Although traction is arguably the most important characteristic of any tire, the average buyer in North America is more interested in durability.
Tires are an expensive investment, and the more miles you can get from them, the less costly they become. And if you want the best possible treadlife, you should be looking at standard touring all-season tires.
Now, even between models in that particular category, there is a difference in treadlife. On some tires, manufacturers focus on delivering better dry and wet traction, while on others, they focus on delivering longevity.
The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife belongs to the latter category, as it comes with an outstanding treadwear warranty of 85,000 miles.
However, Goodyear isn’t one of the largest tiremakers in the world by producing tires that only work well in one particular section. With the Assurance MaxLife, the company also focused on delivering safe traction throughout the year, accompanied by a quiet and comfortable ride.
The thing is, though, the standard touring all-season category is fiercer than ever, with excellent tires such as the Continental TrueContact Tour, Michelin Defender T+H, Yokohama AVID Ascend LX, Cooper CS5 Grand Touring, and Pirelli P4 Four Seasons Plus.
So, how does Goodyear’s touring tire compare to its closest rivals? Let’s have a deeper look in my detailed Goodyear Assurance MaxLife review, where I’ll cover every aspect of the tire.
What are the Specifications and Maintenance Indicators?
The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife comes in many different sizes, ranging from 15-inch to 20-inch wheel diameter. Hence, Goodyear covers many modern vehicles, including compact cars and crossovers, mid-size cars, minivans, and even some sporty sedans and coupes.
Larger sizes of the tire also belong to the “grand-touring” category, as they come with higher speed ratings. Overall, most passenger car owners should find a suitable Assurance MaxLife for their vehicle.
Meanwhile, Goodyear really took matters seriously when it comes to treadlife, as the Assurance MaxLife is equipped with the company’s Wear Gauge indicators. These are miles better than the industry-standard TWIs (tread wear indicators), as they give a visual indication of the tread depth left, rather than warning you when the tire reaches the end of its life.
Now, you might not think that this is important, but tread depth matters a lot when it comes to rain and snow traction. Namely, the shallower the tread, the less water/slush/snow the tire can dissipate, thus creating hydroplaning and limiting traction.
And what I like the most about the Assurance MaxLife is that it shows you exactly how much tread depth it has left; for instance, if the rest of the tread is flush with the indicator numbered “8”, it means there is an 8/32-inch tread depth left. It’s the same with 6, 4, and 2 – the last being the lowest legal tread depth in North America.
Other tires will also show you when they reach the 2/32-inch mark, but not other depths. With the Assurance MaxLife, you’ll know if it has enough tread to tackle wintry conditions – the minimum recommended is 5/32-inch.
So far, I have 11,000 miles on this tire before I do this review. I rotate and balance the tires every 5,000 miles, the tires still wear evenly and it still looks like new.
The Assurance MaxLife has an excellent treadlife, meaning you won’t need to look at the Wear Gauges every day. I'm super satisfied with the durability so far, and only a few of the drivers I know report accelerated wear, probably due to suspension issues.
Moreover, Goodyear provides an 85,000-mile treadwear warranty, which is higher than what its main premium rivals offer.
Experience with Goodyear Assurance MaxLife tires
I installed this tire on my 2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i, to replace the worn Cooper CS5 Grand Touring tires.
The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife looks like any other touring all-season tire on the outside, with a tread compound and pattern designed to maximize durability.
However, Goodyear employed various technologies and carefully designed the tread so that this tire also delivers in the performance department. Let’s have a look at each of them and see how it makes a difference in the real world, after my experiences.
But first I need to say, I wouldn't use these tires for off-road and we all know they weren't designed for that.
1. Dry Grip and Traction
Although the Assurance MaxLife is designed for maximum treadlife, it’s also a very safe tire. Goodyear made sure of that by employing it with notched intermediate ribs and semi-closed shoulders and a continuous center rib for higher rubber-to-road contact.
I was actually surprised at how good the Assurance MaxLife handles daily driving tasks, again considering the long-wear narrative. The tire is super capable in the corners, with a relatively high lateral grip for a touring all-season tire.
I had a lot of confidence with these tires on dry pavement because sometimes I could get into corners too quickly, and in that case, they performed better than the CS5 Grand Touring tires I've used before.
It’s also easy to control at the limit, meaning even if I lose grip, I can get my vehicle back into the lane quickly. The highway stability is also excellent.
And it’s not just how this tire handles corners – it’s also very good in a straight line. The braking distance is also very short.
In my experience, it's still better than my previous CS5 Grand Touring tires, and second only to the exceptional Michelin Defender T+H I've owned, by a short margin. Specifically, about 1.3 feet difference when I brake at 45 mph.
There is also ample traction for brisk acceleration on some more powerful cars.
All in all, the Assurance MaxLife is a strong contender for one of the best touring all-season tires in dry conditions!
2. Handling and Steering Feel
The Assurance MaxLife proved to be very good at keeping your vehicle glued to the dry road, but how does it feel behind the wheel?
Well, after just the first few hundred miles, I felt an immediate difference compared to the previous Cooper tires that had been replaced. They respond better to the road surface, providing much better drivability.
