Using the wrong size or type of tire on your car can have detrimental effects on your car’s performance, your passengers’ safety, and cost you heavily in vehicle repair fees. That’s why there are tires designed specifically to address your car’s size, your performance expectations, and your lifestyle.  

To get you on the road to choosing your perfect tires, you’ll need to consider these questions:  

What tires do I need for my car type? 

I have a sedan, sports sedan, minivan, crossover utility vehicle, or another passenger vehicle. 

According to experts at United Tires, the key for passenger vehicles is to get tires that will perform well in both wet (rain and snow) and dry conditions. For passenger cars, consider these suggestions from U Tire experts: 

*The above recommendations are not intended for winter road conditions. For winter tire recommendations, click here.* 

I have a light truck, sports utility vehicle (SUV), pickup truck, or another on-and-off-road vehicle. 

According to experts at United Tires, the rougher the terrain that you’ll be driving on, the deeper the treads you’ll need on your tires. For on-and-off-road-vehicles, consider these suggestions from U Tire experts: 

  • Highway light-truck tires – These tires are optimal for driving on a smooth surface, like a highway and carrying heavy loads. They will also perform well in wet and snowy conditions.  
  • Ribbed tires – Very similar to highway light-truck tires, ribbed tires are optimal on smooth pavement and carrying heavy loads, especially for commercial truck drivers.  
  • Sport truck tires – These tires are like the two types mentioned above, but they perform best at high speeds and are less noisy. 
  • All-purpose or trail tires – These tires are optimal for on-road, smooth surface-driving as well, but could be used lightly on rougher terrains, unlike highway light-truck tires, ribbed tires, and sport truck tires. 
  • All-terrain tires – Like it says in the name, these tires are acceptable for both smooth and rough terrains, so they are the best choice for someone who does both. 
  • Mud-terrain tires – These tires are specifically designed to perform off-road. Their grooves and tread pattern grip rough, muddy terrain.  

*The above recommendations are not intended for winter road conditions. For winter tire recommendations, click here.* 

I have a luxury sedan, sports sedan, luxury, or other sports modifications on my vehicle.  

According to experts at United Tires, sports vehicles require performance tires. The level of performance ranges from extreme performance, max performance, ultra-high performance, high performance, and performance tires. The difference with each type is that the higher the level of performance, the shallower the treads will be. Shallower treads allow more surface area of the tire to meet the road, giving the driver more control and agility.  

*The above recommendations are not intended for winter road conditions. For winter tire recommendations, click here.* 

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What terrain am I driving on most often?

In addition to your vehicle type, you should also consider the terrain that you’ll be driving on most frequently. In this section, we will provide the top recommended types of tires for each terrain based on the opinion of experts.  

I mostly drive in urban areas with smooth pavement. 

  • Touring tires or performance tires are optimal for city driving. Keep in mind, however, that performance tires are more so recommended for sports or luxury vehicles.  

I mostly drive off-road with rough terrain. 

  • Mud-terrain tires are optimal for a vehicle that is mostly driven off-road. They’ll also grip well to mud, hence the name.  

I do a mix of urban and off-road driving.  

  • All-terrain tires are designed specifically for drivers who do a mix of on- and off-roading.  

What climate am I driving in?   

Depending on where you live, you may experience different climates each season. In this case, you may want to consider having two sets of tires, one for dryer climates and one for wetter climates. Here’s the run-down on seasonal tires – summer tires, winter tires, and all-season tires: 

Do I need summer tires (a.k.a. performance tires)? 

Summer tires (also called performance tires) are optimal when there is no snow or ice on the ground, so dry warm climates are great for summer tires. However, summer tires are actually great at performing in wet conditions as the direction of their tread pattern is designed to prevent hydroplaning (uncontrollable sliding on wet roads). Summer tires are not great in colder temperatures and are not recommended if the temperature is below 7°C.  

There are several types of performance tires, which can be differentiated by their tread depths and tread patterns in the infographic below. The shallower the tread, the more the tire grips the road for increased performance:  

Display of the different treads on performance tires.


There are some other types of tires that can be used in summer conditions but are specialized for specific activities or car types. We recommend reading more about these popular tire types to determine if they are right for you: 

Display of different tire treads for all-season tires.

Do I need winter tires? 

Winter tires have a unique tread pattern and are made of soft rubber to enable optimal performance on snow and ice. They can also be studded with metal spokes for additional skidding prevention. Winter tires should be used only in cold temperatures (7°C and below). They also require proper care and maintenance, so they should be removed and stored away in summer months. 

In Canada, winter tires are only legally required in Quebec and on some highways in British Columbia. However, they are heavily recommended in all provinces, and the vast majority of Canadians do opt for winter tires during snowy months 

Here’s a look at what some winter tire treads may look like (with and without studs): 

Up-close photo of winter tire treads and studded winter tire treads.


Do I need all-season tires? 

Although the name can be deceiving, all-season tires are not optimal in cold temperatures. It is recommended that you only use all-seasons in weather that is 7°C or above. In Canada, that typically means it is recommended to only using them in spring, summer, and fall (depending on the climate of your city). What makes all-season tires different from summer tires is that they are made of a thicker, harder rubber, so they can last a long time. However, they are not good at performing on ice or snow, like winter tires are. 

Table recapping the main differences between summer, winter, and all-season tires.

How much am I willing to spend on tires? 

Tire prices vary depending on the size, type, and brand. They can range from under $100 CAN to multiple hundreds of dollars per tire. We recommend consulting a comparison site like to see the price range for the type of tires that you need.   

Keep in mind that these prices do not include the cost of labour for a certified mechanic to install them. 

Where can I buy my tires? 

There are many different tire providers in Canada which may vary depending on the province that you live in. We recommend checking out this personalized tire selector from Tire Discounter Group to help you narrow down your purchasing options.  

Time for tire care? Consider further protection with an extended car warranty. 

Car tire maintenance is something that every driver should prioritize at least once a year. This is also a good time to consider investing in an extended car warranty. An extended car warranty can help you save money and is especially important if your car is an older model, as it is more likely to require repairs as time goes on.  

When replacing your tires, you may want to consider if an extended car warranty will fit your budget and coverage needs. The peace of mind that comes with knowing you are protected against unexpected repair costs is priceless. 

GuardTree’s used car warranty covers all powertrain parts, as well as most mechanical, electrical and software related parts, with bonus member benefits including roadside assistance, car rental, and trip interruption costs. 

We care about car care. Learn more about GuardTree's extended car warranty.


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Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute mechanical or other professional advice as it relates to your vehicle. Each person must consult a qualified professional with respect to matters referenced in this post. GuardTree Inc. assumes no liability whatsoever for actions taken (or not taken) in reliance upon the information contained herein.