How to compare road tires

Automotive tires vary based upon the intended application. Tires from a sports car will not be ideal for a SUV, for example; therefore, you must examine various factors such as speed, weather and load ratings in deciding upon a tire for your vehicle.

Compromises

Automotive tires have come a long way since the bias-ply tires of the 1960s. While advances have raised tire performance to new heights, all tires have compromised designs; they seek to excel in some areas and thus will exhibit poor performance in others.

When evaluating tires a buyer must first determine what they expect from the tire, and what will be the driving environment. These two variables are key to selecting a tire well suited to motorist needs.

Weather & Traction Rating

The driving environment will dictate whether you should consider winter, summer or all-season tires. Summer-only tires incorporate a compound that will provide little to no traction in winter and will prove downright dangerous to use in inclement weather, while a tire suitable for inclement use will have a mud and snow rating (M+S). Beyond these designations, manufacturers will provide data describing the intended use and strengths of a specific tire within a lineup; when comparing tires, check to ensure that the weather ratings match your driving needs.

Treadwear, Traction & Noise

Once you determine a tire’s weather rating, study how it will grip and wears, as well as how long it will last. For example, a softer tire that provides superior grip will have a shorter tread-wear rating, whereas a touring tire meant to be quiet and last a long time will sacrifice grip in high-performance situations.

Wide Array of Choices

More than a dozen major tire manufacturers offer a wide variety of tires. Regardless of your intended use, you will have several tires from which to choose. Visiting a dedicated automotive tire store can provide access to qualified salesmen who can help you find the ideal tire and allow you to compare multiple brands of tires easily.

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