Every car needs tires, but most drivers know you can’t just grab the first ones you see on the rack. Multiple things must be taken into consideration, and where you live can often be what determines the kind of tires that are best for your vehicle. Winter tires, for example, are specially made to withstand areas with harsh ice and snow because they consist of a special rubber compound that conforms to the road in such conditions.
On the other hand, if you live in a warm place with very little snow or cold weather, the lighter summer tires may be for you. However, regardless of location almost all vehicles are sold with all season tires. Most drivers find these suitable enough to keep on their cars all year round, and there is a reason for this.
All season tires are suitable for anything from dry, parched pavement to roads with a coating of light or moderate snow. They are made for areas with changing seasons, places that undergo dry spells as well as heavy rainfall. They also offer a less-stiff ride than summer tires, emphasizing a smooth, quiet ride, predictable overall handling and a long tread life. Drivers who live in areas that see four seasons annually are typical customers for all season tires, but people who travel a lot to different climates will want to invest in them as well.
If you live in an area that has very unpredictable snowfall (states in the mid Atlantic region, for example, can have heavy blizzards or go an entire winter without snow), you may find yourself caught in a debate of all season tires vs. snow tires.
As pointed out above, winter tires, or “snow tires” are designed specifically for winter weather, meaning snow. While you can drive through snow on all season tires, things can get very hairy when snow ices over or snow and slush covered roads become slick. It is in these situations that snow tires outperform their all season counterparts. So, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow annually or if you travel often to such places, you’ll want to invest in snow tires. With all tires, however, be sure to drive more slowly and carefully through snow.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are summer tires, which are also sometimes known as high performance tires. A softer kind of rubber is used in summer tires, causing them to perform better when it comes to gripping the road, which improves handling, braking and acceleration. Because of their tread pattern, summer tires also handle wet, slick roads much better than many other tires.
Nevertheless, some summer tires have been known to wear out faster than all season tires when driven for long periods of time or at very high speeds. The rubber used to make them simply isn’t durable enough for driving hard, and therefore they may be better for driving around town as opposed to taking long trips.
In addition to climate, the activities you use your car for also must be taken into consideration. For example, all season tires are not very appropriate for constant driving on surfaces other than pavement. Off the road tires or mud tires are therefore for drivers of trucks and other off-road vehicles that spend the majority of their time driving through non-paved terrain.
These tires provide high performance in extreme driving situations like jagged rocks, gravel, mud and rough trails. Unlike other tires, the treads on off road tires are designed to self-clean by releasing mud and gravel much more easily, making them better at maintaining traction. Additionally, the tire sidewalls are typically reinforced to prevent damage.
However, one area in which all season tires do outperform off road tires is speed. High speed driving with off road tires is bumpy and noisy, especially when driving on pavement where they won’t last long. So, if the vehicle is going to be used on unpaved terrain for the majority of the time and the inability to go very fast is not an issue, off road tires could be the right choice. Otherwise, all season tires may be the better choice.
No matter what kind you choose to buy, tires don’t come cheap. So, where are the best deals? Before heading out, you should check out all season tires reviews online from both retailers and consumers. Not only will these help you determine where to buy the cheapest tires, but by examining different all season tires ratings you will also be able to determine which kind of tire really is best for you and your vehicle.
When it comes to websites, Discount Tire (discounttire.com) and Tire Rack (tirerack.com) are some of the best. Great for new car owners (and first-time tire buyers) both of these online retailers allow you to enter the specific make and model of your vehicle, upon which they will show which tires fit on that car. Both websites also allow you to search by tire size and brand in addition to vehicle type, and Tire Rack goes further by having linked to tire reviews, test results and more. As a further convenience, Discount Tire also sells wheels in addition to tires, and Tire Rack sells wheels, brakes, suspension and other items.
If you live near a Costco, you will also want to make a stop there or go on their website. Costco has been known for a while now for providing automotive services at many of its locations, and many Costco stores now sell tires. Costco tires come in a variety of brands and models, and Costco all season tires are a particular favorite among customers.
For most people, all season tires are the most practical choice. With perhaps the exception of high-performance vehicles, most cars today come from the factory with all season tires that can get up to 50,000 miles before needing to be replaced. Take care of your new tires, and they too will last a long time.