Best Tires for the Toyota Prius

Which are the best tires for the Toyota Prius? That all depends on your lifestyle and where you drive. When Toyota chose tires for the Prius, it aimed for a good balance between cost, treadwear, fuel economy, and performance. It's something for everyone, but that might not be the best tire for your needs. Are you driving mostly on city streets? Are you strictly hitting the highway for the daily commute? How much winter weather do you have to endure each year? Whatever your needs, our overview on the best tire options for the Toyota Prius can help.

Have an older Toyota Prius? See tire sizes for previous years.

Best 15” Tires for the Toyota Prius L Eco, LE, Limited, and XLE:

Best 17” Tires for the Toyota Prius Limited and XLE:

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Original Equipment Toyota Prius Tires

What tires are on my Toyota Prius? The current generation Prius is sold in four trims with two tire sizes:

  • All trims come standard with 15-inch wheels and 195/65R15 tires. The OEM tire on is a Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus, Dunlop Enasave 01 A/S, or Toyo Nanoenergy A41.
  • The Limited and XLE with front-wheel drive also offer 17-inch wheels and 215/45R17 tires. The OEM tire for these trims is either a Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus or Yokohama Bluearth S34.

Top Replacement Tire Brands for Toyota Prius

We’ve recommended three replacement tires in both 15-, and 17-inch sizes, in budget, moderately priced and cost-no-object varieties. Whether you have plenty of cash to spend or are watching every penny, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. All these tires have ratings of four-stars or higher based on consumer surveys:

15-inch Tires for Toyota Prius

  • Budget: Riken Raptor HR - A bargain at $67, this grand touring all-season tire delivers a comfortable ride with good treadwear.
  • High comfort rating
  • Good wet rating
  • Suitable only in light snow
  • Moderately Priced: Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season - Affordably priced at $99, this high performance all-season tire has good treadwear and a comfortable ride.
  • High comfort rating
  • Good wet rating
  • Suitable only in light snow
  • Cost-No-Object: Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady - Coming in at $132, this grand touring all-season tire get high marks in all weather conditions and has a comfortable ride.
  • Excellent winter rating
  • Excellent wet rating
  • High price

17-inch Tires for Toyota Prius

  • Budget: Riken Raptor ZR A/S - With a price of only $79, this high performance all-season tire is a great choice for the budget-minded.
  • Excellent dry rating
  • Comfortable ride
  • Suitable in very light snow only
  • Moderately Priced: Firestone Weathergrip - Priced at $153, this grand touring all-season tire is severe snow service rated.
  • Excellent winter rating
  • Excellent rain rating
  • Only good comfort rating
  • Cost-No-Object: Yokohama Advan Neova ADO8 R - An extreme performance summer tire priced at $215, this tire is excellent in dry weather and has a comfortable ride.
  • Excellent dry rating
  • Good treadwear rating
  • Not suitable for snow

When Should You Replace Tires?

There are two regular milestones that will suggest that it’s time to replace the tires, not only on your Prius, but any vehicle in your driveway: Time and mileage.

Considering most drivers cover between 12,000 and 15,000 miles per year, most Prius owners will pass the miles their original equipment tires were intended to cover well before they’ll go past the tire’s usable age.

The life of your tire can be somewhat predicted by its UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) rating. Tire manufacturers apply their own grades to tires for treadwear, traction and temperature. When you’re researching tires online, a UTQG will come up next to the tire name in three digits and a number (ex. 500 AA).

You can glean a bit of info from the tires by reading this rating:

  • 500 - The durability rating of a tire, compared to a control tire with a treadlife of 100. To obtain a grade, tires run on a 640 kilometer course for 11,520 km. Every 1,280 km, the tread depth is measured, to provide a projected tread life. The higher the number, the longer the predicted treadlife.
  • A - This is the Traction rating of a tire, which indicates how well a tire stops in wet conditions. The highest letter grade is AA, followed by A, B and C.
  • A - The second letter in the UTQG is the Temperature rating, which indicates how well a tire holds up to extreme heat. A is the highest, followed by B and C.

Original equipment Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus tires on the Prius earn a 600 AA UTQG rating. Unless they are damaged, these tires could last up to 60,000 miles before you need to replace them.

