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Let’s Talk About Tires

The sheer number of choices between seasons, tread design, and performance options can be overwhelming.

When trying to decide which tires are right for you, there are a vast number of choices to consider. Here we’ll break some of those options down into some easy to understand categories, and talk about what type of driver best suits each type of tire, as well as whether the conditions in your area warrant more than one set of tires.

The major categories:

All-Season Tires

 > All season tires are the most common type of tire, standard on most new vehicles.

 > For use in both warm and moderately cold weather

 > Tread intended to provide adequate handling in light snow as well as wet road conditions

 > NOT intended for temperatures consistently below 45 degrees F.

Winter (Snow) Tires

  > Better braking on snow – covered  or ice – covered roads

 > Rubber stays flexible at lower temperatures

 > Tread reduces the accumulation of snow on the tire

 > Studded snow tires provide even more traction in winter conditions but are banned in some states.

 > Last about 20, 000 miles

 > NOT intended for temperatures consistently above 45 degrees F.

Performance Tires / Low Profile Tires

 > Intended mainly for sports cars, performance tires offer increased grip

 > Better maneuverability and traction at higher speeds

 > Specialized tires typically are more expensive

 > Softer rubber wears out faster than other tire types

Mud Tires

 > Designed for off-roading, these tires will offer better grip in rocky or uneven terrain

 > Appropriate choice for soft, sandy ground as well

 > Do NOT offer good grip of the road, especially in wet or icy weather

 > Faster wear than all-terrain or all-season tires

All Terrain Tires

 > Typically used on trucks and SUVs, all-terrain tires aim to find balance between off-road and road tires.

 > Better performance on the road than mud tires

 > Accumulate mud in the tread more easily than mud tires

 > Need to be replaced about every 40, 000 miles (more often than road tires)

Description of different tire tread patterns:

  •  Directional – With outward aiming V-shaped grooves, directional tread aims to push water and slush away from the tire. Directional tires need to be rotated, front to back on the same side of  the vehicle, and will typically have an arrow indicating which direction the tire should face.
  • Asymmetric  – Asymmetric tread patterns aim to increase steering response and cornering while helping to retain traction in wet or icy conditions.
  • Symmetric – Symmetric tread patterns are the most common, and allow for the most flexibility in tire rotation and remounting.
  • Directional and Asymmetric – This is the least common pattern, and intended typically for use only on high performance vehicles. This pattern offers the least flexibility in tire rotation options.

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