Daily life is filled with endless choices: regular or diet, credit or debit, paper or plastic? Not all the choices are of major-league importance, but others could have a profound effect, so it’s important to make the right choice.
A good example is tires: There are lots of types to choose from, but getting the correct one is vital because it impacts your vehicle’s handling, comfort, fuel efficiency and safety.
For many, tires are kind of like auto insurance: not top-of-mind, until the need arises. This makes sense because tires certainly look simple – black and round – but the truth is, they are highly engineered technical wonders designed to work in concert with a vehicle’s breaking and steering systems.
Tire science has come a long way, creating tires that last longer and are more fuel-efficient. For example, at Yokohama engineers developed a technology that blends orange oil with rubber to create a special compound that enhances traction and fuel economy with longer tread wears life.
Tires are the only part of a vehicle that actually touches the road, but most people don’t even know what types of tires are on their car.
One reason is there are so many types of tires. There are about 3,500 sizes and types from dozens of manufacturers, and that can cause confusion for anybody. But the more information consumers collect and understand, the better prepared they will be for the vast selection that awaits them.
A tire generally delivers both mileage and performance, but not both equally. Tires using a harder rubber compound will last longer and boost gas mileage, but could deliver less traction and more noise, while softer tread compound tires handle well but wear more quickly.
The first step to selecting the right tires is to consider how they will be used. Consumers should think about how far and fast they typically drive, the weather and road conditions they encounter, how they want the vehicle to perform and look, how much money they want to spend, how long they plan on keeping the vehicle, and the weight and type of vehicle the tires will be mounted on.
Here are some basic definitions on different types of tires to help you pick the best tire for your vehicle:
All-Season Tire: As stated: a tire designed for all four seasons. They can potentially eliminate the need for snow tires in some moderate winter areas.
High-Performance Tire: Tires designed for responsive handling at higher speeds.
Light Truck Tire: Tires designed for sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, recreational vehicles and some small commercial vehicles.
Radial Tire: Radial describes the way the tire is constructed. These tires are on most passenger cars as well as light trucks.
Touring Performance Tire: A tire providing the ride comfort of a standard passenger car tire, yet possessing some high-performance tire characteristics.
Remember; the more you know beforehand, the better your chance of making the right choice and getting exactly what you need.