Cars and Mini Vans
Car and Minivan Tire Types

Passenger Tires

Smooth Ride, Longer Wear

Touring Tires

Luxury Ride, Performance Handling

Performance Tires

Hot Looks, Great Traction

High Performance Tires

Performance Plus Style

Ultra High Performance Tires

World-class Handling

Competition Tires

On the Track

Trucks and SUV
Truck and SUV Tire Types

AP Tires

Quiet Ride, All-season Traction

Sport Truck Tires

Sports Car Handling

All Terrain Tires

At Home On and Off Road

Mud Terrain Tires

Serious Off Road Traction

Winter Tires
Winter Tire Types

Passenger Tires

Safe Winter Traction

Performance Winter Tires

Performance Winter Driving

Tire Types

A wide range of tire choices is available for every vehicle. Understanding the types of tires will help you make the right choice. Tire types can be grouped by their application: Cars and Minivans, Trucks and SUV, and Winter Tires.

Tire Types for Cars and Minivans

Passenger tires
Passenger tires are among the most cost-effective tire types available. Mohave and Rocky Mountain brands typify excellent value at the entry-level. Premium tires such as the Arizonian Silver Edition offer longer wear and even lower cost-per-mile operation. Passenger tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • Higher profiles (80, 75, 70, or 65 series) for smoother ride and longer wear
  • Lower speed ratings (Q, S, and T) with a harder, longer wearing compound
  • All-season tread designs for year round wet, dry and snow traction
  • Tread patterns that emphasize high ride comfort and low noise
  • White or black sidewall finish
  • Tread wear guarantees ranging from 30,000 to 85,000 miles or more

Touring tires
Touring tires feature enhanced performance blended with excellent ride quality. Designs range from high mileage S and T-rated tires such as the BFG Precept, Pirelli P3000 and Goodyear Assurance to performance oriented V-rated designs like Pirelli's P6 Four Season. Touring tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • Slightly lower profile (from 70 to 55 series) and wider tread than an equivalent passenger tire for improved handling and stability "at speed"
  • The widest range of speed ratings (S, T, U, H and V), of any tire
  • Numerous wear, handling, and ride quality tradeoffs (The touring tires a minivan owner selects can be very different from the touring tires a BMW owner selects.)
  • Predominantly all-season tread designs (Although a number of dry or summer designs are available.)
  • Tread patterns that emphasize performance blended with ride comfort and low noise
  • Contemporary black sidewall styling (Few touring designs offer a white sidewall finish.)
  • Optional tread wear guarantees, which diminish as speed ratings increase

Performance tires
Performance tires are specialty tires that customers choose to enhance the look and low speed traction of their vehicles. The Goodyear Eagle GT II is a good example of this tire type. Performance tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • A very wide range of profiles and tread widths to select a special look (Muscle cars, vans and street trucks commonly use this tire type.)
  • Lower speed ratings (S and T) that help keep these tires very affordable
  • All-season tread designs with year round wet, dry and snow traction
  • Tread patterns that emphasize low speed traction and handling
  • Raised white lettering or black lettering (on either sidewall) to provide styling choices
  • Tread wear guarantees ranging from 40,000 to 50,000 miles

High Performance tires
High Performance tire design extends high speed handling and stability. Cooper's Zeon ZPT typifies excellent value in an H-rated high performance tire design. High performance tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • Lower profiles (as low as 40 series) and larger diameter wheel sizes (up to 17 inches) which stiffen sidewalls for improved cornering response, lower rolling resistance and increased tread stability
  • H (130 mph) and V (149 mph) speed ratings, which offer control "at speed" for high performance cars
  • All-season designs (Although dry designs deliver superior cornering response and high-speed stability in wet and dry conditions.)
  • Tread designs with an emphasis on maximum contact patch
  • Softer tread compounds for better traction
  • Lower UTQG ratings and shorter treadlife
  • Sophisticated belt and cap ply packages that help maintain a maximum contact patch and optimum tire shape at high speeds
  • Numerous bead and sidewall enhancements that stiffen the casing for better cornering response and high speed stability

Ultra High Performance tires
Ultra High Performance tires take material and tire design technology to the limit. These are the tires for today's most sophisticated sports cars and sedans. All-season designs such as Michelin's Pilot Sport AS deliver year round traction. The Pirelli P-Zero Nero typifies a tire designed for extreme performance with the largest contact patch in its class. Ultra high performance tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • The lowest profiles attainable by design and material technology, as low as 25 series, that deliver the greatest control and response at speed (Tire diameters up to 22 inches and cross-section widths up to 345 mm are available.)
  • W (168 mph), Y (186 mph) or Z (over 149 mph) speed ratings, for the ultimate in high-speed control
  • Asymmetric and directional tread designs that maximize dry contact patch and wet control (All-season designs compromise extreme performance for year round usability.)
  • "Sticky" tread compounds that trade off treadlife for performance (The UTQG tread wear ratings for ultra high performance tires are the lowest of any tire designed for everyday street use.)
  • Design innovations and exotic lightweight materials to enhance handling and high-speed control
  • Designs that deliver a smoother, quieter ride (A vehicle with an ultra high performance suspension is required to receive the full benefit.)

