Last Updated on February 24, 2024
Selecting the Right Types of Tires for Different Terrains
Choosing the perfect tires goes much deeper than the type of vehicle you drive and the measurements of your wheels. Every driver has a unique situation, commute, and application for their car. The tires you select need to account for everything, including:
- The types of weather conditions you drive in.
- How climate changes throughout the year.
- The roads you typically drive on.
- The jobs you need to do.
- The driving experience you want.
When buying tires, you must understand the common terminology and how it relates to your needs. Here are the significant terms to familiarize yourself with:
The tread is perhaps the most critical factor differentiating various types of tires. The track is the part of the tire that comes in direct contact with the ground. The pattern is designed differently based on the vehicle’s requirements, terrain, weather conditions, or application. A tire tread is made of rubber or rubber compounds. In general, tire tread is categorized by four geometric shapes.
The lugs are the part of the tread that makes contact with the ground. Tread lugs work to provide stability, support, and performance capabilities based on the manufacturer’s goals. The lug compresses as it contacts the ground, then returns to standard shape. This process is commonly referred to as Force Variation. While almost every tire is designed with lugs, this component is primarily discussed regarding farming tires, construction equipment, forklifts, ATVs, etc. Lugs assist the grooves in dispersing water, mud, and snow from under the tire, which is necessary for traction. They also help pull through the terrain, so you see the giant lugs on tractors and ATV tires.
Grooves are the significant gaps in the tire tread patterns designed to channel water and slush away from the tire. Grooves can be one wide, circumferential groove or a series of more minor grooves strategically placed to direct different liquid materials quickly away from the tread patch. The groove type will vary based on the need – weather or performance expectation.
Voids refer to the space in which the lugs can shift and flex. Void ratio refers to the distance between the lugs. Lower void ratio = more contact area.
Higher void ratio = less contact area
Sipes are the cuts that run perpendicular to the grooves on a tire, giving the lugs more room to flex. This helps let water escape from the center of the tire toward the sides. Additionally, they pinch and grab snow for enhanced traction in wintery conditions. The sipes are critical in maintaining grip and preventing the vehicle from hydroplaning.
Common Sidewall Markings
Department of Transportation (DOT) Safety Code
This code is a certification that the tire’s manufacturer meets the DOT’s standards for tire safety. You can find this code on the tire located after the ID number. The DOT safety code is the entire number. The first numbers show where the tire was manufactured and by whom. The last four digits are the DOT Date code.
In the image below, you will see the DOT Date code “2614.” The “26” indicates the tire was manufactured in the 26th week of the year. The “14” means it was manufactured in 2014.
Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG)
UTQG is a testing method to determine a tire’s tread wear, traction, and temperature resistance. This information is typically located on the outer edge of the tire. Snow and winter tires are not required to have UTQG ratings.
Maximum Inflation Pressure
This number indicates the maximum pressure the tire can hold while operating. Remember, this number DOES NOT represent the recommended inflation pressure for the vehicle – you will need to see the manufacturer’s specifications in your owner’s manual.
Maximum Load Pressure
The maximum load pressure refers to the load-carrying capacity when the tire is inflated to the maximum pressure. To be clear, this is not your vehicle’s recommended load-carrying capacity.
This is roughly the speed the tire can safely handle over time. When buying tires, the speed rating must correspond with the typical rate you drive per terrain. A is the lowest speed rating, and Y is the highest. Here is a speed rating chart to provide you with a better idea:
The load index number is based on the tire’s ability to withstand a specific load level without compromising performance—the higher the load index number, the more weight it can carry at the proper inflation. For safety reasons, purchasing a tire with a lower load range than your vehicle manufacturer recommends is not recommended.
Finally, you have a good idea of your unique terrain requirements and what your vehicle needs to do. Let’s discuss some of the common types of tires based on terrain.
Snow & Winter
If you live in a climate that sees frequent snowfall and ice, keeping your vehicle from sliding and losing control is essential for surviving the winter months.
However, even if your situation meets the criteria, buying the perfect set of snow tires is hardly a one-size-fits-all scenario. Before you go out and spend your hard-earned money on a set of snow tires, you need to answer a handful of questions.
Do I need snow tires?
