PERFORMANCE TIRES: Low-rolling-resistance tires boost gas mileage and improve handling in dry conditions. BEST FOR: Regions that rarely see snow or ice; high-performance cars; commuters. OUR FAVORITES: Michelin Pilot Super Sport ($280) and Bridgestone Potenza ($106).
ALL-SEASON TIRES: There's no do-everything tire, but all-seasons have smooth shoulders for summer driving and a lugged center for improved traction in snow and ice. BEST FOR: Regions that occasionally see snow; one-tire drivers; fair-weather skiers. OUR FAVORITE: Goodyear Assurance TripleTred ($175).
SNOW TIRES: Heavy lugs, thicker sidewalls, and hundreds of tiny cuts, called sipes, shed water and glue to icy roads. Get these and you won't need chains. BEST FOR: Four-wheel drive; SUVs; front-wheel drive. OUR FAVORITE: Bridgestone Blizzak WS70 ($170).
TIP: Get two sets of rims mounted with two sets of tires—performance on one, snow on the other.