People say that money can't buy you happiness, but it can certainly buy you a muscle car. And at least in my book, driving a rear-wheel-drive monster with a gazillion horsepower equates to happiness. Since you clicked on this article, I suppose you are also very happy with the fact that you own a sports car and none other than the quintessential Ford Mustang.
Ford's pony car has now reached its seventh generation, and it was always the most popular muscle car in North America. People loved the simple recipe of a large V8 under the bonnet that sent the power to the rear wheels. It allowed for burnouts and drifts and, of course, for some exhilarating performance. However, the big power under the hood also eats tires – literally!
I've seen Mustang owners shred their tires to pieces after only a few hundred miles, which in this day and age, isn't pocket-friendly. The best tires for Ford Mustang are expensive – there is no getting around that fact. However, by paying more, you are also ensuring that your muscle car will give you the best driving experience. Good tires = good handling = good performance.
Tires are so important in sports cars in general that they are the first upgrade seasoned enthusiasts do on their vehicles. Just putting on a set of more aggressive performance tires can cut a few seconds on the track or autocross course and improve your 0-60 mph times. Yup, tires are more important than any other upgrade in your Mustang!
But with all those options currently available in the market, it becomes increasingly hard for potential buyers to make the right choice. Not to mention, different tires have different grip/treadwear ratings, i.e., some are designed more for road use, others for track shenanigans. Put the ever more unpredictable weather into the mix, and you have a real "multi-lemma" to fix.
Fortunately, you are just at the right place to find the best tires for Mustang. I tried all of these tires and know how they perform day in and day out. But more importantly, I can also answer all your lingering questions on the best type of tire for your needs, so don't forget to have a closer look at the FAQ section.
So, without further ado, let's have a closer look at the best tires for Mustang, divided into every category that matters for muscle car owners!
- Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Ford Mustang
- Best Extreme-Performance Summer Tires for Ford Mustang
- Best Performance All-Season Tires for Ford Mustang
- Best Winter Tires for Ford Mustang
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Best Max-Performance Summer Tires for Ford Mustang
1. Bridgestone Potenza Sport
Although it's far from the smoothest max-performance summer tire right now, the Potenza Sport is my favorite model in the competitive category – particularly for owners of sports cars like the Mustang.
And the main reason for that is the feel. Yup, you read that right – Bridgestone's newest max-performance all-season tire is all about connecting you with the road, thus further improving the driving experience of your Mustang.
Put simply, the steering of this tire is magical – it responds quickly to your inputs while also feeling very precise and natural. Moreover, the tire provides quite a lot of feel for the road, which is something that many tires from this category mute nowadays.
I never felt like I needed more grip with this tire as well. On dry roads, the lateral grip it provides leads the category, and the stopping distances are among the shortest. More importantly, the Potenza Sport always feels agile and fun to drive while also giving you immense stability at the limit.
The same story continues in rainy conditions. The Potenza Sport feels very stable in the corners, but it never limits you from playing with it if you want, like, for example, drifting in a corner. The traction on wet tarmac is immense – the stopping distances are among the shortest in the category, and the lateral grip is remarkable.
Thanks to all of these qualities, I think that the Bridgestone Potenza Sport will be at home both on the road and on the track. You can have fun on the track with many max-performance summer tires, but at least in my testing, the Bridgestone Potenza Sport feels the most adept for quick and aggressive driving.
However, there is a price to pay for all that precision and responsiveness, and that is comfort. In an effort to make it more responsive, Bridgestone made the Potenza Sport too stiff, which results in a harsh ride, especially on broken roads. The tread pattern was also clearly not designed with acoustics in mind, as you can easily hear the tire roar on the highway.
Still, this is the Mustang we are talking about, a sports car with an already loud exhaust note that was designed to transmit more from the road in the cabin. As such, the Potenza Sport might be the perfect tire for America's best muscle car!
- Precise and instinctive steering that brings a smile to your face
- Very agile handling – the tire feels light on its feet
- Top-notch dry surface grip, rivaling track-specific tires
- Exceptional dry surface braking and acceleration
- High wet surface traction that translates to short stopping distances
- Outstanding cornering stability in wet conditions
- Rough ride on uneven surfaces
- Loud during highway driving
2. Continental ExtremeContact Sport 02
Much like its rival from Bridgestone, the ExtremeContact Sport 02 isn't the most comfortable max-performance summer tire out there. It produces high-pitched noise that enters the cabin when driving on the highway and feels a bit choppy over severely damaged roads. The ExtremeContact Sport 02 might be a bit better than the Potenza Sport in this regard, but I'm really splitting hairs here.
I will also need to split hairs when explaining the driving experience of the ExtremeContact Sport 02, as it is also exceptional. The steering isn't as quick as on the Potenza Sport, but that is only because the Bridgestone rival pushed the limit in that regard. In isolation, the ExtremeContact Sport 02 is plenty fast to react to your steering inputs, but more importantly, the steering feels very natural and linear.
