Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Different Types of Tires

I was wondering if anyone would know what type of tires I should use in Seattle, Washington. I know that when I was in El Paso, Texas my dad would tell me to get all season tires. But I am unsure the difference between the all season, winter, and summer tires and if there was someone out there to explain each one, and which one they would recommend for a 2013 Toyota Prius C.

All seasons are fine for most applications.

I’m honestly not entirely sure what kind of winter Seattle gets, but if it gets significant snow / ice storms, it’s not a bad idea to have a second set of wheels with winter tires mounted to them. You’d switch them out when the snow flies. For cars where I have winter wheel/tire sets, I usually run summer tires in the summer rather than all-seasons.


Summer: Geared toward dry, warm performance. Many also have good rain performance, but some do not, so you’ll want to ask your dealer about that. You don’t want to end up with something that’s really targeted at the weekend autocrosser who doesn’t care about performance in the wet because that can be quite dangerous by causing you to hydroplane and lose control.

Winter: Geared toward performance in slippery, cold conditions. The grip will be much better than any other tire when you’re driving on slick roads. Your stopping distances will be reduced and it will be easier to turn the car without skidding. You don’t want to run these in the summer because they will wear out much faster in warm, dry conditions.

All-season: Does everything adequately and nothing excellently. This should be your choice if you only have one set of tires. Winter tires will wear down too fast in the summer, and summer tires are death traps in the winter.

I guess it would be ethical to hijack this thread.

I have a 2014 Avalon Hybrid, and am about due for new tires.
It came with V rated tires.
I am a cautious driver.
I am considering replacing them with T or H rated tires—General Altimax RT43 perhaps.
To get better tread wear, ride, and traction.
Any comments?

V rated tires are rated for a much higher speed than T or H rated tires. Your ride, handling, and traction with the V rated tires is better than it would be with the lesser ratings (V rated tires use a softer compound) and shops in my area will not mount a tire of a lesser speed rating than the OEM tires… for liability reasons.

I strongly urge you to stick with V rated or above. I’m betting you’ll be disappointed if you try to go to a lower rating… if you can even find anyone to mount them.

1 Like

@ghviz - I’d go to Tire Rack’s web site and look for the tires they recommend. I’d want good low rolling resistance (LRR) tires, and for me all-seasons would be fine in Seattle, with its infrequent snow. So not winter, not summer.

I took a look, these Bridgestones look good, with decent snow ratings:

While I definitely would not go with a T rated tire (it will have a different design and handling than your V rated tires), I’d be fine with a highly-ranked H rated tire. Many tire models are available in both H and V ratings, with the only significant difference being the maximum speed allowed. Tread designs are identical.

When I look at, the costs are either identical, or very close, so why not go with the V?

1 Like

Assuming you are actually in Seattle now don’t you know anyone who has lived there long enough to tell you what kind of weather to expect ?

1 Like

I had the impression that higher speed-rated tires had a harder ride and lower tread life.

Harder ride, no. That’s probably thought of because low profile tires are typically high speed rated. It’s the low profile causing the hard ride, I think.

Lower tread life, maybe, but that’s more related to the type, like a summer tire that’s meant for high performance. An all season V rated tire can have good tread life.

I agree with Texases’ comments, as I usually do. I’ve had V rated tires that gave good wear and V rated tires that gave terrible wear. I had on e set that stuck to the road like glue and the car tracked like it was on rails… but they wore like a pencil eraser.

The suggestion to visit Tirerack was a good one. also used to have good customer feedback and test ratings sections.

I have changed from H rated tires in the past to a lower rating and found better ride , lower price and better tire life. Did I possibly give up some dry road handling at the very limits of cornering? Maybe , but I don’t care, I don’t drive at those limits on public roads. The OP has an Avalon not an Integra R so I doubt if the Avalon can approach the V limits either.

Are you suggesting all of the car manufacturers that spec V-rated tires on their average sedans are wrong to do so . . . ?!

Now what if you switched to a tire with a lower speed-rating than is required . . . and you have an accident?

I would imagine that could play a role, in determining fault, or percentage of fault

I don’t know how the insurance industry works, but I could imagine some ugly consequences for somebody downgrading their tires

Manufacturers spec tires at the maximum speed their cars will attain. These tire ratings are for SUSTAINED speeds. Do you think there is a Toyota Avalon driver anywhere in this country that drive their car at sustained maximum speed? I don’t, yet that is what car company lawyers insist that they have to spec for their cars.
Even a T rating is good for sustained speeds of 118 mph. Call me an old fuddy duddy but I have not exceeded that in 40 years. And when I did ,it was long before tires were speed rated.

By the way, I have had those same General Altimax tires and liked them a lot. Great road feel, quiet, long wearing and not bad in the snow.

I believe they also consider handling. My car came with Z rated tires, and its top speed is only rated at 127 mph. Not that I, or anybody else with half a brain, would actually try to go that fast in that car.

They told me it rains most of the time and at odd times there will be snow, but they don’t say much about the tires.

Rains most of time and seldom snow. That makes the choice simple. Just tell the tire store you want all season with good traction ratings for wet conditions.

TSM , If your car is governor limited, I don’t understand the V rated tires but if it is drag limited it could easily exceed 130 mph downhill or with a tailwind. Hence the use of higher than H rated tires.

Auto manufacturers have to protect themselves from the most ridiculous lawsuits, and some tire installers may feel the same way.

If I no longer feel any desire to drive 130 mph, I feel no desire to buy more expensive tires with usually less tread depth.

Oldtimer, it’s governor limited. I believe Toyota (Scion) shipped them with Z rated (not V rated) tires solely for the handling benefit. I have V rated tires currently.
Nomatter. The only way I’m going 127mph or more in my car is if I die behind the wheel and go off a cliff. :fearful:

Our old Olds Aurora had what was called the Autobahn Package. It essentially took the governor off the computer and until it hit something like 125 or 130, something like that-I forget. With the 4.0 V8, I have no doubt it would have hit those numbers. I think 95 was the fastest I ever drove though for a short while.