Westlake Tires Review: Perhaps the Best Low-Cost Tire Brand

Cheap tires continue to emerge in the US market. Most of them, though, are total garbage. They don’t work well on wet and snowy surfaces, don’t last very long, and aren’t particularly quiet and comfortable. The problem is, you can’t really know which brand is good and which isn’t. It’s nearly impossible, especially since nobody tests these tires.

Well, we do! We want to cover every tire brand you can buy in the US, including the budget once. One such brand is Westlake, which comes from China. Actually, it operates under the umbrella of Zhongce Rubber Company, which in 2019 was the tenth largest tiremaker in the world. Yes, guys, a Chinese tire manufacturer is now in the Top 10 list of the largest tire makers, and they continue to sell more products each year.

However, the company sells most of its brands in China. That’s because the market there has an increasing need for tires since people are buying vehicles at an increasing rate. A thing that is more interesting is that Zhongce has its own R&D department. Most cheap brands coming from China don’t have that, and as a result, the tires are unsafe on most surfaces.

Fortunately, you won’t experience that with Westlake tires. Of course, its father company doesn’t use the newest and most advanced technologies, but at least it tests the tires in various conditions.

But how do Westlake tires compare to premium competition from the US, Germany, Japan, and France? Well, that’s precisely what I’ll try to answer in this review of Westlake tires.

To do that, I’ll revisit most products from the Chinese company, but also give you my thoughts on them as a whole. Every tiremaker has its own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll give you Westlake’s as well. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

1. Westlake RP18

Westlake Tires Review

The RP18 is the entry-level tire in Westlake’s range. It’s a touring all-season tire designed for small city cars, compact cars, mid-size sedans, minivans, and even some crossovers. The company offers the tire in many popular sizes, ranging from 13-inch wheel diameter to 16-inch wheel diameter.

Westlake is also kind enough to provide us with a lot of information on the tire. For instance, they utilized a variable pitch tread pattern to reduce road noise and provide a comfortable ride. Then, the tire also features angled grooves and siping for all-season capabilities, optimized grooves for enhanced contact patch, and four circumferential grooves for better hydroplaning resistance.

But how does all that translate into the real world? Well, it depends on which tires you compare the RP18 to. Against other cheap brands, the tire performs very well, actually. It has better dry traction and reacts faster to the driver’s inputs. Moreover, the stopping distances are shorter, and the tire feels safer at higher speeds.

The same difference remains on wet surfaces. The RP18 performs slightly better than its direct competitors, i.e., tires that are priced equally. Again, the handling is better, and the stopping distances shorter. As for snow, the RP18 doesn’t perform particularly well, but not a lot of cheap tires do.

However, when you compare the RP18 to tires from renowned manufacturers, it becomes clear where your money goes. There is a recognizable difference in traction and grip on dry surfaces, but it’s wet pavement where you can feel the biggest discrepancy.

Simply put, the RP18 doesn’t perform well if you push it too hard in the rain. The tire becomes nervous at the limit, and even an experienced driver will have problems keeping the vehicle from spinning. A premium tire will perform much better, no doubt about it.

In terms of comfort, though, the Westlake RP18 performs just fine. The ride quality is very smooth, even over some large potholes, and there is not much tread noise. Although, some users report the tire becomes noisier as it wears down. Also, the 45,000-mile treadwear warranty is very high for the price.

Pros

  • Very good dry traction and grip for a cheap tire
  • Smooth ride quality
  • Doesn’t become very noisy on the highway
  • Performs better in the rain than other cheap tires

Cons

  • Still way behind renowned brands in dry and wet traction
  • Snow traction is not reliable
  • Can become noisier as time goes by

2. Westlake SU318

Westlake Tires Review

The SU318 is Westlake’s touring all-season tire for SUVs and CUVs. The company offers the tire in many popular sizes, ranging from 15-inch wheel diameter to 22-inch wheel diameter. Thus, this tire covers most crossovers and SUVs, including older models. It’s the same with the T, H, and V-speed ratings.

But what about its performance? Well, it’s the same story as the RP18. Overall, the SU318 performs better than its low-cost rivals, both over dry and wet surfaces. However, it also can’t come even close to the premium competition.

Nonetheless, I was satisfied with how this tire performs on dry surfaces. The steering feels responsive, and there is a good level of traction and grip. Moreover, the tire provides good stability at higher speeds.

In rainy conditions, the SU318 performs well for daily driving. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t push it too hard. The tire feels slightly nervous at the edge, and your vehicle might spin. It’s the same with snow traction, which honestly is pretty bad.

The SU318 does have redeeming features, though. The ride quality is very smooth, and there is not much noise on the highway. Also, the 50,000-mile treadwear warranty is excellent for the category and even comparable to some higher-cost options. Treadlife should be the same.

Pros

  • Excellent treadlife for the price
  • Very good performance on dry pavement
  • Smooth ride quality
  • Quiet on the highway

Cons

  • Feels nervous when pushed in wet conditions
  • Unreliable on snow and ice
  • Still behind premium rivals in terms of dry traction and grip

3. Westlake SL309

Westlake Tires Review

The Westlake SL309 is an interesting tire for drivers of commercial vehicles. It features heavy-duty construction, but it also comes with a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is not usual in this category.

In terms of performance, again, it won’t win against any premium competitor. However, it fares better than most low-cost options. Moreover, on dry roads, you will never tell this is a cheap tire. The stability is very good, the cornering grip is excellent for daily driving, and the braking distances aren’t very long.

In rainy conditions, traction is good at regular speeds. However, you will experience irregular behavior if you push the tires hard, which doesn’t often happen in commercial vehicles and trucks. Snow and ice traction, though, aren’t its forte. 

