The right tyre to suit your needs
Posted by: Cal on 18/07/2013
In the world of car tyres, there isn't exactly a 'one tyre fits all' solution. While there are some tyres out there that can do a decent job on most types of terrain, it's still important to realise that to get the best out of your vehicle you're going to need the right kind of tyres for the terrain you'll be driving on most.
Think about it. Do you spend most of your time behind the wheel waiting in city traffic jams, never venturing into the great outdoors or beyond the city limits? In this case, your tyre needs are very different from someone who is driving their vehicle on long-distance journeys, through rugged terrain or even off-road.
So how do you know which kind of tyre is right for you? Often it pays to consult an expert who can talk through with you what kind of capabilities you want out of your tyres. However, if you're a bit too stubborn for all that and want to figure it out yourself, here's a brief guide on what you should be looking out for.
Roaming the great outdoors
Perhaps you live in a rural area and your car is going to spend a lot of time on dirt roads, farm land and off-road drives.
A serious off-roader will look for specialist tyres with a high level of traction, grip and strength. If you're looking to go truly bush with your tyres, though, then you'll want to change to the maximum traction tyre you can find for your vehicle. These kinds of tyres are wasted on the road, so make sure you change them back before you return to the world of sealed highways.
The best of both worlds
All-terrain tyres are the ones for those 4WD and SUV drivers who have a bit of rough terrain in their life, but still spend a lot of time driving on well-conditioned roads.
Because this tyre is for varying conditions, it isn't completely optimised for either on-road or off-road as much as a specialised tyre would be. In many cases all-terrain tyres are manufactured with road use in mind as this tends to be what they are driven on the most. Many 4WD drivers zip around the city or town in their car during the week, but like to head off-road for a fishing trip every other weekend or so.
If you plan to be driving anywhere, be it on or off road, where you're likely to encounter snow or harsh, icy conditions, winter or snow tyres can come in handy. It's important that these are only used for these specific weather conditions. Don't ever drive with them in ordinary conditions, as this is just not what they're made for, and never mix them with regular tyres (for example, when the front wheels have snow tyres and the back wheels don't).
In Australia such wintry conditions aren't likely to be too much of an issue, but for those areas that do experience cold winters these tyres may be just what you're after if you have to drive in snow and ice.
Always remember that no matter what kind of tyres you buy, they need regular maintenance and check-ups. They don't look after themselves and conditions can be harsh on them. Look out for any signs of wear and tear, and drive as carefully as possible to avoid any scrapes, bumps or punctures.
That means looking where you're going when parking - even little acts such as curbing can affect your tyres' performance and safety, no matter what type you're dealing with.