Gianetta Palmer is a writer, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Nov 15, 2020

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If you’ve ever driven a compact sedan and then jumped into a large truck with stable towing power and high torque capacity, then you likely understand the difference between driving these two types of vehicles.

However, many drivers aren’t aware of the fact that different-sized trucks impact road performance.

How to check the tread on a vehicle.

Note: There are many ways to check your vehicle’s tread depth. The easiest way is with a penny. Turn the penny with Lincoln’s head upside down. Then insert into the tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, as illustrated above, it is time to replace them.

These days, with the manufacturing of vehicles changing all the time, drivers should understand the differences between towing, torque and overall performance between sedans and trucks.

Throughout this article, I will detail the importance of choosing the right tires for trucks to ensure they’re capable of handling the harshest road conditions.

In particular, drivers may want to consider buying several different ones to find those which are capable of carrying heavy weight loads and that can adequately maneuver both on and off road.

Below I will highlight the differences in tires for sedans and trucks, and how the right one can make a great deal of difference in performance and maneuverability.

Why is One Tire is Different from All Others?

When choosing tires for your truck or car, drivers have the option between all-season, all-terrain and mud tires.

All-season ones place a focus on roadway safety regardless of weather conditions.

While all-terrain are ideal if your vehicle requires more balance and stability when driving on city streets or off-roading.

Type TireProsCons
All-SeasonLonger tread life. Good performance in light winter, wet, and dry conditions. All season tires offer less grip than summer tires. Sacrifices cornering, steering, and braking.
All-TerrainExtra traction in rough conditions. Can go off-road. Great for trucks all year particularly in northern states. Often confused with All-season tires. Decrease in fuel efficiency. Noisier than all season tires.
Mud TiresGreat for muddy or icy conditions. Excellent traction in colder conditions. Some have optional studded treads. Do not perform as well in hot temperatures. Need to change seasonally.
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Then there are mud terrain, which are intended for thrillseekers who plan on off-roading on a more routine basis.

Ultimately, if your sole purpose of operating a truck is off-roading, or if you regularly work on construction sites or muddy terrains, off-season might be the best option for your truck.

Why Does Tire Size/Type Matter?

In addition to choosing the right tires, car and truck owners also need to select the proper size for their vehicle.

Truck owners will instantly realize the significant impact the right tires will have on the overall performance and towing capacity on their trucks.

Torque, towing capacity, and a truck’s suspension will impact how high off the ground it should be.

Vehicle out-fitted with plus-size.

Image Credit: https://www.autoevolution.com/

Note: Wheels can be a huge fashion statement. Plus-sizing them has fashionable and performance benefits. Plus-sizing increases the surface area contact with the road. Which increases the handling and performance of the vehicle.

Additionally, for off-road riding, larger tires will provide more power and stability, and possibly greater traction, than standard sized ones would offer.

Meantime, plus-size ones result in better handling on and off road according to Consumer Reports. 

Improved performance on wet roads or snowy terrains is also achieved by installing larger ones on a truck.

Additionally, plus-size tires can help minimize the impact when driving over potholes or other obstructions.

Ultimately, investing in these types of tires will help reduce wear.

What do Tires have to do with Your Insurance Rates?

Believe it or not, selecting the right model and size on your car or truck might impact your insurance rates.


Most don’t know if you have “over-sized” or “low-profile” wheels on your vehicle it could justify an increase in auto insurance rates. 

As we all know, safe drivers typically pay lower prices for insurance.

The reason being is that they are generally safer on the roads and less likely to cause accidents with other drivers.

Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers for enhanced safety features on their vehicle.

Wheels that are properly inflated — and appropriately sized for your car — can help to better stabilize your vehicle.

And, ultimately, this creates safer driving conditions on and off road.

Additionally, insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who properly maintain their vehicle.

This includes checking the tire pressure, aligning the brakes and having their tires well-kept to ensure they are safe for all-season driving.

Responsible drivers pose less risk on the road, meaning they are less likely to get into an accident.

Checking pressure regularly.

Image Credit: Tim Herrick, Flickr

Note: Making sure your tires are properly inflated can be as important as choosing the correct one for your needs. Between cold and warm (or seasons) temperatures you want to give them an inspection for pressure. Newer vehicles have an indicator light.

Insurance companies will view a driver who accurately maintains their vehicle and performs routine maintenance as a safer client to insure.

Eventually, this can lead to discounts in premium rates.

Proper Tires Reduce Wear and Tear

Worn out tires are dangerous for many reasons.

When it rains, the grooves can help the car maintain contact with the road, according to RightTurn.com.

Tires that are severely worn out have a shallow tread.

This minimizes traction, possibly leading to skidding off road, which can lead to accidents in wet weather conditions.

On dry road conditions, worn out ones are also dangerous, as they’re more likely to get punctured because they’re thinner than new ones.

A nail or small item on the road can easily pierce a worn or bald tire, whereas it is more difficult with new, properly maintained ones.

Worn tires also have less grip than new ones.

This makes them dangerous when drivers are braking, especially on busy roads.

With limited friction between the tire and road, it’s more likely the vehicle will skid, increasing the risk of crashing.

Final Thoughts

In addition to better performance, the right sized tires for cars and trucks will have an impact on other aspects of driving.

They will help minimize the cost of ownership, reduce wear to your vehicle and possibly help lower insurance premiums.

These are a few of the reasons vehicle owners should consider upgrading to new ones in the event they don’t have the best tires installed on their vehicle.

References

https://www.consumerreports.org/how-safe-are-worn

https://www.usatoday.com/car-ownership-cost-saving-tips-gas-maintenance-insurance/