Different Types of Car Tires: Which Is Right for You?

Choosing the right type of tire is key.

Whether you go with Michelin, Goodyear, or Bridgestone, choosing the right type of tire for the weather, the vehicle, and road conditions are crucial for driving enjoyment, performance, and safety. You’ll want to look for tires that have a long-lasting tread life and reliable all-season traction as well as provide a smooth ride.

There are three basic categories of tires: all-season, summer, and winter. Within those categories, there are a variety of sub-categories. Let’s start with the basics:

All-Season Tires
All-season tires, like the name says, deliver comfort, handling, and all-season traction on the highway. They provide good all-around performance but are not outstanding in any specific area. They have asymmetrical tread patterns and grooves that help in wet weather. The name can be misleading, though, as “all-season” doesn’t necessarily mean “all” seasons in all areas. They work fine in places with mild winters, but they’re not built to handle heavy snow and harsh winter conditions.

Within the all-season category, you’ll find all-season touring tires and all-season passenger tires. All-season touring tires offer lower noise and better handling for a quiet and comfortable ride. With an asymmetrical tread pattern, they have more responsive handling than a standard tire and are built for performance sport and sedan vehicles.

All-season passenger tires have a smoother ride and longer life than most tires. They have grooves, a multi-purpose tread, and are made with harder rubber. Hard rubber gets even harder in cold conditions (making traction ability drop), which is what makes them a bad idea for cold conditions.

Summer Tires
Summer tires work well for handling and braking on wet or dry roads. They deliver high performance in good weather but are not recommended for harsh weather conditions or off-road driving. The special tread pattern helps to prevent hydroplaning. Since the treads are so flexible, they’re subject to cracking in cold weather.

Snow/Winter Tires

Snow tires, also called winter tires, are specially designed for winter conditions. They have more grip, traction, and control than a typical summer tire or all-season tire. The tread has lots of small cuts (called sipes) that create tiny edges. This provides more traction since they can grip and grab onto slush and wet road conditions. They’re designed for the rubber to stay softer in very cold weather (unlike a summer tire), which gives a better grip and braking ability.

Performance Tires
Performance tires are not just for exotic sports cars. With increased handling and better cornering, you’ll have the feel of driving something fast and exotic. They come in performance, high performance, ultra-performance, and competition. Additionally, they’re wider and have a shallow tread. This gives a low-profile look as well as better traction and road contact.

Truck Tires
Truck tires come in highway, performance, all-terrain, and off-road varieties. Highway truck tires are durable and grippy with enhanced tread patterns that provide a smooth ride in all seasons. Performance truck tires, similar to highway tires, have the ability to handle higher speeds and offer excellent braking in all types of road and weather conditions. All-Terrain truck tires have larger treads with multi-patterns. This helps handling conditions such as sand, gravel, and light mud. Off-road, or mud terrain, truck tires have very large tread patterns that can handle heavy mud, deep snow, and other aggressive weather conditions.

Are you in the market for new car or truck tires? If you’re in the Parker, Colorado area, give Bighorn Automotive a call. They can handle tire repairs and replacements for cars, trucks, SUVs, four-wheelers, and other off-road vehicles.

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