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Original Equipment tires vs. replacement tires

When you shop on TireBuyer.com using your vehicle information, you’ll probably see at least one tire marked “Original Equipment.” Does that mean it’s the right tire for you and your vehicle? Maybe yes, maybe no. It all depends on what you want from your tires and your vehicle.

Picture of OE tire

What does “Original Equipment” mean?

Simply put, Original Equipment (or OE) tires are the tires the manufacturer chose to include on your vehicle when it was new from the factory. In many cases, automakers partner with tire manufacturers to develop tires with specific characteristics, in order to complement the performance features of the vehicle. For instance, for a luxury car an automaker may choose a tire with a plush, quiet ride; for a hybrid, an eco-friendly low rolling resistance tire; and for a sports car, a tire that highlights tight cornering or straightline acceleration.

There can be several OE tires for a particular vehicle. Let’s say you drive a 2013 Honda Accord sedan. Depending on what style your Accord is (LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L V6, Sport, or Touring) it may be equipped with Continental ContiProContact, Goodyear Eagle LS-2, Firestone Affinity Touring, Michelin Primacy MXV4, Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max, or Michelin Primacy MXM4 tires.

How OE tires are paired with new cars

I need new tires. Do I have to buy OE tires?

No -- but if you’re driving on OE tires and you’ve been happy with their performance, you may want to buy the same ones again. Remember, OE tires are often purpose-built to make the most of your vehicle’s performance. Going back to our Honda example -- for the Accord Touring style, the tires may have been built for ride comfort and low noise, while the Accord Sport’s tires may have emphasized the vehicle’s sporty handling.

Why would I buy replacement tires?

If you haven’t loved the OE tires, or you want to change something about the way your car drives -- for example, make it more fuel-efficient or give it a quieter ride, sportier handling, or better wet traction -- you might want to try a set of replacement tires (also known as aftermarket tires).

How do I choose the right set of replacement tires?

Shop for tires by entering your vehicle information, then look for a set of tires that emphasizes the qualities you want your vehicle to have (quiet ride, sporty handling, etc.). You can use the performance category filters on the left side of the page to help guide you -- for example, touring tires will emphasize comfort and low noise, while ultra high performance tires will focus on exceptional handling. To see more information about a tire, just click on the tire’s name in your list of search results. And if you’d like help finding the perfect set of replacement or OE tires, our tire experts are ready to help -- just give them a call at (866) 961-8668.

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