We’ve all heard countless times that your car tires are most important purchase for your vehicle. They are only a point of contact with the road, and their grip has a wide-ranging effect.
The problem is that we hear it so often that we tend to turn it off, but the message remains true. Not only do they save your life by reducing braking distances, but you can also shave seconds off your lap times – that’s the engine tuning you spend thousands of dollars on can be realized.
We all know this and many of us use a basic selection process when buying new tires. Consider performance, cost, reputation, marketing, and even appearance. The problem is that wrong decision can be disastrous. In addition, it can ruin months or years of hard work.
Tires are often overlooked, but they are a very important part of the car. Designed as a consumable item, worn tires need to be replaced. Excessive tire wear can adversely affect the handling characteristics of the vehicle and can be dangerous and unpredictable. Keeping your tires fresh, in good condition, and inflating properly is just as important as changing the oil. But when you buy a new tire, you have a lot of options! How do you know which tire fits you?
How can we know if we need new tires?
Aside from being noticeably disjointed or completely flat, the rule of thumb for knowing when a tire needs to be replaced is the “penny rule”. Take a penny and turn it upside down on the bottom of the tire tread. If you see your Lincoln’s head sticking out of the tire’s tread, you need a new tire. Most modern tires also have a wear strip, a colored line that appears when the tire wears. Tires that are driven to a certain level can make unpleasant noises.
Performance car tires
High-performance vehicles require high-performance components to function properly. And tires can be the most important motorsports tires of a car’s performance. Horsepower and torque are good, but they don’t land, what’s the point? When choosing tires for hot tires, muscle cars, sports cars, off-road vehicles, and even cruisers and food. It is important that the tire is tailored to your needs and requirements to get the most out of your car.
Tire Size – How to Read These Misleading Numbers
When buying tires, the first thing you need to know is the size you need. At first glance, tire size can be intimidating. It is usually printed on the tire sidewall as a series of letters, numbers, and slashes. Knowing how to read tire size is especially important if you have aftermarket wheels or plan to use a lower/taller tire profile or width! Most tire shops have a database of factory tire sizes for all kinds of cars, trucks, and SUVs, but the only way to know exactly what tires you need is to match the tire size to the wheel. Yes.
Load, speed, and other evaluations
Most tire sizes have different numbers and letters to the right. Here are your load and speed ratings:
This number is a load index that represents the range of loads that the tire is designed to carry. The higher the number, the heavier the tire can hold.
Speed ratings are assigned as letters that indicate at what sustained speed the tire is designed to run. Driving faster than the tires are rated is extremely dangerous. Make sure you are using the correct type of tires before heading to the truck. The speed rating may also be displayed before the “R” in the tire size. The graph below is from Dunlop and shows the various rated speeds and their maximum operating speeds.
Tires also typically have treadwear, traction, and temperature ratings. Note that these usually vary by manufacturer. A Yokohama tire with a treadwear rating of 400 may not last as long as a tire manufactured by Goodyear with the same treadwear rating. These ratings are best used to compare the different types of tires in a manufacturer’s lineup.
Tire Type: Summer, Four Seasons, Light Truck
Now that you know the size and grade of tires that fit your car, it’s time to decide which type of tire you need. The three basic categories are summer, all-season and light trucks.
Summer tires are generally high-performance tires designed to limit their use in wet conditions. Driving on snow or ice with summer tires is not practical. High-performance summer tires generally have a low tread wear rate and will not last long. However, their grip levels are excellent on dry surfaces, most of which are above the Z rating for high-speed use.
All-season tires are the broadest category. Some of these can be as powerful as summer tires, but all four-season tires must be able to operate in some moist ice conditions. Most people who drive every day of the year need to look for all-season tires. They come in a variety of tread wear and speed ratings, and some have almost as good a grip as summer tires.
Light truck tires sound exactly like that. Most of these are available in larger sizes with higher rated loads for towing and carrying heavy loads. These are generally all seasons and some of them are specially designed for off-road use on a variety of terrain.
Inflate the tire properly
Tire pressure is something that too many people overlook on the road. Maintaining proper tire pressure is very important for tire life and performance. The maximum tire pressure is always printed on the sidewalls and should not exceed this number. In normal driving, the tire should always be inflated to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer, but the pressure can be adjusted slightly up or down to further enhance the performance of the tire.