If you drive any type of vehicle, you probably consider yourself well-versed in the tire options available for the type of vehicle you drive. While it is okay to stick to a few different types if you just use your vehicle for everyday driving, it is worth learning about the other types of tires available.
Since tires are responsible for safe driving, fuel efficiency, and performance, you want to make sure you have the best tires for your needs. We've compiled a list of 20 of the most common types of tires to expand your knowledge!
Tires For Passenger Vehicles
The term passenger vehicle refers to vehicles used for everyday family use and transport. Your minivan, car, or crossover fits into this category, as well as some of the smaller SUVs. Drivers of these vehicles don't spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of tires to purchase for their vehicle, so if you fall into this category, you might be surprised at the variety of tires available.
Bridgestone Tire does a great job of explaining these tires by comparing them to tennis shoes. Tennis shoes can be worn in any season. However, you are likely to opt for boots when too much snow falls and sandals when the weather is too hot, or you are going to the beach. Like tennis shoes, all-season tires are good in almost all circumstances. However, if you are driving in very snowy areas or in extreme heat, there are better choices.
Popular All-Season Tire Brands
While most touring tires are classified as all-season, there are differences between the two. Touring tires have wider tread, making them better able to handle wet conditions.
They have a higher speed rating, which means they can handle a higher speed for a longer period of time. Because of this, someone who drives for long periods of time on a highway will benefit from touring tires.
Popular Touring Tire Brands
Sports car owners and drivers who race cars take a particular interest in performance tires. They feature short sidewalls for better steering around corners, large treads for better grip, and a high speed rating to withstand higher racing speeds.
You can use performance tires for everyday driving but be mindful if you live in an area with cold winters. Performance tires generally don't do well in temperatures under 45 degrees.
Popular Performance Tire Brands
- BF Goodrich
Summer tires and performance tires are often interchangeable. However, there are plenty of performance tires that do not qualify as summer tires. Summer tires get their name from only being able to be used in the summer months. They are made from softer rubber that provides extra traction in the summer but does not perform well when the weather is cold.
Popular Summer Tire Brands
Passenger tires are general tires designed for passenger vehicles, but they can also fit SUVs and light trucks. Since they are a general category, passenger tires can also fall into other categories, such as fuel-efficient, performance, or all-season.
Popular Passenger Tires Brands
Tires For Trucks
While some types of tires can work on passenger cars or trucks, there are many types that are specifically designed for trucks. Depending on whether you haul with your truck, go of-froading, or simply use a truck as your main vehicle, there are different types of tires that will work best for what you do.
Highway tires are the truck equivalent of all-season tires. However, because they are designed for long highway trips, they have a better fuel economy than some other choices.
Popular Highway Tire Brands
Like the name implies, all-terrain tires perform well in all terrains, including off-road and snow. They have deep grooves that allow them to grip any terrain. However, they are not made for longevity. If you mainly drive on smooth roads and don't drive on tough terrains, a longer lasting tire will suit you better.
Popular All-Terrain Tire Brands
- BF Goodrich
For a driver who uses his or her vehicle primarily for off-roading, mud-terrain tires are recommended. While mud-terrain tires are loud on normal roadways and don't last as long as some everyday types, they have superior traction in mud and other difficult terrains. Tire retailer, Discount Tire, also points out that the sidewalls of mud-terrain tires are strong enough not to be punctured by sharp rocks.
Popular Mud-Terrain Tire Brands
Ribbed tires can be used for passenger vehicles or trucks, with tires for each type of vehicle designed for that vehicle's needs. For example, passenger vehicles can benefit from the even wear, good mileage, and good traction of ribbed tires, while trucks and commercial vehicles will benefit from the ability to manage heavy loads while resisting damage.
Popular Ribbed Tire Brands
Sport tires for trucks are comparable to performance or summer tires for passenger vehicles. They perform well in all driving conditions and are built for increased traction. They also have a high speed rating, so they can endure higher speeds for longer periods of time.
Popular Sport Tire Brands
Specialty tires are those with specific functions. While some may be used for everyday driving, others are only used in certain circumstances. These should be purchased in addition to the tires you use regularly.
11. Track and Competition
Track tires are specifically designed for auto racing. They contain softer rubber to grip the surface of the track. They should not be used for street driving, especially on highways.
Popular Track Tire Brands
Winter tires can and are commonly used on both passenger vehicles and trucks. While they have a specific purpose, there is no need to switch out these tires regularly.
Instead, you can drive with them continuously through the winter and replace them in the spring. Depending on their condition, they can be used again in subsequent seasons.
Popular Winter Tire Brands
While you can purchase a fifth tire to have on hand in case one needs to be replaced, some people utilize spare tires instead. They allow drivers to travel safely, until they can purchase a new full-sized tire, but their size results in a difference in performance. When driving on a spare, it is recommended to drive on back roads instead of highways because they have a lower speed rating.
Popular Spare Tire Brands
A trailer tire cannot be used on passenger cars or trucks. Because trailers haul large loads, mostly on long journeys, their tires are built to hold heavy loads. However, they are not able to make turns or navigate independently. In short, trailer tires perform their job well but would not perform well doing the job of a passenger vehicle.
Popular Trailer Tire Brands
- Trailer King
ATVs and UTVs need to use tires specifically made for their use. They cannot use tires made for other vehicles, but they do have a variety of tires they can use depending on what their needs are.
15. Mud Tires
As the name suggests, mud tires allow ATVs and UTVs to drive through swamps and bogs. They can also handle snow due to their deep treads.
Popular ATV Mud Tire Brands
16. Sand Tires
Sand tires are unique in their function and design. Front sand tires have very little tread, while the back tires have paddles to help the vehicle float above the sand. While all-terrain tires can manage in the sand, sand tires are not effective on other types of terrains.
Popular ATV Sand Tire Brands
17. Snow Tires
Snow is difficult to handle whether you are driving an ATV or a passenger car. Because ATVs are smaller, they need good tires to manage the snow. ATV snow tires are made of softer rubber for better grip on snow and ice.
While some brands can be used in warm weather, most cannot. However, some can be used on different terrains.
Popular ATV Snow Tire Brands
All-trail tire lives up to their name in that they are suitable for all terrains. They also offer a smooth ride, which is something that some of the more specialized ATV tires cannot match.
Like the all-terrain and all-season tires for trucks and passenger cars, they are good general tires, but extreme terrains will require specialized tires.
Popular ATV All-Trail Tire Brands
19. Lawn And Garden Tires
Lawn and garden tires don't stand out in the average person's mind unless they have a lot of land or work in landscaping. However, knowing the types of lawn and garden tires available makes it easy to replace them when necesary. Ride-on tractors, lawnmowers, and wheelbarrows all utilize tires that may be difficult to find if you don't know what you are looking for. The best lawn and garden tires are the correct size for your equipment and have tread that can handle turf without damaging it.
Popular Lawn And Garden Tire Brands
20. Farm Tires
Farm tires are similar to lawn and garden tires in that they need to handle soil and turf without damaging these surfaces. However, farm tires are used for larger pieces of equipment such as tractors and harvesters.
Popular Farm Tire Brands
While certainly not exhaustive, this list includes many of the types of tires you may run into while using your vehicles and equipment. While you can't go wrong with the standard all-terrain, all-season, and all-trail tires, you can see that other options may be better suited for your vehicle. For more information on tire care and maintenance, take a look at these articles: