What Kind of Tire Do I Need?


“What kind of tire do I need?” We hear this question pretty often, and there’s no pat, easy answer for it. We can help you go in the right direction, though.

Obviously, you want tires that are going to get the best traction in dry, wet or wintry conditions, for starters. Chances are you’ll also want good ride comfort, treadwear and noise control. Those factors will will drive some of your decision just by itself (and we will get into that in a minute). You may have a vehicle with lots of miles on it or a vehicle you may not want to hang onto for much longer, so you might decide for a less-expensive set of tires or ones with less of a treadwear warranty.

What kind of vehicle do you drive? Sedan, sports coupe, light truck, minivan, SUV?  What’s your driving style, and do you use the vehicle just for errands? Commuting? Let’s think about some of the tire designs that are out on the market:

·       All-weather tires are designed with a rubber compound that can stay flexible for good traction in hot or cold weather. All-weather tires also feature reinforced sidewalls and a more aggressive, deeper tread pattern with sipes and microgrooves for more biting edges to provide traction on wet roads.

·       All-season tires are similar to all-weather tires, but with a somewhat different tread design for traction in light snow or heavy rain. Both are designed with deep tread grooves to evacuate water away from the tire footprint; without that deep groove, water can’t channel its way away from the tire, meaning that water can build up between the tread and the road, resulting in hydroplaning and a potential loss of control.

·       Winter tires use a rubber compound that stays soft at lower temperatures, for traction in snow and ice. The chunky tread pattern on winter tires often translates to somewhat more road noise as well.

·       Summer tires use an optimized tread pattern and a rubber compound that is not to be used in lower temperatures

·       Performance tires use a softer, stickier tread compound for traction, and a tread pattern designed for steering response and handling. Performance tires usually also have a higher speed rating and are great for drivers who expect more out of their vehicles and like to push the envelope of handling and cornering. They also, however, usually come with a shorter treadwear warranty.

Still have questions about different kinds of tires?  Ask in the comments below or contact us at [email protected] and we’ll be glad to help answer your questions!