more experience than Falken does. Technology does develop quickly so Falken isn’t too far behind in that regard. However, Goodyear has had time to build infrastructure to facilitate all tire demand.
Goodyear is going to be better in most cases, however, Falken tires have some advantages over Goodyear. To better understand what these advantages are, we need to identify their differences and apply them to situations we might find ourselves in.
First up is pricing. This is one of the biggest differences and maybe the defining factor in picking your tire. Goodyear is one of the most expensive tire brands out there, right next to Michelin. Falken on the other hand is one of the cheapest, in a lot of categories, it is the cheapest other than cooper tires.
Cheapest isn’t always best, however, as you get what you pay for. There are many companies online about Falken passenger vehicle tires not lasting long and feather quickly. That being said, Falken does have a good reputation when it comes to high-performance tires.
High-performance tires are often more expensive than regular tires, so if you need to budget but you still want to get some high-performance tires, Falken is not a bad substitute. Falken also has a good reputation when it comes to all-terrain tires which are much cheaper than other decent all-terrain tires. Not to say they are better than Goodyear’s wrangler tires, it’s hard to beat those.
Warranties are a good way to see how much a company trusts its own tires. A company will not give you a long-lasting warranty if they knew their tire was going to fail before then. Goodyear has industry-standard coverage plans for their tires with a high of 85,000 miles depending on the tires.
Keep in mind that Goodyear has a vast selection of tires so make sure you know what warranty you have. Falken has a decent mileage warranty, averaging a little less than Goodyear and a high of 80,000 on one of their tires. However, Falken does have an ace up its sleeve when it comes to warranties.
Falken’s High-performance tires have warranties up to 65,000 miles which are quite high when it comes to high-performance tires. This is at least 15,000 miles more than a comparable Goodyear tire, which means Falken trusts that their high-performance tires will last longer.
Unique technologies are a good way to pinpoint which tire you want to get for your specific needs. The natural progression of a tire company is to first by making tires for the consumer market, then expand into the racing world.
Once a company perfects its racing tires, it reverse engineers what they have learned back into their consumer tires. Companies often do this because racing can be a money pit, draining a company’s profits. However, Falken has taken a different path than most.
Falken started out by making racing tires, primarily for drift series. They then started selling their racing tires to enthusiasts and brand fans. Their racing tire market provided them with a stable foundation from which to grow.
Within due time the company started selling more and more consumer tires with an emphasis on high-performance tires. Today Falken’s racing roots have provided them the opportunity to produce and sell good high-performance tires at an affordable price.
Goodyear has obviously been in the industry for much longer and thus has the upper hand. One of the key technologies they put an emphasis on is the durability of their tires. Their flagship tire when it comes to durability is the Wrangler series.
There is no denying that the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar is one of the most durable all-terrain tires on the market. The tire is one of the most puncture-proof consumer tires available. This is largely due to the Kevlar embedded within the tire.
The sidewall on the Wrangler tires has also been reinforced, protecting the tire from sidewall punctures such as sharp rocks. When looking at these key technologies it is clear that Goodyear has the better all-terrain tires, however, Falken has some good affordable high-performance tires.
Popular Falken tire lines:
- Falken Sincera SN250 A/S – The Falken Sincera is a year-round tire designed to be used on luxury vehicles. It has a speed rating of H, so don’t take it on to the track.
- Falken WildPeak M/T – As the name states, this is a mud-terrain tire. It is built with a three-ply sidewall with extra reinforcement. It is also equipped with stone ejectors and shoulder blocks, making it an awesome off-road tire.
- Falken WildPeak A/T3W – The tire is the big brother to the one above it. It maximizes traction with large tread blocks, silica tread design, and biting edges along the shoulder.
- Falken Ziex ZE950 A/S – Falken rally excels with this tire. The Ziex is an all-season high-performance tire that works well in dry, wet, and snowy conditions due to its wide tread voids and sipes.
Popular Goodyear tire lines:
- Assurance – This tire line is built to provide a smooth, quiet ride and improved handling. These are your everyday kind of tires which are well-rounded for most occasions.
- Eagle – The Goodyear Eagle line of tires has an emphasis leaning towards precision steering and confident handling.
- Wrangler – The Wrangler tires are Goodyear’s strong suit. They are built tough, ready for any adventure, whether on or off-road. Providing today’s trucks with superior traction and durability.
- Ultra-Grip – These tires are made to give enhanced traction in snow and on ice. These tires are winter-only tires, but they have their limits.
- Winter Command – If the Ultra Grip doesn’t meet your winter wonderland needs, then the Winter Command tire line is the way to go. They are built to a standard that can withstand tough conditions, no matter how cold it gets.
Most companies in this day and age are pretty good when it comes to customer support, largely because anything and everything can be recorded. Both companies want to help their customers, but an agent can only do so much when it comes to company policies.
In this regard, Goodyear wins. Goodyear has more payment options such as PayPal support and Debit & Prepaid card support. Goodyear also has a free shipping policy as well as modification and cancellation policies.
Furthermore, Goodyear’s company values and ethics policies are better. They have positive brand values, an ethical supply chain, they have a sustainability commitment, and a commitment to racial equality. Falken is not completely beaten here though.
Falken does have a good loyalty program that longer-term customers enjoy. Goodyear has no loyalty program to speak of, giving some ground back to Falken.
Price is one thing, but the value is a different ball game. There is no value in a cheap product that is going to fail twice as fast as a more expensive, higher-quality product. In the realm of value, Goodyear wins. Although Falken has some good high-performance tires, and their all-terrain tires are not bad either, they do not hold up in a 1v1 with Goodyear.
This is largely due to one key flaw in their design. For the first few thousand miles, Falken tires have no issues, however, after 5,000 to 15,000 miles they become extremely noisy. There are thousands of reports online about how Falken tires become unbearably noisy after a relatively short amount of time.
Unless you are buying tires to burn out on the track, you will get more value out of Goodyear’s tires.
Use Falken if:
- You want affordable high-performance tires
- You want affordable all-terrain tires
- You want a longer-last warranty for high-performance tires
Use Goodyear if:
- Want reliable tires for all situation
- Want durable tires
To sum it all up, Goodyear tires are better in pretty much every field. Falken high-performance and all-terrain tires are not too bad, and they are cheaper than Goodyear tires. However, Falken tires have a history of becoming noisy quickly. If you are looking for durable tires that will last you a long time then you need to get yourself some Goodyear tires.