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Understanding Types of Tires

Tires 101
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Begin your search for tires by identifying which kind of vehicle you are buying tires for or if you need winter tires. Also, consider analyzing your potential driving conditions and which tires might be necessary. Then, choose the type of tire that suits your driving style and vehicle the best. 

Passenger car and minivan tires 

These tires typically emphasize benefits such as a comfortable ride, long life, dependability and traction performance in a variety of weather conditions.

How to read the sidewall of a tire

The "P" designates passenger tires. "LT" designates light-truck tires. Here's what the numbers indicate:

Touring tires

Touring tires offer enhanced performance combined with excellent ride quality. These tires typically have a slightly lower profile and wider tread than an equivalent passenger tire for improved handling and stability at higher speeds.

Performance, high-performance and ultra high-performance tires

All tires in this category have higher speed ratings. Typical speed ratings range from H (up to 130 MPH) to Z (up to 149 MPH). These tires usually come in lower profiles and have wider treads and stiffer sidewalls for improved cornering response and stability. To truly appreciate the benefits of ultra high-performance tires, they must be matched to ultra high-performance vehicle suspensions.

Truck and SUV tires 

Tires for trucks or SUVs usually have a higher load capacity than other tires. Load capacity is controlled by how much air volume is in the tire and at what pressure. Tire sizes that begin with a "P" (passenger) are designed to operate at lower pressures and loads than the same size that begins with "LT" (light truck). The "P" will normally have a smoother ride, but the "LT" will carry a larger load. You can differentiate them by their type of road application: on-highway, on-/off-highway (all-terrain) and off-highway (off-road). Typically, on-highway tires have more of a rib tread design, and off-highway tires have a more aggressive blocky or chunky tread design. Choose the tires that best fit your driving conditions, but also ensure they have the proper load index and speed rating.

Winter tires

If you drive in winter climates, you'll want your tires to handle a wide range of potential winter conditions, including snow, ice, slush, rain, freezing rain and, of course, dry highways. Winter tires today utilize tread compounds that remain soft and pliable in the cold for reliable snow and ice traction without the need for studded tires. 

Note:Winter tires should be purchased in sets of four.

 

Ready to buy some tires? You can search our Tire Finder by vehicle or by tire size. To search by vehicle, simply enter the make, model and year of your vehicle. To search by size, enter your vehicle's current tire size or the size you're looking for.

 


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