Having quiet tires on your car will make a very positive difference to road noise levels.
Some tires can be so noisy they make it impossible to hold a normal conversation and if you are spending hours every day in your car the noise will be bad for your health.
This is why the market for quiet tires is rapidly growing, while some people want tires that help them squeeze that extra 1% out of their car’s performance most of us want a comfortable and enjoyable drive that isn’t ruined by excessive road noise.
Reducing tire noise is something that tire companies have spent millions of dollars on developing over the years.
There are loads of different factors which impact the amount of noise a tire makes. The quietest tires will include as many of these features as possible:
If all the tread blocks on your tire are uniform shapes then your tire will create a uniform noise at a certain pitch which can be extremely aggravating!
A tire with differently shaped tread blocks will make sound at a variety of pitches some of which will cancel each other out creating a less noticeable background hum.
As a general rule the softer the rubber your tires are made from the quieter ride they will give. This is because soft rubber deadens sound more effectively than hard rubber.
Be aware that softer rubber can result in poorer fuel economy and may also result in the car not handling the road as well.
The bigger the rubber tread blocks are the more noise your tire will create.
Big tread blocks like this will make a lot of road noise
This is because bigger blocks create deeper grooves in your tire which means you have large voids which air can freely circulate through creating noise.
Having less space between your tread blocks also reduces noise.
The tire shoulder is comprised of the outer section of the tire tread, it curves around the tire.
A good tire shoulder will help stabilise the tire, this will limit tread movement and thereby reduce sound.
It is also worth noting that a tire which has a closed shoulder (where the grooves don’t travel directly through into the rest of the tire but instead are blocked) will be quieter than a tire with grooves that do travel across the entire tire.
Airflow is the enemy as it allows noise to circulate and build, having small grooves within your tire grooves helps to break up airflow and reduce sound.
The wider your tire the more area is in contact with the road and therefore the more noise is generated, using thinner tires will reduce road friction minimising road noise.
This is a groove which travels around the circumference of your tire, usually there is one inside each shoulder of the tire. Having these helps further reduce road noise.
Tires descriptions can be complicated things to understand.
For the purposes of working out how to quiet a noisy tire two things you should be aware of are tire speed ratings and tire noise ratings.
Tire speed ratings are scored on a scale from Q to Y. Q rated tires can maintain a top speed of 99mph and Y rated tires can maintain a top speed of 186mph.
Always consult your car handbook to make sure that you have the minimum required speed rating tires for your car otherwise insurers may refuse to pay out if you are using tires with a speed rating below what is recommended..
..but don’t instead go for the highest speed rated tire you can get because tires with high-speed ratings are very stiff so create a lot more road noise.
Tire noise ratings are expressed by either a decibel rating or a three-wave symbol which is usually visible on the tire wall.
The decibel rating is a measure of how many decibels were recorded in their tests as the car rolled past. This involves free rolling the car at 50mph past a microphone with the engine turned off, meaning the only sounds picked up come from the rolling of the tires.
With the wave rating system one black line means excellent performance and three black waves indicates very poor performance.
Don’t worry if you don’t want to trawl through endless tire descriptions, we’ve done the hard work for you and reviewed some of the best rated quiet tires below.
The tires below are all for everyday cars such as city cars, saloons, hatchbacks, family cars and estates. If you drive a normal-sized car then you can benefit from these:
The Michelin Primacy MXM4 tire was designed using Michelin’s Comfort Control Technology which utilises ultra-precise computer-optimized design methods combined with exact manufacturing methods to create a tire which does almost as good a job as possible of reducing vibrations and minimising road noise.
It checks off almost all of the features in our road noise reduction list; it has varied tread block shapes made up of small rubber blocks, a reinforced closed shoulder, micro-grooves to break up the airflow and four circumferential grooves - you won’t find many quiet tires better equipped!
But the MXM4 is not just a good quiet tire it does everything else well too. Its unique tread provides brilliant grip even in wet and icy conditions so you can be confident that your driving experience won’t be compromised.
The Goodyear Assurance ComforTred is designed for long-lasting year-round performance which provides a quiet ride.
It is made using ComforTred technology which (as you can no doubt guess from the name) is designed for comfort. ComforTred technology adds a layer of shock absorption rubber between the tread and the tire’s steel wiring, this gives the tire around 20% more cushioning than the average tire has which makes a big difference when it comes to absorbing vibrations.
The Goodyear Assurance ComforTred also checks off most of the features in our road noise reduction checklist; it has varied tread block shapes made up of small rubber blocks, micro-grooves to break up the airflow, four circumferential grooves and 20% more rubber cushioning than most tires.
