One of the most essential components of your vehicle is your tires.
The quality and safety of your ride are both largely dependent on the type of tire you have, so choosing the right set for your car should be a priority.
Engineers design each tire with a specific purpose in mind.
They’re something you should never skimp on, and you should always make sure you’re buying the right ones for your vehicle.
Some vehicles require heavy-duty tires, which are special tires that are meant for hard work. So, you might be wondering whether the LT tires on your vehicle are heavy duty.
Are LT Tires Heavy Duty?
Light Truck, or LT, tires are heavy-duty tires that arebuilt for hard use, rough road conditions, and heavy loads. Compared to regular passenger tires, they have thicker walls, stand up to stronger force, and are capable of carrying much heavier loads.
If you’re hoping to learn a bit more about LT tires and how they can work for your vehicle, you’ve come to the right place.
What Are LT Tires?
There are many types of tires you can choose for a vehicle.
For example, snow tires are meant for freezing, wintry conditions. Low-profile tires can improve your car’s handling and give it a sleek look.
Passenger tires are standard for sedans, coupes, and other smaller cars.
Light truck (LT) tires are heavy-duty tires found on passenger trucks, SUVs, and other larger vehicles that weigh and haul a lot.
They’re large, rugged tires meant for heavy-duty applications that put a lot of stress on a vehicle.
That means they can stand up to much harsher conditions than typical passenger tires.
LT tires can also support the significant weight of an SUV, truck, or van. These vehicles weigh far more than most cars, which means a tire that can hold up that much weight is an absolute necessity.
The sturdy construction of LT tires gives them the ability to fill that role.
Although you can put passenger tires, which are meant for smaller vehicles, on a vehicle designed for LT tires and vice versa, I’d strongly advise against it. You’d risk damaging your vehicle if you put it through conditions meant for LT tires, which could lead to costly repairs.
What Makes a Tire Heavy-Duty?
The purpose of a heavy-duty tire is right there in the name. These tires are designed to be put through the wringer on a regular basis.
That’s not to say you should intentionally go hard on your tires. Heavy-duty tires are expensive, and you don’t want to have to replace them sooner than necessary.
But just know that, if you need them to, LT tires will hold up to quite a lot of abuse.
So what makes a tire heavy-duty? There are a few reasons.
A tire’s intended use will determine whether or not it should be heavy-duty. The two primary uses you’ll find for LT tires are off-roading and hauling.
Whether you’re hauling a bed full of firewood or a recreational vehicle, LT tires are the only tires that’ll be able to stand up to the amount of stress such heavy loads will place on them.
Passenger tires aren’t designed for hauling, so not only will performance be poor, but you’ll also risk flats, tire aneurysms, and bent rims if you try to pull a heavy load.
LT tires are made of thick, heavy-duty rubber designed to handle the ruts, puddles, and obstacles you’ll encounter when you take your vehicle offroad.
Although they might make the ride a bit bumpy, they’ll help protect your shocks and vehicle from harsh impact.
In addition, LT tires are great for maintaining control in bad weather.
Most are considered all-season tires, making them useful if you often find yourself driving in the snow or bad winter weather conditions.
All tires are made of rubber. However, LT tires have a few key differences from passenger tires that allow them to handle heavier loads and rough conditions more smoothly.
Specifically, LT tires are made of thicker rubber than passenger tires, have deeper treads, and have stiffer sidewalls. In addition, most have an additional steel belt that helps keep the tire stable when you put it under heavy weight.
Pros and Cons of LT Tires
If you’re in the market for a new set of tires for your vehicle, you might be wondering whether LT tires are for you.
Since they’re built for heavy-duty applications, LT tires are ideal if you do a lot of driving in your SUV or pick-up or if you go off-roading often.
However, there are pros and cons to putting heavy-duty tires on your truck.
- Thicker rubber
- Support heavy loads
- Help reach maximum towing capacity
- Greater offroad capabilities
- Poor shock absorption
- Cause a lot of road noise
- Heavier tires can affect fuel economy
How Do I Know If I Need LT Tires?
There are a few ways you can determine whether or not your vehicle needs LT tires.
The simplest way to determine whether or not you need LT tires is to check your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Simply pop open your owner’s manual and see what’s listed in the “tire” section.
If your manual doesn’t specify whether you need LT or passenger tires, technically, you can choose which to put on your vehicle.
However, if you’re not sure, you can reach out to your mechanic for guidance.
Your intended use for your vehicle will also be a deciding factor in whether you put LT tires on your truck.
For example, you could look at:
- What you use your vehicle for
- The terrain you plan to drive on
- How much hauling you plan to do
- The type of roads you’ll drive regularly
If you plan to do off-roading or tow often, you should definitely consider LT tires. The same goes for if your daily drive involves a lot of dirt, gravel, or rocky roads.
Although passenger tires might be OK in some cases, if you have a larger vehicle, LTs will be your best bet.
If there’s no recommendation in your manual, but your vehicle tends to struggle on rougher terrain, then you likely need LT tires.
But just to be sure, you can talk to your mechanic about it to get a second opinion.
Heavy-Duty Tires on Daily Drivers
Most trucks and SUVs have tires that are larger than a typical car. However, if you have LT tires on a truck or SUV that you drive daily, you might find that the ride is a bit stiff.
That’s because the tires are much thicker than passenger tires, so they don’t flex as much on bumps.
Driving on LT tires each day won’t hurt them or your vehicle, but you might not be entirely comfortable.
So if you’re looking for LT tires for your vehicle that you mainly drive on paved roads, take some time to look up which heavy-duty tires work best for that type of use.
LT tires have a heavy-duty construction that helps them stand up to the most rugged conditions.
As a result, they’re ideal if you do a lot of hauling or off-roading.
Although heavy-duty tires might cost you a bit more, your truck will thank you in the long run.