Tires are generally referred to as the link between your car and the road. They help provide better traction, improve stability, and enhance your car’s overall performance.
But did you know that there is more than one type of tire?
Several different types of tires are unique in their way. So, now that you know about this hidden fact do you still want to go back to your old ways of shopping for just any type of tire?
Tires are a significant component of the vehicle, which is why they are so important to us. They are responsible for the safety and comfort of anyone traveling by car, and car tires have different categories.
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Good Tire?
- Different Types of Tires
- How to Select the Right Tire for Your Vehicle
- Function of Tires
- Properties of Tires
- Components of Tires
- What to take note of when purchasing a tire?
What Makes a Good Tire?
If you want to know what makes a good tire, you have to decide what you want a tire for.
You may, for example, want it for your car – if so, you are probably looking for something reliable and durable.
Or you might like it for use on a farm, where a rugged tire is more important than a smooth ride. If you decide to go with a farm tire, you have to determine how much room you have for maneuvering.
A knobby farm tire will work but will be cumbersome on the pavement, and a smooth tire would have more traction on pavement but would not work well off-road.
If you’re using the vehicle primarily for hauling cargo or riding around in bad weather, your priorities may be different.
Even if they are not, it helps to think about what other people might need from their tires and then see which of those qualities yours has.
So far, this sounds like an argument in favor of specialization: everyone should have one kind of tire and one brand of that kind.
But companies have found it hard to break the grip of conformism; it’s easier to sell consumers one type of tire than an infinite variety.
Some people may even be willing to trade some performance for variety. Good tires are made from synthetic rubber and are fully vulcanized. What does that mean?
Synthetic rubber is artificial, as opposed to being refined from crude oil. Fully vulcanized means all the ingredients have been mixed and heated to a high temperature.
Tires are made of rubber, steel, fabric (textile), and sometimes other materials such as carbon black or silica.
A properly-made tire has all these materials combined in the right proportions to make a supple tire that resists wearing out quickly and easily can handle high speeds and rough roads, yet is durable enough to last a few years.
The proportion of each material varies by tire type and use.
Tires for passenger vehicles come in several different sizes: P195/60R15, P205/55R16, P215/55R16, P225/50R17, P235/45R17, P245/40R18, P255/35R19, etc.
Each represents the size of the tire in inches (the first number) followed by the width in mm (the second number). So a 195mm wide tire is about 15 inches wide; a 235mm tire is a little over 10 inches wide.
Different Types of Tires
Several different types of tires are designed for a particular season or road; some are listed below.
1. All-Season Tires
The first type of tire is the All-season Tire. The all-season tire is designed to provide traction in wet and dry conditions and some ability to handle light snow or slush.
They are generally made from a softer rubber compound that wears out faster than the harder rubber compounds used in performance tires.
The softer rubber compound also makes them more vulnerable to damage from curbs and potholes. All-season tires are not intended for use in extreme conditions, but they can be used year-round.
All-season tires fall under the different types of tires that were initially developed as a cost-effective compromise to either buying separate sets of tires for different seasons or running the risk of getting stuck with no spare tire when a flat occurs on the road.
All-season tires are made of harder rubber than summer tires. They’re suitable for light snow and for driving at low temperatures down to about 15°F (-9°C).
If you live somewhere where the temperature never drops below freezing, all-season tires should give you good traction year-round.
If you live someplace like Chicago or New York City, where it can get pretty cold in winter, though, an all-season tire might not cut it when temperatures drop below 15°F (-9°C).
2. Summer Tires
Summer tires are intended for warm weather, and they’re made of a softer rubber than all-season or winter tires, so they don’t work as well in cold weather.
When the temperature drops below about 28°F (about -2°C), most summer tires become hard and brittle—like ice skates that have been left out in the cold too long.
Summer tires are fine if you live someplace like California, where it doesn’t get cold in winter. But if you live in a place like Chicago or New York City, where temperatures can drop far below freezing, they won’t work very well when it gets cold.
3. Winter Tires
Winter tires, however, are made of a harder material called ‘snow-tread.’ This is the tread that winter tires have designed for driving in snowy weather.
Unlike most other tire treads, snow tread is designed to grip the road even when wet from snow and ice.
