Understanding Your Car Tyre’s for Safety And Performance.
As the only things that connect your car to the road, tires are a crucial element in maintaining control of your car. In fact, your tires make a bigger difference in your car’s handling, performance and overall control than any other single component. The right tires in the right shape can help you avoid a crash, let you brake in a shorter distance, keep you in control if you suddenly have to swerve, and prevent you from hydroplaning and skidding out of control in water pools. Different tire models also provide different levels of ride comfort, road noise, fuel efficiency, and tread life. In snowy conditions, the right tires can even help keep you from getting stuck, not forgetting the offshore tracking.
The biggest difference between the top tires and average or cheap ones is how well they grip the road, especially on wet pavement. When you need to stop short or make a sudden emergency maneuver, a tire with great grip can make the difference between a crash and a near-miss. In a wet-braking test performed by Tire Rack, the best set of high-performance all-season tires stopped 22 feet shorter a full car-length and a half from 50 mph than the median tire in that group and a whopping 62 feet about 8.5 car lengths shorter than the group’s worst tire. That said, all tires are a compromise, designed to excel in some areas with trade-offs in others.
All-season tires: These are good everyday tires that are used on most mainstream vehicles. Normally, labeled with “M+S” for mud and snow, they’re designed to provide good all-around grip on dry and wet roads, and decent grip in light snow. So, in many areas of the country you can use them year-round, if you don’t have to deal with snowy roads for an extended time. They also provide decent ride comfort and can typically handle small potholes and bumps without a risk of a blow-out or wheel damage.
High-performance tires: If you have a sports car or other high-performance vehicle, you may need these even higher performance tires. These are typically wide, with short sidewalls, and are primarily designed to provide great grip and to really stick to the road in corners. But they’re pricey, and the ride can be pretty stiff. They are available as all-season or “summer” tires. The latter are designed to provide the maximum grip on pavement, but with no pretense of snow or ice traction. In general, the higher the performance, the less snow traction any tire is likely to deliver, so you may need to switch to winter tires if you have to drive in snow a lot.
Light-truck all-season tires: These tires are used on most SUVs and crossover vehicles, and they generally come in larger sizes than passenger-car all-seasons and have somewhat heavier-duty construction to carry more weight. Tire Rack and some other retailers are starting to call them highway light-truck tires to differentiate them from passenger-car all-season tires and all-terrain tires. Either way, these are your standard, all-purpose tires that offer decent performance in all types of weather. Most carry S, T, or H speed ratings and many have slightly higher profiles than equivalent passenger-car all-season tires for a better ride, more load-carrying ability, and better durability.
All-terrain tires: These are designed for SUVs and trucks that are driven both on and off road, and they provide a little extra traction on dirt roads, in mud and sand, and similar conditions than typical all-season light truck tires. They often come as part of an off-road package on many four-wheel-drive vehicles. But they can be noisy when driven on asphalt, and their handling and ride comfort on pavement isn’t as good as all-season light-truck tires. A subset of all-terrain tires is off-road tires, which are designed for even more grip in loose or rocky terrain, but have even more noise and mushier handling on the road.
Winter, or snow, tires: Winter tires have specially designed tread and rubber compound that help them get better grip on snowy and icy roads. But they wear more quickly than regular tires. These are recommended for people who often have to drive on snowy or icy roads. Because they’re designed with rubber compounds and tread designs that deliver significantly better grip on snow and ice than all-season tires, they can give you more control when the roads are slippery and help prevent you from getting stuck. The rubber of winter tires also stays more pliable in sub-freezing temperatures, so you get more grip even on bare asphalt in the winter. In normal road conditions, though, they don’t provide as much grip as regular tires and they wear very quickly. So, drivers who use them typically get them mounted on the vehicle just before the first snow arrives and swap back to their regular tires as soon as possible after the need is over. Winter tires come in a wide variety of sizes to fit passenger cars, vans, SUVs and pickups.