How to Find the Best Tires for a Mazda 3 – Top Recommendations!

How to Find the Best Tires for a Mazda 3 – Top Recommendations!

From sizing to tread patterns to performance features, you have a lot to consider when it comes to tires for your Mazda. You might be a daily driver who focuses on getting where you need to go, or you might prefer a bit edgier style along with performance. Whatever your preference, finding the right fit for your vehicle can be complicated. Whether you drive a Sedan or Hatchback, here’s everything you need to know to find the best tires for your Mazda 3.

Bottom Line Up Front

If an all-season tire with plenty of performance features appeals to you, the Falken Ziex ZE950 radial tires are the ideal fit. Ziex tires have performance siping essential for all weather conditions plus silica compounds for gripping the road.

Looks aren’t top on the list for Ziex, but these tires check all the boxes when it comes to performance and maneuverability. Not convinced? Read on for more tire options for your Mazda 3.

Different Types of Mazda 3 Tires

If you select the 2019 Mazda 3 Sedan standard package, your stock wheels are 16-inch aluminum alloy with P205/60R16 all-season tires. The 2019 Mazda 3 Hatchback and Preferred and Premium Package Sedan come with stock 18-inch alloy wheels. Stock tires are P215/45R18 all-season regardless of the package.

Your Mazda 3 could have another tire size if you purchase it used. It pays to check the sizing on the tire itself before you go shopping.

What Do Tire Sizes Mean?

The numbers and letters in your tire size explain the tire width, aspect ratio, construction, and diameter. For your Mazda 3, P stands for Passenger, and the number following it indicates the millimeter measurement of the tire’s width.

Your Mazda 3 can handle tires between 205 and 215 millimeters. Aspect ratio comes after the slash mark, and higher numbers mean bigger sidewalls. Diameter comes after R (which stands for Radial), and your Mazda will come from the factory with either 16- or 18-inch diameter wheels.

An important consideration on any tire is the load index, which tells you the maximum load the tire can support. Measurements are in both kilograms and pounds, and you’ll see the number on the sidewall.

Should You Change Tire Sizes?

If your Mazda 3 came with a non-standard wheel size off the lot, it might be worth changing them back in line with factory specs to ensure the best performance. Standard 16- or 18-inch wheels are ideal for handling and traction according to Mazda, and we don’t recommend tinkering with a good thing (neither does Mazda).

How to Find the Best Tires for a Mazda 3

Handling and overall performance are two perks of driving a Mazda 3. Many drivers aim to enhance the experience by upgrading tires, while others are looking for replacements because their tread is running low.

Choosing the best tires for your Mazda 3 comes down to three factors regardless of your intentions: size, weather usage, and cost.

Consider Size

Your Mazda 3 will drive off the lot with either 16-inch or 18-inch wheels. Unless you plan to swap the wheels with your tires, you’ll want to stick with the existing tire sizing. If your vehicle is pre-2019, it’s also possible it has different tires than what came from the factory.

Check your tire size with the above key to determine what will fit, or plan on switching your wheels at the same time. Per Mazda’s customer help article on tire size, you shouldn’t alter or modify your vehicle’s tire or wheel sizes from the original specifications.

Many drivers choose to customize their ride, but Mazda cautions against it, saying a swap can affect everything from the suspension strut to the brake calipers. Keep their advice in mind when contemplating structural changes. Larger wheels or tires can disrupt the programming of your Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control System (TCS), and Roll Stability Control (RSC).

Determine Seasonal Usage

All-season tires are standard equipment on the Mazda 3, but depending on how and where you drive, you might opt for something different. If you live in a temperate climate with mostly warm weather, touring tires may offer the best ride.

Icy and snowy conditions often warrant all-season or winter tires, though in many cases, you’ll get by just fine with all-season options. Think about your typical driving patterns, common weather in your area, and the type of road you traverse daily to figure out what type of tire is best for your Mazda 3.

Think About Up-Front Cost

Up-front costs are often a priority for Mazda owners. You don’t want to overspend for a name brand, which is understandable. Buying cheap tires can lead to them wearing out sooner, which can wind up costing you more in the long run.

Keep an open mind when it comes to cost and consider investing in higher-quality tires from the start. Cheaper tires are a good up-front deal, but they likely won’t deliver optimal performance for as long as better value options.

Performance Features

Even with daily drivers, performance tire features can enhance your on-road experience. Between fuel enhancing functions and tread for optimal traction, look for performance features to suit your driving needs. Here are common performance features you’ll find on Mazda 3 tires.

Siping

Tire sipe refers to narrow slits on your tire’s tread. Performance tire siping gives you better traction in snow, water, and ice. Sipe is practically invisible, but most manufacturers highlight the feature when describing their tires.

You might not be able to see the siping on your tires, but the difference in handling is more noticeable. Increased traction, quicker braking, and overall smoother driving experience are all perks. Tire life can even improve since siping helps cool your tires on hot surfaces.

