What Are The Types Of Car Tires: Classification, Pro & Cons

Types Of Car Tires: Classification, Pro & Cons

Today we are sharing a guide on types of car tires for passenger cars, including SUVs and off-road vehicles by season, which should help you find the best option for your needs.

The reasons why drivers change tires is not only switching to winter tires, many are looking for more fuel-efficient options, or want to improve the car’s handling at high speeds, or increase comfort and safety. SUV drivers may consider models that are more suited to their needs.

Below we list all the main types of car tires with an explanation of the main characteristics of each category.

Classification of Types Of Car Tires

  • Tread type: directional and non-directional, asymmetric and symmetrical.
  • Seasonality. There are summer, winter, and all-season types of tires.
  • Cord orientation inside the tire: radial and diagonal.
  • Profile width – low-profile and high-profile tires.
  • The presence of a camera or its absence.
  • Purpose: for cars, trucks, and SUVs.
  • Using tire pressure regulation.

In addition, all types of passenger tires have their own radius, which corresponds to the size of the rim.

Maximum load ratings are important for trucks, buses, and commercial vehicles.

For any guide on the car, tires check our car tire guides section.

tire tread types: Their effect on driving performance

Tire Tread Types. Their Effect On Driving Performance

The stability of the car on the road and its good grip during rain and ice are provided by the tread. There are different types of tire treads for passenger cars:

  • symmetrical;
  • asymmetric;
  • directed;
  • non-directional.

The asymmetric tread pattern has the greatest versatility.

It consists of two halves, where the right part is responsible for contact with the road during wet weather, and the left part is responsible for the stability of the car on a dry surface.

The inner and outer parts have not only a different patterns but also unequal rubber stiffness. The outer side is softer, which ensures maximum stability during maneuvers in any weather.

An asymmetric pattern has an outer and inner side that cannot be interchanged, otherwise all its properties will be lost. In order to complete the installation correctly, all products are marked Outside (outer side) and Inside (inner side).

Asymmetric tires, as well as regular, symmetrical ones, can be directional and non-directional.

The former are distinguished by a special tread pattern that better removes water from the tire while driving on wet roads.

Directional tires have a strictly defined direction of rotation, as indicated by an arrow on the side of the product and the inscription ROTATION.

Check guide on Recommended Winter Tires Temperature Range.

tire tread advantages and disadvantages

Symmetrical non-directional1. Versatility. Suitable for any side of the car.
2. Low price
3. Lack of excess noise while driving.
4. Ease of handling on dry and slightly wet roads.
1. Do not provide good grip during rainfall.
2. Clogged with mud while driving off-road.
3. Heavy handling at high speed.
symmetrical directional1. Comfortable and safe driving on wet surfaces.
2. Water drainage with special grooves on the tread.
3. Good handling at high speeds and during maneuvers.
1. The need for careful control of the correct installation.
2. The inability to replace one wheel with another if the direction does not match.
3. Poor handling on dirt roads.
Asymmetrical1. The best handling on all types of road surface.
2. Safety in any weather, and effective water drainage.
1. High cost.
2. Rapid tread wear.
3. The inability to replace one wheel with another if the direction does not match.
4. The need for installation in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s markings.

Each type of passenger car tire tread is designed for use in specific conditions.

Symmetrical non-directional is suitable for budget cars that drive mainly around the city and at low speeds.

Directional Tread- suitable for those drivers who move a lot and are forced to travel in any weather.

For ease of selection and proper installation, the manufacturer always labels its products. On the product it looks like this:

The cost directly depends on the type of protector. Asymmetrical tires are the most expensive, followed by directional tires, and symmetrical non-directional tires are the cheapest.

Tire TreadSymmetrical non-directionalsymmetrical directionalAsymmetrical-directionalAsymmetric directional
Price for oneFrom 25 dollarsFrom 30 dollarsFrom 40 dollarsFrom 40 dollars

Winter, summer, All Season Tires: What tires are better to choose?

  • At negative temperatures (below -7 °C), summer tires become hard and begin to slide on snow and ice.
  • Winter tires are softer and have more rubber for better traction.
  • Winter tires are not suitable for high temperatures (+25 ° C and above), as they will melt and wear out quickly.
  • It has a deep tread pattern (8.5-9.5 mm) and is sometimes equipped with studs.
Winter, summer, All Season Tires

what are all-season tires good for?

This tire is made in such a way that it withstands both extreme heat and frost. In practice, this does not provide sufficient comfort in summer and safety in winter. The all-weather option is suitable for regions where the difference between summer and winter temperatures is from +20 ° C to – 7 ° C and is not in demand. This is due to the fact that the “all season” is characterized by high cost (from $ 43) and short service life (30,000 km).

