Different types of vehicles perform best with different types of tires.

The best kinds of tires for different kinds of vehicles

As the only point of contact between you and the road, tires are as important an investment for your vehicle as online car insurance. Drivers, however, usually spend a lot less time considering what kind of tire best fits their car than they do comparing insurance quotes. However, it’s important to remember that a good set of tires protects you just as much as a good auto insurance policy does.

Though tires have come a long way in the last decade, tread life still varies by vehicle type, tire type, and driving behavior. To help you make more informed decisions about the right tires for your particular vehicle, we’ve put together some descriptions of what to look for:

Sedans

Because sedans come in all shapes and sizes, from luxury full-sized to hatchbacks, there is no one tire type appropriate for all models. Instead, drivers should look to see what specific set of tires their car was issued with, as the manufacturer chose them to best support your sedan’s performance and safety specifications.

Sedans will typically come with touring, performance, or low-rolling-resistance tires. Touring tires offer low noise and ride comfort, usually on high-end sedans. Performance tires are rated for higher speeds, so only equip them if they are within the speed rating recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Low-rolling-resistance tires are most often found on eco-friendly or economy sedans, as they increase fuel efficiency. However, remember that these tires may not be as equipped against poor weather conditions.

SUVs

Sport utility vehicle owners often purchased their vehicle because it offered a nice combination of towing and cargo capacity, passenger seating, and safety. Many SUVs are family vehicles or used for everyday work commutes. Occasionally, you’ll come across a SUV owner who will outfit their vehicle with oversized mud tires to go off road, but most only require a good set of street tires.

Tire type is a pivotal factor in how well your vehicle performs in poor weather.Tire type is a pivotal factor in how well your vehicle performs in poor weather.

TireRack.com reported that most all-season SUV tires are lumped into two categories: highway all-season and crossover/SUV touring all-season. Street-driven SUVs equipped with these kinds of tires are well suited to handle 99 percent of road conditions with confidence.

Pickup Trucks

Most truck owners didn’t buy their pickup just to shuttle back and forth between home and the office along neat, well-paved roads. They bought them for navigating rough terrain – hills and ditches; mud and sand and snow. With that in mind, performance all-season or all-terrain tires are probably necessary.

All-season truck tires are well-rounded. They are designed to move heavy loads through most weather conditions. All-terrain tires are more specialized. Engineered for heavy-duty applications, they are as suitable for the week’s paved highways as the weekend’s off-road fun. The more rugged tread is great for maintaining traction even in snowy conditions.

Sports Cars

If you own a sports car, you first priority shouldn’t be turbochargers, air intakes, or any other kind of promising “go faster” modification. The best – not to mention cheapest – way to make your sports car perform better is a set of great tires. After all, having tons of power under the hood won’t do you any good if you can’t transfer it to the road.

“The best way to improve sports car performance is a set of great tires.”

Sticky tires can, depending on where and what you drive, add an additional 50 or more horsepower to your vehicle. They’ll also help you go quicker into corners. Popular Mechanics found that when it came to high-performance tires designed specifically for sports car drivers, those with extra grip and handling precision were best.

Motorcycles

Picking the right tires for a motorcycle is as important as picking the right motorcycle insurance. The proper tires can significantly change how your bike handles. But then again, so can the wrong ones. How do you prevent making an expensive mistake? A little more information can help.

According to Cycle World, street tires can be fit into two classes: tube type and tubeless. If your motorcycle’s wheels have spokes, you most likely need tires that have an inner tube. If your bike has cast wheels, tubeless tires are probably in order.

Tire profile is also important. When you look at a car’s tire from behind, it looks squared. Motorcycle tires are similar, but their tread is rounded, allowing them to grip the road and retain traction even when leaning into a turn. Pay attention to a tire’s tread as well. If you use your bike for racing, you’re looking for 100 percent tread and no pattern. On a street tire, you want those patterns.