How To Get The Right Tires For Traction, Long Wear On Wet Roads

Tires are engineered to handle a lot of stress, as long as they are maintained properly. That’s why it’s crucial that you select the right tire for your region and driving conditions.

There are tires designed for speed and high-performance, while others are specially engineered to provide maximum traction on icy winter roads. Most drivers, however, would be fine opting for all-season tires, which are tires designed to handle both intense summer heat and wet winter weather.

“There are many areas of the continent where all-season tires perform well,” said Robert Abram, product planning manager at Yokohama Tires. “If you see a lot of snow into deep spring, then winter tires may be a better choice.”

According to Abram, all-weather tires are intended for drivers looking for long tread life and good traction in most weather conditions such as rain, cool weather and summer roads. They are not designed to be used year-round for harsh climates that have extended periods of subfreezing weather such as Canada or rural Nebraska.

“There are varying degrees of how tires respond in different weather,” Abram said. “Drivers need to take stock in what their road conditions are really like,” Abram said.

As an example, drivers in Los Angeles face mild temperatures year round. All-weather tires handle the area’s cool spring rains and warmer summer roads.

In contrast, drivers in New England encountered six months of freezing temperatures. Winter tires may offer a better, safer choice for icy road conditions encountered long into spring.

Abram admitted selecting the right tire for your vehicle and driving conditions presents a mind-boggling number of choices.

“There are a lot of tire products and they perform in a lot of different ways,” Abram said. “The tricky part is weeding through it all. One of the best things to do is ask your tire specialist a lot of questions.”

Here is Abram’s list of questions when choosing an all-weather or specialized tire:

  • Want long life and a comfortable ride? Most all-season tires are designed to provide good tread wear while providing a safe tire for all-purpose use in family vehicles. Live in an area where winter lasts six or more months of the year? Consider winter tires for excellent grip in freezing temperatures.
  • What are your personal driving requirements? Someone who uses their vehicle infrequently on city streets may want all-season treads whereas someone who travels country roads may want mud and snow tires.
  • Ask your tire specialist about the six important trade-offs in tire selection: grip, tread life, fuel economy, comfort, safety and price.