In order to understand which tire is in front of you, you need to look at its marking on the side of the wheel. On winter tires, you can see a small pictogram in the shape of a snowflake, while on summer tires, the sun is schematically depicted. Many manufacturers supply their products with (Mud+Snow), which translates as “mud and snow”, and indicates that the tires are designed for use in appropriate weather conditions.

The cost of winter tires is on average 30% more than summer tires. This is due to the composition of rubber products.

Check guide on When To Use Studded Winter Tires?

Radial and Diagonal Tires

Inside each tire, there is a thin, strong base called a cord. It is an interlacing of threads or wires, and increases the wear resistance of tire, allowing it to keep its shape even under heavy loads.

Radial and Diagonal Tires
NOTWO Automobile Enthusiast Magazine – Press Releases

There are two types of cord arrangement: diagonal and radial. Today, the second option is predominantly used, although diagonal tire can also be found on many older cars.

Advantages and disadvantages of diagonal and radial tires

Diagonal weave1. Low cost.
2. Better wheel side protection.
3. Easy to repair.
4. High impact resistance.
1. One layer of cord.
2. Wire base, which is less durable than nylon threads.
3. A small patch of contact with the roadway.
4. Big weight.
radial weave1. Several layers of cord, which increases strength.
2. The basis of synthetic threads, which have good elasticity.
3. Better contact with the road.
4. Withstands heavy loads.
1. High price.
2. Unprotected sidewalls of the tire, which can lead to side cuts.

Despite the fact that radial cord is used on most cars, diagonal weave continues to be produced by some factories. Such tire has found wide application in commercial vehicles and various equipment: tractors, excavators, etc.

Radial tires are marked with the letter R on the side. If this letter is present on the tire, then the weave of its base is radial.

The cost difference between radial and diagonal tires is about 10%. For comparison, let’s take a Gazelle commercial vehicle, which is widely used for passenger and small cargo transportation. The simplest radial weave options cost about $45. Diagonal tires allow vehicle owners to save a little.

Low Profile tire and high-profile tire

All tires have certain parameters width and height. The ratio of these values ​​is called the “profile”. Wide-profile tires are those tires whose width-to-height ratio is more than 55%. If this indicator is lower, then they are called low-profile.

Low Profile tire and high-profile tire

Wide-profile tires provide good vehicle flotation. The wider the profile, the better the car moves off-road, so tires of this format are put on SUVs, and agricultural and military equipment.

Especially for tractors and excavators, wide-profile low-pressure tires are produced. This technology creates good vehicle cushioning and flotation on soft soils.

On some all-terrain vehicles and special vehicles, arched wide-profile tires are installed. They have the highest cross-country ability, but are not recommended for normal asphalt roads.

Low-profile tires provide high-speed performance. It greatly improves the handling of the car, especially when cornering at high speed (from 80 km/h). Due to the low height of the tire, it does not have high cross-country ability and wears out rather quickly, especially on poor-quality roads.

Low Profile tire vs high profile tire: Pros and Cons

Comparison of wide and low-profile tires

High profile1. High cross.
.2. Small wear.
3. Good level of cushioning.
4. Rolling resistance.
1. Poor handling of asphalt.
2. Fast wear on asphalt pavement.
3. Low vehicle speed.
Low profile1. High speed.
2. Good maneuverability.
3. Strength.
4. Short braking distance.
5. Stylish appearance.
1. Wear out quickly.
2. They have low traffic.
3. Create noise while driving.
4.Provide little cushioning.
5. Have a high cost.

Considering all the nuances, each vehicle owner must choose the most suitable option for the ratio of the height and width of the tire. First of all, you need to take into account the conditions in which the car is operated.

Wide-profile tires are perfect for farmers who often move off-road. On a sports car that drives on city streets, you can install low-profile wheels.

The profile must be indicated on each copy. In the labeling of the product, its width is written very first, and then comes the height, which is indicated as a percentage of the width. For example, if 205/50 is stamped on a tire, it means that its width is 205mm, and its height is 50% of the width, that is, 102.5mm.  

The cost of low-profile sports tires is not affordable for every car enthusiast. It is much more expensive than the wide profile.

Tubeless tires

Most modern cars use tubeless tires. The design of passenger tires of this type allows the tire to fit snugly against the rim, and keep the air inside thanks to a special rubber layer.

Tubeless tires Advantages and disadvantages

Even if there is a puncture, the air will slowly leave the wheel, and the car will be able to drive to the nearest tire shop. You can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of tube and tubeless tires from the comparison table.

