A quick visit to the nearest retail tire shop will reveal a dizzying array of tires. Aside from the size, you’ll need to choose the type, the tread pattern and other variables.
Having trouble choosing the right tire for your vehicle? Want to get the best one for a particular style of driving? We’ve got you covered. Here’s how to find the best tire for your vehicle and for the kind of terrain you’re driving on.
Touring Tires. Shops sometimes refer to these as All Season Tires. This type does well in various road conditions such as wet, dry or in moderate snow. It’s one of the most-used tires for sporty coupes, small-sized SUVs, wagons and 4-door sedans. If you want a jack-of-all-trades kind of tire then this is the one you should get for your ride.
SSP Tires. Sport, Speed and Performance tires are excellent for when you need accurate cornering while racing in high speeds. Sport, speed and performance tires come right out of the factory when you buy sports sedans and sports cars. These tires aren’t really built for longevity as the softer, stickier rubber compound grips the road even during aggressive driving. This is the tire to get if you want to go fast but still need to be able to handle your ride well. Note that SSP tires aren’t recommended for wet or snowy road conditions.
Snow Tires. Snow tires are made specifically for navigating snowy roads and the cold environment. Small SUVs and cars equip this during the winter months, which are then swapped out for fair weather tires in the warmer seasons. A good plan includes having 2 sets of tires (one for snow and one for everything else) for the whole year.
Truck Tires. Large SUVs and trucks use this type of tire almost exclusively. Truck tires are characterized by taller sidewalls and aggressive treads which help them carry larger loads and fit in the size of the vehicle. If you’re mostly going to do towing and driving large loads from one place to another, then truck tires are the ones to get.
Off-Road Tires. If you’re planning on tackling all kinds of terrain, i.e., sand, swamp, snow, mud, etc. then it’s best that you should fit your ride with off-road tires. This type provides excellent traction via an open thread design that throws snow and mud off while digging deep in rough terrain. Off-roads are not recommended for everyday use as the quality and the quietness of the ride will be compromised.
Size. Thinking of putting in different-sized tires? There’s only a certain range of size you can go for, and this depends on several factors such as body clearance while turning, wheel diameter and wheel width. If you wish to deviate from the standard size recommended by the auto manufacturer then you should consult with your local tire retail shop.
Treadwear Rating. The UTQG rating and code determines a tire’s durability and expected tire life; an index score of 100 stands as the average. A UTQG score of 200 means that the tire is expected to have a double lifespan as compared to an average tire in normal driving conditions. A higher number usually means a longer lifespan at the cost of a stiffer thread and therefore, a more uncomfortable ride. The numbers have letters following them right after, which corresponds to the tire’s traction and heat dissipating ability. AA means the best rating, followed by A, B or C as being less capable. We recommend getting at least an A rating when you’re getting a particular tire type.
Speed Rating. Speed rating is represented by letters, with L ratings going more to off-road tires and Z ratings going to high speed or performance tires. You can consult with your local tire shop in order to determine which speed rating is best for your particular driving style and your ride’s capabilities.
You’ll have a better experience during the next visit to the tire shop, which translates to an informed decision on which tire is best for you and your vehicle. Make sure to get your tire shop’s guidance,expertise and recommendation before finally choosing the tire that you’ll fit in your ride. Don’t forget to factor in the budget for the new tires and you’ll have a set that fits your needs, goals and price requirement.