Although tires may seem simple to the untrained eye, they’re actually advanced and sophisticated. There are many different kinds of tires, and they each are useful in different situations. If you’re tire shopping, base your tire choice on when and where you’ll be driving.
General Driving: All-Season Tire
The all-season tire is the bread of the tire industry. Just as bread is versatile and useful in many situations, so too are all-season tires. They can handle wet and dry pavement, and they hold up well in warmer temperatures. Most all-season models also offer a good blend of traction and fuel efficiency.
Vehicles frequently come from the factory with all-season tires installed because these are the most versatile tire type. If you don’t have unusual needs and aren’t driving during winter, this is probably the best option to go with.
Cold Weather Driving: Winter Tire
While winter tires used to be commonly called snow tires, that phrase no longer fully captures all the situations where these tires are useful. Winter tires are preferable in any cold-weather driving, specifically whenever the temperature drops below about 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter tires don’t just feature treads that grip well on snow and ice, but they also have special rubber compounds that remain strong in cold temperatures. Other tires’ rubber compounds become rigid in cold temperatures, which compromises performance. Even most all season tires’ rubber changes at the 45-degree point.
If you live anywhere in the Northern United States, winter tires are preferred throughout the colder months of the year regardless of how much snow your area sees.
Dry Pavement Driving: Summer Tire
Whereas many drivers in cold areas may want winter tires during winter months, summer tires’ utilization should be more limited.
Summer tires maximize fuel efficiency but sacrifice traction, so they ought to only be installed if you’re driving in warm temperatures and mostly on dry pavement. A light sprinkling of rain is alright, but any significant downpour or snow can cause problems.
If you live in an arid region that never gets too cold, such as much of the Southwestern United States, summer tires may be a suitable option. If you ever drive through significant amounts of precipitation or during cooler days, however, all-season tires are likely preferable.
Race Track Driving: High-Performance Tire
High-performance tires are built for going fast and turning hard. The speeds and forces they can withstand aren’t what a tire would see during legal driving, and these tires aren’t made with typical street driving in mind. They’re primarily used on private race tracks, where cars go faster than legal speed limits and turns are sometimes tight.
If you race on a private track, high-performance tires are a must-have. If you don’t, there’s no practical reason that justifies getting them.
When they are installed on a vehicle, high-performance tires can also be used for regular driving since it’s much less demanding than racing. Traction is sometimes sacrificed, though, so these tires shouldn’t be used in inclement weather.
Trail Driving: Off-Road Tire
Off-road tires are intended to take vehicles where normal tires can’t go. They sacrifice fuel efficiency for traction, and the traction they provide is superb when driving over sand, mud, rocks, or similar obstacles. The tires also make a visual statement, as their tread is the gnarliest of any tire type.
Off-road tires are needed if you’re venturing far off pavement. All-season or winter tires will perform fine on a flat and dry field, or a gravel driveway. To tackle more challenging terrain, though, a more rugged tire is needed.
To order tires for your vehicle, contact Ramona Tire & Service Centers.