With so many tires on the market these days, buying the right kind of tire for your vehicle can be daunting and confusing. There are many variables to consider, including the type of vehicle you drive, the speed at which you drive, and the weather you drive in.
Tire speed ratings
Tires are marked with speed rating symbols to indicate the maximum speed they can achieve. Exceeding this limit could be hard on your tires—not to mention downright dangerous. Tires are marked with letters ranging from A to Z. The lower letter indicates a lower maximum speed. V used to indicate unlimited speed, but it now generally refers to tires that can drive up to 149 mph. Z is used for high-performing cars and may refer to a max of either 149 mph or 186 mph depending on the specific tire.
Types of Tires
Tires may be classified as:
- All-season tires – This type of tire can be used on dry, wet, and snowy roads. Because these tires function well in many conditions, it is the most preferred type of tire in the country.
- All-terrain tires – All-terrain tires are mostly used by SUVs and trucks as they provide the open tread and added grip of off-road tires while keeping the handling and traction features of a road tire.
- Low profile tires – Low profile tires offer good performance and handling because of their short sidewall and wider tread. They can handle turns and corners with precision.
- Mud tires – These tires are good for off-road conditions, which could include uneven gravel or sand dunes and mud. They have larger tread blocks with deeper gaps (or voids) than standard tires.
- Off-road tires – Designed for muddy to rocky conditions, these tires will keep you moving regardless of the surface you are driving on. The large lugs with deep voids are designed for maximum traction through soft terrain.
- Performance tires – Performance tires provide great traction and maneuverability. They have stiff sidewalls and soft rubber composition, allowing the driver to react quickly and stop fast.
- Snow/winter tires – Large grooves allow these tires to maintain a solid grip—even on snow.
- SUV tires – Designed specifically for the new breed of sports utility vehicles, these are generally all-season tires that work well both on and off paved roads.
- Truck tires – These are mostly all-season tires designed to fit both light and heavy-duty trucks.
If you’re having trouble settling on the proper tire for your car, consult a professional to help you choose wisely.