Whether you’re going on a cross-country vacation or plan on driving trucks loaded with cargo, you must have the right tires on your car or truck. The challenge is identifying the right tires for your car or truck based on your needs. Here are the characteristics of the ideal tires for long trips, no matter where you’re going.
Unless you’re driving in the winter through thick snow, you want all-season tires on your car. All-season tires will handle equally well on light snow as rain-slick pavement. Furthermore, you’ll be able to drive on hot pavement without any problems. You won’t see fuel efficiency as great as you would if you had summer tires on a car while you drive through the southern United States, but it hardly makes a difference when you factor in the cost savings you see by buying one set of tires. All-season tires handle slick roads fine. The only time they don’t work as well as rain tires is if you are driving through heavy rain constantly, but most people don’t.
Durability can take several forms. One is the sheer distance the tires can travel before the tread wears out. You want tires with a lot of life on them before you start a road trip. This is called tire life. Yet blowouts and flat tires will ruin your trip. This is why you want to pay more for tires that have reinforced tread and sidewalls.
If you’re shopping for tires for long trips, there is a good chance you’re going to be loading up the car. Or you’re pulling a travel trailer. Make sure the tires are rated to carry the weight of the vehicle, the passengers and all cargo. If you’re even close to that limit, you’ll dramatically accelerate wear on the tires while making it much harder to stop. If you’re driving a truck and/or pulling a heavy load, consider upgrading to truck tires with a higher weight rating. Tires that can handle an additional 2000 pounds gives you better handling and greater safety margin when taking turns or stopping. Note that you cannot put trailer tires on your vehicle. Trailer tires aren’t made to handle the forces that truck and car tires must endure.
Road noise isn’t a big deal if you’re driving around town. However, road noise becomes a major issue when you’re listening to it for hours on end. You may want to pay more for tires that generate less road noise.
Tires are rated for a maximum safe speed. Be very careful about the speed rating of your tires if you plan on taking long-distance trips. For example, many car tires are rated for travelling up to 100 miles an hour. On the other hand, your trailer tires may only be rated for up to 50 or 60 miles an hour. Make sure every tire on your car, truck and trailer are rated for the speeds you want to drive. Don’t exceed this safe speed, regardless of what the speed limit is.