Sports utility vehicle tires must often function more like light truck tires than passenger car tires. Your vehicle can be used in many different situations, making a car tire likely not the best option for your SUV. Here are 5 tips to get a tire that works while it lasts a long time and drives well at the same time.

See load classification

SUV tires are often overloaded. That is why they must be classified based on how the vehicle will actually be used. Otherwise, they may be subject to conditions that make them unstable and really dangerous. That’s why for most SUVs, an all-season light truck model works well.

This class of product has higher load ratings, but still provides excellent handling and braking while driving almost like a car model. One advantage is that the tread life of these is usually very long.

Get Mudders only if …

Top rated mud tires still perform quite well on pavement. But many mud tires are huge, expensive, and impractical. Get them if you need to, but know that they won’t work well in normal road use. Make sure the normal use of mud tires is muddy or you may want to have it.

Think of the side walls

Heavy sidewalls on more truck-like tires generally do two things. They stop without flexing too much at heavier loads. That means both the loads due to the actual weight of the loaded vehicle and the loads generated by the trailer weights as well. In both cases, that means a safer and more stable ride. Overloaded sidewalls flex and sway and can be more prone to failure.

Also, all other things being equal, heavier tire walls equate to a stiffer tire and a corresponding stiffer ride. At some point, a stiffer tire results in a tougher driving experience. It’s a necessary trade-off if you want a stronger tire and a much higher load capacity.

Winter style for more than light snow

All-season tires stand out for their dry-weather traction and perform well on light snow and ice. But for regions with a lot of snow and ice, it is better with a specialized winter tire. Also, off-road tires perform better in moderate winter conditions, as opposed to heavy ones.

Don’t give up on tread wear

All-season tires typically have tread life ratings in the 50 to 70,000 mile range. That is really surprising given that most of these vehicles are quite large and heavy. Keep in mind, however, that many off-road tires, unlike all season tires, don’t even come with a mileage rating or warranty at all. It may not be because the tires won’t last. It may be more of a question of uncertainty about how these tires will be used or abused.

In the case of all-season tires, the top-rated tires have a long life, especially for such large vehicles.

SUV tires that are light truck tires tend to perform best in a wide variety of conditions. Often the load capacity of these tires is a critical factor. An SUV is often used in a way that results in overloaded tires if the tires on it are made for passenger cars.