My previous Cooper tire didn't feel accurate in the corners, it feels dead on the center, which hurt my driving experience a bit.
But even then, the Michelin Defender T+H and Continental TrueContact Tour are better. Should this worry you, though?
Well, most people won’t think twice about the steering, but if you are one of the few drivers requiring more sharp reflexes, this tire won’t deliver, because Assurance MaxLife's responsiveness is just good enough.
3. Wet Grip, Traction, and Braking
When tiremakers focus on the wear characteristics of their products, it usually results in lesser wet traction and lateral grip. Still, Goodyear didn’t leave things to chance, equipping the Assurance MaxLife with blocked edges and four circumferential grooves for increased hydroplaning resistance.
I experienced quite a bit of heavy rain and light rain in Idaho this past spring, and as far as I can see the Assurance MaxLife is very capable in rain, as it dissipates water like a champ.
The tires can easily cut through big puddles of water, providing stable drive at average town speeds, even at highway speeds, when I was driving at 70 mph.
The tire continues to impress in the corners. The grip levels are reasonably high for a touring all-season tire, and even when I hit the limit, my vehicle will be easy to control, so I feel my Subaru is very stable when exiting a corner.
I can’t think of many touring tires that feel as surefooted in the corners when it rains, apart from some offerings from Michelin, Bridgestone, and Continental.
Lastly, the braking distance on wet surfaces is relatively short. According to my experience with Cooper tires before, Cooper tires still give longer braking distance than Assurance MaxLife.
However, the braking distance of the Assurance MaxLife is about the same as that of the Michelin Defender T+H, but still about 15 feet longer than the Continental TrueContact Tour tires I've owned.
Overall, I have no problems recommending the Assurance MaxLife to drivers that live in areas with frequent rain, as it provides a very solid acceleration, highway stability, cornering, braking, and excellent handling in heavy rain.
4. Snow and Ice Traction
I put the Assurance MaxLife on my Subaru this past February and my aim is to experience them in the snow before winter ends in April, and they did very well in the light snow conditions in Idaho.
On snow surfaces, the Assurance MaxLife isn't as great as a dedicated snow tire, but these are better than average compared to other all-season tires I know of.
Luckily for me, my first experience with this tire was on fresh snow about 3 inches deep, after the packed snow on the roads in the town is plowed, to ensure the safety of the vehicles. And in my opinion, the tires performed well in light snow conditions with good enough traction and didn't skid much when braked or started.
I found them to be a definite improvement on light snow surfaces compared to the Cooper CS5 Grand Touring tires I had used before.
The next day, the snow became packed with vehicles moving constantly on this surface, and I had to be very careful and limit my speed to be able to get to my workplace safely.
My Subaru was sliding around more, the braking distance was also a lot longer, and I had more trouble accelerating.
In particular, the lateral grip seems to be very low, I was very nervous when entering the corners because the wheel slipped pretty much out of the corner. So you'll need to carefully drive through the corners in deep snow and ice with this tire.
If you need an all-season tire that will also work through the winter, my recommendation would be the Continental TrueContact Tour, as it provides the best longitudinal traction and lateral grip I've ever owned.
5. Comfort and Noise
From the first day, I installed this set of tires and drove home, I was impressed with how quiet it was on the roads in town, there isn't any noise from the tires, even when I drive through a concrete stretch.
Besides, the Assurance MaxLife doesn’t produce a lot of noise on the highway, even at 70 mph on my Subaru. However, after about 11,000 miles, I noticed the noise of the tread when I tried to look for it, but the very low-frequency noise is never obtrusive.
In addition, I often have the habit of turning on the radio when driving, so for me, this tire is really quiet and refined for long-distance driving.
Besides, the ride is a lot smoother than the Cooper CS5 tires that I used before. And after 11,000 miles my ride is still very comfortable. I'm completely satisfied with the quality of the trip so far.
You can see more Goodyear Assurance MaxLife review here: Video created by Fabriano Andreotti
Quick Summary of Goodyear Assurance MaxLife
- Outstanding treadlife and exceptional treadwear warranty (85,000 miles)
- Strong braking and excellent acceleration on dry surfaces
- Good cornering ability on both wet and dry surfaces
- Surefooted handling in the rain, even at the limit
- Acceleration and braking on wet surfaces are very good
- Excellent hydroplaning resistance
- Good enough traction on light snow
- Very comfortable ride and reasonably quiet on the highway
- Good responsiveness
- Longer braking distances on snow-covered roads than other premium tires
- Packed snow cornering is very limited, with lower grip levels than anticipated
Should I Buy the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife?
The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife has one real flaw – the lower traction and grip on snow-covered roads than its main rivals, especially on packed snow.
However, if you live in areas where it doesn’t snow frequently, it immediately starts to make sense and might be the best touring all-season tire for you.
Namely, the Assurance MaxLife delivers excellent dry and wet traction and combines that with stellar treadlife with a quiet and comfortable ride, characteristics that are not easy to find in other tires.
For instance, the TrueContact Tour is slightly better in rainy and snowy conditions, though you will sacrifice a bit of durability.
Hence, if you are in the market for a set of touring all-season tires, you should definitely give the Assurance MaxLife a look!
List of the Goodyear Tires Review