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OEM vs. Replacement Tires

Every brand-new vehicle is delivered from the manufacturer with a set of new tires. These tires are often referred to as the Original Equipment tires, or “OE” tires for short. When those tires wear out, you can choose to replace them with the same tire, or a replacement tire that also fits your vehicle.

There are differences between OE Replacement tires and Dedicated (non-OE) Replacement tires, but what are they?

What are OE Tires?

OE tires (sometimes called OEM tires for “Original Equipment Manufacturer”) are those tires that are specified by the vehicle manufacturer and are initially fitted to the vehicle when new. The manufacturer of your car works with tire companies to choose a tire that will meet any number of performance requirements for their brand-new vehicle. The manufacturer selects a tire that balances ride noise, handling, longevity, and fuel efficiency to achieve the overall characteristics that the vehicle manufacturer believes is important to the end-user.

What are Dedicated Replacement Tires?

Dedicated replacement tires are designed for all-around performance on any vehicle they are sized and rated to fit. They often place special emphasis on one or two performance attributes that consumer research has identified to be especially important to end-user motorists (such as Tread Life, Traction or Ride Comfort, for example). This gives the consumer the option of customizing the vehicle to suit his or her needs and driving habits. Examples of this would be the use of more performance-oriented tires focusing on the handling capabilities of sports and performance cars or choosing all-terrain tires to help your truck or SUV get through the nastiest of mud and dirt.

Benefits of Using OE Tires?

The OE tires are specifically engineered to give the performance that the manufacturer of your car intended. To maintain those performance attributes as it came from the factory, then fitting a new set of OE replacement tires when the original stock tires wear down can be a good choice to help maintain a consistent driving experience.

Benefits of Replacement (Non-OE) Tires?

If you find that you’d like to replace your original equipment tires, Goodyear offers options that may fit your needs and preferences. A local Goodyear tire specialist, or our online chat can be a good resource here – discuss your car and your driving habits to help you select the best replacement tire for your needs.

How Does an OE Tire Differ from a Non-OE Tire?

Depending on the vehicle, the automaker might choose one aspect of the tire’s performance as the priority when selecting an OE tire. Hybrids and other vehicles that are focused on high fuel efficiency may be specified with tires that have low rolling resistance at the expense of extreme high-performance handling. Likewise, vehicles meant for off-road duty may have larger, knobbier tires intended to perform better in muddy terrain at the expense of some additional road noise.

The non-OE replacement tire allows a consumer to select different tire performance attributes based on their own driving priorities. Choosing a high-performance summer tire for a car not equipped with high-performance tires from the factory may potentially unlock better handling performance – but a change like that might also have an effect on something like the rolling resistance of the tire.

Does Goodyear Sell OE Tires?

When using Goodyear.com, search for tires by your vehicle make, model, and year. If the tire was fitted as an OE tire, the tire will be highlighted as “Original Equipment Fitment.”

Are There Any Indicators on the Tire Itself Showing it is an OE Tire?

Some automakers may require OE tire suppliers to mold special indicators or symbols into the sidewall of the tires to indicate that they are an approved OE tire. These symbols or lettering can help you or your tire specialist identify these tires when it’s time to replace.

Some examples of these indicators:

  • Star symbol: BMW
  • AO: Audi
  • MO: Mercedes-Benz
  • TPC: General Motors
  • N0, N1, N2, etc.: Porsche
  • T0, T1: Tesla

How Long are OE Tires Made?

After the OEM stops producing a given vehicle, there comes a point in time where it no longer makes sense for a tire manufacturer to continue making the OE tire. Several factors go into this decision: for example, there may not be enough demand to justify continuing to manufacture this OE tire. Further, as tire technology progresses over time, and product lines are refreshed it may make sense to discontinue manufacturing the OE tire.

One thing to consider – whether choosing OE tires, or replacements - it’s always best to replace all four tires at once if possible, as using any worn tires on one end of the car with new replacement tires on the other end can affect the handling performance of the vehicle. If you’re only able to replace two tires, we recommend those are installed on the rear axle.

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