There’s only one tire brand that ranked “among the best” in every category of J.D. Power’s 2019 Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study.
The 27,777 owners of 2017 and 2018 model-year vehicles who participated in the annual survey score their satisfaction with their OE tires based on four key areas: tire wear, tire ride, tire appearance, and tire traction/handling. There are rankings for four vehicle segments: luxury, passenger car, performance sport and truck/utility.
Michelin scored the highest in three vehicle segments: luxury, passenger car and truck/utility, and was four points from having the high score in the performance sport segment. Goodyear earned the top score in performance, and prevented Michelin from the clean sweep.
Despite the high rankings — consumers’ responses are compiled into a numeric score on a 1,000-point scale — the survey shows there’s a huge opportunity for tire makers to improve in the eyes of consumers.
Brent Gruber, senior director of the automotive quality practice at JD Power, says, “There is a big disconnect between consumers’ expectation for the life of their OE tires and their actual experience, which we find not only influences how likely owners are to repurchase the same brand of tire, but also how likely they are to repurchase the same brand of vehicle.
“Wear is the biggest influence on tire satisfaction and, when unhappy owners need to replace their tires due to rapid wear, they place blame on the tire manufacturer but also on the vehicle manufacturer. Although it is a challenge balancing performance with long tread life, owners expect more from their tires.”
In the survey, consumers reported replacing full sets of tires at just more than 26,000 miles on average, even though they expected more than 40,000 miles on average.
“Based on typical driving habits, that could result in costly purchases a full year earlier than expected, or worse yet, an unexpected replacement just before turning in a leased vehicle,” Gruber says. “That type of experience can make it very challenging to maintain owner loyalty.”
The importance of tires to overall vehicle satisfaction
In the survey, three out of four vehicle owners — 74% of them — who were extremely satisfied with both their vehicle and OE tires indicated they “definitely would” purchase the same brand of vehicle again.
But when vehicle satisfaction rates were extremely high, and tire satisfaction was less than ideal, only 62% of owners said they would “definitely” repurchase the vehicle brand.
“While the tire experience alone may not completely deter someone from remaining loyal to their vehicle brand, a bad tire experience can certainly erode future owner loyalty,” Gruber says.
To see the full charts from J.D. Power, which include the company's Power Circle Ratings and notations of which tire brands scored well but didn't have a large enough sample size for a ranking, click here.