Owning a car means that we need to maintain it throughout its lifespan. There are loads of consumable parts with different replacement intervals, and since this is a tire website, today I’ll be talking about the tires.
Tires will last for a while, and after that, the best thing you can do is get a new set. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about age or wear; tires won’t last for decades, and replacing them means you’ll get all the performance lost throughout the years.
If you’ve ever listed tires with retailers on their websites, you may have noticed that some models are labeled as Original Equipment, which is what I’ll be talking about today. I explain the difference between OE and replacement tires. I’ll also go into which option is better for you and which ones you should consider as your next set.
What are OE Tires?
OE or Original Equipment, sometimes called OEM, are tires that come with the car from the factory. During the development process, car manufacturers take multiple models into consideration and test them to see which one suits the vehicle the best.
For example, an economy hatchback will most likely be fitted with touring tires. They offer a good balance between performance, refinement, and longevity. In other words, it’s a perfect match for your Corolla.
On the other hand, there are sports sedans or coupes, cars that need different kinds of tires – performance-oriented ones. These kinds of tires sacrifice refinement and longevity a bit in favor of more grip, traction, and driving dynamics.
In general, the type of OE tire depends on the type of tire, meaning that there are models with UHP tires from the factory or grand touring ones. At the end of the day, the manufacturer used that specific model to highlight the car’s capabilities.
What are Replacement Tires?
The shortest explanation for replacement or non-OE tires is that every tire that’s not OE for your car is a replacement one. This doesn’t apply just to the type of tire; it also applies to the specific model.
Your car may have had a set of Continental touring tires from the factory or dealer, but you wanted a set of Michelin. The Continentals are the OE ones, while the Michelins are the replacement or non-OE because they’re not the model that the car manufacturer sold the car with.
The same goes for the type of tire. Most sensible hatchbacks come with a set of touring tires. If you want a bit more dynamic experience, you can replace them with a set of performance tires. It’s the same story with highway and all-terrain tires.
Reasons to get OE Tires
For most people, going for the OE options is a safe choice. They know the car, know how it drives with the OE tires, and don’t want to bother too much with figuring out which replacement tires to get.
You’d think this applies to people driving boring cars, but that’s not the case. People have sports cars, and they drive them as they’re meant to be driven, so the next set of tires will probably be OE ones.
As for the “boring cars,” it’s the same situation. You purchased a hatchback because it’s small, and you’re getting good economy, so you’re probably not pushing it hard on a twisty road. Whenever you reach a point when you need to get a new set of tires, you’ll probably go with the OE ones.
Reasons to get non-OE Tires
If you’re the type of owner who wants a change, the tires are the first thing you can try. In this case, you won’t be going for the OE options and will look at the replacement ones. As in the previous section, there are several aspects to talk about.
You can get replacement tires from the same category, meaning that you should keep a good amount of the properties. Naturally, there will be some differences, but the main features of both tires will be similar. One may offer better aquaplaning resistance or lower levels than the other, but at the end of the day, both are designed with similar ideas in mind.
Another reason to go after non-OE tires is if the OE ones don’t offer the performance you want. A common upgrade is changing touring tires with something more toward performance. Another good example is the one I mentioned in one of the previous sections with the SUVs. Most come with highway tires that are useless in off-road situations. People in this situation will often go for replacement tires that can handle some off-roading.
Finally, let’s talk about age as a factor. Many cars over a decade old have OE tires that are still up for sale. They’re good and offer solid performance, but they are generally outdated. You can go OE, but many people realize that newer models offer better performance, at which point you’re better off getting replacement tires.
How do you choose between OE and non-OE tires?
The main thing you should know is that no one can give you an answer to this question. Choosing between OE or non-OE tires is something that you’ll need to decide for yourself. I and others can only help you make that decision, but we cannot make it for you. The only thing we can do is guide you through the process.
Whenever you need to get a new set of tires, you should first consider the performance you had with the original ones. If you were happy with them, then you can go ahead and get the same ones. Your car will drive and feel the same, so you’ll know what to expect and what you’ll get. The only reason why you shouldn’t consider this is if you have an older car where the OE tires are falling behind its modern rivals in terms of performance.
On the other hand, we have another aspect you should consider, and that’s the one where you’re not a fan of the performance you had with the OE tires. People sometimes want a bit of change in terms of performance or use cases, something that’s available to them if they go with non-OE tires. Regardless if you want a bit more dynamic from your hatchback or a better refined tire on your grand touring coupe, you can get that if you go with a replacement model.
For some people, the process of getting a new set of tires is something that feels overwhelming. Yes, there are many available models, but the first step is to choose what route you plan on taking – OE or non-OE tires.
To help you with that, I made a guide explaining what OE and replacement tires are and going into detail about which option would be the best for you. Both types have their pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which option works best for you.