Is It a Good Idea To Put Car Tires on an SUV?

You have probably seen car tires or passenger tires mounted on sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and you can’t help but wonder if it is okay. Is it a good idea to put car tires on an SUV?

There is nothing wrong with using passenger tires on your SUV. SUVs and passenger cars are both used on-road. Thus they have a slight variance in their performance needs. The main thing that you should consider is the intended purpose of your vehicle.

Because SUV tires are heavier and knobbier, they will allow you to haul heavier cargo and traverse different terrains.

Stick around to understand more on differences between car tires and SUV tires for you to make a sound decision whether to use car tires on your SUV or stick to the SUV types of tires.

Car Tires vs. SUV Tires

What are car or passenger tires?

Passenger tires or P-metric tires are the tires to use on your passenger vehicle. This tire is mainly for on-road driving and is not best for carrying heavy loads.

Among its best characteristics are quietness, fuel efficiency, and comfort. Passenger tires are more flexible compared to SUV tires. They have shorter and thinner sidewalls.

As far as tread design is concerned, passenger tires’ tread design is inclined to provide a comfortable ride. 

Passenger tires are way cheaper compared to SUV tires. This fact is why many drivers or car SUV owners consider using passenger tires on their vehicles.

What are SUV tires?

SUV tires are tires designated for sports utility vehicles. These tires usually possess some off-road capabilities. They are the tires that allow you to load up your vehicle.

These tires have thick and taller sidewalls, so they provide you with better occasional off-road performance. Of course, these tires are not entirely suitable for extreme off-road driving.

Aggressive tread designs also characterize SUV tires. They usually feature larger tread blocks which are the reason behind their off-road capabilities. It is also the rugged design of these types of tires that make their tread life longer.

Compared to passenger tires, SUV tires are more expensive.

If you want a more in-depth comparison of passenger tires and SUV tires, you can check out the differences between passenger tires vs. SUV tires.

Advantages of Mounting Passenger Tires on Your SUV

As vehicle owners, we always consider the cost of replacing our tires, and we tend to always go with the cheaper option. In my case, I always look first for budget tires which performance is not very bad. Then, I check the middle-priced tires next. The bottom line is: we always want to save money.

The main advantage if you mount passenger tires on your SUV is the economic benefit. Passenger tires are less expensive compared to SUV tires. Therefore, it will not cost you a fortune to get a complete set of passenger tires compared to SUV tires.

Another advantage is the level of comfort that passenger tires can provide. Among the best attribute of passenger tires is their capability to provide a high level of comfort on highway driving.

Disadvantages of Mounting Passenger Tires on Your SUV

If you decide to install passenger tires on your SUV, it is essential to realize the primary trade-offs.

As you learned in the previous section of this article, passenger tires are not compatible with carrying heavy loads. Whether we like it or not, we sometimes need to haul things using our SUVs. We will now think twice about using our SUV to carry stuff with passenger tires because they might fail.

If you mount passenger tires on your SUV, it will hinder you from going off-road occasionally – passenger tires could not handle off-road driving. So, if you know that you sometimes take off-road terrains, maybe hold the thought of installing passenger tires on your vehicle.

The tread life of passenger tires is also generally shorter compared to SUV tires. SUV tires feature a rugged tread design that makes them last longer.

Which is Better For Your SUV?

Now that you know the primary differences between passenger tires and SUV tires, it is time to go back to the question. Is it a good idea to put passenger tires on your SUV?

It is a good choice if your vehicle does not often haul heavy loads and only drives it on paved roads. However, if the primary purpose of your vehicle is to carry a substantial amount of loads, stick with SUV tires.

Passenger tires cannot handle heavy loads, and it will be dangerous and maybe not economical to force it on your SUV. Additionally, it may present some vehicle performance issues and put you in a difficult situation while you are in the middle of hauling things.

If you occasionally take your SUV on some off-road terrains, you need to install SUV tires. As previously pointed out, you cannot risk taking your SUV to off-road terrains with passenger tires. Passenger tires will surely fail to give you the off-road performance you need.

On the other hand, if your primary purpose for your SUV is to carry regular passengers or light loads, passenger tires would be a perfect option. It is the best option because it would save you a lot of money. As you have learned, passenger tires are way cheaper compared to SUV tires.

Generally, passenger tires offer a more comfortable driving experience than SUV tires because of their tread and sidewall designs. Therefore, passenger tires are your best bet if you are after driving comfort.

What Is an LT Tire?

LT (light truck) is a category of tire. These are tires for big vehicles such as trucks and SUVs.

What is a P tire?

P stands for passenger. These are tires that go on cars and other relatively small vehicles.


It is good to put passenger tires on your SUV if your vehicle’s purpose is not to haul heavy loads. It is further a good idea if you don’t drive your car on off-road terrains.

Passenger tires will give you some advantages like comfort and savings. However, it also has some disadvantages, including the load and terrain limitation.

When you decide which type of tire to put on your SUV, it is best to consider first the intended purpose of your vehicle and use it as our guide.