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.

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