The best thing about the SL309 is that it behaves well under load, thanks to the robust construction.

Pros

  • A good option for towing, hauling, and commercial applications
  • Tough and durable construction
  • Long treadwear warranty
  • Very good stability on dry roads

Cons

  • Snow and ice traction are below average
  • Could be even better in wet conditions

4. Westlake SA07

Westlake Tires Review

The SA07 is an all-season touring tire with performance credentials. Available in 16-inch to 20-inch wheel diameter, this model fits mid-size sedans, performance sedans, and executive sedans.

Overall, the driving experience is by far the best you’ll have in a Westlake tire. The steering responsiveness is top-notch, and there are ample grip and traction for daily driving. Highway stability is excellent as well.

The tire suffers a bit on the wet pavement but overall performs better than its closest competitors. However, I wouldn’t use this tire in harsh wintry conditions since it lacks reliable traction. Also, the ride is a bit stiff, although the tire remains quiet on the highway.

Pros

  • The most responsive Westlake tire
  • Very good grip and traction on dry surfaces
  • Wet traction is better than other low-cost competitors
  • An excellent 45,000-mile treadwear warranty for the price

Cons

  • Non-reliable snow traction
  • Overall performance is far behind the premium competition

5. Westlake SL369

Westlake Tires Review

The SL369 is Westlake’s all-terrain tire. It comes with a 40,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is excellent for the category and especially considering the price. The tire also provides excellent off-road traction, especially over hardpacked surfaces.

On-road performance is good over dry surfaces, but nothing to write home about on wet surfaces. Fortunately, the tire provides good traction on unpacked snow.

Pros

  • Excellent traction on hardpacked surfaces
  • Good stability on dry roads
  • Good traction on unpacked snow
  • A very tough and durable compound
  • An outstanding 40,000-mile treadwear warranty for the price

Cons

  • Doesn’t work well on wet surfaces
  • Might suffer in deep mud

Westlake Tires Review: Buying Guide

1. Westlake Tires Positive Aspects

Perform well for daily driving

At normal speeds, all Westlake tires perform well. They work very well on dry roads and work better than other cheap tires on wet roads.

Long treadlife

While premium tires will last even longer, you won’t find another low-cost option that lasts this long.

Comfortable and quiet

Most Westlake tires provide a comfortable and quiet driving experience.

2. Westlake Tires Negative Aspects

Wet traction when pushed hard

You wouldn’t want to push these tires very hard in rainy conditions. They perform well at normal speeds but aren’t too safe on the edge of grip.

Snow and ice traction

Westlake still doesn’t have a reliable tire for harsh wintry conditions.

Conclusion

Right now, Westlake produces some of the best low-cost tires on the market. They still wouldn’t be my top choice, though, especially since tires from renowned manufacturers perform better across all conditions. However, if you really need to save money, Westlake is a good brand.

3 thoughts on “Westlake Tires Review: Perhaps the Best Low-Cost Tire Brand”

    1. I recently purchased a new gooseneck trailer with Westlake tires. Less than 20000 highway kms on them and I am starting to replace them already. Garbage tires!!

  1. 4 WESTLAKE tires were put on my car by Crown Kia – St. Petersburg, Fl. I am extremely disgusted with their collision shop! I had an accident Nov 2019. The car needed 2 tires and repair to the passenger side wheels (no cover on a culvert caused the damage) The car was in the shop for an extended period of time. The car had 22 K miles on it with (original tires). When I went to pick it up on 11/27 I was told that they put on 4 “new tires” “WESTLAKE” they only needed to replace 2 and they did NOT ask before changing the 2 original tires, however, they showed me they were replaced when done. That sounded good UNTIL a few thousand miles later in October 2020 when the first tire went on a trip while I was in Virginia. Cost $112.89, it was replaced with a FIRESTONE tire.

    Prior to my trip North 2 days before leaving I took my car into Midas in St. Petersburg. The tires were rotated, pressure checked lube oil filter etc. The smart thing one does before a trip – there was NOTHING SHOWING at that time.

    Two days later, after a total of 6K on these tires, while I was driving North at 70 MPH in North Carolina (their speed limit) my car started vibrating. It got worse, I had to stop in Orangeburg SC and had to spend the night. The next morning I was told that the tire had pulled away from the steel belt. They checked the remaining 3 WESTLAKE tires and they said another looked like it was getting ready to go. They asked if I wanted it replaced. Of course I said yes. I had them take photos of the tires. They replaced two of the WESTLAKE tires. Cost $261.00. I continued driving, the car started vibrating again in Virginia near the WEST Virginia border. I stopped at a NAPA repair. The last WESTLAKE tires steel belt had pulled away from the tire – $ $93.16. TOTAL Cost to replace there DEATH TIRES – $467.05. I called the repair shop was told to call the insurance company since they had authorized the tires. I talked to Trent Taylor the Geico agent, he said he spoke to Christina who took care of the repair issues. She said I had AUTHORIZED the tires to be replaced. That was not the case – I was told after the fact. I called and left a message for Christina to call me on Tuesday June 1. I have not received a call back. The damaged tires were suppose to be replaced with the original tire brand that was on them – I was told they were not available by the repair shop man I spoke with originally. REGARDLESS of who did what, NO ONE IS AUTHORIZED TO PUT ON DANGEROUS tires! If you look up WESTLAKE tires you will see that these tires have had issues since 2006! Why in Gods’ name would anyone put these tires on a car. Lives HAVE BEEN LOST BECAUSE OF THEM. I want justice. I am just lucky that I was smart enough to stop driving when I felt an issue. If I do not get reimbursement for these tires I will be taking Crown to court! NEVER EVER EVER ALLOW WESTLAKE TIRES ON YOUR CAR!

    Rene’ DeCroce

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