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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.



Used with permission. © 2015 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. See full legal.

Used with permission. © 2014 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. See full legal.


Important Walmart Disclaimer: Proper service and repair procedures are vital to the safe, reliable operation of all motor vehicles as well as the personal safety of those performing the repairs and those riding in the motor vehicles. Standard safety procedures and precautions (including use of safety goggles and other safety equipment, proper tools and equipment) should be followed at all times to limit the possibility of personal injury or improper service which could damage the vehicle or compromise its safety.  Personal injury could result from the failure to take adequate safety precautions when repairing or maintaining your vehicle.  Although this material has been prepared with the intent to provide reliable information, no warranty or representation (express or implied), including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither is any liability assumed for loss or damage of any kind resulting from reliance on this material and Wal-Mart shall not be liable for any loss or damage of any kind resulting from reliance on this material.  Users employ the information contained in this material at their own risk.  This material is provided only as a helpful guide and does not replace the information and instructions contained in the motor vehicle's owner's manual and product manufacturer's recommendations.  Users are cautioned to consult the motor vehicle's owner's manual and product manufacturer's recommendations for additional information and instructions.   Failure to follow the motor vehicle's owner's manual and the product manufacturer's recommendations could result in damage to your vehicle or personal injury.  Additionally, users should be aware of the applicable laws of their local jurisdiction.


Any product information is provided by the supplier or manufacturer of the product and should not be construed as advice. Wal-Mart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site.


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