Snow and winter tires are crucial for staying safe when driving in places with snow, ice, sleet, or freezing rain. However, it would be best to consider the average temperature of the region you live in during winter. If you live in a generally warm area and experience rare snowfall, this shouldn’t warrant you going out and buying heavy-duty snow tires. In this case, you are better off sticking with all-season tires with an M+S rating (Mud and snow). The best quality all-season tires for snow and ice can be used year-round and are built to handle moderate snow storms and temperatures.
Goodyear Eagle SR-A:
The Goodyear Eagle SR-A is an affordable all-season passenger tire.
For an all-season tire that can handle occasional wintery conditions, the Goodyear Eagle RS-A line is a fantastic option built with a unique asymmetrical tread pattern designed to provide excellent traction on wet, dry, and snowy roads.
Now, investing in snow tires is recommended if you drive in a climate that experiences snow, ice, sleet, or freezing rain, and average temperatures in the winter months drop to 40 degrees or colder.
Think of a tire like a chocolate bar. When you throw it in the freezer, it becomes hard and brittle. The same thing happens to tires that are not designed for cold temperatures. The result is that the traction and grip are compromised. Winter tires are designed with unique compounds to stay flexible, grab the surface, and maintain control in extreme winter temperatures.
I only have a two-wheel drive car. Do I need to buy four snow tires?
This is a common myth that needs to be put to rest. When you invest in winter tires, always put them on all corners of your car to maximize traction and handling – even if you don’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle. Mounting snow tires only on the front would cause uneven traction and can destabilize acceleration and braking, which could lead to increased fishtailing.
Should I buy studded tires or non-studded winter tires?
The answer to this question will be your driving habits and the terrain you drive on during the winter.
Studded tires are built with plastic or metal studs embedded within the tread. These are designed to dig into ice and packed snow to provide added traction. The significant advantage of studded tires is you can expect shorter stopping distances and controlled acceleration on hilly terrain. Studded snow tires are a great choice if you live in a mountainous area with lots of snowfall and ice. Keep in mind that studded tires are very noisy and can cause damage to the pavement. Some states have even outlawed them because of this.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 Tires
The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 line offers a wide range of studded options for winter driving, built with open grooves for extra traction, sipes for biting edges, and pliable tread rubber designed to stay soft in extreme cold. One of the most significant advantages of this tire is the unique construction made to reduce noise and damage to the road.
Nokian Hakkapeliitta 8 (Studded) is an excellent passenger winter tire.
Non-studded tires work well in flatter terrain on packed snow and slush. They are built with deep and wide grooves, irregular surfaces, and sharp edges that work to gain traction in winter conditions. Instead of metal studs, these tires rely on advances in rubber compounding, unique tread designs, and a slew of modern technologies for extra traction. Many would argue that the advancements in non-studded winter tires have eliminated the need for studded tires.
Cooper’s Evolution Winter
Cooper’s Evolution Winter line offers some of the best snow tires. The Snow Groove technology is built to trap snow for snow-on-snow traction. These tires come with the “Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake” symbol, which means they are rated for severe snow conditions. If needed, studs can be installed.
The Cooper Evolution Winter tire is a studdable passenger winter tire.
Can I get chains instead of winter tires?
Putting chains on your tires can be necessary for some situations, like extreme snow and icy conditions in mountainous terrains. However, chains should not be viewed as a viable trade-off for winter tires. They shouldn’t be used when driving at highway speed or on bare pavement – this can cause all sorts of damage to the road and your equipment. Check if your state requires snow tires during winter to ensure you comply with the laws.
When it comes time to pull the trigger on buying the best snow tires, there are a handful of things to remember.
- Snow tires should ideally last about four seasons.
- They must be taken off during the warmer months (factor in the cost of swapping out the tires twice yearly).
- It might be more feasible to buy winter tires with rims to avoid the costs of having the tire dealer swap them out in the winter/spring.
Off-road tires have come a long way in recent decades. There are many options for mud terrain tires, and the market is highly competitive.
With so many options, how can you choose the right mud tire for your needs?
What is the exact reason you need mud tires?
Mud tires are incredibly diverse. All mud tires are designed for regular off-road use at the core level. Even though off-road capability is the primary concern, manufacturers work to give these tires on-road manners. The variation in specific models is based on the types of conditions and terrain requirements.
