What Type Of Tires Do I Need For My Car – Tires, like cars, come in a variety of styles and sizes, depending on your needs. Your car may not come with the right type of tire for your driving needs. In this guide, we’ll walk through the common types of tires on the market and what each type specializes in, so you can find the exact tire you need.
All-season tires are designed for year-round comfort and handling on SUVs, cars, pickup trucks, crossovers, and most passenger vehicles. All-purpose tires are the most common tire type in the U.S.
What Type Of Tires Do I Need For My Car
All-weather tires are intended for driving on roads and highways and have a symmetrical tread pattern that provides good traction on both dry and wet roads. They can be good in most conditions, but not good in extreme weather. All-weather tires perform well in mild winter conditions, but don’t use all-weather tires if you live in a climate that experiences heavy snowfall. If you live in an area with a lot of heavy snow, you may want to consider switching to winter tires.
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If you’re looking to drive off-road with your larger SUV or truck, all-terrain tires may be exactly what you’re looking for. You can identify all-terrain tires by their aggressive, complex tread patterns. This allows for good performance on dirt, sand, gravel, or any other uneven surface. Most all-terrain tires achieve this without sacrificing comfort on the road, providing stability and smooth driving even on highways.
All-terrain tires, however, do not perform well in icy or snowy conditions. This is due to the tire’s all-terrain rubber, which is harder and more resistant to damage from rocks and debris. Stiffer rubber, however, is slippery and does not remain flexible and elastic at low temperatures.
Competition tires are also known as racing slicks. They have very few grooves or tread patterns because competition tires are designed to grip the pavement for racing. That said, many are legal on the DOT road. Competition tires have a short tread life and do not perform well in extreme weather conditions; Hydroplaning is a high risk if you drive competition tires in wet, rainy conditions. Do not use winter competition tires, if you live in a four season climate.
Highway tires are designed for trucks and SUVs that carry heavy loads at higher (legal) speeds. Tire tread patterns are designed for long-term wear resistance. Highway tires perform well in the rain, but should not be taken off-road or driven in snowy conditions. It’s for cement and will probably stay there.
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Mud-terrain tires are a type of all-terrain tire with very large, aggressive tread blocks that work well on soft terrain like mud and sand. While similar to all-terrain tires, mud-terrain tires can be less comfortable and noisier on normal roads. They are best for vehicles that regularly go off-road. Mud tires cannot maintain their grip on snow, as this type of rubber is too hard to maintain traction.
Off-road tires, also a type of all-terrain tire, have a tough, rugged appearance that resists bumps, tears, and damage from sharp rocks and objects. All-terrain and mud-terrain tires share the signature aggressive off-road look of large, blocky treads with large voids in the middle to allow greater traction. Off-road tires are not very good in snow and they are not the most comfortable on the road.
Performance tires are distinguished by their unique tread patterns with large circumferences and lateral grooves to maintain handling and traction in wet and dry conditions. These tires are designed for sporty cars that can drive at higher speeds in different weather conditions. Therefore, these tires tend to have better grip with higher steering response. Note that performance tires may sacrifice ride comfort, tread life, and gas mileage for this better control. Performance tires also don’t fare well in snowy conditions.
There are many types of performance tires. All-season performance tires, for example, offer good handling and slim, symmetrical tread designs. Performance tires can also be “high” or “ultra-high,” depending on how much horsepower they’re rated for. If you drive a car with more horsepower, you can invest in ultra-high performance tires, which have the highest performance at the cost of tread life and a bumpier experience.
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Run-flat tires are designed to survive a puncture and “run” while flat. While you can’t drive a run-flat forever, it will allow you to do more stretching in a car shop. A run-flat tire can have a self-supporting system with reinforced sidewall construction or a support ring with hard rubber inside the tire. Both systems maintain the shape of the tire even when it loses air. With run-flat tires, you don’t have to change your tire in a dangerous situation and can go straight to a repair shop. You also won’t lose control of the car if your tire gets punctured, so you can safely leave the road.
Snow tires (also known as winter tires) are a necessity in areas with heavy snow, ice, freezing rain, or temperatures below 40 degrees.
If you travel in snowy areas such as mountains or forests, you need snow tires. Snow tires have heavy tread and deep grooves to shed snow and slush buildup. The rubber on snow tires becomes flexible and elastic at low temperatures, allowing you to maintain grip and control. If you’re in a wintery area, like Canada and the northern U.S., you need snow tires for your car! Interestingly, 76% of Canadian drivers use winter tires, according to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.
Snow tires can be studded, non-studded and stud-able. Studded tires have small metal studs that maintain traction on heavy ice but are noisy and uncomfortable to drive. Studded tires may also be illegal to use in your state, or restricted to certain times of the year. It is designed only for the harshest winter conditions.
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Spares can be compact or full size – usually rated for lower speeds and distances (50 miles and 50 mph). They require high air pressure and are only intended to be used in the case of a flat tire. Your vehicle may have a spare tire supplied by the manufacturer of the same tire type.
Sport truck tires differ in their higher speed ratings compared to normal highway truck tires. However, they perform equally well in different weather conditions on the road. Sport truck tires also don’t have the same traction you get with a highway tire. Not for hauling heavy loads, these tires are best for trucks doing long hauls.
Perfect for summer driving performance, these tires are intended for both wet and dry conditions in warm weather. While most tires have “siping,” which are small slits in the tire treads that increase grip, summer tires have little or no siping. These tires perform well on roads and have hydroplane resistance due to their increased grip and responsiveness. These tires are best for sedans and other road vehicles in areas without severe winters.
Touring tires are designed for comfort in any weather. They differ from all-season tires in their higher speed rating and asymmetrical tread pattern. These tires are intended for sports and sedan cars that require more handling and traction. Note that better performance may come at the expense of comfort, because you tend to “feel the road” more than normal.
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Track tires are similar to competition tires, as they are not meant for everyday driving. They have a unique flat appearance with a small tread and siping. These tires have a short tread life and are only intended for extreme performance such as racing or professional competition. Hydroplaning is a hazard in rainy or wet conditions. Track tires are best for competition clubs that take their cars to the tracks for racing.
Trailer tires are intended for towing and other high weight loads for longer periods of time. These tires, however, can suffer from uneven wear due to the load distributed on the back of the car, so it is necessary to rotate your tires regularly.
Winter tires are similar to snow tires, as they are designed for cold weather and icy/snowy conditions. These tires have grooves and tracks designed for increased traction and grip. However, buying winter tires is only necessary if you live in an area with winters below 40 degrees. If you live in an area with more severe winters, you may want to look into the legality of studded tires in your state for more traction in the worst conditions.
Tire Agent makes it easy to shop for tires by tread type. From any page on our website, tell us your vehicle brand, year, model, and trim style, and our tire matching technology will recommend tires from our extensive inventory. Limit your search by tread type to find the right tire type for you. Even top-of-the-line tires are prone to wear and tear, so know what to look for.
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