General AltiMAX RT45 Review – a Great Budget All-Season Tire

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General AltiMAX RT45

Dry

72%

Wet

70%

Snow

75%

Comfort

90%

Noise

80%

Treadwear

97%

Overall

81%

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Pros

  • Excellent snow handling and lateral grip, particularly considering the price point
  • Short stopping distances and very good acceleration on light snow
  • Solid traction and drivability on a wet tarmac for the price
  • Good dry grip and satisfying handling
  • A generally smooth ride – the tire only gets slightly less comfortable over smaller imperfections
  • Very long treadwear warranty for the price
  • Good price-to-performance ratio

Cons

  • It is not the quietest grand-touring all-season tire around (though it is not loud, either)
  • The tire’s wet performance is nowhere near as good as on a premium grand-touring all-season tire

General Tire is one of the most popular tiremakers among American buyers. That is not surprising because it is one of the oldest tire manufacturers in the USA, with hundreds of excellent budget-oriented tires in its portfolio. Today, owned by Continental Tire Americas, General continues to push the boundaries of what budget tires can do on the road.

And the tire that best captured General’s mantra is the AltiMAX RT43. A grand-touring all-season tire with good treadlife, solid traction in all climate conditions, and a generally smooth ride. We even called it the “best value all-season tire” in 2019.

Still, that tire was launched in 2013, when the tire market was different than it is today. Notably, many tiremakers launched better budget alternatives in recent years, pushing the RT43 behind.

Meanwhile, General has been working on a brand-new tire, the AltiMAX RT45. The company knew that the RT43 had been overtaken by the competition and made improvements in critical areas, particularly treadlife and wet traction. Still, according to General, the AltiMAX RT45 keeps the original’s performance balance, which drivers liked very much.

Notably, the AltiMAX RT45 has a 10% wear improvement over the RT43, improved braking on wet roads, more responsive handling on dry roads, and lower road noise.

That said, the competition didn’t stand still. Cooper also recently launched the Endeavor grand-touring tire, a direct competitor to the AltiMAX RT45 in terms of price (read our review of the SUV version, the Endeavor Plus, here). Moreover, BFGoodrich has the customer-adored Advantage Control, which costs around 10% more, while Vredestein has the Hitrac All Season, which is similar in price to the AltiMAX RT45.

Yokohama’s AVID Ascend GT is another fierce competitor to the AltiMAX RT45, which costs only slightly more. Meanwhile, Sumitomo’s HTR Enhance LX2 promises similar performance at a lower price than the RT45.

So, how does the AltiMAX RT45 fare against its closest rivals? And is it as good as its predecessor relative to when it was launched? Well, buckle up because, in this General AltiMAX RT45 review, we will dive deep into the tire’s performance in various weather conditions, comfort quality, and longevity.

What are the features of the General AltiMAX RT45?

The General AltiMAX RT45 has a symmetrical tread pattern with interlocking blocks for a balanced stiffness, which leads to stable and agile handling.

Moreover, the tire features four circumferential grooves connected to lateral voids, shoulder slots, and sipes for more successful water evacuation and better hydroplaning resistance.

The multiple sipes also create additional biting edges for higher traction over light snow, assisted by the advanced all-season compound that remains pliable at lower temperatures.

The AltiMAX RT45’s internal construction is standard for the category, consisting of two steel belts atop a polyester casing and an additional polyamide reinforcement ply.

What are the General AltiMAX RT45’s maintenance indicators?

The AltiMAX RT45 is equipped with General’s Visual Alignment Indicators (VAI), which let the driver monitor uneven wear, and the Replacement Tire Monitor, which shows the driver when the tire needs to be replaced in quite an obvious way.

Most grand-touring all-season tires are only equipped with the industry-standard tread wear bars inside the tire grooves. These bars will become flush with the surface when the tread reaches a depth of 2/32 inches (1.6 mm).

That is the lowest legal tread depth for all types of tires, as it is generally considered that anything less than that, and the tire won’t be safe in rainy conditions and hydroplane easily. Still, as we learned after years of testing tires, the wet traction diminishes even sooner than that, i.e., 2/32 inches is not a magical number in any way.