The other consideration is time. Each tire has a raised date code on the sidewall. The number begins with the letters “DOT” followed by 12 digits in three four-digit groups. The date code is the third group of four digits. To decipher the date of your tires, the first two digits represent the WEEK the tire was produced, and the second two digits represent the YEAR.

For example, if your tire’s date code is 3217, that indicates the tire was manufactured in the 37th week of 2017, or sometime between September 11 and 17th that year.

Once tires go beyond five years old, it’s time to consider replacing them. Tires are made up not just of rubber and steel or Kevlar belts, but chemicals that help the tires resist UV rays, temperature changes and a lot of other environmental hazards. Those chemicals start to break down after five years or so, and the tires aren’t doing the job that they need to do. At that point, it doesn’t matter how good they look. It’s time for replacements.

Why Not Replace with Original Equipment Tires?

There’s nothing wrong with putting on the same tires that were on your car when it came from the factory. Although they’re perfectly fine, you may be able to find a tire that’s better suited to your specific needs.

You only need to purchase ONE set of tires for your car every four years or so, depending on how much you drive. When an auto manufacturer purchases tires, they buy them by the hundreds of thousands. For the manufacturer, the decision to choose a supplier one brand or another comes down to a price point.

For you, your consideration may be completely different. If you could get a tire that stopped 20 feet shorter for an additional $10 per tire over the original equipment, you’d probably do it. Similarly, if there was a tire that made less road noise for a minimal investment over stock, you’d probably decide on the slightly more expensive tire (that is, unless you’re trying to drown out the conversation of your back-seat-driving spouse.)

Changing Toyota Prius Tire Sizes

Depending on the year and model, you may be shopping tires to either 15-inch or 17-inch wheels with various widths and sidewall sizes along the way. It is possible to change the wheel and tire sizes, but a general rule of thumb is to keep the total diameter of wheel and tire the same. So, that means that downsizing an 17-inch wheel to a 15-inch wheel would include a proportionate upsizing of the tire sidewall to compensate.

Downsizing wheels has its advantages. Benefits include:

  • Better ride quality – More rubber means more cushion for poor road conditions.
  • Cost reduction – Big tires are expensive, so moving to a smaller wheel size will mean less costly tire purchases.
  • Seasonal changes – Winter and snow tires are available for a larger selection of smaller wheel sizes and the narrower footprint will provide better traction.
  • Off-road – Many people choose to downsize wheels for off-road use to increase the vehicle’s shock absorption capabilities and bump traction on loose surfaces.

On the other side of the coin, going up in wheel size has its benefits:

  • Better handling – Slimmer profile tires makes for less rubber to move around.
  • Better looks – This one’s subjective, but many people feel that larger wheels look better than smaller wheels with more rubber.
  • Better braking – Larger, wider wheels provide a bigger patch of rubber on the ground to slow the vehicle, reducing braking distance.

See our recommendations for the Best Extended Warranty for your Toyota Prius

How to Read Tire Sizes

When reading tire sizes, it’s important to understand what the numbers mean. The Toyota Prius’s 15-inch wheels come with 195/65R15 91S all-season tires:

  • 195 - indicates the width of the tire from one sidewall to the other in millimeters. This tire is 195 millimeters wide
  • 65 - indicates the aspect ratio, or sidewall height, as a percentage of the tire’s width. In this case, it’s 65 percent or of the tire’s width.
  • R - means radial tires. Radials are the most common type of automotive tire and have fabric woven in at various angles with tread that is strengthened with additional layers of rubber.
  • 15 - indicates the wheel diameter.
  • 91 - is the tire’s load rating.
  • S - is the tire’s speed rating. S-rated tires have a maximum top speed of 112 mph.

You may have noticed that the Toyota Prius’s two tire sizes have different diameters and different aspect ratios. Generally, automakers choose tires that have the same outer diameter. This allows them to have only one speedometer setting.

Now that you know what comes on a new Prius and how to read the size numbers, let’s look at the different types of tires available to you. Depending on the type of driving you’re doing, where you live, and the weather, you have a variety of choices for tire types:

  • Touring and All-season tires - provide a smooth ride, good wet and dry traction, decent winter traction, and longer tread life. These tires are acceptable for winter use but can’t be expected to provide the traction and stopping power that a dedicated winter tire can.
  • Performance tires - are focused on providing confident handling, better wet and dry traction, and a sporty feel. Their higher grip and speed ratings come with a tradeoff of shortened tread life and reduced ride quality.
  • All-terrain tires - are built to maximize off-road traction and provide good durability overall. Their construction means more noise and less comfort on the road, but winter traction and tread wear is acceptable.
  • Winter and snow tires - are made with special rubber compounds that maintain grip and pliability when temperatures drop. They are also built with special tread patterns to maximize the vehicle’s ability to start and stop on very slippery roads.