Competition tires
Competition tires are built for racing classifications that require a DOT-approved tire. Yokohama's A032R is a popular choice among autocross racers. Among front-wheel drive enthusiasts, the BFGoodrich g-Force Drag Radial is often the choice for faster quarter mile times. While legal for the street, the racing compounds and virtually groove-free designs make these tires impractical for most users. Competition tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • R compounding specially designed for racing (Heat cycling competition tires will improve wear and traction.)
  • UTQG tread wear ratings below 100
  • Minimum tread depths that deliver improved racing traction
  • A racing belt package that stiffens tread to maintain maximum contact patch under extreme steering response
  • Massive block designs that approach racing slick traction
  • Drag slick designs that feature flexible sidewalls which maximize traction during acceleration

Tire Types for Trucks and SUVs

AP tires
AP type tires are original equipment on many of today's vehicles due to their smooth, quiet highway ride and good all-season traction. Often referred to as All-Purpose or Mud and Snow designs, the Pirelli Scorpion STR and Michelin LTX M/S are good examples of this tire type. AP type tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • All-season tread designs and full-depth siping that provide confident traction year round
  • Quiet, stable highway ride
  • A wide range of sizes (from 14- to 17-inches), and load carrying capacities
  • Compounds that emphasize good wear and traction in a wide range of temperatures
  • 40,000 miles of service

Sport Truck tires
Sport Truck tires bring sports car handling to the truck and SUV marketplace, yet they are built to handle the suspensions and load carrying capacities of trucks. Cooper's Zeon XST and Pirelli's Scorpion Zero are excellent examples of this tire type. Sport Truck tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • All-season tread designs that emphasize street handling and traction year round
  • Wheel sizes up to 26-inch diameter and section widths up to 325 mm with profiles as low as 25 series
  • Standard and reinforced load capacities combined with large sizes to provide sufficient load carrying for trucks and SUVs
  • Speed ratings up to Z (149+ mph)

All Terrain tires
All Terrain tires are a step up in off-road traction from the AP designs. This is arguably the most popular truck tire category. Most users are willing to accept the highway ride tradeoff in order to get the additional traction. Our Pathfinder AT and the BFGoodrich All Terrain KO are both extremely popular tires in this category. All Terrain tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • Tread design with larger blocks and greater void (area where there is no tread) for better clean out of mud and snow
  • A wide selection of sizes for pick-ups and SUVs of all types and load-carrying capacities
  • Ply ratings that range from four-ply to eight-ply for many sizes, with extreme ten-ply or twelve-ply ratings available in special sizes
  • Mud and Snow rating
  • Designs that wear longer and ride more quietly over the road

Mud Terrain tires
Mud Terrain designs represent the extreme in traction tires that are still acceptable for highway use. The emphasis is on off-road traction for those whose hobby or business requires the ultimate grip in mud, sand, rocks, or any possible off-road condition. The Goodyear Wrangler MTR and BFGoodrich Mud Terrain KM are excellent examples of tires in this category. Mud Terrain tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • Tread designs that feature the largest possible block sizes and high void ratios for grip and durability under harsh off-road conditions
  • Sizes that range up to the very tallest and widest available for increased flotation and axle clearance
  • Ply ratings that range up to eight-ply (Extra sidewall and tread reinforcement plies are often added to protect against puncture.)
  • Tread compounds with silica added to stiffen the blocks for improved durability and wear
  • Refinements in noise reduction and highway control to make the tires more "streetable"

Winter Tires

Winter tires
Winter tires are more specialized than many people think. People often associate winter tires with old forms of snow tires that were loud, mounted on the rear of the vehicle and needed studs for traction when driving in icy conditions. Today's technology has changed all that. Winter tires for cars and minivans are now applicable to a wide range of drivers and vehicle types. These tires are ideal for drivers who may encounter a wide range of potential winter conditions including snow, ice, slush, rain, and freezing rain. However, these tires remain applicable for dry highway conditions as well. A lack of winter tires poses a threat to safe driving when serious weather conditions suddenly arise. Because of the significant traction improvement of winter tires, especially in colder temperatures, they should only be used in sets of four. Winter tires commonly include the following features and options:
  • Tread designs that balance a smooth, quiet ride (not much different than your "other" tires) with instant traction when bad winter weather develops
  • Advanced design in tread compounds, including soft, microfilament grip materials that stay pliable in the coldest temperatures
  • Superior snow and ice traction without the need for studs (Some designs allow for studding, however, for those who live in more extreme climates.)
  • Additional siping (very small slits in the blocks that give extra gripping edges across the treadface), which enhances traction for any road condition but is especially useful for snow and ice
  • Q-, S- or T- speed rating for the everyday driver

Winter tires designed for performance vehicles are intended for the driver who needs enhanced winter traction but wants as much responsive, high-speed handling as possible. Performance winter tires commonly include the following features and options:

  • H speed rating (Although a few V-rated models are available.)
  • Directional and asymmetrical tread design which increase performance traction (These must not be intermixed. Use the same product for all four tires.)
  • Special tread compounds that remain pliable in extremely cold weather and incorporate microfilaments for extended snow grip
  • Additional siping (very small slits in the blocks that give extra gripping edges across the treadface), which enhances traction for any road condition but is especially useful for snow and ice
  • Sizes up to 18 in wheel diameters, cross section widths up to 285 mm, and profiles as low as 40 series

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