Unfortunately, General’s Replacement Tire Monitor doesn’t change that, as it can also only show when the tire reaches 2/32 inches of tread depth. However, unlike the wear bars, General’s solution is much more apparent, as it reads “replace tire” on the center tread block (and it reads “replacement tire monitor” when the tire is new). This is good because most drivers don’t even monitor the wear bars, and let’s be honest, they are not that clear, particularly from a distance.

Still, the AltiMAX RT45 also has Visual Alignment Indicators, which can alert the driver of uneven wear. These are two additional sipes on the opposite shoulder blocks of the tread; if they have a different depth, it means that the tread wears unevenly.

Uneven wear can also be a safety issue by lowering traction and introducing instability. Not to mention, it can also lead to a premature tire replacement, especially if it is not caught on time. Therefore, the General’s Visual Alignment Indicators are as important as the tread depth indicators.

With all that said, it would be great if General employed better tread depth indicators. Goodyear, for example, has Wear Gauges, showing the driver when the tread depth reaches 8/32, 6/32, 4/32, and 2/32 inches.

For instance, the minimum recommended tread depth for successful snow traction is 5/32 inches (4 mm), which makes General’s Replacement Tire Monitor useless if you need to determine whether your AltiMAX RT45 tires are ready for the winter. But I guess we need to wait for the next generation.

What is the General AltiMAX RT45 warranty?

The General AltiMAX RT45 comes with a 75,000-mile warranty on H-rated and T-rated sizes and a 65,000-mile warranty on V-rated tires. Both are hugely competitive in the grand-touring all-season category, particularly considering this is one of the cheapest premium-grade models.

The real-world longevity of the previous model, the RT43, was also pretty good. Owners were satisfied with the wear characteristics, including treadlife and even wear. Therefore, we have no suspicions that the AltiMAX RT45 will be a durable tire and serve you for years to come.

Its competitors have also become more durable recently, though. The Cooper Endeavor comes with a 65,000-mile warranty, but that’s on all speed ratings, including V-rated models. Meanwhile, the BFGoodrich Advantage Control comes with a 75,000-mile warranty on H-rated sizes but a 65,000-mile warranty on V-rated and W-rated sizes, with the latter not available on the RT45.

The slightly more expensive Vredestein Hitrac All Season comes with a 70,000-mile warranty, but on all speed ratings, while the Yokohama AVID Ascent GT comes with a 65,000-mile warranty on all sizes.

Interestingly, paying more won’t give you a much higher warranty. For instance, the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack has an 80,000-mile warranty on all sizes, but that tire costs 30% more than the AltiMAX RT45.

How does the General AltiMAX RT45 behave on dry roads?

The AltiMAX RT45 is a very solid performer in dry conditions. It provides a high enough grip to keep you safe at average speeds, steers with enough precision to keep you in control, and feels stable at higher speeds.

That is not to say that paying more won’t give you better performance. Any current premium options in the category offer higher lateral grip and shorter stopping distances. Not by much, but put them side by side, and the differences will be noticeable.

Still, that shouldn’t detract from the fact that the AltiMAX RT45 performs more than admirably for the price. In fact, it provides some of the shortest stopping distances at its price range, along with the highest lateral grip. Its acceleration traction felt a little lower than the last few grand-touring all-season tires we tried, though the AltiMAX RT45 at least feels athletic and eager to turn, unlike other budget-oriented all-season tires.

Meanwhile, the high-speed driving experience is very secure. The straight-line tracking of the tire is exemplary, meaning long driving sessions on the highway are comfortable for the driver. Even in the corners, the AltiMAX RT45 remains precise and easy to control.

With that said, the RT45 lacks the panache of its more expensive peers when it comes to the way it feels behind the steering wheel. It is precise, yes, but the steering still feels somewhat vague, i.e., it doesn’t communicate well with the driver. This is not something most buyers of grand-touring tires are concerned about, but this quality-of-life improvement is what you get when splurging the cash for tires.

Push the AltiMAX RT45 to its limits, and it shows where General saved resources. Namely, your vehicle will feel slightly more nervous at the limit, with slight oversteer/understeer (RWD/FWD cars) that won’t be easy to catch.

Again, this is a grand-touring all-season tire designed for comfort and not sporty driving, and few of its owners will ever push it past the traction limit. Still, there is no question that a premium tire will be more predictable when you need to evade a possible accident.

How is the General AltiMAX RT45 on wet and slippery roads?

The General AltiMAX RT45 performs very well in rainy conditions, providing the driver with valuable longitudinal and lateral traction, agile and surefooted handling, and excellent hydroplaning resistance.

Still, at the moment of writing this review, the Vredestein Hitrac All Season is by far the best budget-oriented all-season tire in rainy conditions. Put simply, Vredestein’s tire destroys its direct competitors regarding traction – in our testing, we saw significantly shorter stopping distances and higher lateral grip. Sure, the Hitrac All Season is slightly more expensive, but the difference is not all that big, yet its rain traction is significantly higher.

If you don’t live in an area where it rains frequently, though, the AltiMAX RT45 will be more than serviceable. It still beats most other competitors at its price range regarding grip and has a slightly higher hydroplaning resistance.

We weren’t very impressed by how it performed at the limit, as the AltiMAX RT45 lost traction quite abruptly, not leaving much time to react. It was not as bad as some other budget models, but still not as sophisticated as the Hitrac All Season, not to mention some more expensive alternatives. Also, the steering wasn’t as precise in rainy conditions, worsening things.

But this shouldn’t detract from the fact that the AltiMAX RT45 punches above its weight relative to other similarly-priced tires. Apart from the Hitrac All Season, few other budget all-season tires are exceptional in the rain. As always, you need a bigger budget for the best possible wet traction.

With that being said, how is the General AltiMAX RT45 on snowy roads?

The AltiMAX RT45 is one of the best all-season tires for snow at its price range. It drives predictably, handles stably and securely, and provides good overall traction. Sure, it won’t break any records in the category, but you would be amazed at how much traction you get for the money you pay.

What that means is that when you press the brake pedal, your car will stop sooner when equipped with a set of AltiMAX RT45 tires than most of its closely-priced rivals. Moreover, your vehicle will accelerate more quickly, without too much wheel spin, and you can achieve higher speeds in the corners before your vehicle starts to skid.

In other words, your mind will be far more at ease when you drive on snow. You will feel more secure in the corners and trust the tires to stop when you need them to. The AltiMAX RT45 won’t replace a winter tire if you encounter heavy snowfall or ice. Even so, this is an all-season tire, and it has its limitations. And you know what? This applies to every all-season tire.

You can get slightly higher snow traction if you opt for a premium tire, like the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack or Continental PureContact LS. Any 3PMSF (Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake) alternatives, so-called all-weather tires, will give you even higher traction and a better overall driving experience.

Even General has an all-weather/all-season tire in its portfolio – the recently launched AltiMAX 365 AW. You will get vastly superior snow grip with this tire, along with much better handling and ice traction, at around the same price (though that doesn’t mean the AltiMAX 365 AW is superior overall!).

Is the General AltiMAX RT45 suitable for off-road driving?

The General AltiMAX RT45 is not designed for off-road driving, although it is available in sizes that will fit modern crossovers and SUVs.

Put simply, the AltiMAX RT45 lacks the aggressive tread pattern of all-terrain or off-road tires to provide you with traction on slippery or loose terrain. Moreover, its casing isn’t as stiff, which might lead to punctures or a damaged tread.

Nonetheless, you can use it for short periods on gravel, provided you are careful not to damage the tires over some very sharp rocks. This is because, unlike most of its rivals, the AltiMAX RT45 has traction teeth inside the circumferential grooves, which provide additional traction on gravel roads and snow.

Is the General AltiMAX RT45 a run-flat tire?

No, the General AltiMAX RT45 is not a run-flat tire. General does not currently produce run-flat tires, which is typical for a brand that produces budget-friendly tires.

Sadly, owners of vehicles that come with run-flat tires from the factory don’t have many choices when it comes to new tires. Only a handful of manufacturers make run-flat tires, all producing premium, expensive models. Companies that make run-flat tires include Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli, Goodyear, and General’s parent company, Continental.

You can get slightly less expensive run-flat tires by opting for models from Firestone, Yokohama, Kumho, or Hankook. General might launch a run-flat tire sometime in the future, especially with more non-premium automakers installing run-flat OE tires on new vehicles lately.

How are the General AltiMAX RT45 road noise and comfort performance?

The AltiMAX RT45 is generally a comfortable tire with a relatively smooth ride. However, although it is not very noisy on the highway, it still produces a higher-pitched tread growl than its closest competitors.