Like most modern tires from Continental, the ExtremeContact Sport 02 is at the top of the category in grip and traction. On dry roads, this tire sticks to the road like it has glue on the tread. As a result, it achieves some of the highest lateral grips in the category while also giving you very short stopping distances and excellent acceleration traction.
But the biggest draw of the ExtremeContact Sport 02 is its wet performance. Continental's max-performance summer tire not only has the shortest stopping distances in the category, but it also remains very stable in the corners.
Moreover, thanks to the wide circumferential grooves, the tire has excellent hydroplaning resistance – important if you drive in heavy rain. Much like on dry roads, the ExtremeContact Sport 02 is easy to control at the limit – important for evasive maneuvers.
For the first time, Continental also offers a 30,000-mile treadwear warranty on the ExtremeContact Sport 02. Now, warranties are nothing new in the tire industry, but they are a rarity in the max-performance summer category – only the Michelin Pilot Sport 4/4S comes with treadwear warranties.
Meanwhile, ExtremeContact Sport 02's greatest rival, the Potenza Sport, doesn't come with any warranty. But not only that – owners also report excellent treadlife considering the type of tire, even when they push it to the limit repeatedly. So, the ExtremeContact Sport 02 might be the best overall tire for the Mustang for those that value the warranty.
- Excellent dry surface traction and braking capabilities
- Superior wet weather performance with reliable braking and handling
- Well-balanced steering responsiveness
- Comfortable on most road conditions
- First Continental summer tire with a treadwear warranty
- Expected long-lasting treadlife according to owners
- High-pitched noise at highway speeds
- Discomfort on severely damaged roads
3. Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Michelin's max-performance summer tire is by far the most popular in the category, and chances are, someone already recommended it to you. I've seen many Mustang owners put a set of Pilot Sport 4S tires on their cars, and for a good reason – they offer a nice balance between performance and comfort.
Yup, while the ExtremeContact Sport 02 and Potenza Sport and harsh and loud, the Pilot Sport 4S is refreshingly smooth. Of course, it won't be as comfortable as a dedicated touring tire, but as far as max-performance tires go, it's the best in its category. The ride is well-controlled, and noise is never an issue, particularly on the Mustang, where the engine and wind noise can easily cover the slight tread noise the Pilot Sport 4S produces.
The downside of having such a smooth performance tire is that it doesn't have the edge of its rivals. That is particularly evident in the steering, which isn't very quick and sharp. Sure, it feels natural and linear while also providing a good on-center feel, but I definitely would've liked it to feel more urgent, particularly if I owned a Mustang.
Still, if you don't mind the slightly slower steering, the Pilot Sport 4S is actually an outstanding performance tire, ready for some track duties. Notably, it provides immense lateral grip on dry tarmac, rivaling that of the ExtremeContact Sport 02 and Potenza Sport. The stopping distances are also very short, and the stability under braking is exceptional.
Furthermore, the Pilot Sport 4S feels very capable in the rain – it is one of the best wet tires in the world, period. From its short stopping distances to its high lateral grip, the Pilot Sport 4S is a joy to drive in the rain. Not to mention, it also feels stable and easy to control at the limit of traction.
Michelin is also the first manufacturer to include a treadwear warranty on a max-performance summer tire with the Pilot Sport 4S, which stands at 30,000 miles. But more importantly, owners report exceptional real-world treadlife with this tire, which easily outlasts its rivals in longevity.
- Remarkable dry surface cornering and braking
- Stable handling on wet surfaces
- Excellent wet grip and braking performance
- Comfortable and quiet for a high-performance summer tire
- Industry-leading treadlife
- Included treadwear warranty
- Steering is not as sharp or responsive as competitors'
- Higher price point
4. Pirelli P Zero (PZ4)
The Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) is an often overlooked max-performance summer tire, but one that definitely deserves its place on the Ford Mustang. It is a very well-balanced tire that scored highly in every category and one that I would definitely look into if I owned a sports car.
That is largely thanks to its performance on the street. The P Zero (PZ4) might lack the sharpness of its rivals, but it is tremendously comfortable for daily driving. It provides a very smooth and controlled ride, regardless of the tarmac's quality, and never feels loud on the highway – even on coarse surfaces. It might be even smoother overall than the Pilot Sport 4S, which isn't a small feat.
Understandably, the steering suffered a bit and is not as quick as on the Potenza Sport or ExtremeContact Sport 02. After the initial steering input, the P Zero (PZ4) feels more agile, though, and on roads with many curves, it can be enjoyable to drive. The steering is also linear once the tires load up and provide a good feel for the road.
