When you buy a new vehicle, tires are usually the last thing on your mind. However, tires are important. Nobody wants to become stranded, and they are not exactly cheap to replace. It’s a good idea to know what different types of tires you can purchase.
All-weather tires are most commonly used by drivers who have four mild seasons each year. These types of tires handle torrential rains and slush but are not suitable for black ice or driving through heavy blizzards. These tires are designed to be useful in very low and high temperatures, but not extreme winter conditions. They can easily handle rain and grip well to bare asphalt, slush, and wet roads.
The tread is wider than an average tire but not as wide as winter tires. Their tread pattern increases traction, especially in the rain. All-weather tires feature rubber composites designed for long-term wear.
Unfortunately, during frigid weather, these tires can become as hard as plastic and can be easily damaged and destroyed. This type of tire is not a good choice if the region in which the driver lives drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tires created for off-road driving are some of the biggest and most aggressive tires available on the market today. They are made with the strength to drive through deep mud, over boulders, and through canyons. Their size supports heavier loads and tolerates high speeds over a longer duration than other types of tires.
Off-road tires sport deeper treads for rough terrain. The depth of the tread prevents sharp rocks from cutting the tire, and the tires usually have much less pressure than the other categories of tires. The unique knobby tread pattern increases traction, and the tires are built to be durable on any surface with a focus on off-road.
Seasonal tires are best for areas with three seasons and warmer weather. In addition to warmer temperatures, these tires work best in dry conditions.
Seasonal tires contain a much harder compound than other types of tires, to give the tread on the tire longer life. Consequently, if the driver uses these tires in freezing temperatures, traction will be lost very quickly. It is possible to attach chains to seasonal tires and use them in winter weather. The tire chains provide the additional traction needed to get around safely.
The tread pattern on seasonal tires is designed to reduce noise and provide a smooth ride. If you drive through snow or slush, the grooves and channels become clogged.
SUV Tires and Truck Tires
Both trucks and SUV’s require larger than normal tires. These larger tires provide greater ground clearance for the vehicle. The tread pattern is designed for some off-road driving, though not on the same scale as All-Terrain (Off-Road) Tires.
Another difference between these tires and regular tires is that the tread pattern extends all the way to the sidewalls. Plus, the tire pressure is set a little lower to increase traction. On the open highway, this design makes for a bit of a bumpy ride, but on rougher ground, it’s invaluable for smooth handling.
Though similar, there are a few differences between SUV tires and truck tires. Truck tires sport a taller sidewall and carry heavier loads than SUV tires. Lighter truck tires are usually more durable and made with a thicker rubber compound than other tires, but they cost more than passenger SUV tires. Manufacturers market SUV tires as long-lasting and a smoother ride than truck tires.
Winter Tires (Both Studded and Non-Studded)
If you live in a region with wet, winter weather, you might want to keep an extra set of winter tires or snow tires on hand. Snow tires sport wider gaps between the treads for additional traction. They also boast a more flexible rubber. Regular tires and all-season tires become brittle in wet conditions, reducing the traction.
Non-Studded Winter Tires
Winter tires that don’t have studs are still used in harsh winter climates, but won’t perform as well as studded tires. The amount of precipitation and temperature range in your area will determine if studs are required.
The tread pattern on winter tires is called sniping. All winter tires, studded and those without, have an aggressive tread pattern. The only difference is whether or not you have studs.
Studded Winter Tires
Winter tires that are studded are for people who live in extreme winter conditions. Studded winter tires are made to resist deep snow, ice, and heavy amounts of slush. It’s also important to note that the material used to make these rates for temperatures lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular tires do not perform well in extreme cold and slide on ice and snow.
The surface of studded winter tires has openings with metal studs pushed deep into them. These studs help grip the icy roads. The metal studs are usually made out of tungsten carbide and should sit approximately one millimeter from the tire to ensure that they function properly.
On each tire, there are usually eighty to one hundred studs. Newer tires feature a design where the studs can retract at the push of a button.
Choosing the correct tires for your vehicle is important for safety. Understand which tires are meant for your weather conditions and plan accordingly. Being prepared for any weather conditions in your area will allow for easier access to roadways in the event of an emergency.