Why are There So Many Different Types of Car Tires?


Think of your car’s tires like your shoes. You might be the kind of person who likes to wear one pair of sneakers everywhere, just like you like to have only one set of tires that you drive all the time. Yet both are a mistake, especially if you travel or live in a specific type of climate.

You wouldn’t wear sneakers to a black-tie function, and you wouldn’t wear high heels to hike a mountain. You need the right footwear for the occasion. Similarly, you should not drive summer tires through ice and snow, and driving with winter tires in the summer can be overkill.

Different tires serve different needs. When you are shopping for tires in Cincinnati, you need to learn what the different types of tires are and what purpose they serve so you can choose the right tires based on the season, your driving habits, and more.

Winter Tires

Winter tires feature thicker tread and more grooves than most other tires, which allows them to slice through the snow and get better traction. Even in wet and icy conditions, winter tires maintain better control, which reduces the risk of accidents and the possibility of getting stuck.

Many winter tires are also made of a different type of rubber that won’t harden in colder temperatures. This allows the tire to better grip the road. Some winter tires also have studs that provide better traction. However, some states have laws against studded tires.

Summer Tires

Summer tires focus on providing top performance in dry conditions as well as rainy conditions. The tread patterns on these tires emphasize performance and minimize the noise created. 

These tires have higher profiles, with ratings of 80, 75, 70 or 65. These tires are also rated for higher speeds for dry conditions. Yet they also have tread patterns that can cut through rain without hydroplaning. If you live in an especially dry climate, you can opt for tires that focus on speed but give up some of the traction for rainy weather.

All-Season Tires

Summer tires are not commonly used, but all-season tires are. These tires have properties that make them suitable throughout summer and winter, handling both dry and wet conditions. 

Most cars come with all-season tires when you buy them, and you are likely to get an all-season tire when you buy new tires unless you specify otherwise. These are all-around dependable tires that provide good handling in most driving conditions.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, or you frequently drive off road, you won’t be able to rely exclusively on your all-season tires. You will need to upgrade to get more protection and better handling.

Off-Road Tires

If you own a Jeep or a pickup truck, you might enjoy driving off road sometimes. Maybe you just want to ramble through wooded trails, or maybe you actually enjoy adventure sports like mountain climbing. Off-road tires will help you handle whatever rugged terrain comes your way.

Off-road tires have thick tread with deep grooves to help them cut through sand, gravel, mud, water and more and to better grip the surface of the path. Off-road tires offer maximum traction by diverting water and soft materials like mud and sand. 

Off-road tires are also built to withstand a lot of impact. The construction is puncture-resistant, and the sidewall is reinforced.

All-Terrain Tires

All-terrain tires are typically sold on trucks and SUVs, which can be used as both workhorses and passenger vehicles. These tires are meant to match the flexibility of the vehicle, helping it drive through both city streets and off-road paths.

All-terrain tires have the deep tread of off-road tires for added grip, but they also have the traction requires for flat, asphalt roads. When driving city streets, all-terrain tires are a little noisier thanks to their open tread style.

Low-Profile Tires

Low-profile tires are focused on improving the handling and performance of the car. These are tires for those who enjoy weekend cruising or who just spend a lot of time in their cars and want a better experience.

Low-profile tires take their name from the fact that they have a short sidewall and a wide tread. The shorter sidewall enables a longer rim with bigger brakes. The setup allows you to stop more quickly and precisely. The wider tread provides more grip on the road, which improves performance when making turns.

Besides their functionality, some people also buy low-profile tires for the way they look, which some consider to be sleeker and more sophisticated. Those driving luxury vehicles might want low-profile tires for the more modern design they offer.

Performance Tires

You may not ever be a race car driver, but with performance tires, you can get a little taste of what it’s like to be on the race track. These tires are designed to provide excellent handling and maneuverability. Whether you are driving at fast speeds or making quick turns, these tires will grip the road and guide your car where it needs to go.

Performance tires have strong sidewalls and soft rubber, helping them to better grip the road and perform with precision. Because the tires are made of this softer rubber, they do not last as long as some other types of tires. The faster speeds and rougher handling you are likely to put performance tires through can also contribute to their lower life span.


Many more types of tires are available for different types of vehicles and different types of driving conditions. When you shop for tires in Cincinnati, it is important that you talk to your mechanic about all the options so that you get the right tires for your vehicle and for your driving needs.

With the right tires, you will get better performance from your vehicle, improve your safety on the road, and lengthen the life of your tires, thereby saving you money. The right tires can also improve your fuel efficiency, saving you even more money.