Choosing Tires for Your Driving Environment

The type of tires you use on your vehicle will definitely depend on the type of climate you live in and the type of driving you are accustomed to. In most cases a general all-around tire that does well in average conditions will serve most drivers very well. However if you live in an area where the weather delivers you climate extremes, then an all-season tire may not always be your best option.

Generally speaking those areas which see a great deal of rain may find driving safer and easier if they use a good summer tire instead of any basic all-season tire. All-season tires can perform well at an average rating across all seasons. This is intended to include snow, freezing rain, extreme heat, and of course the common factor of rain, lots and lots of rain.

Many people simply accept the tires that came with the vehicle when they purchased it without ever giving it another thought. There are times when you live in an area that calls for a different tire configuration. This is when you need to do some research to figure out what the best tires might be for your environment and your personal driving situation.

Here is one example. What if your property has a long winding gravel driveway that rises in elevation significantly over its 800-foot length. This particular driveway, which is snow or ice covered at least a few months a year, can even be hard to traverse when it is raining since it is gravel covered! You certainly do not want to try navigating this driveway with only summer tires on that vehicle, unless you enjoy walking in the snow.

So in this particular situation a decent all-season radial tire would probably be the simplest solution since it will cover you about 95% of the time.The alternative would be to operate all-season tires for 9 months a year and switch to snow tires for winter. This is a more costly option, but the peace of mind in knowing you can get up your own driveway in the winter will keep you from losing sleep over it.

If you live where the roads are almost all paved and the worst weather you get is a summer thunderstorm, then it is likely that the best tire for your car is going to be a standard summer tire. These typically perform well on dry pavement and in the rain, however they would not be good if you get into any ice or snow.

Now lets say you live in the mountains where one minute it can be sunny and dry and within an hours drive you can be into a foot of snow. You would be best off most of the time using all-season tires, but carrying chains that strap over your tires would be a wise option.

Or you could opt for those newer stud-less snow tires where they don’t use metal studs, but the nubs are built into the tread. These are relatively new on the scene but offer a great snow tire compromise from your basic all-season tire or even standard snow tire.

Most of us can get by with a decent all-season radial tire most of the time and would only need a back up set of snow tires for those bad winters where you get many feet of snow in a week. That is exactly what we are dealing with here in Northeast Ohio, and I am very thankful for four wheel drive cars with stout all-season radial tires.

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