4 Tire Types Compared

Posted on: 20 October 2014

Like most drivers, you probably know that the more expensive tires will perform better. What you may not know, however, is that even similarly priced tires can perform entirely differently from another. If you go shopping for tires not knowing which type you need, you might drive in potentially dangerous conditions that they're not designed to handle. It is essential that you have the right tires for the conditions you will encounter. To help you with this endeavor, the following comparison has been provided.

All-Season Tires

Characteristics: Manufacturers aim for their all-season tires to handle as wide a range of road conditions as consistently as possible. These tires have mostly straight, evenly spaced tread lines and are available for just about any production vehicle you could imagine.

Benefits: You're more likely to find these tires at a decent price than other types, because so many manufacturers produce them. If you're like most everyday commuter drivers, you can't go wrong with a good set of all-season tires.

Drawbacks: While they can handle all types of weather in small measure, all-season tires cannot reliably handle snow that's than a couple of inches thick.

Winter/Snow Tires

Characteristics: A snow tire has deep, zig-zagging groves for its tread, which helps to reduce slipping while maximizing grip.

Benefits: Even on cars without all-wheel drive, snow tires will reduce the likelihood of slipping, spinning, or skidding on snowy roads.

Drawbacks: Snow tires are only useful if you live in a very snowy climate with poorly maintained roads.

High-Performance Tires

Characteristics: Tread grooves tend to be thinner and further apart in high-performance tires, so as to maximize the amount of rubber gripping the pavement.

Benefits: Any car with a powerful engine, taut handling, and short braking distances will be severely hampered if its tires can't hold onto the road. High-performance tires allow sports cars to perform as expected.

Drawbacks: The flatter-than-average tread is prone to hydroplaning. Some higher-end brands can get shockingly expensive.

High-Efficiency Tires

Characteristics: These tires are meant to reduce the amount of power lost between the powertrain and the road. Cars with bulkier tires require more energy to accelerate and brake, but high-efficiency tires are not as energy-taxing on the vehicle.

Benefits: In addition to the possibility of improving fuel economy, high-efficiency tires also make the ride feel relaxed and softened.

Drawbacks: You will need to be extra careful with these tires on slick roads, because they won't grip nearly as well as other types of tires.

It is important you remember that you will inevitably encounter unfavorable road conditions. With this information, you can become familiar with the conditions your tires handle best, and the conditions for which you need to drive more carefully. For more information and advice, contact a shop that specializes in tire services.