Winter tires do not perform as well as summer tires when temperatures are above freezing (32 F/0 C).
This is because winter tires have less rubber than summer tires, and rubber hardens when it gets cold and softens when it gets warm; therefore, winter tires have a smaller rubber content than most summer tires.
This means that while they can be used in the summer months with no problem, they may be hard to handle at lower temperatures in the winter months.
So if you live in a place where you have to drive often on snowy roads, it would be wise to consider installing winter tires on your vehicle.
4. Touring Tires
Touring Tires are usually the best option for people who want to travel on their bikes. Touring tires are more durable, safer, and efficient than any other tire.
As part of the different types of tires, Touring tires are ideal for long-distance riders. They are more sturdy than racing tires and are made to last longer.
They can withstand high speeds when you need them to, but they can also deliver a smoother ride, essential for long-distance rides.
This type of tire is often used in trips that last for more than two hours at a time.
Touring tires ensure user safety and the safety of other drivers on the road because they have a better design that helps minimize blowouts and punctures.
These tires also have better traction, so you’ll feel safer during your trips.
Tourism is a big part of many countries’ economies, so improving the safety of their roads and making sure tourists do not get lost extremely important for those countries.
That’s why we see so many cyclists in places like France and Italy – those countries have taken advantage of cycling to improve tourism.
The perfect tire for such trips is the touring tire because it has all the requirements that such a tire should have: durability, efficiency, strength, and smoothness.
5. Track and competition
The track and competition tire is a highly specialized tire designed to allow the driver to control oversteer and understeer.
The track and competition tire is designed to work best at one specific speed (generally between 1-4 mph) and under ideal conditions.
The tires are constructed with a stiff outside wall, which allows them to hold the road even when they are sliding, and the inside of the tire is slick, so the car will not be slowed by friction with the ground.
6. Highway tires
Highway tires are the workhorses of your car. They’re designed to give you a smooth ride and long tread life on the highway, where most driving takes place.
These tires are long-lasting and more fuel-efficient than all-season or summer tires.
These tires are best for highways, but they aren’t as good as winter or all-terrain tires in poor weather conditions.
Highway tires are made to get you to and from work, school, and other places where you need traction. They can get you around the city during the week and on the highway during the weekends.
7. All-terrain tires
All-terrain tires are used on rough, unpaved surfaces, such as trails and fields. They provide better traction than regular touring tires and can be used in mud or snow.
All-terrain tires have a softer compound than touring tires, making them more flexible and have better traction.
All-terrain tire treads tend to be deeper than those of other types of tires, and the tread patterns are suited for muddy or snowy conditions.
Some all-terrain tires have studs for more excellent traction on snow or ice.
All-terrain tires are available in various sizes and widths to fit cars, minivans, SUVs, and light trucks. They are often marked with a “T” designation to distinguish them from all-weather tires.
All-terrain tires are designed to be used primarily at slow speeds on rough terrain, and at higher rates, they can’t provide the traction needed for safe driving on wet roads or in dry conditions.”
8. All-purpose or Trail tires
All-Purpose and Trail. Which one should you buy?
All-purpose tires are for street riding and light trails. They work well in most situations, but they’re not as good off-road as a trailer tire.
Some all-purpose tires also have a speed rating. The higher the speed rating, the faster the tire is when it’s new, but the shorter its life.
Tires with a higher speed rating wear faster because they are made from thicker rubber that flexes less at high speeds.
They also have larger knobs, which means they have more traction while new, but they can flex so much that they wear out quickly.
Trail tires are made to work well off-road and are more expensive than all-purpose tires. Some trail tires have no speed rating because they were designed to be used only off-road and never on the pavement.
Other trail tires have a speed rating and can be used on the road, but you’ll get better traction if you use them only off-road.
9. MUD-terrain tires
There are lots of different types of tires. MUD-terrain tires, for example. They have deep treads and are made from rubber that can handle mud or sand without getting clogged up.
Mud-terrain tires look pretty cool, but they are unnecessary for most cars. And they certainly aren’t needed on the pavement we have around here, and they are dangerous on the road.
If you are going around a curve in the street, turning the steering wheel is hard because the tire keeps going straight ahead.
