Pros: Long life, great value, made in USA
Cons: Not the cheapest tire in the store
There's good and bad things about becoming a middle-aged adult.
It's good because you've got the confidence that comes with maturity and life experience, so you actually DO know the difference between a good bottle of wine (or beer) and cheap, mass market swill. It's also good because you've probably reached a level of seniority in your career that carries with it a good salary, so you can afford to do things that were just plain out of reach when you were younger.
It's bad in that you start to understand why your parents kept forgetting where they left their wallet, or why they sometimes wear pants that come up just about to their armpits. Definitely in the "bad" part of the equation is seeing so many good people who you've known most of your life suddenly disappear from the world. It's becoming too common to talk to my siblings or friends who I grew up with in high school or college, only to get bummed out when they tell me about a shared friend, neighbor or relative who died recently. My family has had fewer visits from the grim reaper than most, though I was quite upset when my Uncle Charlie passed away several months ago. He was good uncle --- more like a big brother to me than a father figure --- and I'm sorry I won't ever get to hear his deeply heartfelt laugh again. But at least I can think of him fondly whenever I tool around town in the Buick LeSabre that he left to me when he died.
Buicks have never been my car make of choice, but most of my Dad's side of the family has been loyal GM customers, and I'm certainly not too proud to turn down a free car, no matter what badge it wears on its grille. Not that the car was totally free anyway, since I did have to go get it and then drive it 1,000 miles back to Texas, plus I had to deal with the up-front costs of getting it registered in my name. Still, total wallet damage is well under $1K for a fairly low-mileage car that runs like a champ. No reason to be bummed out about that!
Like most states, Texas requires that a vehicle pass safety and emissions inspections before it can be licensed. Uncle Charlie always took care of his cars, and the Buick had no major problems, though it had over 40K on the clock and the tires were almost certainly original equipment. Two of the four tires didn't pass muster. The inspector said they showed signs of excess wear. So it was over to Discount Tire Warehouse for me!
Fortunately, the Buick doesn't need any exotic kind of tires, plus the 215/70R15 size that it uses is easy to find with several brands offering good quality tires at affordable prices. I had several tires to choose from, including a Yokohama Avid, a Continental ContiProContact, and a couple of different Michelin tires. Although the Yokohama Avid was the cheapest tire in the size I needed, I opted to pay a little more for the GoodYear Assurance ComforTred for one simple reason: it was a BETTER tire. Here's where I think its strong points lie...
Ride Quality: Quiet and Smoooothh!
GoodYear hypes the quiet factor of the Assurance ComforTred tires in their ads, and to me, it was one of the major factors in my decision to put these tires on the car. While some of the competing tires had higher snow and ice traction ratings than the Assurance ComforTred, that was not a selling point to me because I never intend to drive the car in any part of the country where winter weather is common. The non-aggressive tread pattern of this GoodYear tire naturally reduces road noise, but GoodYear also provides more insulation between the treads and the steel belts in the tire's foundation and it engineers its sidewalls to absorb road vibration with a goal of delivering a quiet ride. That's what GoodYear's marketing department tells you, anyway...
In my experience with these tires over the past several months, GoodYear's ads are accurate. I noticed a HUGE difference the day I first got the new tires on the car. It immediately rode far smoother and quieter than it had just a couple hours earlier with whatever tires GM had put on it when new. Granted, we're talking older vs. new tires, but I can also compare it to the kind of ride quality I have on my 2008 Cadillac CTS (which also has new tires), and the ride dynamics have a lot in common, with quiet being the most remarkable aspect.
Driving Dynamics: Good Traction Means Safety on the Highway
Safety is one of the most important aspects of tire selection, yet I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who don't discuss it when reviewing a tire. I don't understand that since there are industry and government standards that require all tire manufacturers to test, rate and publicize safety performance metrics. Tires are measured in uniform ways to estimate the total load that they can bear under highway conditions, they also have traction ratings and speed ratings.
The GoodYear Assurance ComforTred varies in its rating numbers depending on size. For the 215/70R15 that I bought for my Buick, it has a T speed rating, a treadwear rating of 700, a wet traction rating of A and a heat rating of B.
Translated to English, that means the tire can be relied on for safe driving at speeds up to 118 miles per hour (just a bit beyond what the police in my neighborhood will allow), that each tire can safely support a load of up to 1,521 pounds (over 3 tons for a set of 4), and that skidpad tests showed it would provide good traction of over 0.47 g force on wet asphalt (nominal performance 0.5g). This last rating (the "A" wet traction rating) is very useful because it gives you about the only reliable estimator you have of wet pavement performance. I would always pay a bit more for a tire that had an A rating rather than saving a few bucks to buy the brand with the B wet traction rating. (There is also an AA rating for tires that perform exceptionally well on wet pavement, but these tires are not common.)
I've stacked over 10K miles of my own on this Buick since putting on the GoodYear Assurance ComforTred tires, and I have been very happy with their performance. They grip the road very well in both dry and wet conditions and I have yet to feel the car slip or slide even once. I have no idea how it would handle in snow, and to be honest, I don't really care. We don't see snow here in Texas (and for that, I am very grateful).
Durability: These Tires Will Outlast the Energizer Bunny!
In recent years, car makers have had an unsettling tendency to overuse performance tires as original equipment (often using V-rated tires when lower speed ratings would be more appropriate). Consumers who don't know how to buy tires often just go into a tire store when it's time to replace tires and put the same kind of tire on the car, wasting money by getting worse treadwear performance for higher prices.
There's also a nugget of truth in the old adage that "you get what you pay for". Often, the difference between the lower priced tire of a particular size and the higher price tire can be evident in the higher treadwear rating on the more expensive tire. That was certainly the case when I shopped for tires for the Buick: although the Yokohama Avid looked like a decent tire and was less expensive than the competing GoodYear tire, treadwear was a big differentiator for me. These GoodYear tires had a longer treadwear life expectancy and a warranty that was 15,000 miles better than Yokohama's. (GoodYear offers an 80,000 mile warranty on the Assurance ComforTred vs. the 65,000 mile warranty that Yokohama offers).
Yes, the GoodYear cost me about $20 more per tire, but for that up-front money I not only get the quieter ride, I also get about ONE YEAR MORE life out of the tire.
The GoodYear Assurance ComforTred is an excellent tire for a large passenger car in which a stable, safe, comfortable, quiet ride is the end goal. With its high tread life expectancy and excellent 80,000 mile warranty, it's also a tire that promises years and years of comfortable driving before the next time you need to go tire shopping.