Choosing the right car tires is crucial to your vehicle's performance. Not only does your car need the proper size, but it can also be affected by different weather conditions. For example, if you're buying winter tires, you'll want to make sure they're compatible with your vehicle's braking and handling systems. While it may be tempting to try and save a few bucks by buying two sets of tires, it's much more cost-effective to buy an all-season tire set. Depending on the manufacturer, these tire sets often last more than 100,000 miles, which is more than a year's worth of driving.
Tires have many different components, but there are three main categories that are commonly used to describe a tire's features. Each category consists of a different set of specifications, which vary by manufacturer. However, the general concept of a tire remains the same. Each tire has a certain number of plies, a tread pattern, and a speed rating. The tire's aspect ratio is also an important factor. A lower profile tire will resist cornering forces better. The sidewall is made up of fine steel cords bonded into the rubber, which provides strength and protection from road impact.
The speed rating, or the ability of a tire to perform at a certain speed, is an indicator of the maximum speed the tire can safely handle. Some tires also have a traction rating, which indicates the ability of the tire to provide a good grip on wet surfaces. The DOT has a system to track the production of tires and track defective ones. Usually, the first two digits indicate the week that the tire was made. The second two digits show the year of manufacture.
The tread pattern on a tire is an important part of a tire's design. It provides grip and abrasion resistance, and helps protect the tire from punctures. There are also sipes, which are thin slits on the surface of the tread, which can be used to improve traction in wet conditions.
The bead, or the area of the tire that seals it to the wheel, is also an important part of the design. The bead is composed of large mono-filament steel cords that are wrapped into a ribbon-type configuration. They are usually laid out at a 90 degree angle from the direction of travel. The bead also serves to prevent the tire from deforming.
The inner liner, or the area that protects the bead from the outside world, is an air-tight layer of synthetic rubber that helps maintain the tire's pressure. It also helps improve fuel economy.
The sidewall is another important part of the tire. It carries the weight of the car and provides protection from curbs and road debris. A sidewall that is too short will affect steering response, while a too-long sidewall will reduce the amount of grip the tire has.
There are actually over 200 different materials that can be used to make a tire. Some of the more popular types include natural rubber, nylon, and polyester. The design of a tire also varies by manufacturer. Almost all passenger car tires are built with radial construction. A few are designed for specific vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks. All-terrain tires are built with a more aggressive tread pattern.