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Are Lexus Tires Different From Other Brands?
Lexus doesn't actually produce its own tires. In fact, the vast majority of automakers don't make any tires at all. Instead, they acquire large quantities of pre-fabricated tires from dedicated tire companies.
Lexus tires aren't necessarily different from the tires you'd find on other cars. What often differs is the type of tires and the brands they use. Lexus generally purchases tires from a handful of high-end manufacturers, and their choices vary between models and years.
It's important to note that brand preference only applies to new Lexus vehicles. Lexus has no control over what kind of tires owners put on their cars, though the company is careful to install specific tires on new vehicles prior to dealership delivery.
Generally speaking, Lexus chooses higher quality tires than many other car brands. As a luxury automaker, customers expect Lexus to choose premium tires that will complement its meticulously engineered vehicles.
Luxury cars are picky about tires. That's because their suspension systems are designed for performance or comfort, and differences in tire quality and design can radically alter the ride. Lexus chooses tires that match the characteristics of the vehicle they're used on.
How Auto Companies Choose Tires
Auto companies choose a handful of tire manufacturers to work with. It's not uncommon for big corporations to make deals for bulk parts, and auto companies are no exception. So how do auto companies choose what tires to put on their cars, and how does Lexus compare?
For most car companies, it's primarily a matter of cost. They may have contracts with tire manufacturers that reduce prices and exchange for large orders, or they simply purchase the least expensive and most adequate tire they can find. This isn't a bad practice, though some companies use more care during tire selection.
Lexus is known for using excellent tires on its vehicles. It’s safe to assume that they carefully select tires based on the requirements of the vehicle (and not necessarily cost). Of course, the cost is always a factor, but Lexus typically chooses tires that are designed for use on luxury vehicles.
From our research, we've determined that you're more likely to find a premium tire on Lexus than on many other kinds of vehicles. Other tire features, such as long life and superior performance, are also common.
Are All Lexus Tires The Same?
No, Lexus uses several different tire brands and tire types. The company offers a wide range of vehicles in many climate zones where tire requirements (and prices) vary widely.
Additionally, you're not likely to find the same kind or brand of tire on a used Lexus as you are on a new one. Owners change tires all the time. Even dealerships generally avoid changing mismatched tires on used Lexus vehicles, provided they're the right type and not too worn out.
Do Dealerships Change Tires?
The short answer is: it depends. There isn't a whole lot of reason to remove the factory tires from a new Lexus unless a customer specifically requests it. This practice hardly ever occurs on standard Lexus luxury sedans like the ES series and the LS series.
However, dealerships often do swap tires on Lexus SUVs, particularly the GX series. For reference, the GX series is the Lexus version of the Toyota 4Runner, which is a widely praised and highly capable off-road rig.
On larger Lexus vehicles, dealerships often replace the factory highway tires with more capable off-road tires. This is especially popular in rule areas where off-roading is popular (or necessary).
Do I Need to Use the Same Tire Brand on My Lexus?
If you own a Lexus, you may wonder if you have to buy the same exact tires when replacement is necessary. The good news is that you have quite a bit of flexibility when choosing tires to purchase for your car.
Generally speaking, it's wise to get the same type of tire for your Lexus. For example, if you live in a dry climate and your Lexus came with high-performance summer tires, you should purchase a similar set to avoid changing the ride quality of your car.
The same applies to Lexus SUVs. However, you can always put better tires on your vehicle. If you have a Lexus SUV and want to improve its off-road handling, you can upgrade from highway tires to all-terrain or specialty off-road tires.
Types of Lexus Tires
Lexus uses different types of tires for different vehicles. Location and climate also play a part. From our research, we've determined that Lexus generally uses mid-range and high-end tires on its new cars and SUVs. But what are the differences between common tire types, and which does Lexus use?
Summer tires are designed for dry climates and frequent highway driving. They have minimal void space between tread blocks, which increases road contact and improves handling. Summer tires can be used by Lexus on high-performance cars, where dry traction is put at a premium.
Summer tires are excellent for performance cars with sporty suspension and lots of power. They are generally safe to use in light rain, but they’re woefully inadequate in snow and cold weather. You probably won't find many summer tires in the central and northern parts of the US.
Winter tires aren't typically found on Lexus vehicles. Winter tires are designed specifically for cold, snow, and ice. Winter tires have specialized tread that increases traction on slippery surfaces and packed snow. Additionally, they’re produced with costly rubber compounds that stay flexible in low temperatures.
Snow tires aren't common on Lexus sedans because these cars aren't designed for frequent use in harsh climates. That's not to say they can't be driven in the winter—just that the average Lexus LS buyer doesn't live in rural Alaska or North Dakota where year-round use of winter tires is common.