Trying to drive fast on mud-terrain tires is like trying to run in ankle-deep water: you can do it if you go slowly enough, but you keep sinking in deeper and deeper until eventually, you can’t move at all.
10. Ribbed tires
Ribbed tires, also known as “knobbly” tires, are a great asset in off-road driving.
On hard surfaces, they are not so good, but for most drivers, who drive less than 5% of their mileage on gravel or mud tracks, the reduced fuel economy and increased road noise caused by knobbly tires are more than outweighed by the enhanced safety and improved handling that knobbly tires provide.
Many drivers prize ribbed Tire tread because it provides greater “bite” when cornering, which improves handling and stability.
Ribbed tires have been around since the early days of the auto industry. They were first used in the outer rims on horse-drawn buggies and wagons, and they were also used on the massive wheels of early railroad cars to provide traction in the icy winters of northern Canada and the upper Midwest.
Ribbed tires are the kind you find on motorcycles or pickup trucks. They have ridges (or “ribs”) that run around the tire’s circumference. These ribs are made by weaving fabric into the rubber before it sets.
The weave pattern and the size and thickness of the ribs are carefully designed to give a tire-specific property, like greater strength or better traction.
The tread of a ribbed tire is usually intended to channel water away from the contact patch between the road and the tire—which is where most vehicles lose traction in wet weather.
So if you’re driving in a downpour and suddenly notice that your car is doing well, you can thank those little grooves in your tires.
11. Sport truck tires
Sport truck tires are usually made of two or three layers of rubber. The outer layer has a solid and sticky texture, which is how it gets the grip needed to drive off-road.
The middle layer has grooves that let air into the inner rubber to provide cushioning and control.
The tread design is very important in sport truck tires. One manufacturer might use deeper treads to increase traction, while another might make them shallower to let more water drain away. Deep treads also tend to increase noise, however.
And different grooves can be used for different purposes. One brand might have larger grooves for better drainage, while another might have smaller ones for less rolling resistance on the road.
Another feature comes into play when you drive at high speeds in wet weather: siping or small grooves cut into the rubber surface between the treads.
This makes it easier for water to escape from under the tire, helping it keep traction on the road.
12. Trailer tires
Trailer tires present some special challenges. They have to support a lot of extra weight, both from the trailer itself and from the cargo you carry in it.
They also have to last long enough to get you home in case of a flat tire, which can be 120 miles or more from where you had the flat.
Trailer tires may have as many as eight separate belts inside them, each made from two or three layers of rubber.
Manufacturers put all those belts in there for a reason: The more belts there are, the stronger the sidewalls can be, making trailer tires stronger than car tires and better able to handle heavier loads.
To make up for that strength, though, trailer tires need more-stiff rims; otherwise, they’d bulge out too much at high speeds.
So when you buy a used trailer and need new tires, you probably have to buy new rims too.
There are three basic types of tires used to pull trailers: Continuous, Interco, and Bias Ply.
Continuous tires have a layer of steel mesh or cord underneath the tread. They are sometimes called belted tires, and the continuous layer is the belt in “belted tire.”
Interco tires have two belts under the tread. Mostly they are made by putting two layers of rubber onto a cord carcass, with one layer on each side of the cords.
The cords are visible on the outside at low inflation pressure. The cords can be seen through the rubber at higher inflation pressure as a darker area running around the tread block.
These tires sometimes have a metal cap over each tread block to reinforce them.
Interco tires are designed to carry heavier loads than continuous tires with less stiffening structural members (belt or ply) inside the tire and be run at higher inflation pressures.
They are designed for longevity and durability for trucks with severe duty applications such as logging and construction equipment, dump trucks, etc., which often carry heavier loads than cars and light trucks.
Interco-type trailer tires usually come in only one size per load range, but different load ranges may fit several different rim diameters.
How to Select the Right Tire for Your Vehicle
The type of tire right for you depends on your vehicle, where you live, how and when you use your vehicle and your budget.
- The tread pattern of a tire is the arrangement of grooves and sipes that help grip the road’s surface in wet and dry conditions. The tread patterns can vary from simple to complex, depending on the surface type. Choosing a pattern will depend on what the tire is being used for:
- Street tires have a tread pattern designed to work well on asphalt roads. They are designed for everyday driving, but they are not as suitable for off-road driving as other types.