The P Zero (PZ4) is very competitive in outright traction as well, particularly on wet roads. Pirelli did a great job with the rain abilities of this tire, as it allowed me to push it very hard without losing control of the vehicle. The traction levels are also immense, among the best in the category, and the lateral grip is exceptional.
The story continues in dry conditions, where the P Zero (PZ4) provides a comparable grip to its premium rivals. I also found that the stopping distances were very short, but more importantly, the tire allowed for corrections and felt stable under braking. Moreover, the natural behavior at the limit allows for some drifting fun without losing control of the vehicle.
Sadly, Pirelli doesn't offer a treadwear warranty on the P Zero (PZ4), which would've made it the perfect all-around max-performance summer tire.
- High wet surface lateral grip and acceleration
- Well-rounded dry and wet surface handling
- Superior dry surface lateral grip and braking
- Smooth ride, even on rough surfaces
- Quiet during highway driving
- Lackluster initial steering response
- No treadwear warranty
Best Extreme-Performance Summer Tires for Ford Mustang
5. Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS
If you are really into exploring the maximum driving potential of your Mustang, a set of max-performance tires won't cut the mustard. What you need is a set of extreme-performance tires, which resemble a racing tire with minimal tread pattern. However, although they are designed primarily for track driving, these tires are road-legal.
Currently, the best extreme-performance summer tire available on the market is the Bridgestone Potenza RE-71RS. Bridgestone's supremacy in this category started with the Potenza RE-71R, and this new and improved model only widened the gap with its rivals.
As such, it is by far the most popular upgrade for Mustang owners that are serious about pushing the limits on the track and generally enjoying the driving experience.
Put simply, the Potenza RE-71RS does everything right when it comes to performance driving. I thoroughly enjoyed the granular steering that always told me what the front wheels were doing. The tires also felt very quick to respond to my inputs, but they never felt twitchy or overly fast.
Moreover, the steering was linear and loaded up nicely in the corners while also providing excellent straight-line tracking. If you want to feel the best steering possible in a tire, look no further than the Potenza RE-71RS.
But there is more to Bridgestone's track-oriented tire than just the steering. Notably, the overall grip this tire provides is immense – your Mustang will feel like it is driving on racing slicks. And I am not exaggerating – the Potenza RE-71RS is really capable of achieving class-leading lateral grip and exceptionally short stopping distances.
And once you put heat in the back tires, they can also give your Mustang immense acceleration traction and cut those quarter-mile times significantly. Like with most extreme-performance tires, you will want to heat them up before doing anything dangerous, but the Potenza RE-71RS still performs very well when cold – better than its closest rivals, in fact.
Measuring the Potenza RE-71RS's wet performance, though, can be a bit tricky. Due to the minimal tread, this tire suffers from hydroplaning when there is standing water on the road and might destabilize your Mustang. Thus, you should be careful in the rain, both on the street and track.
However, if the tarmac is damp after a light rain, the Potenza RE-71RS will feel super-sticky and capable. This is true for most extreme-performance summer tires, but even more so for this one. Hence, you can push it on damp roads to the limits and have fun!
As expected, though, the Potenza RE-71RS isn't a very comfortable tire – it feels harsh over bumps, and it is loud on the highway. Still, I think that this is a small price to pay for the driving enjoyment it provides!
- Unmatched dry surface lateral grip
- Phenomenal braking performance and stability
- Excellent traction during corner exits
- Reliable grip on damp roads
- Responsive and smooth steering
- Loud and uncomfortable on bumpy roads
- Struggles with hydroplaning in heavy rain
6. Falken Azenis RT660
Falken's latest extreme-performance summer tire is somewhat of a dark horse in the category – even I wasn't familiar with its qualities a year ago. However, after a friend pointed it out to me (he installed it on his daily driver), I thought it would be a great idea to try it. And boy, I was missing a lot!
Namely, the Azenis RT660 is the cheapest tire that would make your Mustang a track machine. With a set of these on your muscle car, you will cut lap times significantly while also improving the 0-60 times and overall handling agility.
What I loved about this tire is that it provided exceptional steering, almost on the level of the Potenza RE-71RS. The Azenis RT660 felt very quick to react, always ready for the next input. The steering also felt very linear and natural, making for a very fun driving experience.
But the thing that impresses the most about the Azenis RT660 is the money-to-grip ratio. Although cheaper than its premium rivals, Falken's track tire matches them in lateral grip. With a set of these tires, you will have more grip in the corners than you could ever need on the street and enough for shenanigans on the track. The longitudinal traction is also exceptional, translating into very strong braking and excellent acceleration traction.
Like with most extreme-performance summer tires, though, you will need to put heat into the Azenis RT660 to extract the most of it. When cold, the tire can be unpredictable at the limit and won't give your Mustang the grip it deserves.
This is especially true on damp roads – the Azenis RT660 is capable of providing you with exceptional traction, but only when you put some heat into the tires. Unfortunately, due to the minimal tread pattern, it doesn't perform very well on roads with standing water.
