Best Tires for the Toyota Highlander

There are many options available to the consumer when shopping for tires. How do you know which are the best for your Toyota Highlander? Toyota’s priorities when they chose an original tire for your Highlander from the factory were a balance of cost, quality, and safety, but your vision of the perfect tire may be of one that has a more eco-friendly fuel economy rating or a quieter ride. No matter which way you go, there are great tires on the market from a variety of brands to fit your needs.

Have an older Toyota Highlander? See tire sizes for previous years.

Best Tires for the Toyota Highlander L/LE/XLE

Best Tires for the Toyota Highlander Limited and Platinum

Original Equipment Highlander Tires

What tires are on my Toyota Highlander? The current generation Highlander is sold in multiple trims with two tire sizes:

  • The Highlander L, LE, and XLE trims come with 18-inch wheels. Depending on the model, the factory may have installed one of three tires on the Highlander: The Michelin Premier LTX, Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S, or the Toyo Open Country A43.
  • The Highlander Limited and Platinum trims come with 20-inch wheels. The original tire for these models is the Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S.

Top Replacement Tire Brands for Toyota Highlander

We’ve recommended two replacement tires in 18-, and 20-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:

18-inch Tires for Toyota Highlander

  • Budget: Michelin Premier LTX - The Premier LTX is an all-season tire with solid fuel-saving technology. It’s got a V speed rating and a long tread life. The Premier LTX is also frequently on sale with closeout pricing.
  • Moderately Priced: Goodyear Assurance MaxLife - The Maxlife is one of the best rated tires of its size. Goodyear offers great discounts and incentives, and the tires themselves have impressive treadwear ratings.
  • Cost-No-Object: Michelin Latitude Tour HP - Paying for the best buys the best, that’s how it goes. The Latitude Tour HP is well reviewed and delivers excellent fuel economy. Michelin frequently offers incentives for the tires as well, lessening their impact on buyers’ wallets.

20-inch Tires for Toyota Highlander

  • Budget: Goodyear Assurance MaxLife - Back to Goodyear. The Assurance Maxlife has some of the best customer reviews and one of the best treadwear ratings of any 20-inch tire.
  • Moderately Priced: Continental Crosscontact LX25 - The Crosscontact LX25 has EcoPlus+Technology, which is said to increase fuel efficiency while providing a smooth ride. The all-season tires also carry great customer reviews.
  • Cost-No-Object: Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo3 - At $220 per tire, the Bridgestones are not cheap, but they bring the hardcore all-terrain traction needed to take your Highlander off-road.

When Should You Replace Tires?

There are two regular milestones that will suggest that it’s time to replace the tires, not only on your Highlander, 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 Highlander 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:

  • 500 - The durability rating of a tire, compared to a control tire with a treadlife of 100. To obtain a grade, tires run on a 640 kilometer course for 11,520 km. Every 1,280 km, the tread depth is measured, to provide a projected tread life. The higher the number, the longer the predicted treadlife.
  • A - This is the Traction rating of a tire, which indicates how well a tire stops in wet conditions. The highest letter grade is AA, followed by A, B and C.
  • A - The second letter in the UTQG is the Temperature rating, which indicates how well a tire holds up to extreme heat. A is the highest, followed by B and C.

Original equipment MIchelin Premier LTX tires on the Highlander earn a solid 620 AA UTGQ rating. Unless they are damaged, these tires could last as long as 62,000 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.

Why Not Replace with Original Equipment Tires?

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.

The factory tires are usually well matched for the vehicle, but they might not be so well matched for your everyday drive. There’s no shame in swapping out the OE rubber for something more suitable to your daily commute.

Lots of people find that they want a tire that provides better fuel economy or a smoother ride than the tire that the factory chose for them. The price difference between OE and replacement tires isn’t significant and the improvements that can come from a replacement tire are worth the cost for most people.

