Which are the best tires for the Ford F-150? That depends on who you ask. When Ford built your F-150, they tried to strike a balance between cost, treadwear, fuel economy, and performance. Your priorities when shopping for tires may be different, so you’ll want to understand what’s available to you when it comes time to buy new tires.
The F-150 can be a tricky beast to buy tires for, because there are several different trims, wheel sizes, and tire types for each. The 2020 model year F-150 alone can be ordered in seven different trims: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Raptor, Platinum, and Limited. Within those trim levels, there are several wheel options available, and each one can have its own tire size. Let’s take a look at some of the best choices for each:
The Michelin Defender is really an all-season highway tire aimed at F-150 drivers who don’t ever drive their vehicles off-road. If you’re looking for extreme performance, this ain’t it, but it’s a good choice if you drive a pickup like a sedan.
The BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A K02 is the king of all-terrain tires for a reason. It’s been tested not only in the lab, but over thousands of miles of competition. There are tires that do certain things better, but there aren’t many that offer this all-around performance at this price.
The Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is anything but a “dueler.” It’s a fairly conventional highway tire with the white letters on the side to convince you it’s got some off-road chops.
The Pirelli Scorpion All-Terrain Plus isn’t really an all-terrain tire. If you’re after that, there are better choices. But for an all-season tire -- especially one that’s going to get you through the winter -- they’re pretty great.
Aside from the BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A, the Goodyear Wrangler is probably the best known all-terrain tire, and it’s for a reason. They’re more highway focused than off-road focused, but they still do really well off the beaten track.
These are highway-oriented, all-season tires and shouldn’t be confused with all-terrain tires. That said, if you spend most of your time on the highway (the way most people do) the Michelin is a very good alternative to the direct replacements.
The Advantage T/A Sport LT is the truck equivalent of the Advantage T/A sedan and SUV tires. If you have no aspirations of going off road, this is an outstanding tire that will provide excellent wet braking and cornering characteristics.
The Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 3 is another tire that kind of looks like it would be aggressive off-road, but is really best suited to mostly asphalt driving.
This is kind of the pinnacle of truck-based all-season tires that aren’t designed for off-road. They’re really designed to improve the handling and braking of your F-150 on the highway and around town.
People need to shop General tires more often. Their Grabber line offers both off-road oriented tires, and tires like the ATP, which is more highway/all-season based.
People who bought the Cooper Discoverer AT3 seem to love them. They’re a really good all-around choice for the F-150.
The Continental TerrainContact HT is definitely an all-season tire rather than an all-terrain performer, but it does surprisingly well in a range of conditions.
What tires are on my Ford F-150? The current generation Ford F-150 crossover is sold in multiple trims with four tire sizes. Below, we’ve listed the tires that come as original equipment on each Ford F-150 model. It’s worth noting that the F-150 can be ordered with several optional wheels, so the sizes you see below may not all apply to the specific model, and may apply to one of the available custom wheel sizes that match the standard wheel size:
We’ve recommended three replacement tires in both 17- and 18-inch sizes, in budget, moderately priced and cost-no-object varieties. Whether your pockets are deeper than the Mariana trench or Ebenezer Scrooge considers you a role model, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. All of these tires have ratings of four-stars or higher based on consumer surveys:
There are two regular milestones that will suggest that it’s time to replace the tires, not only on your F-150, but any vehicle in your driveway: Time and mileage.
Considering most drivers cover between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year, the vast majority of F-150 owners are going to be past the mileage that their original equipment tires were intended to cover before they’ll go past the tire’s usable age.
The life of your tire can be somewhat predicted by its UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) rating. Tire manufacturers apply their own grades to tires for treadwear, traction and temperature. When you’re researching tires online, a UTQG will come up next to the tire name in three digits and a number (ex. 500 A A).
You can glean a bit of info from the tires by reading this rating:
Original equipment Bridgestone Ecopia tires on the F-150 earn a solid 700 AA UTGQ rating. Unless they are damaged, these tires could last as long as 70,000 miles before you need to replace them.
The other consideration is time. Each tire has a raised date code on the sidewall. The number begins with the letters “DOT” followed by 12 digits in three four-digit groups. The date code is the third group of four digits. To decipher the date of your tires, the first two digits represent the WEEK the tire was produced, and the second two digits represent the YEAR.
For example, if your tire’s date code is 3217, that indicates the tire was manufactured in the 37th week of 2017, or some time between September 11 and 17th that year.