In general, mud tires are built with deep tread blocks for extra traction on treacherous roads. These tires are designed with compounds for extreme puncture, chip, and cut resistance. The more deluxe (and expensive) mud tires are built with 3-ply sidewalls. The purpose is to add durability and allow the tire to run on a lower PSI for optimal performance on extra-precarious off-road terrains.
To purchase the best mud tires for your intended use, you must consider your unique driving situation and everything that factors into the decision.
What types of mud will you be driving in?
Step one of choosing the best mud tires is knowing what type of mud you will be going up against. Some mud terrains might typically have silt & clay that is thick and sticky, while others experience thinner slime with more water.
The Cooper Discoverer STT Pro is a truck/SUV tire designed for mud Terrains.
Wet & dry sand, loose dirt, or gravel are other common types of “mud” you might need to tackle.
It would be best to consider the most extreme mud you may have to drive in. As a general rule of thumb when buying mud tires, it’s best to plan for the worst. The last thing you want is to get stuck because you purchased a mud tire that was too modest for the terrain.
How much will you be driving off-road?
Most importantly, you need to know how much you will drive off-road compared to on pavement. If you buy a mud tire strictly designed for off-road use, you will likely experience a noisy, rough ride with reduced handling on paved roads.
If your tires see a fair amount of both on and off-road terrain, you should look for a model with a healthy balance of capabilities.
The Cooper Discoverer STT Pro series has outstanding versatility for paved and unpaved roads. The wave pattern of the tread is built to make the transition from mud to pavement smooth and easy. The inner ribs of the track are built with a 3-2 block pattern to reduce noise and improve stability on wet and dry roads. Perhaps the premier feature of this tire is the “flex grooves” between tread blocks. These work to handle the frequent inconsistencies on both paved and mud roads. This model is ideal for Jeeps and pickup trucks.
The Mud Claw Extreme M/T is a quiet tire designed for extreme mud.
Mud claw tires are also a great option that offers excellent versatility on extreme roads and can hold their own on the highway. The Mud Claw Extreme M/T line is a fantastic choice. These tires have large center lugs for excellent pulling power on loose dirt and mud. The alternating lug pattern dramatically improves stability, and the high void tread design efficiently expels earth and water. These tires are also equipped to handle wintery conditions.
The Achilles Desert Hawk X-MT is an affordable Mud Terrain tire.
If you are an extreme mud bogging enthusiast, invest in a mud tire with aggressive tread patterns that can withstand the most challenging terrains. Usually, these tires will not do very well on paved roads.
The Achilles Desert Hawk X-MT is one of the most capable tires for serious off-roading adventures and an unbelievable price. The aggressive tread pattern and biting side blocks are engineered to tackle the most challenging terrain. The vast void areas are designed to quickly evacuate large amounts of mud for superior grip and stability. This is an excellent choice if you need a tire for the most rugged conditions.
All-terrain tires have been promoted as a “jack-of-all-trades” type of tire for a long time. They are ideal for drivers who need on-road comfort and stability combined with efficient off-road ability.
In the old days, all-terrain tires were viewed as a middle ground between on and off-road driving; they were not built for extreme terrains, yet they were not perfectly ideal for extended highway driving. These days, all-terrain tire technology provides exceptional pavement performance and can rival dedicated trail tires. Most combine the signature open-tread design of off-road tires with the handling ability of on-road tires. The result is a versatile option that can be used year-round.
When buying the best all-terrain tires for your needs, many factors come into play.
What does your average day or week look like?
The justification for investing in all-terrain tires lies in the variety of driving experiences you usually have. Remember, all-terrain tires are meant for all purposes; you need a healthy mix for these to be your best option.
For example, if most of your driving is done on the highway or in town, investing in this type of tire is not an intelligent choice. The rubber is designed to be easily manipulated and adaptable to various surfaces. You won’t get optimal fuel economy on paved roads, and the ride will be noisy. If this is what your days look like, investing in a good highway tire is a better choice. However, some more advanced all-terrain models have excellent on-road capability and stellar off-road performance.
The Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10 is a durable All-terrain tire.
Now, all-terrain tires are an excellent choice if you live out in the country or take off-roading trips occasionally. Pickup trucks and vans that need to perform jobs on dirt roads or primitive job sites are prime examples of applications that require a good set of all-terrain tires.
