There are so many tire designations nowadays.  What does a car owner choose?  Different tires for the summer? Different for the winter?  Which will work best in certain conditions? Is it worth it to pay big bucks for a set of snow tires?  How about chains or studded tires instead?  These are just some of the questions car owners ask as the seasons change and the inevitable need to buy new tires comes.

It occurs to us here at All Import Auto Parts that many drivers do not understand the differences in different tire classifications, so we thought we would give you a brief summary of the different types.


These tires are specifically designed for higher speed driving.  They are made of a soft rubber compound that improves traction at high speeds.  The negative of this type of tire is that it has a shorter life span and tread life.

Some high performance tires are less effective on wet streets. There are significant differences between the different tire manufacturers, so do  your research before investing in a set of high performance tires.


These tires again have a softer compound in the tread that improves as temperatures drop.  As temperatures rise they lose some of their effectiveness.  If you live in a colder climate, like say Alaska or British Columbia, buying a set of mud and snow tires makes good sense.  If you live in an area where the temps rarely drop down below 40 degrees F. then these tires do not make much sense.


These tires have metal studs fabricated in the treads to improve road gripping, and they provide excellent traction in snow and ice. Unfortunately, they are restricted in many states and prohibited in ten states because of the damage they do to the road surface.


This is a compromise tire, developed for dry and wet surfaces.  Please note that they do not give excellent performance in either warm weather or cold weather; they are strictly a compromise, and they are the most purchased tire in the United States because of that compromise….but….you lose effectiveness year round with these tires.


These tires are usually designed with stronger sidewalls to prevent against puncture during off-road use; again, do your research before considering these tires for constant on-road use.

And that is that!  The last consideration is cost, and thousands of buyers are discovering the wisdom of buying used tires from salvage yards to save on the cost of buying tires. By buying at a salvage yard you can afford to buy winter tires as well as summer tires, thus improving your road handling year round.