Tire Size By Year

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Toyota Prius Tire FAQ

What are the best tires for the Toyota Prius?

Since you’re probably not planning on off-road adventure in your Prius, a tire that’s moderately priced and suitable in a variety of weather conditions is a good choice. The Michelin CrossClimate2 is a grand touring all-season tire that’s well-suited to the Prius.

Does the Toyota Prius need special tires?

The fact that the Prius is a hybrid may have you wondering if it needs some kind of fancy hybrid-only tire. The answer is no. There are a wide range of tires that work for the Toyota Prius so you’ll have no trouble finding one that fits your needs and your budget. The only thing to consider is how it’s going to impact your fuel mileage. For example, running a set of winter tires is advised if you’re in a northern climate, but that can lower your fuel economy by as much as 10% when combined with the normal fuel economy loss in the winter months.

What is the best Toyota Prius tire pressure?

Check inside your driver’s side door for a white and yellow label that will tell you the exact tire pressure recommendations for your Prius model. That tire pressure can also change depending on the load of passengers you’re carrying, as well as the cargo load. Note that the pressure on the tire itself is never the correct setting, but rather a maximum.

How often should I rotate my Prius’s tires?

Rotating tires is more about the tire than it is about the car. A typical rotation interval is somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 miles, though specific cars and tires may change those numbers a bit. Prius all-wheel trims will likely see the front tires wearing first making it important to rotate regularly.

What is the best Prius tire change kit?

Depending on the year of your Toyota Prius, it either has a compact spare tire and changing tools beneath the cargo floor or a tire repair kit with sealant. In either case, you already have everything you need to physically change or temporarily repair the tire, but you may want to carry an extra roadside emergency kit with an upgraded lug wrench, jumper cables, and emergency markers just in case.

Tire Buying FAQ

Where do I shop for the best prices?

Several online retailers like Tire Rack offer regular discounts and free shipping for their tires. Their sites also have tire fit guides and pricing estimators to help you understand what you’re buying.

How much is shipping?

Most online tire retailers have free shipping or reduced shipping cost when you choose to have them installed at a partner shop. The retailer may have an arrangement with a local tire chain or installation center and can ship the tires there for free.

How long does shipping take?

Retailers like Tire Rack offer fast shipping and can often have tires to your preferred installer in as little as two days. Many others, like Discount Tire Direct, offer the same fast and free shipping. It also depends on where you live. If you’re in a large metro area, close to a distribution center, it should be relatively quick. If you live 5 miles from East Moosejaw, it might take a little longer.

How much does it cost to install a tire?

Some shops will offer free installation when you purchase tires from them, and online retailers often promote the same deal for people who choose to have installation done at one of their partners. If you do find yourself paying for tire installation, expect to pay between $15 and $50 per tire, depending on what is needed. That money pays for mounting and balancing the tire to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

Do I need to change the tire pressure monitoring system with tires?

The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is independent of your tires but should be checked at regular intervals to ensure no damage or malfunctions are occurring. Your local tire shop can perform this check as part of normal tire rotation or installation.

Can an online retailer help me with winter tires?

Yes! You can find the right fit, tread pattern, and speed rating on nearly any online retailer’s site. They sometimes offer specials and rebates around the time when people start looking for winter tires (late fall).

If I’m changing tire sizes or buying winter tires, should I buy a wheel and tire package from an online retailer?

It’s certainly not a requirement to buy your tires and wheels from the same place, but you’re more likely to get a deal on the package if you buy from the same place. Check the retailer’s specials and decide from there. You may also find a better deal ordering either the tires or wheels online and buying the other component from your local shop.

Do online retailers provide tire rebates the way traditional stores do?

Yes, and in some cases, rebates are offered alongside discounts on the tires. It’s important to ask questions and understand what you’re getting, so be sure to chat or call the retailer before ordering if the rebates are unclear.

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