Do I Need Rib Tires?

Rib tires are designed with deep, parallel grooves that decrease rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Rib tires are designed for use in both passenger and performance vehicles, as well as commercial vehicles and light-duty trucks, like delivery vans and RVs. They contain deep circumferential grooves in the tread that make for even tread wear and help decrease rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency.
The number of tire options out there can make it rather daunting to determine the right choice for both your vehicle and your driving needs. But outlining the key factors of your driving routine—like weather and road conditions, as well as the typical load you carry—can help inform which tire is the right fit for you. 
Here to help direct you on everything there is to know about rib tires is
car insurance
and broker app
. We’ll go through all the details that will impact your ride—from weather and road versatility to average cost and lifespan.  
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What are rib tires? 

Rib tires are designed with deep circumferential grooves—or ribs—that run parallel to the tire’s roll, which helps decrease rolling resistance. This not only increases fuel efficiency, but the grooves are optimal for even tread wear and quieter rides.
They are often reinforced in heavier vehicles, like motorhomes and RVs, with steel beads and belts and stronger sidewalls in order to handle more load pressure. While tractors can have as few as one rib per tire to ease steering in loose soil, trucks and on-road vehicles will always have at least five
Though rib tires come in a variety of patterns, typically the straighter ribs can evacuate water more easily to prevent hydroplaning—making them good for both wet and dry traction. 

Rib tires vs. all-season tires 

Both rib and
tires offer better traction to handle inclement weather—with treads that keep moisture away from the contact patch to provide maximum grip. 
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that all-season tires are designed more specifically with passenger vehicles in mind while rib tires cater more toward light trucks and commercial vehicles. You can still purchase rib tires for passenger and even performance vehicles, though. 
In any case, neither rib nor all-season tires are as sufficient at managing winter weather as a dedicated
winter tire
. Though both rib and all-season tires can promise year-round traction in moderate climates, neither one is engineered to handle more than light snow. 

Rib tires vs. block tires

When it comes to truck tires, the most common tread patterns are rib, block, and lug—with rib-lug combining the features of the rib and lug tire. 
While a rib tire has smooth, parallel grooves, the block tire is patterned with individual lines of angled blocks. These blocks create more stability and better braking forces on the road, but at the expense of a louder and less fuel-efficient ride. 
The rib tire, on the other hand, creates less noise on the road, is less prone to skidding, and is more efficient at draining water

Rib tires vs. lug tires

Because rib tires tend to be smoother, they make for a quieter and quicker ride than the rough, lateral grooves in the lug or rib-lug combo tire. 
The lateral groove pattern in the lug tire creates more stability and brake power, however. It also has stronger traction than the rib tire, but with less driving stability
Key Takeaway Rib tires are catered more toward light trucks and RVs than all-season tires. They are more fuel-efficient than block and lug tires, but with less brake power.

How many miles will rib tires last? 

The longevity of a rib tire will depend on how regularly they are used and what type of vehicle they are being used on. 
A heavier vehicle, like an RV or commercial truck, can expect rib tires to last between 80,000 and 120,000 miles
For a commercial truck that drives regular, heavy loads across long distances, this would mean that rib tires would likely last around two years. An RV that is solely used recreationally, however, could see a lifespan of around 20 years

Will rib tires decrease fuel efficiency? 

No—in fact, they will increase fuel efficiency! 
Rib tires are intentionally designed with long-distance heavy loaders in mind. Their grooves run parallel to the direction a tire rolls, which decreases rolling resistance to allow vehicles to use less fuel to go longer distances. 

Are rib tires worth it?

If you have an RV or motorhome, drive a commercial vehicle like a delivery van, or intend to be regularly driving your passenger vehicle with something large, like a boat, in tow—rib tires could be worth it for you. 
These tires are engineered to improve fuel efficiency for heavier vehicles that drive long distances, while also providing a quieter, more comfortable ride. 
Rib tires are perfectly capable of handling wet weather conditions as well. But, if you live or regularly travel somewhere that gets ice or heavy snow, you’ll likely need some sort of winter tire

How much should you pay for rib tires? 

The price that you will pay for rib tires will depend on what type of vehicle you’re driving. 
A commercial truck will typically spend around $500 on each rib tire, while an RV will spend between $100 and $300
The cost will also vary depending on what features you choose to equip your rib tire with—such as steel reinforcements or multiple plies
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What type of tires does your car need? 

The right tire for your vehicle will depend on factors like your daily gas mileage, your driving preferences, and your regular vehicle load.
To help inform your decision a little more clearly, here’s an overview of the functions and costs of some of the most common tire types:
Type of tire
Average cost
Suitable vehicles
Suitable driving conditions
Average lifespan
All-season tires
$80 to $150
Passenger vehicles—primarily cars, SUVs, or minivans
Climates above 45° F
60,000 miles
Summer tires
$150 to $300
Passenger vehicles—primarily sports cars
Racing and warmer weather conditions
30,000 miles
Snow tires
$80 to $200
Winter weather—snow, ice, slush
30,000 miles or 4 winter seasons

How to find affordable car insurance

Choosing the right
car insurance
for your vehicle is just as impactful as choosing the right tires. Though the options may seem equally daunting,
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Yes—rib tires are designed to endure versatile weather conditions. However, if you will frequently encounter heavy snow and ice, you may need to switch over to winter tires for a season.
Rib tires are great for highway driving! In fact, that’s what they’re intended for. Because their circumferential grooves decrease roll resistance, they greatly improve fuel efficiency for long-distance highway drivers.
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