In the auto world, OE stands for original equipment. When talking about tires, the term generally switches to OEM to include “manufacturer”. Anytime you buy a new car, the tires that comes with are considered OEM parts unless you made a different customization option.
When it’s time for you to pick up a new set of tires, should you stick with OEM or opt for something different? There’s a lot of debate around this subject, making it vital that you understand the pros and cons of buying OEM tires.
Pro: Well Rounded
First and foremost, OEMs are considered a jack of all trades. They’re not particularly great for anything, but they’re decent options for most driving conditions. OEMs are tested for rain, snow, gravel and more before leaving the manufacturer.
For most vehicles, that means you’re getting a set of tires that can handle year-round conditions with minimal issues. They might not be beasts in a snowstorm, but they’ll get you through your daily winter commute. They’ll also help save on gas mileage in the summertime.
Pro: Chosen for Your Car
Your car’s tires weren’t chosen at random. Rather, they were selected to highlight your vehicle’s features and maximize its intended performance. A Jeep’s OEMs, for instance, are drastically different than those on a Ford Taurus or Dodge Ram.
These OEMs aren’t always picked out of a warehouse, either. Manufacturers invest hundreds of thousands in creating new tires specifically for individual models. So, picking a different replacement might leave you wishing you stuck with the OEMs.
Con: Other Tires Can Offer More
Your car’s OEM tires might be ideal for basic driving conditions, but you might need something more. If you lived in an area that received heavy snowfall during the winter, for instance, then it might be in your best interest to choose a more rugged tire.
Other tires handle wet roads better. Some are designed to maximize mileage, while others are built for performance and speed. If you’re looking for something highly specific, then it’s probably in your best interest to skip the OEM option.
Con: OEM Replacements Are Not Identical
Replacement OEM tires often look similar to the originals that came with your vehicle, but you’re not getting an exact replica. Manufacturers continually update and change their vehicles, which means the tires change slightly as well.
By the time you need a new tire, the OEMs you’ll receive have likely underwent slight variations that will make them different. Most of this is cosmetic, but there are times when tread and other aspects are changed.
Con: The Price
Tires are anything but cheap. However, a new set of OEMs are probably going to cost more than selecting an alternative. When shopping online, you can usually save hundreds if a performance or specialty tire isn’t what you’re looking for.
Choosing the Right Tires
The type of tires you choose matter. Pick an all-season and you might find yourself in need of a lawyer for a wrongful death case when a heavy winter hits. Pick a winter set and you’ll see your gas mileage plummet on dry pavement in intense summer heat.
Ultimately, choosing an OEM set isn’t right or wrong. You need to know what kind of tire suits your driving habits, location, and climate best. Don’t forget about your budget, either. That’s all there is to selecting the right tires for your car.