Moreover, the Azenis RT660 is pretty noisy on the street, particularly at higher speeds, and feels harsh over bumps. Still, this is not surprising considering the category.
- Incredible dry surface lateral grip
- Powerful braking and acceleration traction
- Ultra-responsive steering
- Stable and secure under braking
- Great performance on damp tracks
- Requires heat to reach maximum grip
- Limited capability in heavy rain due to hydroplaning
- Rough and noisy ride
Best Performance All-Season Tires for Ford Mustang
7. Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus
Not all Mustang owners drive their muscle car on the track or want to experience its limits every day. For most of them, actually, hearing the roaring engine while accelerating hard and letting the Mustang slide just a bit in the corners is more than enough to get the heart pumping.
And for those drivers, I recommend a set of ultra-high-performance all-season tires. These tires still offer enough grip and traction for fun driving on the road but can also give you some snow traction to get through the winter. And currently, the best UHP all-season tire is the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus.
This tire performs well across the board. There is one small issue I have with it – the steering doesn't feel as responsive. However, it is still quicker than what you'd get on any touring tire, and for most Mustang owners, not really an issue.
More importantly, the ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus will feel very safe, regardless of the weather outside. As of 2023, it is the best wet tire in its category, with exceptional longitudinal traction and high lateral grip. The tire also performs naturally at the limit, as it loses traction progressively and leaves time for the driver to react.
The dry grip is also excellent. Sure, it won't match a summer tire, but I think the ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus provides more than enough grip for a spirited ride on the street. It also stops very well and feels very stable under braking. But the thing that I like the most about this tire is that it feels very agile and fun to drive in the corners.
You can even have some fun on light snow with the ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, thanks to the solid traction and very balanced handling. On top of that, Continental's UHP all-season tire is very smooth and quiet – surprisingly so, given the category.
Continental offers a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on the ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus, which is a sizeable increase over any summer performance tire.
- Top-tier wet surface traction
- Confident cornering on wet roads
- Agile and grippy on dry surfaces
- Reliable light snow performance
- Smooth and refined ride
- Extensive treadwear warranty
- Could use more responsive steering
8. Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+
Want a UHP all-season tire that will feel almost as sporty as a max-performance summer tire? Look no further than the Potenza RE980AS+, Bridgestone's latest and greatest UHP all-season tire.
Much like with its current performance summer offerings, Bridgestone again nailed the steering of this tire, which feels more granular and quicker than its rivals. Thus, if you value steering response and how your vehicle connects to you, the Potenza RE980AS+ is the best choice in the category.
But the Potenza RE980AS+ has much more going for it than just the steering. It also feels very nimble in the corners and very predictable at the limit, which means that you can push your Mustang to the very limit more easily.
Moreover, the Potenza RE980AS+ provides exceptional lateral grip and longitudinal traction on dry roads, comparable to that of its closest rivals. As a result, the stopping distances are among the shortest in the category, and you can achieve very high speeds in the corners.
Sadly, Bridgestone isn't as competitive in the rain. The Potenza RE980AS+ feels very stable and surefooted on wet tarmac, but it doesn't brake as well as its rivals. Don't get me wrong – the Potenza RE980AS+ is still very safe in rainy conditions and an excellent wet tire in isolation. Still, its rivals do perform slightly better.
Meanwhile, I was surprised by the amount of light snow traction, which is among the highest in the category, including braking, acceleration, and cornering. The Potenza RE980AS+ also felt very balanced through the corners and easy to drive, which many UHP all-season tires fail to do.
Lastly, Bridgestone provides an exceptional 50,000-mile treadwear warranty on the Potenza RE980AS+, which is among the highest in the category. Owners of the previous model, the Potenza RE980AS, also report excellent real-world treadlife.
- Industry-leading steering responsiveness
- Excellent dry surface traction and lateral grip
- Agile handling with predictable limits
- Stable wet surface performance
- Outstanding light snow traction for ultra-high-performance all-season tires
- Well-rounded snow handling
- Reasonably quiet and comfortable
- Slightly weaker wet traction compared to top competitors
9. Vredestein Hypertrac All Season
Much like Falken in the extreme-performance category, Vredestein is a dark horse in the UHP all-season category. The Dutch brand might be new to North American drivers, but in Europe, it's known as a producer of very high-quality premium tires, and the Hypertrac All Season shows that.
Although I had quite a bit of experience with Vredestein before (I live in Europe), the Hypertrac All Season still surprised me with its performance. Again, I had some small issues with the steering responsiveness, but I know that other drivers didn't.
Crucially, the Hypertrac All Season provides excellent grip regardless of the weather outside. The dry grip is exceptional, close to that of its premium rivals, and enough for a spirited drive on the street. The stopping distances are also very short, and you'll never feel like there is not enough acceleration traction.
