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Light Truck vs. Passenger Tires

Driving an SUV or pickup truck usually entails a bit more than a standard vehicle. Whether you're bringing the family around town or hauling cargo, it's important your vehicle is equipped with a durable set of tires. Depending on the size of your pickup or SUV, you might require light truck or passenger tires. Before choosing a set of tires, here are some factors to consider.

Light Truck Tires

Passenger Tires

Load capacity

Heavy loadsLighter loads

Vehicles

Medium to large trucksSmall to medium cars or small trucks

Cost

Less affordableMore affordable

*Refer to the Tires Buying Guide for more specific tire types, performance grades and cost ranges.


Advantages of light truck tires

  • Carries Heavy Loads - Light truck tires are constructed to handle heavy loads. These kinds of tires are ideal for heavy duty pickup trucks or SUVs that haul large items frequently.
  • More Durable - Light truck tires are typically constructed with a thicker rubber compound than other types of tires. Some models are built for off-roading capabilities to handle gravel, dirt or other debris that can damage lightly constructed tires.
  • Sturdy grip - The tread pattern is much more aggressive on light truck tires than it is on most standard passenger tires. This tread design creates superior grip on the road, especially in slick conditions.
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Limitations of light truck tires

  • Rough Ride - The stiff sidewall on light truck tires that handles heavy loads isn't very flexible, which can create both a rougher and noisier ride compared to other kinds of tires. 
  • Expensive - Since light truck tires are specialized for certain vehicles, they can be more expensive than other kinds of tires.
  • Not Meant for All Trucks or SUVs - The name can be a bit misleading, but light truck tires aren't suited for every kind of truck or SUV. Small pickups and SUVs might only need standard passenger tires while large commercial trucks typically require commercial tires.
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Advantages of passenger tires

  • Smooth Ride - These types of tires are made with a flexible compound, which creates a smoother and less noisy ride than drivers might experience with light truck tires.
  • Affordable - Passenger tires are usually the default tires on most vehicles, which can make them more affordable and easier to find than light truck tires. 
  • Perfect for Common Vehicles - For commuters that drive sedans, hatchbacks, minivans or wagons, passenger tires are the right option. Most models are built for standard commuting and only light hauling.
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Limitations of passenger tires

  • Not Suited for Heavy Loads - Passenger tires are usually suited for personal use and not used for regularly hauling or towing equipment. While they can handle moderate loads on cars, minivans or small pickups, heavy loads can put too much pressure on passenger tires.
  • Less Durable - Since standard passenger tires are typically made with a thinner sidewall construction, they don't last as long as light truck tires. They also aren't able to handle the off-road elements light truck tires can withstand.
  • Adequate Grip - Some passenger tires don't have sturdy tread patterns and aren't able to grip the road as effectively in less than ideal conditions. In comparison to light truck tires, passenger models don't have the same aggressive tread pattern to provide superior traction.
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