Changing Toyota Highlander Tire Sizes

Depending on the year and model, you may be shopping tires to fit anything between 17-inch for older models to 20-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:

  • Better ride quality – More rubber means more cushion for poor road conditions.
  • Cost reduction – Big tires are expensive, so moving to a smaller wheel size will mean less costly tire purchases.
  • Seasonal changes – Winter and snow tires are available for a larger selection of smaller wheel sizes and the narrower footprint will provide better traction.
  • Off-road – Many people choose to downsize wheels for off-road use to increase the vehicle’s shock absorption capabilities and bump traction on loose surfaces.

On the other side of the coin, going up in wheel size has its benefits:

  • Better handling – Slimmer profile tires makes for less rubber to move around.
  • Better looks – This one’s subjective, but many people feel that larger wheels look better than smaller wheels with more rubber.
  • Better braking – Larger, wider wheels provide a bigger patch of rubber on the ground to slow the vehicle, reducing braking distance.

See our recommendations for the Best Extended Warranty for your Toyota Highlander

How to Read Tire Sizes

When reading tire sizes, it’s important to understand what the numbers mean. The Toyota Highlander’s 18-inch wheels come with P235/65R18 106V all-season tires:

  • 235 - indicates the width of the tire from one sidewall to the other in millimeters. This tire is 235 millimeters wide.
  • 65 - indicates the aspect ratio, or sidewall height, as a percentage of the tire’s width. In this case, it’s 65 percent or of the tire’s width.
  • R - means radial tires. Radials are the most common type of automotive tire and have fabric woven in at various angles with tread that is strengthened with additional layers of rubber.
  • 18 - indicates the wheel diameter.
  • 106 - is the tire’s load rating.
  • V - is the tire’s speed rating. V-rated tires have a maximum top speed of 149 mph.

You may have noticed that the Toyota Highlander’s three 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 a new Highlander 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:

  • Touring and All-season tires - provide a smooth ride, good wet and dry traction, decent winter traction, and longer tread life. These tires are acceptable for winter use but can’t be expected to provide the traction and stopping power that a dedicated winter tire can.
  • Performance tires - are focused on providing confident handling, better wet and dry traction, and a sporty feel. Their higher grip and speed ratings come with a tradeoff of shortened tread life and reduced ride quality.
  • All-terrain tires - are built to maximize off-road traction and provide good durability overall. Their construction means more noise and less comfort on the road, but winter traction and tread wear is acceptable.
  • Winter and snow tires - are made with special rubber compounds that maintain grip and pliability when temperatures drop. They are also built with special tread patterns to maximize the vehicle’s ability to start and stop on very slippery roads.

Tire Sizes By Year


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Toyota Highlander Tire FAQ

What is the best Toyota Highlander tire pressure?

Check inside your driver’s side door for a white and yellow label that will tell you the exact tire pressure recommendations for your Highlander 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.

How often should I rotate my Highlander’s tires?

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 Highlander is either a front-wheel or four-wheel drive-based car, so the front tires will be worn more quickly than the rears. Do not blow off this service.

What is the best Highlander tire change kit?

Your Toyota Highlander 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.

Tire Buying FAQ

What tires come on a Toyota Highlander?

Depending on which trim level of Highlander you own, you could have a Michelin Premier LTX, Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S, Toyo Open Country A4 or Bridgestone Alenza Sport A/S.

Which Highlander tires are rated the best?

For the Highlander Limited or Platinum, the Goodyear Assurance Maxlife, Continental Crosscontact LX25 or Michelin Premier LTX are all rated well, ordered from low price to high.

Where do I shop for the best prices?

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. Read more on the Best Places to Buy Tires Online and Save Hundreds here.

How much is shipping?

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.

How long does shipping take?

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.

How much does it cost to install a tire?

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.

Do I need to change the tire pressure monitoring system with tires?

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.

Can an online retailer help me with winter tires?

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).

If I’m changing tire sizes or buying winter tires, should I buy a wheel and tire package from an online retailer?

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.

Do online retailers provide tire rebates the way traditional stores do?

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.

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