There are many factors to consider when it comes to selecting tires. While it is important to choose a quality brand and get a good value, it is equally essential that you buy the right type of tires for your vehicle. The tire type you select should be not only be recommended for your vehicle, but also suited for the kind of driving you do. A wide range of tire types are available to suit every kind of vehicle and all driving conditions.
Below is a listing of the most common tire types, as well as the corresponding speed rating. The speed rating and tire type are both identified in the tire code, found imprinted on the side of all tires.
All Season Tires
The most common speed ratings for all season tires are S and T. All season tires deliver a good all-weather grip and long mileage. They are most commonly used standard cars and SUVs. All season tires are designed to perform in a wide range of conditions from dry pavement to wet weather and light snow. A good choice for a comfortable and quiet ride, all season tires offer reliable handling and long tread life. For year-round traction in moderate climates, all season tires are an excellent choice.
Performance All Season Tires
Performance all season tires have H and V speed rating and are a popular choice for cars with enthusiast appeal or upgraded wheels. These tires feature a better cornering grip than regular all-season tires, but typically need to be replaced more often.
Winter/ Snow Tires
Winter or snow tires are identifiable by a mountain and snowflake symbol displayed on the sidewall. Winter tire tread is designed with gripping edges for better handling on snow and ice. They are made with a softer rubber compound to stay flexible in extremely cold temperatures. Winter tires do not perform as well on cleared roads, lacking the solid grip of all season tires. They also tend to wear more quickly. Winter tires should be exclusively used during extreme cold weather driving conditions.
Summer tires usually have speed ratings of ZR, W, and Y, for sports cars and performance sedans. For all-around best performing tires in mild climates and seasons, summer tires offer a performance level above all season tires. As the name implies, summer tires are not suited for driving in snow and ice, but they offer solid handling on dry and wet roads in mild temperatures. Summer tires are also made with softer compounds however, unlike those used in winter tires, they become harder in colder temperatures. Though they tend to have shorter life span and more rapid tread wear, summer tire do offer enhanced driving performance.
All Terrain Truck Tires
All terrain truck tires are available in larger sizes and designed for light duty hauling and towing. They are a great choice for light-duty pickups and SUVs. All-terrain tires usually have a more aggressive tread pattern to aid off-road traction. All-terrain tires usually have A/T or All Terrain in the model name.