Vredestein's UHP all-season tire isn't as predictable at the limit, though, and can feel a bit unstable during high-speed cornering. Still, I only noticed this issue on the track – it shouldn't be a problem if you only drive on the street.
Fortunately, the issue was non-existent on wet roads. The Hypertrac All Season felt very good in the rain, with very short stopping distances, not too much slippage under acceleration, and a high lateral grip. On top of that, the tire felt very confident on snow-covered roads, where it accelerated, steered, and stopped like the best in the category.
While talking about the Hypertrac All Season's performance, it is important to note that it costs less than its premium rivals like the Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 Plus and Bridgestone Potenza RE980AS+. Despite that, Vredestein still offers a competitive 50,000-mile treadwear warranty.
- High dry surface grip and braking for the price
- Reliable wet surface traction and handling
- Confident driving on snow-covered roads
- Smooth and quiet ride for a performance tire
- Affordable price for the performance you get
- Long treadwear warranty
- It could be more stable during high-speed dry surface cornering
- Steering responsiveness
Best Winter Tires for Ford Mustang
10. Michelin Pilot Alpin 5
The Pilot Alpin 5 is one of the few performance winter tires on offer for sports cars and the de-facto choice for many enthusiast drivers. It comes with a 30,000-mile warranty, which is a big draw for customers, but more importantly, it allows Mustang owners to continue having fun with their muscle car in the winter.
Namely, the Pilot Alpin 5 is the best performance winter tire on snow-covered roads. It feels very balanced and easy to drive in the corners while also providing immense longitudinal traction (acceleration and braking). Thanks to the softer compound, it will also outperform any all-season tire on icy roads, and significantly so.
You will also get a much more rewarding driving experience on dry and wet roads when compared to a regular winter tire. The Pilot Alpin 5 feels very sharp and reacts quickly to the driver's inputs, particularly in freezing conditions. It also has enough grip for a spirited ride on a twisty road and feels balanced in the corners.
However, it doesn't want to be pushed to its limit. Still, this shouldn't be an issue, considering most Mustang owners will never use it on the track; for street use, the Pilot Alpin 5 is plenty good enough.
It is the same story in rainy conditions. The Pilot Alpin 5 provides excellent stopping power, strong acceleration traction, and high grip in the corners, but it doesn't feel particularly balanced when pushed to its limit. Important to notice, but definitely not an issue on the street, where the class-leading braking actually makes the Pilot Alpin 5 the safest choice in the category.
What surprised me the most about the Pilot Alpin 5 was how smooth it felt overall. The ride was taut like you would expect from a performance tire but never harsh or troublesome. The tread noise was also minimal, even on coarse surfaces and at higher speeds. You will be enjoying longer journeys with a set of Pilot Alpin 5 tires on your Mustang, no question about it.
Lastly, Michelin is the only manufacturer that provides a treadwear warranty on its winter tires. In this case, the Pilot Alpin 5 comes with a 30,000-mile warranty, which is frankly more than enough for a set of tires you will be using only 3-4 months throughout the year.
- Class-leading snow braking and acceleration
- Balanced and easy to drive on light snow
- Strong braking and high lateral grip in rainy conditions
- Very responsive and fun to drive for a winter tire
- Surprisingly quiet and composed for a winter performance tire
- Excellent treadwear warranty for the category
- It isn't very balanced in wet conditions
- It doesn't want to be pushed to its limit on dry roads
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are the top tire brands for a Ford Mustang?
The Ford Mustang is a high-performance sports car with enough power to shred any tire, and this includes some specialty-made track tires. As such, it deserves a set of tires from a reputable manufacturer – I wouldn't save money on tires if I owned a Mustang.
Thus, if you are looking for the best performance and most rewarding driving experience, go for a set of tires from the big five: Bridgestone, Michelin, Continental, Goodyear, and Pirelli. Other brands, like Toyo, Yokohama, Cooper, General, BFGoodrich, Firestone, Hankook, Falken, and Kumho, also make excellent performance tires.
With that said, I strongly discourage Mustang owners from buying very cheap performance tires from manufacturers that emerged out of nowhere. Companies like Lionhart and Lexani can't match the know-how of the more experienced tiremakers and don't even try to compete on performance. Not to mention, they lack the R&D facilities needed to produce an excellent product.
Now, I won't say that those Chinese tires are junk, as they might have a place on some cars, but certainly not on the Mustang. Put simply, you will be limiting your car's performance with these tires and experience dangerously low levels of traction on wet surfaces. On top of that, these cheap Chinese tires aren't exactly durable and will only last you for a few thousand miles at best.
2. How do I choose the right tire size for my Mustang?
The Ford Mustang comes with many different tire sizes from the factory, depending on the model. For instance, the entry-level 2.3-liter EcoBoost model comes with 235/55R17 tires, but the V8 GT model comes with up to 285/35ZR20 tires.
