Most of us don’t really pay much attention to our car tires unless one of them blows out or we require a dire (or is that tire?) change.
However, any professional in the automotive industry or even car enthusiasts will tell you that a tire is way more than a circular piece of rubber that you can fill with air. For all of its apparent simplicity, it’s actually quite complex when it comes to its form and the basics of engineering behind it.
This is why you’ll find a myriad of different types of car tires on the market. But if you can’t recognize all-season tires from the performance tires, no worries. You’ve come to the right place.
Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the common types of car tires, what makes each category special, and the unique characteristics that each tire can provide.
Table of Contents
Identifying Different Car Tires
Before we start our deep dive into the types of car tires, we want to ensure that you’re familiar with the actual elements that differentiate one tire type from another.
The rubber compound and the tread pattern are two important areas to distinguish one kind from another.
These are influenced by the environment and circumstances in which the tire is used. If the proper tire technology is used, you may be certain that your vehicle or truck’s wheels will have greater handling and traction.
Types of Car Tires 101
There are the more common types of tires on the market. Then there are more specialized tires that are designed with a specific job in mind.
Beginning with the ones most of us have on our regular cars, we’ll make our way down to the ones that are a bit more unique. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that regardless of the category of tires you’d prefer, it’s essential to buy them from a reputable supplier, such as https://www.ozzytyres.com.au/.
An all-season tire combines the best features of both summer and winter tires to create a hybrid solution that offers the best of both worlds.
All-season tires may be a good option for drivers who live in areas with moderate winter weather (temperatures seldom dip below freezing). Continental all-season tires provide superior safety and performance.
You may also save money and time by reducing the amount of work needed for seasonal tire replacements. However, keep in mind that summer and winter tires are designed for particular circumstances.
But, what if you’re looking for a tire that’s more appropriate for your current season? The summer tires are all you need to weather any road in warm conditions.
Summer tires feature a special rubber composition in hotter weather that provides great grip and handling on both dry and wet surfaces. They also have lower rolling resistance, meaning they use less gas and make less road noise.
Summer tires have a more streamlined tread design than winter tires, with fewer grooves for water clearance and a larger contact patch with the road. As a result, during the dry summer months, the car has better traction and braking.
On the other hand, summer tires are unsuited for winter driving conditions due to their distinct rubber composition and simple tread pattern. When the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (around 7 degrees Celsius), the compound hardens and brittles and the tread design can’t handle snow or ice well.
On the other end of the weather spectrum, we have winter tires.
Winter tires offer excellent traction on snow-covered and icy roads, as well as slick roads in cold weather.
A winter tire’s tread composition includes more natural rubber, which means it won’t harden when temperatures drop to frigid degrees less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, in cold regions, it remains supple and limber to shorten braking distances.
Deeper blocks in the tread pattern sink into snow and ice to offer greater grip. The winter tire also features many sipes, which are great for removing water and sludge from the car’s pathway and reducing hydroplaning danger.
Winter tires should not be utilized in the summer. Because the compound is much too soft for dry asphalt, it will wear out much more quickly. Furthermore, greater rolling resistance will result in increased fuel consumption and road noise.
Since the creation of the pneumatic tire or the shift from bias-ply to radial tires, run-flat tires have been one of the most significant innovations in the automobile industry. It’s a game-changer.
Simply put, a run-flat tire will remain fully operational in the case of a puncture or a rapid decrease in inflation pressure until the driver can safely go home or to the closest garage.
Strong and thick reinforced sidewalls offer the functionality of a run-flat tire, allowing it to be driven on briefly after a puncture. However, bear in mind that they are not repairable and must be replaced as soon as feasible. In general, a ruptured run-flat tire should drive up to 80 kilometers (50 miles).
The World of Performance Tires
In general, all of the previous types of tires we’ve covered you can easily find on the market. Now, we’re starting a whole new category: performance tires.
The good news is that you don’t need a six-figure exotic sports vehicle with falcon-wing doors to have a pair of high-performance tires. Whether you drive a modest car or a family minivan, performance tires give you the sensation of being quicker, as well as improved handling and cornering.
Basic performance, high performance, ultra-high performance, and competition are the most frequent performance tires.
Performance tires are generally wider and have shallow treads, resulting in a lower-profile appearance, more traction, and better road contact.
Truck and SUV Tires
Tires for trucks and SUVs are split into categories based on the vehicle’s intended usage.
You may require a more aggressive tire that can handle situations where the pavement stops, or you might do a lot of interstate driving, in which case a smoother, longer-lasting tread would be beneficial. Wherever you travel, there are truck and SUV tire types that can suit your requirements.
Highway tires are intended to withstand the higher weights of a truck or SUV and feature all-season tread patterns. They’ve been designed to be very comfy on the road.
Most highway tires feature long-lasting compounds and tread designs that resist uneven wear and provide extended tread life. Siping is often used to improve all-season traction.
Tires designed for all-terrain use, often known as A/T tires, feature a more aggressive tread pattern than highway or trail tires.
They feature bigger tread blocks and more voids, which help with traction in off-road situations. The Severe Weather Service emblem is often seen on A/T tires.
They’re made to deal with gravel, sand, and mild mud. The majority of all-terrain tires provide this off-road traction with little on-road discomfort.
In addition to the off-road thrills, they offer highway stability and comfort. Many people choose all-terrain tires because they offer a more aggressive appearance without sacrificing little to no noise, comfort, or durability.
Mud-terrain tires, often known as M/T tires, have aggressive tread patterns with big tread blocks and more voids. In soft terrains like deep mud and sand, this enables the tires to get a greater grip. They often include aggressive sidewall elements that improve grip in the soft ground while also adding to the tire’s rough look.
Sidewalls are often strengthened to prevent punctures, abrasions, and rips that are typical while driving off-road.
Mud-terrain tires are typically louder and less comfortable on roadways than less aggressive tire choices. They’re ideal for cars that get many off-road enthusiasts or those who want to seem like they’re off-roading.
Ribbed tires are intended to provide the best highway handling and mileage. They usually feature a strong rib tread pattern for increased stability, especially when loaded heavily.
This also improves traction in rainy conditions. Ribbed tires are ideal for commercial vehicles that travel a considerable deal on the highway.
Trail or All-Purpose Tires
All-Purpose (A/P) or trail tires are only a bit tougher than regular highway tires. In comparison to a highway truck tire, A/P tires have fewer sipes.
An A/P tread design may typically contain overlapping blocks to offer modest off-road traction in loose road conditions. Very mild all-terrain tires are often referred to as A/P tires.
Sports Truck Tires
Highway tires and performance truck tires are quite comparable. They have all-season tread patterns that are designed to withstand a wide range of weather situations.
Highway tires have lower speed ratings than performance truck tires. They often feature sipes for increased traction, but not as many as a highway tire. Asymmetrical tread patterns will be seen on certain performance truck tires.
Ready to Give Your Car Tires a Makeover?
Alright, if you’re new to the wide world of car tires, this must have been overwhelming. Yet, we hope it gave you a thorough idea of what kinds of tires you might be missing out on.
When in doubt, you’ll want to ask your mechanic about their opinion. Or, you can check out our other tips and tricks, all available to you in our automotive section.