Advantages disadvantages
ChamberLow cost
Repairs can be made independently
In the event of a side cut, it is enough to replace the camera
Suitable for all discs
Loss of control in the event of a punctureQuick descent of the wheel in case of damage
More weight
The friction between the tube and the tire causes the wheel to heat up.
TubelessLightweight tireAbility to maintain pressure in the event of a puncture
Small puncture repair is easier and faster
Driving safety with a puncture
Tires heat up less during a long journey, respectively, wear out less
Special installation equipment
Expensive repair of major damage
Side cut capability
Rapid air loss in case of disc failure
Not suitable for rims of old domestic cars

As for the cost, it is a clear advantage of chambered tires. You can buy such tires inexpensively, prices as of 10/16/2018 start at 12-13 dollars. At the same time, tubeless ones cost at least $40 apiece.

The presence or absence of a chamber inside the tire is indicated by the letters TT (from the English TubeType) or TL (from the English Tubeless).

tires with Given pressure parameters

In some tires, the air pressure can be adjusted in response to changes in operating conditions. They are built for extreme road conditions and a total lack of coverage. The pressure is adjusted from inside the cab using a special actuator.

tires with Given pressure parameters

Advantages of tires with pressure regulation:

  • high permeability, large contact patch with the surface;
  • the ability to move on various types of coverage;
  • low pressure on the ground;
  • soft, smooth ride in off-road conditions;
  • the possibility of continuous pumping in the event of a puncture.

The disadvantages of pressure-controlled tires are their short life and lower load capacity compared to regular tires of the same diameter.

Tires with pressure control is used mainly on special equipment that moves around the area with different road conditions. 

On the side there is an indication of the minimum and maximum pressure indicators.

Tires For SUVs And Crossovers

Since SUVs must have high cross-country ability and at the same time provide a sufficient level of comfort for passengers, tires for them have special properties.

They are divided into 4 classes:

  • HP (for driving on high-quality hard surfaces);
  • HT (for asphalt and dirt road);
  • AT (for moderate off-road);
  • MT (high flotation tires).

When choosing, the owner should proceed from the conditions in which the vehicle mainly moves. If the car is often used in bad road conditions, then you should choose tires with special protrusions – lugs that prevent wheel slip, and the MT index.

Particular attention should also be paid to the strength of the tire, as sharp objects can damage the wheels in the forest or mountains. If the SUV moves mainly on asphalt, you can install ordinary directional tires on it, but with a deeper and rarer tread pattern (HT or AT).

The cost of tires for SUVs and crossovers depends on the manufacturer.

On an off-road tire, the marking is indicated as follows:

how to choose best tyre for car?

As we can see, car tires are not an easy choice. Numerous parameters, properties, and a variety of manufacturers can confuse any motorist. In order to make the right choice and not waste money, you need to focus on the following components:

  • Manufacturer’s recommendations. For each brand of car, the manufacturer has provided tire of a certain size and type. The driver must take this into account when choosing.
  • Operating conditions. Even the coolest SUV should not be equipped with tires with a high flotation coefficient if it moves mainly in the city.
  • Safety features. You should not save on buying winter tires, as this directly affects driving safety. It is necessary to make seasonal replacements on time.
  • Price. Durability and performance are directly dependent on the quality of tire, and the higher it is, the more expensive the product. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to install the coolest tires on an old Zhiguli, but it’s worth taking care of driving comfort and safety.

Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say we have a VAZ 2110 car that travels mainly in rural areas and needs new summer tires.

Before buying tires, you need to find out what the manufacturer recommends. The car manual indicates 175/70 R13 or 175/65 R14, which means that we will focus on these indicators.

Since the car does not always drive on good roads, it is better to choose a directional or asymmetric tread type. We will not consider tire with cameras and almost obsolete diagonal tires.

As a result, the tire should have the following parameters:

  • Wheel diameter 13 or 14 inches;
  • Tread type – directional;
  • Seasonality – summer;
  • Profile width 175/70 or 175/65;
  • The presence of a camera – tubeless;
  • Cord type – radial.

The second example is HYUNDAI Santa Fe, 2014 release, which travels mainly around the city. We also need a summer kit.

According to the manufacturer’s recommendation, the size can be 235/65R17, 235/60R18, or 235/55R19. Since the SUV moves more often on asphalt, you should choose tires labeled HP or HT.

Tire parameters:

  • Wheel diameter 17, 18, or 19 inches;
  • Tire class HP or HT;
  • Seasonality – summer;
  • Profile width 235/65, 235/60, or 235/55;
  • The presence of a camera – tubeless;

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