This means that you can play with the tire dimensions on your Mustang and install larger tires if you want. However, I strongly recommend checking the owner's manual, where you can find more information on the sizing and how it affects the performance of your vehicle.
If you aren't interested in putting on larger tires, the safest thing to do is to look at the sidewall markings. The tire size is imprinted on the sidewall of your current tires. It will be a combination of letters and numbers, such as 235/55R17. Here's what each part means:
- 235: Represents the tire width in millimeters.
- 55: Indicates the aspect ratio, which is the tire height as a percentage of the width.
- R: Denotes a radial tire construction.
- 17: Represents the wheel diameter in inches.
It is also essential to look at the load and speed ratings. Choosing a set of tires that won't be able to carry the weight of your Mustang or endure the high speeds associated with the muscle car can be dangerous, as it can lead to a potential blowout.
The speed rating is usually found at the end of the tire size information on the sidewall, for example, P235/55R17 99W. In this case, "W" represents the speed rating. Common speed ratings for passenger cars include:
- S: Up to 112 mph (180 km/h)
- T: Up to 118 mph (190 km/h)
- U: Up to 124 mph (200 km/h)
- H: Up to 130 mph (210 km/h)
- V: Up to 149 mph (240 km/h)
- Z: 149 mph (240 km/h) and above
- W: Up to 168 mph (270 km/h)
- Y: Up to 186 mph (300 km/h)
For a Ford Mustang, you'll generally need a tire with a speed rating of V or higher (H or higher for older generations). Of course, this depends on your driving habits, but make sure to always have some leeway.
As for the load rating, it is usually found next to the speed rating on the tire sidewall. In the example, P235/55R17 99W, "99" is the load rating. You can easily find load rating charts online, but as with the speed rating, never go lower than the OEM-recommended weight capacity of the tire.
3. What is the difference between summer, all-season, and winter tires for a Mustang?
The type of tire you choose will have a tremendous influence on how your Mustang drives. This is especially true for the rubber compound: summer, all-season, or winter.
Since the Mustang is a sports car, most owners will want a set of performance summer tires on their muscle car. The reason is pretty straightforward – summer tires will offer by far the highest grip of any other type in warm conditions, regardless if the surface is dry or wet.
In other words, your Mustang will accelerate faster, brake sooner, and achieve the highest speeds in the corners. Of course, you will be losing wintertime capabilities, but down to 7°C (44°F), summer tires will give you the best possible performance.
However, drivers that don't care about the fastest lap times and don't drive their Mustangs to the limit every day might want to opt for ultra-high-performance all-season tires. You will lose some grip by opting for these tires, but the latest UHP all-season models have more than enough traction for a spirited drive on a twisty road.
UHP all-season tires won't be usable on the track, for autocross, drifting, or on drag strips, but they last much longer than their summer counterparts. Not to mention, they also work on light snow – well, most of them. As such, for some Mustang owners, they are a year-round solution that takes the headache of having to replace the tires twice a year away.
Still, if you live in an area where it frequently snows in the winter, it might be smart to invest in a set of winter tires. However, since this is a Mustang, I recommend a set of performance winter tires, which are designed to retain the quick steering and high grip characteristics of your muscle car, albeit in freezing conditions.
With that said, you'll want to replace those winter tires as soon as the weather gets warmer because they simply can't match the traction of summer and all-season tires.
Moreover, winter tires tend to wear much faster in warmer temperatures. And trust me, you won't want to unnecessarily wear out your performance winter tires, as they cost a fortune.
4. How do performance tires enhance my Mustang driving experience?
These tires are designed to elevate the performance of your Mustang in many meaningful ways. For starters, they are made from a softer and stickier tread compound that vastly improves the longitudinal traction and lateral grip of your vehicle. In other words, you will be able to drive faster without worrying about slippage.
But performance tires are also developed on the track and perform very elegantly at the limit. For instance, a touring tire will be hard to catch when it loses traction, making it incapable of supporting driving at the limit. Performance tires, in general, lose traction in a more gradual way, allowing the driver to push the limit of the vehicle and experience the weight transfer much better.
Another often overlooked aspect of performance tires is the steering. Thanks to the stiffer sidewalls and tougher overall construction, summer tires respond much more quickly to the driver's input, making the whole driving experience more engaging. They also provide more direct and precise steering and are a joy to drive on a twisty road.
Furthermore, performance tires are designed with high heat in mind, i.e., long track sessions. A regular touring tire would start to disintegrate after a few laps on any track, especially if the weather is hot outside, but not a performance tire. Hence, if you plan on driving your Ford Mustang on the track or doing some autocross with it, performance tires are really your only option.
5. How does the tire tread pattern affect my Mustang's performance?
The tread patterns in modern tires are designed to optimize traction, stability, and braking performance in various driving conditions.