This tire is an all year round tire which is described as being “built by perfectionists for perfectionists”.
It certainly deserves its spot in our list of the quietest tires because it is specifically built with noise reduction in mind.
Its main noise reduction feature is it’s special silencing grooves which are designed to trap noise in the tread pattern.
This tire has low rolling resistance which helps to make it even quieter.
As well as all of this it also checks off most of the features in our road noise reduction checklist; it has varied tread block shapes made up of small rubber blocks, micro-grooves (and silencing grooves) to break up the airflow as well as three circumferential grooves.
One thing to note is that the tire has a speed rating of V, this means it can handle speeds of up to 140mph (240km/h) which is significantly faster than most cars will ever have any need to go.
As we have already mentioned using tires with a speed rating which is too high can negatively impact noise because they are made of a harder more durable rubber which creates more sound.
Fortunately with these tires, their silencing grooves do offset that significantly.
So if you’re looking for a high-performance set of tires that you can rely on to be relatively quiet even at high speeds then the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity is a good choice.
If fuel efficiency is as important to you as quietness then the Michelin Energy Saver is a great choice.
This tire was made with Michelin’s EnergySaver Construction technology which helps to make tires as energy efficient as possible. Part of that includes using a particular tread rubber which keeps the tire cool and in turn increases your fuel economy.
Michelin claim that the energy efficiency savings you get from these tires reduce CO2 by the equivalent of planting 40 trees!
Michelin claim that the energy efficiency savings you get from these tires reduce CO2 by the equivalent of planting 40 trees.
Prioritising energy efficiency also means that the tire is quiet by default, rolling resistance is reduced as and friction (which creates road noise) isn’t created.
They have a speed rating of T meaning they are safe at speeds of up to 118mph (190km/h), this makes them suitable for most cars and because the speed rating is not excessively high no excess sound will be created due to the tire being more stiff than necessary.
The AltiMAX RT is built with something called Acoustic Modulations Sound Technology, this cumbersomely named technology basically means that sound dampening elements are built into the tire to make it as quiet as possible.
It also uses reactive core technology which further helps reduce sound output.
It features four circumferential grooves, plenty of microgrooves to break up the airflow and a variety of different shaped tread blocks.
This tire also has a speed rating of T so it is safe at speeds of up to 118mph (190km/h) and will not create excessive noise from being too stiff as higher speed rated tires are.
All in all the General AltiMAX is a great tire which will handle most driving conditions with ease while providing a quiet and comfortable ride.
Off-road tires are chunky with large blocks and deep grooves to enable them to get the kind of traction required for off-road driving.
If you use your vehicle primarily for off-road driving then this isn’t an issue, but if you spend a lot of your driving time on a road then they will create a lot of road noise and will reduce your fuel economy.
Finding a quiet off-road tire is no easy task, but we’ve done the research for you and have found one which is significantly quieter than most:
The Cooper Discoverer AT3 is a rugged all-terrain tire which is just as comfortable scrambling over rocks as it is rolling through suburbia or cruising along highways.
Unlike most off-road tires it manages to offer improved fuel economy and a quiet comfortable ride!
It achieves this by using a special type of compound tread combined with construction techniques which reduce tire heat and friction. The end result is (according to the manufacturer) a 2% improvement in fuel economy compared to tires which don’t use this technology - this is very impressive to say the least.
Fuel efficient tires are always quiet tires as they focus on avoiding energy waste part of which involves minimising the energy wasted as sound.
This is a great looking off-road tire which will have no problem driving on any surface in any conditions and it won’t sound like you’re perpetually rolling over gravel when you drive it on a highway.
If fuel economy, off-road driving and minimal road noise are all of equal importance to you then these tires will deliver!
Trucks are far bigger than the average car and by default are noisier due to their weight and increased engine size.
Investing in quiet tires for your truck will help minimise excessive noise and improve the comfort of your truck or SUV driving experience.
The Bridgestone Dueler is a great looking, high quality all year round tire which has been widely touted as the quietest truck and SUV tire available.
It has been designed specifically with compounds intended to lower rolling resistance which is particularly important for heavier vehicles.
For example, it’s sidewalls are made from a special compound called Bridgestone Fuel Saver which reduces drag, improves fuel economy and minimises sound.
It features four circumferential grooves which help reduce noise and improve grip on wet roads, it has lots of different sized small rubber block shapes, loads of microgrooves and a reinforced closed shoulder all of which add up to create a quiet comfortable ride.