The Hankook Dynapro ATM RF10 line is an incredibly versatile option that provides all-terrain traction for trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps. The casing design creates large contact patches to distribute the vehicle’s weight over a greater area for excellent handling. The tread has lots of open space for superior grip on treacherous terrain and highways.
Would it be better to invest in mud tires for challenging construction work?
If you frequently work in rugged conditions and drive through heavy mud, clay, or sand, mud tires would be an intelligent workday option. The Toyo Open Country A/T II is a great value and versatile all-terrain light truck tire.
However, you need to factor in the commute to the job site. If you drive on paved roads periodically every day, go with all-terrain truck tires.
If your vehicle primarily lives at a challenging job site or your commute is short, mud tires might be the ideal choice.
Depending on the severity of your job site, the Toyo Open Country A/T II line is a great option built to handle harsh off-road conditions, including mud, dirt, gravel, and snow.
This tire is designed with an innovative tread rubber for excellent cut/chip resistance, grip on wintry roads, and good mileage on the highway.
What about snow capability?
The versatility of all-terrain tires can provide sufficient performance on icy and snow-covered roads. But, similar to all-season tires, most compounds in these types of tires may worsen during extreme cold bouts. The Falken Wildpeak AT3W is a long-lasting all-terrain light Truck tire.
The Falken Wildpeak A/T3W line is a fantastic all-terrain tire in various sizes. This tire is designed explicitly as a three-peak mountain snowflake symbol.
With big central lugs and open shoulders for a balanced performance on and off-road. All tires in this line come with the Rubber Manufacturer Association’s Mountain Snow Flake Symbol, which signifies outstanding capability on snow and ice.
Remember, all-terrain tires are meant for those who see a fair amount of driving on paved and back roads. If the back roads you drive on experience extreme wintry conditions and do not usually get plowed after a snowstorm, be sure the all-terrain tire you buy has a Mountain Snowflake symbol.
When looking for the best all-terrain tires, the first step is identifying the diversity of your driving situation. These tires are ideal for those who experience a consistent balance of on and off-road driving in various conditions.
Sports Truck tires are designed for optimal handling and performance on light trucks. Regarding terrain, they ARE NOT built to handle off-road, excessively cold, or wintry conditions.
To buy sports truck tires, you need to understand their limitations. The short and stiff sidewalls equate to limited shock absorption, durability, and wear.
Plain and simple, sports tires are best used primarily on paved roads. Most models are designed for excellent fuel economy and optimal grip on dry and wet roads. Additionally, sports tires are built with large contact patch areas to provide superior grip and improved performance. The stiff sidewalls add lateral and cornering forces at high speeds.
When are sports tires the ideal choice?
The most important factors to keep in mind when buying sports tires are:
- The condition of the roads you typically drive on.
- The handling you desire
- How many miles do you drive?
Sports tires are not meant for those who drive on rough, unsmooth, or pothole-filled roads. Hitting a serious bump can potentially cause damage to the tire and the rim. So, regarding terrain, the best situation to buy sports tires is if you drive entirely on paved roads. Moreover, the streets should be of decent quality to avoid any mishaps.
The Achilles ATR Sport is a low-cost, high, high-performance tire.
Regarding how often you drive, it’s important to note that sports tires are built with soft compounds for excellent grip and traction. The trade-off is that many models will wear more quickly than all-season tires.
The Achilles ATR Sport line is a phenomenal choice that alleviates many common drawbacks associated with sports tires. These models are designed with a directional tread pattern to provide better fuel economy and handling. The center rib and casing are constructed to dissipate heat quickly, extend tread life, and produce above-average fuel economy.
For the most part, buying sports truck tires depends more on your vehicle type, the styling you desire, and how you drive it. In terms of terrain, these tires are one of the most limited in that they should be conducted on paved roads in manageable weather conditions.
There is never a “good” or “convenient” time to get a flat tire. In most cases, this unfortunate occurrence means you must either call assistance or dig out your spare tire, jack the car up, put in the doughnut, and then drive to a tire shop to get a replacement. Regardless of your approach here, you probably look at losing multiple hours.
In this sticky situation, running flat tires can be a saving grace.
What are Run Flat Tires?
Run Flat tires, also called Zero-Pressure tires, are designed to support the vehicle’s weight for a short period until the driver can make it to the repair shop. Most models hold up for around 50 miles and allow you to drive at 50mph.
How do Run Flat tires work?
From an overview perspective, Run Flat tires are designed to provide temporary stability to get home or a repair shop when you puncture a tire.
There are two main types of run-flat tires:
This is the most common type of Run Flat tire. The sidewalls of these tires are heavily reinforced so the vehicle’s weight can be supported when the air pressure is compromised – or depleted altogether.
- Support Ring System
Tires with the support ring system are built with a physical structure attached to the wheel. In the case of a puncture, the vehicle’s weight is supported by this structure, as opposed to the tire itself.
The major selling points of Run Flat tires are:
- You don’t need to lug a spare tire around.
- You don’t need to sit on the side of the road to change a flat.
- You can get to a repair shop or back home on your own.
- There is better stability after a blowout.
- Peace of mind.
Why wouldn’t everyone buy Run Flat tires?
As convenient as Run Flat tires can be, there are several downsides compared to conventional tires. First and foremost, the stiff sidewalls make for a harsher ride. Typically, if your vehicle does not come with Run Flat tires, you should consult your manual or a local dealer to be sure run-flats would be a good choice for your car.
The Bridgestone Driveguard RFT is a high-performance, fuel-efficient tire.
Second, these types of tires have shorter tread wear. A J.D. Power study found that people tend to replace their Run Flat tires about 6,000 miles sooner than those with regular tires. Now, there are a lot of differing opinions on the tread wear of Run Flat tires. Many say tire makers use a softer compound (that wears faster) to counteract the harsh ride.
Third, it’s tough to gauge your air pressure by looking at them. Thanks to the reinforced sidewalls, the tire won’t bulge if it is low on pressure. So, it is essential to have a TPMS pressure monitoring system in place if you buy these tires.
The Bridgestone Driveguard RFT is an incredibly versatile Run Flat option designed to alleviate the pain point of shorter tread wear. Additionally, it offers excellent performance on wet and dry roads and optimal fuel economy. Regarding Run Flat technology, Bridgestone leads the way in extended mobility to ensure you are confident on the street in managing unwanted surprises.
What is the ideal situation to buy Run Flat tires?
Generally speaking, if you have Run Flat tires, chances are they came with the vehicle; it’s not expected to switch to them. However, as a flat tire can happen at any time or place, some situations fully justify spending the extra money on Run Flat tires.
Regarding terrain, you must critically assess the roads you usually drive on.
- Are your regular touring routes laden with potholes, bumps, ruts, or uneven paving?
- Do you frequently drive on roads with lots of debris, like nails, broken glass, or other sharp objects?
Another huge factor to consider is the weather. Higher temperatures can cause the air in your tires to expand. This creates more internal pressure and increases the chances of a leak. Running flat tires can prevent an unwanted surprise if you live/drive in areas with hot temperatures.
Buying the best Run Flat tires depends on how well you understand your unique situation and the potential of tire punctures. Generally speaking, if you frequently drive on rough city streets, this tire will be helpful sooner or later.
Most vehicles can benefit quite a bit by investing in highway tires. As the name implies, these tires are meant for long drives on paved roads. Investing in highway tires is pretty simple; this is ideal if you drive at least 90% on-road and want good gas mileage and long wear.
The Dunlop Grandtrek ST30 is an all-weather highway tire.
Highway tires are designed with independent tread blocks and multiple sipes for excellent on-road performance in reasonable conditions. These tires’ construction is meant for extra-long mileage, smooth rides, and comfort.
How do highway tires hold up in ranging weather conditions?
As the terrain aspect will be the same, the weather you typically experience must play a key role in choosing highway tires. For the most part, highway tires will come with the M+S symbol, meaning they are equipped with all-season capability and provide grip on wet and dry roads. While these tires will not perform as well as designated snow/winter tires in a blizzard, they should get the job done in moderate winter weather if they have the M+ S rating.
If you spend much time on the highway in various weather conditions, you’ll want to invest in the most versatile tires. The Dunlop Grandtrak ST30 is one of the best highway tire lines on the market. The M+S-rated tire has a universal tread design that provides all-weather traction. The construction of this tire also features the innovative Multi-Pitch Tread Design Technology to reduce noise while driving at high speeds.
As the cherry on top, the black serrated sidewall and raised letter design add a trendy look to the tire.
Which highway tires are suitable for extreme temperatures?
The Falken Sincera SN250 A/S is an all-season performance highway tire.
If you live in a climate that experiences sub-zero temperatures, you cannot risk a tire becoming stiff and brittle on the highway. This can be very dangerous at high speeds and sometimes lead to fatal accidents. On the other hand, you cannot have a tire that becomes weak in scorching weather.
For those who live in places that frequently experience both extreme hot and cold bouts, highway tires with Dynamic Range Technology are the ideal choice. This technology uses a silica tread compound and asymmetric design to tolerate severe temperatures better.
The Falken Sincera SN250 A/S is an excellent option designed with Dynamic Range Technology for extreme cold weather. The tread compound is meant to withstand both sub-zero and severely hot temperatures and maintain flexibility.
Depending on how many miles you typically put on your vehicle during highway commutes, highway tires can be an excellent investment. The more time you spend on the highway, the more you should splurge on a good set of tires.
Touring tires, primarily for cars and CUVs, are built with asymmetric tread patterns to provide balanced handling, exceptional tread wear, and a quiet, comfortable ride. Most touring tires sold in North America have all-season capability, with adequate performance on snow and ice. From an overview perspective, fuel efficiency is where most of the emphasis is placed nowadays when manufacturing these types of tires.
Touring tires are designed to handle almost all your on-road driving needs. Many praise these tires for their long-distance capability and predictable handling.
How well do touring tires do on moderate off-road conditions?
Touring tires can certainly hold their own on the scenic route; it depends on how picturesque you are talking. These tires will perform adequately on dirt and gravel roads but aren’t designed to handle treacherous off-roading paths or heavy mud.
Take your daily drive into consideration here. If you typically drive on less-than-ideal roads or terrains, you might want to consider a more versatile option. For this purpose, the Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring Tire is an excellent all-season line with outstanding performance on wet and dry roads and long tread life. The internal belt construction is designed to provide superior flexibility to manage road irregularities easily.
An all-terrain tire might be ideal if you typically spend much time driving on rough, unpaved roads in extreme conditions.
Would high-performance tires be better if I wanted excellent handling and high-speed ratings?
This is a bit of a loaded question.
High-performance tires will be above your average touring tire if you want to handle capability and high-speed ratings. However, it’s critical to note that high-performance tires are commonly called summer tires. They will not give you the same all-season capability as a touring tire. Additionally, due to the stiff, low-profile sidewalls, you would have to compromise on the quiet and comfortable ride you would get from touring tires.
The Firestone Precision Touring is an all-season long mileage tire.
Fortunately, some innovative touring tire models can provide a driving experience comparable to high-performance tires – with significantly more versatility in weather and road conditions. The Firestone Precision Touring line combines incredible handling, long tread wear, and excellent fuel efficiency to balance performance and all-season practicality perfectly.
This model is one of Firestone’s best. The close attention to detail throughout the design and manufacturing process provides unbeatable quality for drivers wanting extra performance capability without sacrificing comfort!
The choice to buy these types of tires is similar to that of highway tires; if you spend at least 90% of your driving time on paved roads, need fuel efficiency, and value a smooth, comfortable ride, touring tires are your best bet.
Buying the perfect set of tires will require a unique process for every driver. Regarding the terrain, you must critically assess your average day, potential obstacles, and how to get the best bang for your buck.
Contact our knowledgeable staff at Tires Easy if you need more assistance finding the optimal selection. We’ve helped drivers find the perfect tires for almost every situation imaginable!
How do you choose all-terrain tires?
When choosing all-terrain tires, consider your driving needs, terrain types, and weather conditions. Look for tires with a balanced tread pattern, durability, and a good reputation for performance in various environments.
What are the three basic types of tires?
The three basic types of tires are summer tires, all-season tires, and winter (snow) tires. Each type is designed for specific weather and road conditions.
What are all-terrain tires for?
All-terrain tires are designed for versatile performance on various terrains, including pavement, gravel, dirt, and light off-road conditions. They offer a compromise between on-road comfort and off-road capability.
What are the two main types of tires?
The two main types of tires are passenger (car) tires and light truck tires. Passenger tires are for standard vehicles, while light truck tires are designed for trucks, SUVs, and larger vehicles.