However, having too many tread grooves and sipes can be detrimental to performance, as it minimizes the contact patch with the road. Therefore, track-oriented performance summer tires would have less tread to maximize road contact and increase longitudinal traction and lateral grip.
On the other hand, though, having too few tread grooves can lead to hydroplaning issues. The same track-oriented extreme-performance tires that I mentioned are outstanding on dry and damp tarmac, but they completely lose traction in heavy rain. And the main reason for that is the minimal tread pattern – these tires simply don't have enough grooves to channel water out of the contact patch.
For that reason, max-performance summer tires are the best option for most Mustang owners, in my opinion. These tires have enough grooves to keep water out of the tread but also a large contact patch to maximize grip. As a result, max-performance summer tires provide the highest traction in wet conditions out of any other tire type while also giving you exceptional dry grip.
But what about the tread pattern type? Right now, there are four different tread pattern types: symmetrical, asymmetrical, directional, and combined. Symmetrical tread patterns have the same design across the tire's circumference. They are usually found on touring tires and are designed to provide good traction in most conditions. However, you won't find many performance tires with symmetrical tread patterns, though there are some exceptions.
Meanwhile, asymmetrical tread patterns have different designs on the inner and outer parts of the tire. The inner side focuses on enhancing traction and water evacuation in wet conditions, while the outer side is designed to maximize grip and stability during cornering on dry surfaces. Asymmetrical tread patterns are very common on high-performance tires commonly used on the Mustang.
Another highly-used tread pattern on performance tires is directional. These tires have a V-shaped tread pattern that channels water out of the contact patch without compromising dry grip.
However, the directional tread pattern also tends to produce more noise. As a result, you will mostly find extreme-performance tires with V-shaped patterns because comfort with these tires is of lesser concern.
Finally, there are tires that use a combination of asymmetrical and directional tread patterns. Usually, you can find combined tread patterns on the most expensive performance tires since they offer the highest possible dry and wet traction. However, these tires can also be very expensive and require more precise rotation methods.
6. What is the ideal tire pressure for a Ford Mustang?
The ideal tire pressure greatly depends on the generation of your Mustang but also the particular model you have. Therefore, I strongly recommend checking the correct tire pressure for your model on the tire information placard visible when you open the driver's door or in your Ford Mustang owner's manual.
Regardless, it's a good practice to check your tire pressure regularly, at least once a month, or before a long trip. Always check the tire pressure when the tires are cold, as tire pressure increases as the tires warm up from driving. If you need to adjust the tire pressure, use a high-quality tire pressure gauge and an air compressor, which you can find at most gas stations or auto parts stores.
You can play with the tire pressure in certain circumstances, though. For instance, for track driving, you can lower the tire pressure, accounting for the fact that it will rise when you heat up the tires. Still, this requires you to spend hours on the track to perfect the handling of your Mustang, so if you are a novice, I always suggest starting with the manufacturer-recommended psi.
7. How do I know when it's time to replace my Mustang's tires?
There are several indicators that your tires are ripe for replacement, and the most obvious one is tread wear. Tires that don't have enough tread left will be dangerous to drive on wet roads, but minimal tread also increases the risk of tire failure.
For the Ford Mustang, the minimum tread depth recommended is 2/32 of an inch (1.6 mm). When the tread reaches that depth, it will be flush with the tread indicator bars, which usually sit inside the circumferential grooves of the tire. However, you can also use a tread depth gauge (or penny test) to get a better reading of the tread depth left on your tire.
You can also use the tread depth gauge to check for uneven wear. This is another serious issue that might indicate a wheel alignment issue or damaged/worn suspension components. Regardless, you should immediately bring your vehicle for inspection and see whether you can continue to use the tires.
Other than tread wear, you should also look for other issues with your Mustang tires, which include cracks, cuts, and bulges on the sidewall of the tread. Although these issues look benign, they can lead to serious safety issues, like a potential tire blowout.
Still, even if your tires have enough tread depth left and no visible damage, they degrade over time. Notably, the rubber compound ages and loses its elasticity and sticky properties. As a result, it won't provide reliable traction, particularly on wet roads.
Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires every six to ten years, regardless of tread wear. Check the date code on the tire sidewall (a four-digit number, e.g., 3419, indicating the tire was manufactured in the 34th week of 2019) to determine the age of your tires.
8. Can I mix different tire brands or types on my Ford Mustang?
I strongly discourage mixing tires from different tire brands, as it can seriously handicap the handling characteristics of your Mustang.
See, modern tires are designed to work as a set of four. Everything from the tread pattern to the compound is there to ensure perfect handling balance, but only if all four tires are from the same manufacturer. Thus, tires with different performance characteristics may respond differently to road conditions, making handling unpredictable and potentially unsafe, especially during cornering, braking, or in wet conditions.
