What are the best tires for Northern California?

By: Discount Tire

tires for northern california


America’s Tire locations in Northern California: 46 (and counting)
First location opening year: 1991
Common Vehicles:  Mid-size compacts, hybrid/electric vehicles, SUVs
Major regions/cities: San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno
Road Conditions: Summer heat, rain, snow (depending on region)

When you think of Northern California (or NorCal), you probably imagine the tech hub that is Silicon Valley, the Golden Gate bridge, Napa, Yosemite, etc.

Or maybe you picture heavy freeway traffic full of Teslas fresh off the assembly line among the other hybrid vehicles on a typical weekday commute.

There’s a lot to see throughout the northern half of the Golden State, but you’re probably in for a long drive to do it, whether it’s your daily commute or a road trip to wine country.

So from here you’re going to need tires that are good year-round in bumper-to-bumper traffic on highways and congested city streets that can also keep you on the move in heavy rain and under the heat of summer.

view of golden gate bridge

Best all-season/touring tires for NorCal

A good set of all-season or touring tires are basically all anyone in NorCal might need if you use your car on your commute the majority of the time.

Even if you plan on venturing out to the mountains—especially during winter—you should be able to get by with a set of all-season tires.

The Continental TrueContact Tour is a solid all-season tire that offers a comfortable ride over even some of the bumpiest and rough streets and freeways in the area. With Continental’s EcoPlus Technology, this tire has an extended tread life that promotes fuel economy as well as traction grooves for reliability in wet conditions and even light snow.

Another good option is the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Providing effective traction in wet, dry and light snow conditions, it’s powered by Goodyear’s ComforTread technology. It’s a tire designed to provide more ride comfort and a longer tread life.

The Michelin Defender T + H, one of our top Treadwell picks for the Northern California area, is a great combination for all-season performance for those who want a long-lasting tire without sacrificing comfort.

Best tires for fuel economy in the Bay Area

California is filled with eco-conscious drivers who want to lessen their carbon footprint while getting the best fuel economy possible. For any environmentally friendly vehicle, the best choice to maximize your battery range or fuel economy are those that have low rolling resistance that last a long time.

The Hankook Optimo H724 can handle those long commutes in rain or shine and is backed by a 70,000-mile warranty, it’s a great value for any hybrid or electric car owner, and is designed to promote the fuel economy of your vehicle’s engine.

The Michelin Energy Saver A/S is a passenger tire that features Michelin’s EnergySaver Construction—a specialized rubber compound that reduces fuel consumption while keeping the tire cool on the road. Its additional features include long and even treadwear as well as a unique silica compound to increase traction and braking performance.

Finally, Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 is specifically designed with an environmentally-friendly tread composition that lowers rolling resistance and improves fuel economy.

California country road

Best summer tires for Northern California

Some of the most applicable tires for any Californian are summer tires.

For as much sunshine as we get in California in general, for drivers of performance oriented or electrics cars, CUVs and SUVs, a good set of summer tires will provide great performance and reliable traction even when it rains.

The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is one the best high-performance summer tires on the market—and for good reason. With its exceptional dry and wet traction and comfortable ride, it’s perfect for long road trips and can hold its own in rain or shine. That’s a big part of why it’s the OE tire for many Dual Motor Tesla models.

A popular Treadwell choice is the Yokohama ADVAN Fleva V701. The ADVAN Fleva V701 incorporates a unique pitch design in its tread that provides quiet comfort combined with dynamic stability and handling in dry and wet road conditions.

For a budget-friendly option, the Dunlop Direzza DZ102 is a popular choice for the Bay Area. Through the use of its Jointless Band Technology, lateral cuts and shoulder grooves, you’ll have high-quality performance at a great value

Winter tires in Northern California

You might be wondering: do you actually need winter tires in the Bay Area or Northern California in general?

Although the snow isn’t as intense as other places in the United States, it’s best to be prepared for light snow when venturing or living near the Lake Tahoe or Yosemite areas in winter.

For drivers of SUVs, the Cooper Discoverer True North provides strong traction in tough winter conditions. This studless winter tire delivers grip in both slush and snow while handling temperatures below 45 degrees. For a confident and reliable winter tire, the Discoverer True North has you covered.

For cars, consider the Hankook I Cept Evo W310. This tire makes use of a special silica compound in its tread pattern that’s designed after a polar bear’s footprint. With additional features such as 3D Sipes and circumferential grooves, this tire is suited for use in severe snow conditions designated by the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

For those making their way to snow country, Caltrans also encourages carrying chains and following the local rules of the area you are traveling in.

Wherever you are in the San Jose Bay Area or inward towards Fresno, stop by any America’s Tire location. We’ll be sure to help you find the right tire for your vehicle and get you taken care of!