A woefully under appreciated part of the care are the humble tires. Typically outshined by the engine and other impressive mechanical components, tires are easily as important if not more so. Considering that the tires on a car are the only portion of the car that is touching the road if you want to keep it that way you should give tires the respect they’re due. While the engine creates the motion, the tires are what get you from point A to B in safe and correct manner.
What use is an engine if it’s power fails to transfer to the road? Much like any other component in a car, there is a whole host of customization available to the consumer. Ranging with choices from size to pressure rating, each affects the ride and performance of the car significantly. It’s extremely important how each of the different characteristics affects your car and in today’s article, we’re going to outline those effects.
The diameter of your tires particularly affects the stability of the wheel when driving at speed. Essentially, the larger the diameter, the more stable the wheel becomes when you’re at speed. The resulting increased diameter also makes room for larger brake rotors, leading to better stopping power. However, there is a good reason we don’t commonly see cars with large diameter wheels fitted universally: The larger the diameter, the rougher the ride becomes and the worse the car becomes at cornering. Another reason people tend to favor larger diameter wheels is that they feel they look cooler than smaller wheels. Therefore, when you run your tire size comparison make sure to take into account all the above factors to get the size that best suits you and your car’s needs.
Tread depth is all about braking and traction to the road surface. Overall, the deeper the tread on the tire, then better the grip to the road’s surface will be. Deeper treads mean that cars can better handle surfaces rougher than smooth asphalt more safely. This is why for instance, winter tires have deeper treads to allow a better grip on snowy roads. However, a thicker tread also leads to a nosier ride and potentially more fuel consumption. Since your car is gripping onto the roads surface tighter, it takes just a tiny bit more power to move it along and the tighter grip means that the sound of the road better resonates through your car to the passenger cabin. If you live in a hot and dry climate where you won’t be dealing with adverse road conditions frequently, then a shallower tread may be better for you.
tires come in a variety of degrees of rigidity. Typically, softer tires will grip the roads surface better, leading to better traction and braking. However, since they’re softer they will wear out sooner than their stiffer counterparts. Additionally, you’ll need to be a bit more careful about road hazards like potholes and gravel since softer tires are more susceptible to damage from these sources. Harder tires conversely offer less traction, but are overall tougher and last longer in trickier driving conditions whether in rough terrain or at high speeds.
tire width combines heavily with your car’s suspension in how they affect the ride. Specifically, you need to match your suspension to your tires width or else you may be placing yourself in harm’s way. While it seems obvious that wider tires provide better grip to a roads surface, make sure to consult with a qualified technician as to what’s appropriate for your car and style of driving.
Whether over or under-inflated, tire pressure significantly affects your ride. That’s why it’s always you recommend you take the time to check whether your tires are correctly inflated. It’s not hard to do if your tires are over inflated, then your tire looks to only be touching the road by the middle strip of the tire. Under-inflated tires look saggy and flat. tires not inflated properly can have their grip adversely affected and the resulting loss of traction and grip is not to be desired. Additionally, incorrect inflation means you’re burning a deeper hole in your wallet since your car will be less fuel efficient on incorrectly inflated tires. Run your tires at their optimal pressure and your car will be grateful for it.
When preparing your car for a long trip, among other things, don’t underestimate the powerful effect tires have on your driving. They’re the only part of your car that should be touching the road surface and if you want to keep it that way, keep your tires happy and tuned to the road surface you most encounter. If you’re ever unsure, consult with a number of qualified technicians as to their recommendation for your tires. You’ll be grateful for it, and you should find a great deal of savings in helping to keep your car healthy for longer.