Over the years of having several different types of vehicles I have learned a thing or two about buying new tires. I have had cars that used touring tires and SUVs and trucks that needed truck tires. I also live in snow country, and I have a good deal of experience with studded snow tires. When I drove a Jeep, it had tires that were a balance of tread and design for highway and snow. They were lousy in mud. That Jeep would go through the snow better than anything I ever owned before. I would pass up pickup trucks and other four-wheel drive vehicles that would be stuck. However, it would not go in mud with those tires. You need specialty tread and tire design for the surface you will be riding on.

The key is to get a balance of tread design based on the surfaces you mostly drive on. If you live in snow country, then a tire for highway and slick roads is great. If you have to spend most of your time off the road in the mud and dirt, then you need tires that will do the job. Mud tires are like balloons with aggressive tread. They carry you over it more than digging down into it. Snow tires bite into the snow. Rock crawling through gravely deserts is different than trekking over sand. For some surfaces, you need a tire specifically designed for the job. That means if you spend some of your time time in deep mud or sand, you just need to sacrifice braking and handling on highways. Not to mention the noise. Aggressive tread design is noisy at highway speeds.

When it comes time for buying new tires, be sure to get the ones you need to get the job done. If you are a highway warrior, you will be more happy with touring tires in the summer. If you are out when the snow gets really bad, choose something better than an all-season radial. If you like the mud trails or beaches, maybe get a vehicle just for that purpose leaving your ride to work being in another vehicle.

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