This is especially true if you mix tires from various types, like winter tires on the rear (driven) axle and summer tires on the front axle. Many people still think this is a genius and cost-effective solution in the winter, but come on, guys, use that brain of yours! You don't only put on winter tires to be able to accelerate on snow but also to brake and turn. In fact, braking and turning are more important for safety!
Lastly, mixing tire brands or types may void any warranties provided by the tire manufacturer, leaving you without coverage in case of a tire failure or defect.
9. What are the pros and cons of run-flat tires for a Mustang?
Run-flat tires allow you to drive up to 50 miles (80 km) at a top speed of 50 mph (80 km/h) after a complete pressure loss. Hence, you won't need a spare with run-flat tires or a tire repair kit, which can be very convenient.
Furthermore, run-flat tires are generally safer, particularly when they lose pressure. While a regular tire would destabilize your vehicle when it loses pressure, which can be dangerous if you drive fast, run-flat tires would give you enough grip and stability to turn and stop the vehicle.
With that said, you really need to be loving the convenience these tires give you, as they cost much more than regular tires. Moreover, run-flat tires will give your Mustang a harsher ride due to the stiffer sidewalls and could result in worse performance due to the higher weight. Usually, run-flat tires also have shorter treadlife than regular tires.
But the thing that buzzes me the most about run-flat tires is that you only get older models in these configurations. Want a run-flat version of Bridgestone's excellent Potenza Sport? Sorry, but you can't have it – your only option is the more expensive and older Potenza S001 RFT. I used Bridgestone only as an example here – it's the same with most other brands.
10. What is the impact of tire weight on my Mustang's fuel efficiency and performance?
Tire weight is an often-overlooked aspect of performance tires, but one that can have a significant effect on the overall performance of your Ford Mustang. In this case, lighter is always better, and here is why:
- Acceleration: lighter tires require less energy to rotate and, as such, use less of the engine's torque. The result is quicker acceleration and usually a higher top speed.
- Agile handling and higher grip: lighter tires also feel nimbler in the corners. The reason for this is unsprung mass, i.e., mass that isn't supported by the suspension. Reduced unsprung weight allows the suspension to respond more quickly to road imperfections and maintain better contact with the road surface, which can lead to improved grip and stability during cornering and braking.
- Fuel efficiency: the fact that the engine's torque will be used for the forward motion rather than turning those heavy tires means that you will get better fuel efficiency if you opt for lighter tires.
- Ride comfort: thanks to the lower unsprung mass, lighter tires also make it easier for the suspension to control the movement of the wheel, reducing the overall impact of road imperfections.
It is important to note that when talking about unsprung mass, you should collect the weight of the wheel (rim) and tire. Thus, a very usable performance upgrade for the Mustang would be a set of lighter forged wheels with a set of lighter performance tires.
Just by cutting the unsprung mass using lighter wheels and tires, you can cut a few seconds per lap on the track while also improving the driving experience and fuel economy of your Mustang!
11. Can I upgrade my Mustang's wheels to accommodate wider or bigger tires?
This is one of the most common upgrades for Mustang owners around the world. Putting larger wheels and tires will definitely improve the looks of your Mustang, but it could also potentially increase performance by providing you with higher longitudinal traction and lateral grip.
Still, you need to ensure that the wider wheels and tires fit your Mustang. For starters, ensure the correct offset and backspacing to maintain proper clearance between the tires and the vehicle's body, suspension components, and brakes. Incorrect offset and backspacing can lead to rubbing or other issues.
Then, check whether your Mustang has enough clearance between the fender and the tire, considering the travel of the suspension. Also, make sure the wheel doesn't rub against the braking components, as this can have serious repercussions on your safety.
Other things you will need to do if you change the diameter of the wheel/tire combo are speedometer calibration and checking your local regulations regarding wheel upgrades.
What you don't want to do, though, is putting very wide tires on narrow wheels, aka stretched tires. This might improve the look of the tires, but it will seriously deteriorate the handling performance of your Mustang. Not to mention stretched tires could also lead to potential air loss and blowouts.
A wise man (my father) once said to me – your car is only as good as the tires it rides on. And after working in the automotive industry for two decades now, I can tell you he was right – the tires can make a world of difference in how a car performs, which is especially true for sports cars like the Ford Mustang.
With that in mind, I only chose the best possible tires for America's most-beloved muscle car. I firmly believe that car enthusiasts should put the best possible tires on their motorized pets, in when it comes to tires, the models I mentioned above represent the "crème de la crème" in the industry!
I’m Ivo Gievski, the content writer for Tireer. We built our website with over 15 years of experience and extensive research in the automotive and technology sectors. My dedication to delivering high-quality content is unwavering, and I strive to continuously hone my skills to stay ahead of industry trends and provide readers with informative, engaging, and valuable insights.