Default isn't Always Better: How to Find the Right Tires for Your Daily Driver

  • Snap Desk
  • 14-Oct-2022
Transportation Services

Default isn't Always Better: How to Find the Right Tires for Your Daily Driver

All delivery vehicles, whether they transport large loads or small items or travel long hauls or short distances, have one thing in common. They must have a reliable, safe, and suitable set of tires. If you work as a delivery driver using your daily driver, your tires are just as important as those on a semi-truck. Not only are quality, well-maintained tires essential for optimal performance and cost saving, but they’re also legally required by Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Quality tires that are appropriate to your vehicle, driving style, commonly driven terrain, and other factors are essential. They will go a long way to ensuring road safety, performance and, of course, longevity—tires are expensive.

You may assume that the best approach is simply to replace your tires with an exact match of the originals, but this isn’t necessarily so. Your needs and circumstances as a transporter are unique; your tires should reflect that. To take the guesswork out of choosing the correct tires for your daily driver (or any other transport vehicle), we’ve compiled this short overview of the various aspects you should consider:

Knowing when to replace your tires

For regular private-use vehicles, general wisdom is that you should replace tires every three or so years. Of course, delivery vehicles tend to accrue a lot more mileage in a year than your average family sedan. So, it’s quite possible that you will have to replace the tires on your daily driver before you reach the three-year mark. We recommend that you use the time period mentioned above as a guideline only. How often you’ll need to replace your tires will depend on a number of factors. If you’re unsure of the age of your tires, look for the DOT code printed on the wall of your tire, usually nearest the rims. You’ll see the letters “DOT” followed by numbers and letters that identify the tire manufacturer, the size, and the week and year when the tire was manufactured. Beyond this, you should inspect your tires regularly. Common signs that your tires are due for replacement include the following:


  • Worn out tire tread. In Canada, all tires must have a tread depth of no less than 1.6 mm (2/32nds of an inch).
  • Bulges and bubbles on the tire surface.
  • Vibration in the vehicle’s steering wheel (have a professional identify the cause).
  • Taking longer to come to a full stop.
  • Cuts or cracks in the tire’s sidewalls.
  • Nails, stones, or other objects lodged anywhere in the tire.
  • Damaged valve caps that are either too tight or can’t get tightened enough.
  • Other visible damage or abnormal tread wear patterns.

What to consider when choosing your tires

Start by reading the markings on the walls of your existing tires. This will reveal their size, speed rating, load index, and other details that give you a good point of reference for selecting replacements. Then, in order to decide on the type of tires that will best suit your needs as well as how often to replace them, consider the following:

  • How often do you drive?
  • The average distance you drive in a day
  • The types of terrain your vehicle must commonly navigate
  • The weather conditions in which you’ll usually have to drive
  • Your driving style (speed, braking, cornering, accelerating, etc.)
  • The weight of the average load that your vehicle must carry With this information, you’ll find it easier to determine which of the tire types below is right for your daily driver.

Available tire types and their applications

Most often, car tires get categorized by the season in which they function best. Where relevant, tires may also get classified according to their performance level and intended terrain. Here’s an overview of the various available tire types:

  • All-season tires: These have good grip in most weather and are designed for extended mileage. They are popular among transporters as they don’t need to get replaced every season, thereby saving you a bundle, and can handle most terrain and weather conditions.
  • Performance all-season tires: These tires usually grip better in corners than standard all-season tires, but may not last as long. If you frequently have to navigate corners and bends on your delivery routes, these could be the right choice for you.
  • Ultra-high-performance all-season tires: These all-season tires are intended for performance sedans and even sports cars, so they are unlikely to suit your needs as a transporter.
  • Summer tires: Because these tend to have similar speed ratings to ultra-high-performance all-season tires, telling them apart may present a challenge. One clue is that summer tires don’t display M&S (mud and snow) designations on their sidewalls.
  • All-season, all-terrain truck tires: These tires are bigger in size and can carry and tow the larger loads typically transported by light-duty pickup trucks and SUVs. To navigate more extreme terrain under such loads, these tires have greater off-road traction, thanks to more pronounced tread patterns. The words “all-terrain” or “A/T” are frequently included in the model names of these tires.
  • Winter/snow tires: Look for the mountain and snowflake symbols on the sidewalls of these tires, ideal for transporters working in Canada’s snowy provinces. You’ll notice that the tread pattern on winter/snow tires is more intricate, characterised by numerous slits (known as sipes), than that on regular all-season tires. Note that this type of tire should always get replaced as a full set, rather than one-by-one.

Use accurate tire ratings to inform your choice

If you are wondering which tire brand is best for your daily driver, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The answer very much depends on your needs and budget. Fortunately, numerous reports on the various tire brands, types, and their ratings are published annually. Including this information in your pre-purchase research will help you to make the best possible decision when replacing the tires on your daily driver. Lastly, don’t forget about the spare you’ll need to ensure that you always have a suitable tire that can get you back on the road quickly when out on deliveries.