What are Tire Performance Categories? Which Tire is Best for Me?

Saturday, March 13, 2010 by Chad Hocker
What are all of these Tire Performance Categories? Good question and one that I hear alot while speaking to customers on the phone.

Tire Rack groups each tire into a category of like tires. This allows us to test tires on our local roads and test on our test track at Tire Rack in South Bend, Indiana. We use the tire categories to show survey results also.
Each tire category groups tires with similar attributes. Picking the right tire for your vehicle can be overwhelming as they are more than just round and black; so tire categories are a useful tool when purchasing tires online. Check out the attributes of each tire group below.

Performance, Touring and Passenger Tires

Extreme Performance (Summer Only)
-Trade some comfort, tread depth and hydroplanning resistance to deliver dry road response, traction and handling for serious driving enthusiasts.

Max Performance (Summer Only)
-Technologically advanced tires that provide superior dry and wet traction, handling and high-speed capabilities.

Ultra High Performance (All-Season or Summer)
-Low profile tires designed to provide high-speed capabilities and quick steering response along with stable cornering and traction on dry and wet roads.

High Performance (All-Season or Summer)
-Crisp steering response and predictable  handling for both wet and dry conditions.

Performance All-Season
-Upgraded looks and handling over passenger all-season tires.

Grand Touring (All-Season or Summer)
-Blends many attributes of a performance tire's bold appearance and responsive handling with a passenger tire's smooth, quite ride.

Standard Touring All-Season
-Lower speed ratings and taller aspect ratio sizes than Grand Touring tires with more emphasis placed on ride comfort and treadwear.

Passenger All-Season
-Long wear, a plush quiet ride, predictable handling, relatively low cost and year-round traction even in light snow, but does not match the steering response of performance or touring tires.

Light Truck, SUV, and CUV Tires

Street/Sport Truck (All-Season or Summer Only)
-Upgrades vehicle handling and looks when replacing Original Equipment tires, offering ultra low profile, large rim diameter sizes, providing good traction and handling.

Highway Rib (Summer Only)
-Straight rib tread developed for highway use, providing good even wear, low noise and traction on dry and wet roads.

Crossover/SUV Touring All-Season
-Stylish appearance, sophisticated comfort and all-season on-road traction blending fashion and function for upscale crossovers, sport utility vehicles or luxury pickups.

Highway All-Season
-Small independent tread blocks to maintain very good on-road performance, and traction on gravel roads, in sand and moderate snow.

On/Off Road All Terrain
-Off road and On road capable with multifaceted tread blocks to help deliver traction from any direction on dirt, sand, gravel and snow.

On/Off Road Commercial Traction
-Heavy-duty tires with aggressive tread designs providing off-road traction in loose or muddy surfaces at work job sites and recreation areas, as well as snow.

Off-Road Maximum Traction
-Maximum bite in loose or muddy surfaces, emphasizing off-road travel.  Some newer designs have been refined for highway travel too.

Don't get over whelmed by all of this information. I understand there is a lot of information posted. Make a general plan of what you would like to see out of your tire. Let us know which vehicle you have. Then select the tire category that has the most like attributes you desire.  From there, check some of the tire survey results or tire testing the Tire Rack has completed and Don't worry; we double check every online tire purchase and will let you know if we see something that we'd like to check with you prior to shipping your tires.  

Comments on What are Tire Performance Categories? Which Tire is Best for Me?

Thursday, June 6, 2013 by Garrett:
The distinction between
~High Performance (All-Season or Summer)
~Performance All-Season
and
~Grand Touring (All-Season or Summer)
seems quite vague, could you define them better as to the qualities each exibits. (Always a problem with arbitrary categories)
Especially test subjective qualities, like would a grand touring tire that testers note as having a loud or firm ride be equal to a high performance tire that testers note as quite and soft?

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