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Available in H- and V-speed rating, they are a step up from regular all season tires both in performance and price. They place emphasis on handling, though the trade-off tends to be shorter tread life. V-speed rated tires are tuned more for performance in handling and corner grip than H-speed rated tires, but there is some overlap in performance between the two speed ratings. H- and V-speed rated tires are popular fitment on newer vehicles
All season tires are the most popular type and typically come with an S- and T-speed rating. They are standard on many sedans and minivans, and are designed to handle most conditions including dry and wet pavement and light to moderate snow. They also emphasize a comfortable, quiet ride, predictable handling and long tread life. All season tires are a good choice for most drivers, except where winters are severe.
Winter tires have a tread with more biting edges for better grip on snow and ice than all season tires, and many have a softer rubber compound that remains flexible in extremely cold temperatures. But on cleared roads, they might not grip as well as all season tire and they tend to wear more quickly. Nearly all do not have tread wear warranties or government assigned grades for Tread wear, Traction, and Temperature. Winter tires should be removed once seasonal driving conditions moderate. Winter tires can be identified by a mountain and snowflake symbol on the sidewall. Use winter tires in sets of four for balanced handling and optimum grip for braking in wintry conditions.
Despite advances in longer-lasting tires, actual tread life will vary by car type, tire type (such as all season or high performance), driving aggressiveness, and even road and weather conditions. Car owners still need to replace their tires a few times or more throughout the life of a typical vehicle. As the adage goes, nothing lasts forever.
Proper maintenance and responsible driving can maximize the mileage in a set of tires. Monthly tread inspections can inform when the tires warrant replacement, well in advance of the federally mandated tread-wear indicators. In most states, tires are legally worn out when their tread depth reaches 1/16 inch (or 2/32 inch as found on standardized tread-depth gauges). The easiest way to measure this, if you don't have a gauge, is to hold a penny upside down in the tread. If the top of Lincoln's head is visible, you need new tires. But using a penny standard doesn't work for all weather conditions. We have found in our tests that a tire with just 1/8-inch tread was notably worse in hydroplaning resistance and snow traction. By the time only 1/16 inch remains, wet-pavement cornering and braking drop off too. Based on our experience, when your tires have less than 1/8 inch of tread left, it's a good time to start shopping for replacement tires.
As a better indicator of tread wear, place a quarter upside down in a tire groove. The distance from the coin's rim to George Washington's hairline is about 1/8 inch. If you see all of his head in any one groove where a tread-wear indicator appears, consider shopping for new tires.
Once a need for new tires is determined, it is necessary to identify the best tires for your vehicle and driving demands.