Not all tires come with siping, so if the benefits are important to you, make sure to look for the feature when purchasing the best tires for your Mazda 3. Keep in mind siping can lead to shorter tire life, depending on how often you drive and in what conditions.

Silica Compounds

Though traditional rubber tires contain carbon, many emerging brands use silica compounds for performance benefits. Silica compounds in tires provide better grip, particularly in wet conditions. Lower rolling resistance is another benefit of silica in tires.

Better braking distances come with silica compounds, which is ideal in winter and other wet seasons. Depending on how and where you drive, silica compounds might be high on your list of priorities when shopping for tires for your Mazda.

Tread Patterns

Tire manufacturers often use brand-specific tread patterns, while others aim for circumferential channels for directing water away from your wheels. Look at tire patterns and decide what is a top priority for your driving experience.

Do you need tires you can rotate and wear evenly without needing to replace them? Or is more intricate tread with exceptional traction a priority over high-mileage wear? Consider which is better for your Mazda’s daily driving before you start shopping.

Compatibility

Since many tires suit a variety of vehicles and wheels, you can’t always expect a perfect fit or driving experience. You may find, for example, compatibility issues with some tires when it comes to your low tire pressure sensor operating correctly.

Sizing is another compatibility consideration, especially if your Mazda has aftermarket wheels. Factory tire sizes are either 16 or 18 inches, but depending on the modifications your car has, you might need a different size altogether.

You can swap your car’s wheels and choose a different tire width or aspect ratio, but we don’t recommend grabbing tires you “hope” will fit. It’s easier (and safer) to pick the same size tire your vehicle manufacturer recommends.

1. MRF Wanderer Sport Performance Tires

  • Size: 205-60R16
  • Type: All season

MRF Wanderer tires have a 45,000-mile tread life and are ideal for all seasons. Black sidewalls give your Mazda 3 a streamlined look, with the manufacturer highlighting the all-weather traction. Asymmetrical tread patterns help disperse water, reducing your odds of hydroplaning in wet conditions. Good tread patterns can also reduce braking distance.

Quiet driving experience is a highlight with the MRF Wanderer Sport tires thanks to the optimized tread design. You can expect to get plenty of evenly worn miles out of these tires, and the black sidewalls are an additional perk.

Pros:

  • Black sidewalls
  • All-weather function
  • 45,000-mile warranty

Cons:

  • No siping

Best for: Keeping a clean look, mild all-weather conditions

2. Ohtsu FP7000 Radial Tire

  • Size: 205-60R16
  • Type: All season

Non-directional tread design helps keep the Ohtsu FP7000 tires working better, longer. The variable shoulder tread block helps promote all-season functionality plus keep your drive smooth and noise-free. Deep grooves prevent hydroplaning problems, making these affordable tires an excellent option for all seasons.

A tread wear indicator makes it easy to tell when you need new tires without using the penny trick. Low-profile sidewalls give a sense of style and enhance your Mazda’s overall look. Handling is predictable sturdy, though these aren’t high-performance tires by any means.

Pros:

  • Low-profile sidewalls
  • Good handling in water

Cons:

  • Not ideal in snow

3. Falken Ziex ZE950 Radial Tire

  • Size: 205/60R16
  • Type: All season

Falken has a reputation for a reason, and their Ziex ZE950 tires deliver. All-season drivability and 3D Canyon sipe patterns enhance your ability to drive in icy conditions. Better wear over time is another perk with the siping, and the wide tread slots promote good grip in snowy weather, too.

Treadwear indicators make it easy to see when you need to replace your tires. Falken’s silica tread compound guarantees you’ll have excellent grip for many miles, though. A 65,000-mile warranty gives you peace of mind, too.

Pros:

  • High mileage tires
  • All weather driving
  • Performance siping
  • 65,000-mile warranty

Cons:

  • Not a budget pick

4. Pirelli CintuRato P7

  • Size: 205/60R16
  • Type: All Season

Pirelli has a reputation for high performance, so if you want your Mazda 3 to look and feel race-ready, the CintuRato P7s are ideal. Thanks to the tires’ tread compound, internal structure, and sidewall construction, you’ll experience less resistance on the road.

Low noise is a perk, even in severely wet or snowy conditions. Handling is superior, which is a given with performance tires from Pirelli, a definite benefit for drivers wanting a high-level driving experience without sacrificing looks.

Pros:

  • High performance
  • Low noise

Cons:

  • Not a budget pick

5. Westlake RP18 Tire

  • Size: 205/60R16
  • Type: Touring

Durable and responsive, Westlake’s RP18 tires have symmetrical tread, which is ideal for rotation purposes. Extended tread life is a perk, and siping lends you additional traction in wet conditions. A vertical siping pattern also helps with lateral traction.

