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Old 06-07-2009, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Light Truck/SUV vs. Passenger Tires

I'm confused with the difference between Light Truck/SUV and Passenger tires. There seems to be a price difference and I'm wondering if it is actually worth the difference to go SUV tires vs. Passenger tires. From what I've read, SUV tires are good if you plan on doing light off-roading (I plan to do zero off-roading) and if you have snow. The latter part is what is confusing to me. Many passenger tires do fine in the snow. If you live in a snowy area, it is not a foregone conclusion that you have have an SUV (all-wheel drive perhaps, but not an SUV). Is there really a snow benefit to SUV tires and are SUV tires worth the premium over Passenger tires in the exact same size?
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The sidewalls are stronger and thicker on Truck/SUV tires, this is a consideration if you traverse areas with debris that could kick up and hit the sidewall.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subarugirl06 View Post
I'm confused with the difference between Light Truck/SUV and Passenger tires. There seems to be a price difference and I'm wondering if it is actually worth the difference to go SUV tires vs. Passenger tires. From what I've read, SUV tires are good if you plan on doing light off-roading (I plan to do zero off-roading) and if you have snow. The latter part is what is confusing to me. Many passenger tires do fine in the snow. If you live in a snowy area, it is not a foregone conclusion that you have have an SUV (all-wheel drive perhaps, but not an SUV). Is there really a snow benefit to SUV tires and are SUV tires worth the premium over Passenger tires in the exact same size?
LT-rated tires correspond to the old "6 ply rating" standards (or 8, 10 ply...)

They generally require 50 lbs of air pressure for max load, and because of the heavy sidewall construction and high air pressure, they will destroy the ride of any vehicle that comes with the regular P-rated tires. They also weigh a lot more, usually, so they will make your vehicle accelerate and brake worse.

Note that there are many designs of tires that come in both the LT and P rated flavors, and I would definitely stay with the P rated tires on anything like a Forester. The only common LT type tire might be if you moved to a BFG All Terrain (in a 215/75x15 or 215/70x16 size); these are expensive and will ride really hard.

The LT rating does not make them better in snow. The General Grabber AT2's have a tread very much like the BFG's but are P-rated tires, as are the Geolandar AT/S's. There are many "all terrain" tires in P rated sizes, and if this is what you mean by SUV tires, they are generally not going to be as extreme as an LT tire in terms of heavy construction, hard ride, etc.

And for *real* snow tires, I think you'll find more in P rated sizes than LT rated.

George
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm a newcomer to the Light Truck/SUV segment.

A while ago, a fellow BL/BP-chassis Legacy enthusiast pointed me to this article, which I then discussed with Luke (NASIOC tire consultant and their resident Subaru expert) at TireRack, when the latter brought up the fact that the 265/65-17 sized Goodyear Fortera Triple Treads qualifies for the "Snowflake on the Mountain" symbol..... and it's an all-season tire

Wheels.ca - New winter tire logo losing market value - Canada's Most Trusted Auto Resource

I then posted:

Quote:
I am starting to fear that many of us were taking the "snowflake on the mountain" symbol for-granted, and now that more and more consumers are becoming aware of the benefits of winter tires, that manufacturers are also taking advantage of this to further their profits - and turning this symbol into the new "M+S."

I guess now it's more important than ever to seek expert advice, as well as review as many sources of comparison-testing as we can (i.e. ADAC, Canadian, Finnish, Swedish), in order to insure that we are indeed shopping smart!
To which Luke replied:

Quote:
I have seen that article and could not agree with it more. The one thing it does not address is that the all-season tires with the severe snow/Alpine rating do perform much better than their counterparts which do not meet the needed requirements for the rating. I wasw not tryign to say the Fortera TT I posted about is as good as a winter tire ut, it is a very good all-season tire.
With that as prelude:

What's got my brain grinding around now - and what I would like help with, seeing that I'm a newcomer to this segment/genre - is how some of the more aggressively off-road "patterned" LT/SUV tires may compare to passenger tires that carry the "Snowflake on the Mountain" symbol, and are known to be good "performance-winter/studless-ice & snow" tires, such as the Hankook IceBear W300, Dunlop SP WinterSport 3D, Michelin X-Ice Xi2, or Bridgestone Blizzak WS60, etc.

Yes, I know that my question comprises two strata of "snow" tires - that of "performance winters" and then of "studless ice & snow."

