For my epic road trip and Expedition around Canada, I chose the 18″ Assurance ComfortDrive tires from Goodyear. As an Instructor with the ILR Car Control School, we have a special relationship with Goodyear because we truly believe in their products (and they believe in us). So when my van Moose needed some new shoes before going on a massive road trip around the country, over two months, I chose to go with the Assurance ComfortDrive tires on some snazzy looking 18″ wheels. Okay yes…they are rather large for my van, too large in fact (it originally takes a 16″ tire), but they do look really nice and the wheels I mounted them on provided a lot of airflow around the brakes, which is always a good thing.
Now according to Goodyear, the Assurance ComfortDrive is an All-Season tire, but in practice it’s a touring tire best suited for mild to warm temperatures, and it should be limited to hard surfaces. Simply put…they are designed for paved roads. Period. I wouldn’t recommend them in the winter. I’ve used these same tires before on another vehicle and in icy, snowy conditions, they don’t perform very well, so you’re better off getting a proper winter tire when the winter season comes.
My road trip started off in Toronto, went to Vancouver and Victoria on the Pacific coast, then up the Dempster Highway to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean, and then traversed the Prairies again back to Ontario. Nearly 18,000km in just under two months and my tires were exposed to a wide range of temperatures from 6 Celsius to +30 Celsius (42F to +86F), and all types of weather and road conditions.
They also suffered the grueling Dempster Highway in the Arctic Circle, which is an 880km (550 mile) road of hellish abuse and not for the faint of heart. This road no longer needs a 4×4 but I would still recommend it. Remember that every mountain needs to be climbed twice…to the top and back down again. With that in mind, I drove the Dempster twice and thanks to some miserable weather, it was a totally different level of hell on the way back. You can read all about the Dempster Highway here.
The main tire killers on the Dempster are wheel crushing potholes and the sharp tire shredding shale that makes up much of the surface. It is said that it’s mandatory to carry a spare tire because the odds of getting a flat are nearly 100% and I did see a couple of people suffer from blowouts The service centre at Eagle Plains is usually swamped with tire repairs. Although a flat tire is NOT an experience that I had on the Dempster, or anywhere else for that matter, while on this epic road trip.
As an 18″ tire, there isn’t much of a sidewall to absorb heavy shocks, but the construction of the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive allowed it to soak up even the most jarring potholes as well as the wash-board dirt roads that were so violent they could shake loose the fillings in your teeth. I hit some pot holes so hard that I truly felt the need to apologize out loud to my van.
These tires also performed extremely well on wet roads and although you can feel the puddles under you, they do well at evacuating water so they can better maintain traction with the road. They even did very well on loose gravel, but they did however struggle with thick, wet mud, and on slick dirt/muddy roads. Well of course…they were not designed for that. Still though…they delivered, and even though I was at times probably driving too fast for the conditions, they complimented my skill set to kept me from flying off the road and landing deep in the Tundra.
I can’t praise them enough actually. Over the entire trip they performed extremely well and even survived the abusive conditions of the Dempster for which they were NOT designed for.
So if you’re wondering if this is a good reliable tire…yes…absolutely. They have truly impressed me on this mega road trip and I would highly recommend them for most driving conditions. Okay…don’t take them offroading, and it would be best to stay out of slippery mud.