A bit of road noise happens at higher speeds, which is understandable, but low noise is a highlight at lesser speeds. While Westlake’s aren’t the most notably branded tires, they deliver reliable function at an accessible price. For daily drivers who don’t max out at freeway speeds, the RP18s are an excellent option.

Pros:

  • All season handling
  • Siping ideal in wet conditions

Cons:

  • Noise at higher speeds

6. Goodyear Assurance TripleTred

  • Size: 205-60R16
  • Type: All season

Goodyear is another brand we’ve come to know and trust, and their Assurance TripleTred tires meet expectations. With ideal grip and performance in ice, snow, and water, you can still get where you need to go no matter the weather. A 75,000-mile warranty is helpful, too.

Three tread zones enhance handling, promote precise steering, and help control hydroplaning in wet road conditions. Large tread blocks and “biting edges” on the TripleTred tires are low-profile enough to look good on your Mazda 3 but deliver function when necessary.

Pros:

  • Ideal for rough all-season weather
  • 75,000-mile warranty
  • Snow performance

Cons:

  • Not a budget pick

7. Achilles ATR Tire

  • Size: 215/45R18
  • Type: Sport Performance

“Sport Performance” says it all with the Achilles ATR tires. Low noise thanks to the dB Silent Technology means these are the ultimate in quiet handling. Interlocking tread blocks provide excellent stability and help with cornering.

Even if you don’t ever take your Mazda to a racetrack, you’ll appreciate the handling and high-performance features of the ATR Tires. You might notice they take a bit of time to “warm up,” so make like a race car driver and give them time to soften on the road before judging performance.

Pros:

  • dB Silent Technology
  • Excellent traction

Cons:

  • Racetrack-like “warmup” required

8. Westlake SA08 Tire

  • Size: 215/45R18
  • Type: All season

Westlake’s 18-inch SA08 tires give your factory Mazda a new (and sportier) life. With all-season drivability, the SA08s have siping to increase tread life, silica compound for higher fuel efficiency and less resistance when the roads are wet, and a responsive tread design.

Circumferential tread channels help expel water when the road is wet, and deep tread grooves and shoulder blocks give you grip when you need it. Smooth handling and exceptional road grip are even better in an affordable package thanks to Westlake.

Pros:

  • Silica compound construction
  • Sipe tread

Cons:

  • Heavier design not ideal for performance driving

9. Nankang AS-1 Radial Tire

  • Size: 215/45R18
  • Type: All season

Nankang’s AS-1 tires fit your Mazda’s 18-inch wheels and deliver the performance and traction you need. Reduced road noise thanks to the variable pitch tread is a perk, and shoulder blocks promote cornering abilities.

Angled tread blocks and grooves give you better traction in wet conditions, sloughing off water before you hydroplane. Thin siping on the inside tread promotes grip, and sipe bars in the middle groove target water and make drainage more efficient. High silica content increases grip and fuel economy, so you can enjoy driving during each trip and travel farther, too.

Pros:

  • Better fuel economy
  • Sipe patterns
  • High silica

Cons:

  • Not ideal in snow

10. Nokian ZLINE

  • Size: 215/45R18
  • Type: All season

Nokian’s ZLINE is an all-season tire with optimal handling throughout harsh winters (and every other weather condition). According to some sources, Nokian deserves credit for advanced siping techniques in recent years.

Natural rubber, silica, and rapeseed oil combine in Nokian’s rubber read band compound, with the combination providing exceptional grip and superior wear resistance. Low rolling resistance and lower fuel consumption are also beneficial side effects of the compound.

Pros:

  • Enhanced fuel economy
  • Siping patterns
  • Silica compound construction

Cons:

  • Not the most affordable option

Comparing the Options

Tire  Type  Size  Highlights 
MRF Wanderer Sport  All season  205-60R16  Clean look, mild all-weather 
Ohtsu FP7000  All season  205-60R16  All-weather handling, low profile 
Falken Ziex ZE950  All season  205-60R16  Great traction, high mileage 
Pirelli CintuRato P7  All season  205-60R16  High performance 
Westlake RP18  Touring  205-60R16  Highway driving 
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred  All season  205-60R16  Harsh weather conditions 
Achilles ATR  Sport Performance  215/45R18  Sport driving 
Westlake SA08  All season  215/45R18  Wet conditions 
Nankang AS-1  All season  215/45R18  Wet condition driving, better fuel economy 
Nokian ZLINE  All season  215/45R18  High traction, better fuel economy 

Final Thoughts

No matter where or how you travel in your Mazda, an affordable and high-performance tire makes all the difference in the driving experience. Priorities like fuel economy, styling, all-weather capabilities, and ease of cornering can influence your buying decision. Knowing what works best on your vehicle is the first step.

Whatever your budget or needs, our guide can help you find the best tires for a Mazda 3. From enhanced handling to better gas mileage to performance, we recommend the best tires so you can enjoy the drive.

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