- Touring tires have a tread pattern designed to be slightly more aggressive than street tires, giving slightly better performance in wet conditions without compromising stability. They are also designed for everyday driving and may be labeled as all-season or year-round tires.
- Turf tires have a special tread pattern with closely packed grooves designed to cut through the water, so they do not cause a hydroplaning effect (when the smooth flow of water over a tire’s tread blocks causes the tire to lose contact with the surface, it is driving on and skid).
Function of Tires
- It absorbs shock during motion
- It helps to get the best acceleration and braking
- Supports the load on vehicles
- It enables to take turns to left or right
Properties of Tires
- Minimum power consumption: – Tire transmits power from engine to road to offer minimum power loss in the tire to get better efficiency.
- Non-skidding: – Tire should have a good grip to overcome skidding.
- Noise resistant: – Noise level should be minimum from the tire while driving.
- Optimum Load carrying capacity: – The tire size and material should be chosen so that it can carry vehicle load and withstand fluctuating stress during the revolution.
- Balancing: – The weight and dimensions of all tires must be dynamically balanced to offer a smooth ride when moving on the road.
Components of Tires
The belts are made of polyester or nylon. They are the webbing that covers the outside of the tire. While the tire is being used, the heat and pressure of driving make them bond to the surface of the rubber. If you buy a new tire, it has no belts yet, so you need to get them from your local dealer.
Tread is the part that touches the road. It wears out faster than the rest of the tire because it constantly flexes and scrapes against the ground.
Tread comes in different patterns, each with its advantages. Ribbing on the tire holds water to prevent hydroplaning when there’s a lot of standing water on the road.
Grooves channel water away from the tire, so it doesn’t hydroplane as easily. Tread is sold in rolls and can be customized for a particular market.
Tread also has to be tough enough not to crack or tear under pressure from the weight of a vehicle, but it also has to be flexible enough to make contact with the road.
Filler is the portion of your tire that does not have tread on it. It is sometimes also called the carcass, but it is often used for pickup trucks and large SUVs.
When you need new tires, you need to get the right filler. There are several different types of filler, which vary in price and quality.
Some people prefer a stiffer filler because it makes their car feel more responsive and improves handling. Others like the softer stuff because it gives them a smoother ride.
The softest filler is made from recycled tire rubber, causing your car to overheat in traffic jams or during hot weather.
The best way to tell whether you have too much or too little filler is by examining your treads.
If they are worn down to the cords, you have too little filler; if your tires have bubbled up in places, you have too much filler.
This can be corrected by replacing one or both fillers with a more suitable material. The amount of time this will take; depends on how much material needs to be replaced.
Rubber is used in every tire, from sports cars to tractors.
The rubber in tires comes from plants in the rubber family, which grow worldwide. The rubber trees of central and South America have the highest yield, but Africa and Southeast Asia have higher-quality rubber.
China is now the biggest producer of natural rubber, followed by Thailand and Indonesia. Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Brazil are also big producers of rubbers.
What to take note of when purchasing a tire?
The more you pay for a tire, the higher quality it will be. However, you will also have to pay more for it as well.
When making a purchase, make sure that you look at the price and compare it with the levels of quality.
The following are some tips that can help you in the tire selection process:
- Make sure that you know what type of tires you need before getting them. This is because several types of tires can be used on your vehicle, and not all of them are made to cater to all terrains. If you do not know what type of tires you need, then be sure to take note of this when going to buy one so that you can choose one which is appropriate for the terrain your vehicle will be driving on.
- Your vehicle’s style should also be taken into consideration when buying a tire for your vehicle. This is because of different types of tires for different vehicles with different styles. For example, those who drive trucks should purchase truck tires, while those who drive sedans should purchase sedan tires. You may also want to consider purchasing bigger tires if your vehicle tends to carry heavy loads as they will provide more cushioning and less chance of getting flat while carrying heavy loads.
When buying tires, the first thing that you should know is the type of tire you need. You don’t want to get a high-performance winter tire for smooth, dry roads in summer, which can be dangerous for you and your car.
Car performance advances directly relate to how tires are manufactured and sold.
There are many different types of tires on the market that you can choose from; a good number of these types of tires have been compiled in this article.