The inflatable automobile tire was one of the innovations that allowed for the proliferation of cars across the globe. Here is a guide to the most popular kinds of modern tire.
All-season tires are not optimized for any kind of driving in particular. Instead, they offer good all-year-round performance on road-type surfaces. All-season tires are typically provided as standard when a car is purchased new. Unless you are looking for special performance benefits or safety in extreme weather, all-season tires should be absolutely fine for your automobile.
All-terrain tires are great for drivers that want to spend around 50 percent of their time off paved roads. This makes them perfect for off-roading enthusiasts and agricultural workers. In the United States, many people that use their trucks for work opt to use all-terrain tires. Check out this Ford F-150 wheel and tire guide for a taste of just how varied the all-terrain truck tire market is.
Mud tires are exclusively useful for off-roading on loose surfaces. They have very deep and widely spaced treads that enable grip on all but the sloppiest of mud. These tires are special bits of kit suitable largely for off-road sport and military applications.
Mud tires are not suitable for highway driving. They are noisy when driven on tarmac and can seriously damage the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Make sure you know what kind of terrain you are going to be driving on before committing!
Winter tires are often fitted in colder climates as soon as the first snow falls. They feature deep treads that allow for increased grip on snow and ice. In some areas, Winter tires are a legal necessity. Some parts of Canada require Winter tire use from October to April.
Three-season performance tires are intended for cars that travel at relatively fast speeds operating in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. They have enough tread to deal with rain but not enough to damage performance. They must be swapped out for lower-performing Winter tires during snowfall.
Racing slicks are useful for – you guessed it – racing. They have almost no tread. This makes them extremely efficient at transferring power but very bad at gripping on loose surfaces. Racing slicks are typically not road-legal due to the high level of skill needed to safely corner using them. Most racing drivers intentionally warm their slick tires up before a race in order to improve grip.
Low-profile tires are very popular with sports car owners. They are good at transferring power and can give better cornering ability than larger tires. They do, however, last for less time and offer a bumpier ride.
Self-sealing tires prevent air egress after a puncture using a layer of nylon or a similar substance. This helps drivers get somewhere safe if they have a puncture at high speed.
There you have it: a brief guide to the popular types of car tire.