Once tires go beyond five years old, it’s time to consider replacing them. Tires are made up not just of rubber and steel or kevlar belts, but chemicals that help the tires resist UV rays, temperature changes and a lot of other environmental hazards. Those chemicals start to break down after five years or so, and the tires aren’t doing the job that they need to do.
There’s no harm in replacing your tires with the shoes it came with from the factory. However, depending on what kind of driver you are, there are significant reasons to purchase something different.
You only need to purchase ONE set of tires for your car every four years or so, depending on how much you drive. When an auto manufacturer purchases tires, they buy them by the hundreds of thousands. For the manufacturer, the decision to choose a supplier one brand or another comes down to a price point.
For you, your consideration may be completely different. If you could get a tire that stopped 20 feet shorter for an additional $10 per tire over the original equipment, you’d probably do it. Similarly, if there was a tire that made less road noise for a minimal investment over stock, you’d probably decide on the slightly more expensive tire (that is, unless you’re trying to drown out the conversation of your back-seat-driving spouse.)
Depending on the year and model, you may be shopping tires to fit anything between 15-inch for older models to 18-inch wheels with various widths and sidewall sizes along the way. It is possible to change the wheel and tire sizes, but a general rule of thumb is to keep the total diameter of wheel and tire the same. So, that means that downsizing an 18-inch wheel to a 17-inch wheel would include a proportionate upsizing of the tire sidewall to compensate.
Downsizing wheels has its advantages. Benefits include:
On the other side of the coin, going up in wheel size has its benefits:
When reading tire sizes, it’s important to understand what the numbers mean. The Ford F-150’s 17-inch wheels come with 235/65R17 103H all-season tires:
You may have noticed that the Ford F-150’s two tire sizes have different diameters and also different aspect ratios. Generally, automakers choose tires that have the same outer diameter. This allows them to have only one speedometer setting.
Now that you know what comes on the new F-150 and how to read the size numbers, let’s look at the different types of tires available to you. Depending on the type of driving you’re doing, where you live, and the weather, you have a variety of choices for tire types:
Check inside your driver’s side door for a white and yellow label that will tell you the exact tire pressure recommendations for your F-150 model. That tire pressure can also change depending on the load of passengers you’re carrying, as well as the cargo load. Note that the pressure on the tire itself is never the correct setting, but rather a maximum.
Rotating tires is more about the tire than it is about the car. A typical rotation interval is somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 miles, though specific cars and tires may change those numbers a bit. The F-150 is a front-wheel drive-based car, so the front tires will be worn more quickly than the rears. Do not blow off this service.
Your Ford F-150 should have come equipped with a compact spare tire and changing tools in the trunk. In this case, you already have everything you need to physically change the tire, but you may want to carry an extra roadside emergency kit with an upgraded lug wrench, jumper cables, and emergency markers just in case
Several online retailers like Tire Rack offer regular discounts and free shipping for their tires. Their sites also have tire fit guides and pricing estimators to help you understand what you’re buying.
Most online tire retailers have free shipping or reduced shipping cost when you choose to have them installed at a partner shop. The retailer may have an arrangement with a local tire chain or installation center and can ship the tires there for free.
Retailers like Tire Rack offer fast shipping and can often have tires to your preferred installer in as little as two days. Many others, like Discount Tire Direct, offer the same fast and free shipping. It also depends on where you live. If you’re in a large metro area, close to a distribution center, it should be relatively quick. If you live 5 miles from East Moosejaw, it might take a little longer.
Some shops will offer free installation when you purchase tires from them, and online retailers often promote the same deal for people who choose to have installation done at one of their partners. If you do find yourself paying for tire installation, expect to pay between $15 and $50 per tire, depending on what is needed. That money pays for mounting and balancing the tire to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.
The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is independent of your tires, but should be checked at regular intervals to ensure no damage or malfunctions are occurring. Your local tire shop can perform this check as part of normal tire rotation or installation.
Yes! You can find the right fit, tread pattern, and speed rating on nearly any online retailer’s site. They sometimes offer specials and rebates around the time when people start looking for winter tires (late fall).
It’s certainly not a requirement to buy your tires and wheels from the same place, but you’re more likely to get a deal on the package if you buy from the same place. Check the retailer’s specials and make a determination from there. You may also find a better deal ordering either the tires or wheels online and buying the other component from your local shop.
Yes, and in some cases rebates are offered alongside discounts on the tires. It’s important to ask questions and understand what you’re getting, so be sure to chat or call the retailer before ordering if the rebates are unclear.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money