Tires are very difficult to shop for. With almost every other thing, you can find tried and true examples of parts on your particular car and how they perform. Tires on the other hand, are difficult because there are many models and so many sizes, that if you aren’t looking for a review of Pilot Super Sports on an M4, chances are you won’t find a review of them on your car.
I personally feel that many people cheap out on tires because they aren’t very interesting, and they would rather spend money on tunes or cold air intakes. The thing they don’t understand is that it’s only connection the car has to the road – so even in a stock Corolla S, you can feel the difference between R Compounds and economy all seasons, and that added grip arguably has more of an effect on a car than any other mod.
Tire pressure is a whole other rabbit hole to fall into, especially if you take a weekend autocross competitively. You will find people trying to keep their tires warm, checking pressure after every run, and chalking the sidewalls to determine the sweet spot between under and over-inflation. You’d think that’s a lot of work, and it is. However, it’s the difference between 10th and 3rd place in your autocross class.
For the street, tires can be the difference between life or death. Especially if you drive spiritedly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a slightly older performance car with value tires – completely undermining the true performance of the car.
Tires change characteristics so dramatically that after dialing in proper pressure on my humble, basically stock Mini Cooper S, it feels like I’m driving a different car.
Don’t waste your money on anything performance enhancing before you get a fresh set of quality tires.