But given that this is an overall broad question, I figured that someone trying to answer would be able to tackle it all in one shot.

Oh, and to frame the question/answer:

I'm not looking for "wintertime fun."

The FXT is my wife's daily-driver, and I'm looking for tires that will enhance her safety envelope under such weather conditions, for which NE-Ohio is unfortunately rather known for.

To-wit, for the winter, her outgoing vehicle, an '05 WRX sedan, was fitted with 215/50/17 Michelin Xi2s.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks guys for the quick help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YoGeorge View Post
There are many "all terrain" tires in P rated sizes, and if this is what you mean by SUV tires, they are generally not going to be as extreme as an LT tire in terms of heavy construction, hard ride, etc.
To clarify, by SUV tires I meant tires that were rated for Light Truck.

I think I'm leaning pretty heavily towards going to an all-season Passenger tire. Off road is not remotely a consideration (barely, if ever, will it even go on a dirt road) and it appears there is no real difference in snow between LT and Passenger tires.

One question though. Since LT/SUV tires have stronger sidewalls does that have any relation to rollover vulnerability? The forester being more of a tall wagon than an actual SUV is not overly prone to rollovers in and of itself, but I would think there's still more of a potential than in a passenger car. I just want to make sure I'm not sacrificing safety to save a few bucks and get a more comfortable ride.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by subarugirl06 View Post
Thanks guys for the quick help.



To clarify, by SUV tires I meant tires that were rated for Light Truck.

I think I'm leaning pretty heavily towards going to an all-season Passenger tire. Off road is not remotely a consideration (barely, if ever, will it even go on a dirt road) and it appears there is no real difference in snow between LT and Passenger tires.

One question though. Since LT/SUV tires have stronger sidewalls does that have any relation to rollover vulnerability? The forester being more of a tall wagon than an actual SUV is not overly prone to rollovers in and of itself, but I would think there's still more of a potential than in a passenger car. I just want to make sure I'm not sacrificing safety to save a few bucks and get a more comfortable ride.
I can't imagine that a softer sidewall would really be more of a rollover risk if you're using proper air pressures. And the LT tires with stiffer sidewalls would actually bounce around more on bumpy curves and hurt handling.

Note that not all P rated tires are soft and thin, either. If you look at tirerack.com and their tire specs, you can see that tire weights vary tremendously (by as much as 10 lbs per tire). The P rated all terrain tires are definitely going to be sturdier in construction than the P rated passenger tires.

For what it's worth, I put the BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A Tour tires on my '09 Foz, and they are more of a truckish type tire (in P rated sizes) than the originals, although they are not really heavy off road or all/terrain tread patterns. And they ride very nicely as well.

Note also that the deeper tread patterns of all terrain tires WILL make dry braking and other handling aspects worse; the tread elements will squirm around more. (Racers use slicks, or tires with very little tread, for the road.)

It's all a tradeoff. If you list any specific tires you're looking at, I'm sure people with experience will comment on them.

George
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoGeorge View Post
I can't imagine that a softer sidewall would really be more of a rollover risk if you're using proper air pressures. And the LT tires with stiffer sidewalls would actually bounce around more on bumpy curves and hurt handling.

Note that not all P rated tires are soft and thin, either. If you look at tirerack.com and their tire specs, you can see that tire weights vary tremendously (by as much as 10 lbs per tire). The P rated all terrain tires are definitely going to be sturdier in construction than the P rated passenger tires.

For what it's worth, I put the BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A Tour tires on my '09 Foz, and they are more of a truckish type tire (in P rated sizes) than the originals, although they are not really heavy off road or all/terrain tread patterns. And they ride very nicely as well.

Note also that the deeper tread patterns of all terrain tires WILL make dry braking and other handling aspects worse; the tread elements will squirm around more. (Racers use slicks, or tires with very little tread, for the road.)

It's all a tradeoff. If you list any specific tires you're looking at, I'm sure people with experience will comment on them.

George

I guess I never rode on a set of BFG's AT/KO's

If I remember correct they have like a 3 ply side wall. Stiff as heck!! On my old 4x4 frontier (lifted) I could cut a corner pretty darn hard w/ enough g-force to where these tires can take it pretty darn good. Unlike to older Generals (soft sidewalls) I owned, they'll squeek like a pig and easily loose control.

That is why on high performance tires they are stiff sidewalls.
The softer side walls for sure will be a much smoother & quite ride overall (even over bumps are soft).
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