Victoria Car & Vehicle Maintenance - Tires & Wheels - Types of Tires
There are five different categories to choose from: all-season, winter, performance, touring and all-terrain. Each one caters to specific driving needs and preferences:
All-season tires are designed to perform reasonably well under a variety of conditions, and eliminate the bother and expense of owning more than one set. They're also long-lasting and well-priced, and good-quality replacements will set you back only $75 to $125 per tire. These are only suitable in areas with relatively mild winters. If you need to cope with severe winter conditions, such as Edmonton, Winnipeg or Ottawa, all-season tires may be too big a compromise on winter safety.
If performance is important to you, shun the all-season racks and plan to buy specialty performance ($250 per tire and up) or touring tires ($120 and up) for fine weather, and the for colder weather a set of winter tires. Good quality winter tires will cost $90 or more apiece.
Quality winter tires are a must for snow-belt drivers, since their softer, spongier rubber grips well to minus 40° C (while all-season tires lose their grip at minus 15° C). and have deeper grooves to give you better braking ability in all bad weather. Winter tires are recommended even if your vehicle is equipped with four-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes. On the flip side, winter tires' softer rubber is not as suitable for hotter summer roads, since they will wear out faster (sometimes even in a single summer).
SUVs, equipped with all-terrain tires, should still consider a second set for winter. While their chunky treads may make all-terrain tires look like they'll handle frozen highways, but their rubber composition still leaves them with unreliable traction on ice.