What do you know about your tires? – Tire information series
Usually the most prominent markings on a tire are the name brand and model. Tire manufacturers such as Michelin, Cooper, Firestone, B.F. Goodrich, want to make sure their name is featured prominently on the tire. These companies also make a variety of tire models. The tire model identification sometimes gives an indication of the intended use or special features of the tire. For example a Cooper Discoverer AT3 tire is an all terrain (AT) truck tire intended for vehicles that might need to venture off the pavement. A Cooper Discoverer H/T tire has a tread pattern that is better suited to highway driving. A Michelin LTX M/S tire is a Light Truck tire intended for all season use with better than average traction in mud and snow. A tire like the Goodyear Fuel Max Assurance is a tire which has been designed for low rolling resistance (LRR) to facilitate better fuel economy.
People who live in areas that receive frozen precipitation in the winter should also take special note of the seasonal designation of tires. All purpose or all season tires with good snow traction will often carry an M/S or M+S designation. These tires are suitable for use year round and have above average snow and mud traction. Purpose built winter only snow tires will generally have a mountain peak outline symbol with a snowflake inside.
These tires offer more extreme snow and ice traction and are generally not well suited for summer use. Sometimes these tires are made to accept studs which are small metal spikes mounted into the tread. Tires with an M+S A/S or AS designation in their model or elsewhere on the tire are considered all season tires. These tires are a compromise between good hot/dry weather performance and snowy/wet weather performance. These tires will generally offer acceptable traction in minor wet and winter conditions as well as dry pavement but they are not true winter or snow tires. If none of the above listed designations are on the tire or in the marketing literature then it is considered to be a summer or performance tire and should not be considered safe for slippery conditions in ice or snow but these tire will handle better on dry roads and in high temperature environments.
If you are located in the Harrisonburg Virginia area – give us a call and we will be glad to help you choose the right tires for your car or light truck.