Tires can directly influence the performance of a car as well as the overall driving experience since they are the only component of a vehicle that is in contact with the road surface. Choosing the right tire for your SUV or light pickup truck can be crucial since there are different types of tires that are designed for different vehicles. While a passenger car tire is more suitable for hatchbacks, coupes, and sedans, light truck tires are for minivans and more. Knowing the difference between passenger tires and light truck tires is for that reason is crucial to maintaining the safety of your vehicle.
What are passenger tires?
Passenger tires, as the name suggests, are designed for personal use and for standard passenger vehicles like SUVs and light trucks. Using passenger tires offers a smoother ride on paved roads with excellent traction in both wet and dry road conditions. They are excellent in carrying the load for lightweight vehicles and are considered safe for a comfortable and safe ride for vehicles under ¾ ton. These tires have more material with sturdier sidewalls that can handle the weight of the car.
However, passenger tires are not meant for carrying heavy loads and are more suitable for riding on the highways. Since they are not built for supporting, hauling, or towing heavier loads, using passenger tires for heavy-duty trucks, large SUVs, and commercial vans might not be an ideal choice to make. Using these tires might in fact result in serious damage if used in vehicles more than ¾ or 1 ton. Passenger tires are primarily built for comfort, which is why any additional load or performance under aggressive off-road conditions is not suitable for these types of tires.
Passenger tires mainly come in three types: performance tires, touring tires, and low rolling resistance tires. Low rolling resistance tires, as their name suggests, refer to the technological advances that enable these tires to cover more distance than standard tires with the same amount of fuel and energy.
Performance tires are more popular among 4x4 vehicle owners, which is why many manufacturers use them on the factory models of sportier vehicles. These are more responsive, with increased traction and a wider appearance. Touring tires, on the other hand, come with higher speed ratings and are mostly known for their increased responsiveness, noise control, improved tread control, and road comfort.
What are Light truck tires?
When compared to passenger tires, light truck tires come with a more rugged carcass with thicker piles, deeper treads, and reinforced sidewalls. It is because light truck tires are not only made for withstanding the weight of the car but also built for carrying heavier loads on a regular basis. You can easily carry heavy weights and tow them without worrying much. Because of their inbuilt characteristics, these tires are more durable and rugged than P-metric tires, which make them ideal for driving in harsh off-road conditions with heavy loads.
Due to their ability to perform well in rough terrain, LT tires usually come with better handling while towing heavier loads, making them the perfect choice for SUVs and heavy-duty trucks.
However, similar to passenger tires, LT tires also have some tradeoffs. These tires, due to their stiffer sidewall, are not as comfortable as P-metric tires when it comes to absorbing bumps. They are prone to causing more road noise and vibrations, especially when used in SUVs and light trucks. This is why LT tires are always better to use in vans, or larger trucks and SUVs to drive in off-road conditions. Because of the sidewall reinforcement and heavy-duty use, LT tires are appropriate for challenging off-road driving conditions.
Which one is better—an LT-metric or a P-metric tire?
P-metric tires are mainly used in SUVs, pickups, and vans, which implies they are solely made for paved roadways and with moderate to light load sizes. If you are planning to perform heavy-duty tasks, LT-metric tires would be a better choice for you since they are more able to carry heavier loads. However, before switching your P-metric tries to LT-metric tries there are certain factors you need to consider assuring the safety of your vehicle.
Although LT-metric tires are better in off-road conditions as we have discussed above, they might not be the ideal choice for standard driving conditions. Because of their rolling resistance and heavy-duty buildup, using LT-metric tires for highways might cost you additional fuel costs and cause a noisier driving experience.
It is necessary to get familiar with the differences between the two types of tires since they will impact the driving experience of your vehicle. However, the right tire for your vehicle will be dependent on the requirements of your car and the driving environment you are most likely to be spending your time.