All-season tires are very common vehicles of all types. In fact, all-season tires are some of the most popular tires out there. All-seasons are reasonably priced, useful in most weather conditions, long-lasting, and available in configurations that support smooth-riding luxury cars.
All-terrain tires can be found on some new Lexus off-road vehicles, specifically the GX series. Not all GX series Lexus SUVs come with beefy tires. Given that this four-wheel-drive vehicle is aimed at a luxury market, you're less likely to find off-road tires on it than on a Toyota 4Runner.
Off-road tires are rarely found on new Lexus vehicles. Other than dealership add-ons, we weren't able to find a single example of a new Lexus that came with true off-road tires from the factory. However, some Lexus SUV owners upgrade their stock configuration for off-road wheels and tires.
What Tire Brands does Lexus Use?
From our research, we found that Michelin tires are used frequently by Lexus. The Michelin Pilot Sport series is particularly common across most car and SUV models. Lexus switches between brands from time to time, so tires made by companies like Firestone and Pirelli can also be found.
Some newer Lexus vehicles use Dunlop tires. Lexus used Bridgestone tires on most LS models for quite some time, and they can still be found on new Lexus vehicles as well.
Do Lexus Tires Last Longer?
Given that Lexus usually chooses higher quality tires, it's fairly safe to assume that they last longer than less premium car brands. The higher quality tires required by precision luxury vehicles are usually made with better materials that wear well and last a long time.
However, most Lexus sedans come with highway tires that have an average lifespan. This doesn't speak to the quality of the tire, rather the type.
Lexus Tire Life Expectancy
So, how long do Lexus tires last? The life expectancy of Lexus tires depends more on the type than the brand. Generally speaking, Lexus tires last between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. The most significant disparity exists between performance summer tires (used on some sedans) and all-season tires (used on most crossovers and SUVs).
Here’s a list of common tires and tire types used on Lexus vehicles. Some models have different tire options depending on year and location, though these are some of the most common OEM tires used by Lexus.
Summer tires have the shortest life expectancy, as the rubber compounds and greater ground contact causes them to wear out faster. If off-road tires were common, they'd deteriorate even more rapidly if driven on pavement.
Longest-Lasting Lexus Tires
The longest-lasting tires that are commonly used by Lexus are all-season tires. All-season tires are a balance between summer tires and winter tires. They have strong rubber compounds that last up to 60,000 miles or more, and they perform well in most weather conditions.
Common Lexus Tire Lifespan Complaints
Some people complain online about unusually short Lexus tire life. From our research, this appears to be related to the Bridgestone tires used on some Lexus LS models. Customers say their tires lasted between 20,000 to 35,000 miles, which isn’t great but also not atrociously short for summer tires. Additionally, the frequency of these complaints has dwindled over the last five years, so the issue was likely resolved.
How to Make Your Lexus Tires Last Longer
So, are there any ways that new Lexus owners can increase the lifespan of their factory tires? Yes, and the same rules apply to any other tire as well.
The most important thing you can do is avoid skidding or spinning the tires at all costs. Unless you plan on replacing your tires every 15,000 miles, frequent burnouts should be avoided. Spinning tires on dry pavement is the quickest way to convert tread into dust and shorten the life of a tire.
Additionally, following the manufacturer's recommended tire service intervals is vital if you want your tires to last a long time. This includes frequent tire rotations, usually after every 5,000 miles or so. Frequent rotations help to even out the wear on your tires, thus increasing their useful life.
And if you want to prevent premature failure, avoid driving on surfaces that the tires are not designed for. For example, don't use highway tires off-road where their soft sidewalls can be damaged. Properly repair punctures and inspect your tires regularly for damage.
Should I Switch to a Longer Lasting Tire?
It depends on your climate and driving habits. For someone who lives in a relatively mild climate and drives often, it would make sense to replace factory summer tires with all-season tires for an extended lifespan.
The reverse can also be true. If you own a Lexus SUV and intend to use it off-road, you may consider switching from long-lasting all-season tires to shorter-lived off-road tires for better performance on the trail.
Are Long-Lasting Tires Worth the Price?
Yes, unless you're using specialty tires for performance or ride comfort. All tires come with trade-offs, and if a longer-lasting tire reduces your car's road handling or comfort, it may never be worth the price to change it.
Many Lexus vehicles come with high-performance tires that have a generally shorter lifespan, but these tires are well-matched to the design. Changing these tires wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for many people, especially if they don't drive more than 30,000 or 40,000 miles per year.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding