Buying Tires – What Features Are The Most Important?

Blog Post

Buying new tires can be a complicated and time-consuming process at the best of times. You need to know the right tire size for your vehicle - if you’ve modified your car or you’re looking to plus size your wheels, you need to do the calculations to ensure that your wheel + tire configuration leads to the same measurements as the stock wheel + tire configuration.

You need to get the right tires for summer and the right tires for winter. And there are so many different options available - each of them suitable for different styles of drivers. Which features are the most important to look at when buying new tires? Let’s find out.

Setting your priorities straight

There is no one-size-fits-all tire - every driver is going to have a different driving style and unique preferences. Some drivers are looking for a comfortable ride, while others are looking for greater control. Some drivers are looking for the longest lifespan possible on their tires, while others are willing to sacrifice lifespan for higher performance.

We’re going to describe the features a given set of tires will have - and the tradeoffs you’re looking at. Use these features to establish your priorities, and look for tires that fit the bill.

Tread life and traction

Generally, tires with higher traction have a lower tread life, and vice versa. You can find tires with relatively high traction and tread life, but it’s no surprise that those tires tend to be more expensive.

Here in Canada, traction is absolutely essential. You never know when we’re going to get hit by a snowstorm or a rainstorm - especially if you’re driving in and around the mountains. As such, most people will want to opt for at least an “A” traction rating - “AA” is best in most cases. And don’t forget - you’re legally required to have winter tires with the Mountain/Snowflake symbol to drive down certain roads in the winter season.

Noise and aggressive tread designs

Want to reduce the amount of noise your ride makes? You’ll want tires with less aggressive tread patterns. There’s a tradeoff, though - aggressive tread patterns help your vehicle plough through snow. Here in Canada, aggressive treads are often preferred - at least in the wintertime.  

Handling and comfort

Looking for your vehicle to be extremely responsive to even minor steering changes as you cruise forward at high speeds? You’ll want tires made of harder rubber. As with everything, however, there’s a tradeoff - that hard rubber makes for an extremely bumpy ride. 

Fuel efficiency and performance

The shape of your tires matters, too. Some tires, known as low rolling resistance tires, are rounder than ordinary tires, allowing them to roll more easily. The consequence of this is that less of the tire’s surface area is in contact with the ground at any given time, which means there’s less friction. Less friction can mean less control and worse performance.

A different tire for every driver

No two drivers have exactly the same needs - that’s why there are so many different kinds of tires available on the market. Looking for new tires that suit your particular needs? Visit one of our Calgary tire stores. We’ll help you find the perfect tire.