Should this worry you? In general terms, the AltiMAX RT45 is not too noisy, and we guess that few buyers will ever be dissatisfied. Still, this tire might not be for you if you have particularly sensitive ears or value quietness. Although the wind noise on your vehicle will probably be higher, the AltiMAX RT45 will still be easily discernible with its higher-pitched sound.

As for the ride quality, there is not much to complain about, apart from the fact that the AltiMAX RT45 doesn’t drive as smoothly over more minor imperfections as some of its rivals. It is not bad by any means, but it lacks the calmness.

That surprised us because General’s grand-touring tire drives over larger imperfections with smoothness and solidity that we usually associate with premium tires. Moreover, the AltiMAX RT45 doesn’t get too unsettled when driving on roads with repetitive impacts, where it keeps its composure and the passengers comfortable.

Should I buy the General AltiMAX RT45?

The General AltiMAX RT45 is an excellent budget-oriented all-season tire and a great buy for most people. It might not be the best in rainy conditions and can be slightly louder at speed, but other than that, it is hard to overlook its qualities, especially given the price.

The qualities of this tire far exceed what you pay for. You will still be safe in the rain (though not the best at its price), you will have enough light-snow traction to keep you going without serious issues, and a tire that rides very smoothly over (most) bumps.

Not to mention, the AltiMAX RT45 comes with the most extended treadwear warranty in its price range and should last you for years to come.

How Does the General AltiMAX RT45 Fare Against its Competition?

The AltiMAX RT45 is a solid all-season tire, though we think you should also consider some alternatives. Notably, the Vredestein Hitrac All Season is the best budget-oriented rain tire, with braking and handling performance far exceeding that of its peers.

Vredestein’s tire is quiet and smooth and has a competitive 70,000-mile warranty. It costs only 10% more (on average) than the AltiMAX RT45, though it is an overall better tire.

The Cooper Endeavor is another solid alternative. It is similar to the AltiMAX RT45 price, has a competitive 65,000-mile warranty, and feels more athletic in the corners. General’s tire is slightly better when braking on wet tarmac, though the Endeavor is slightly better for dry handling. Still, the Endeavor is an overall more comfortable tire, with a gentler ride and quieter operation at speed.

Going up the ladder, the Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack will give you better performance in almost every area, though it costs almost 30% more than the AltiMAX RT45. Still, that is the tire to get if you want the most serene ride, accompanied by effective dry/wet/snow traction and a class-leading 80,000-mile warranty.

Meanwhile, drivers who live in areas with more challenging winter conditions might want to consider a set of 3PMSF-rated all-season tires, also known as all-weather tires. General makes one such tire, the AltiMAX 365 AW. It is similarly priced to the RT45 yet offers much better snow traction and even works on ice. Still, the RT45 performs better on dry and wet roads and is more comfortable and quieter. The 365 AW also comes with a slightly lower 60,000-mile warranty.

Naturally, going for a set of premium all-weather tires will give you higher snow traction, along with better performance in dry and wet conditions. Notable examples are the Michelin CrossClimate 2, which works outstandingly well in all weather conditions, and the Bridgestone WeatherPeak, which, apart from its strong dry/wet/snow traction, also comes with an extended 70,000-mile warranty (for an all-season tire).

Ultimately, though, the AltiMAX RT45 is a tire that fits the average buyer in North America, which is not surprising because it was designed explicitly with that market in mind. As such, it is an excellent buy for budget-oriented buyers and gets an easy recommendation from us!

What sizes does the General AltiMAX RT45 come in?

General Tire offers the AltiMAX RT45 in an unprecedented 136 different sizes, ranging from 14-inch to 20-inch wheel diameter. Unlike most of its rivals, the AltiMAX RT45 even comes with two different speed ratings for the most popular sizes.

According to the company, this tire covers 85% of the sizes used in the touring and grand-touring segment. Therefore, the AltiMAX RT45 will fit many different types of vehicles, including older compact cars (Corollas and Civics from two decades ago) and mid-size sedans (Accords and Camrys) and their modern alternatives.

You can also find sizes for premium sedans and coupes, minivans, crossovers, and SUVs. In other words, chances are high you will find a suitable size if you own a regular-sized vehicle, i.e., do not own a truck, large SUV, or a performance car.

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