Car wheels are the only piece of machinery that comes into contact with the ground. Such contact should be reliable, and the grip – perfect. That is why car tires need timely replacement. If the tread is worn to critical values, you need to change the tires immediately.
The automotive industry does not stand still – dozens of new products appear every year. In parallel, the tire industry is improving.
Once there were only a few models of tires, and drivers were satisfied with what was available. The low level of ride comfort then was forced.
Now it is also not uncommon, but the reason is different – the wrong choice of tires. Reviews on numerous forums, advice of friends, and unique special offers – all this is unnecessary when choosing the best option of tires. The key parameters of tires are:
- tread pattern;
- personal characteristics of driving.
Given these three points, it will be easy to select the best tires, and the choice will please you for years.
Summer tires are designed for temperatures from +5-7°C and above. These tires have a less pronounced tread pattern. When driving in hot weather, summer tires cool and harden. Such tires are ideal for fast driving but on the high-quality road surface.
Winter tires are used at a temperature below -5°C. Differ from the summer models by deeper tread and often by the presence of spikes. When driving in the cold, such tires warm up and become elastic. Thanks to these features, winter tires have a more reliable grip, which increases the handling of the car and reduces its braking distance.
Winter tires last longer than summer tires, but they are inferior at maximum speed.
Winter tires are of three types:
- For mild winters (European type) – a tread pattern looks like a “Christmas tree.” Another feature is a large number of grooves.
- For severe winter (Scandinavian type) – a tread pattern is formed by “diamonds” arranged in staggered order. A characteristic feature – the elements of the pattern are quite far from each other.
- Stud – for better grip on the icy surface.
All-season (universal) – are used in the temperature range from – 5 to +7°C. Theoretically, such tires can be used all year round, which is economically profitable.
At the same time, practice shows that universal tires are inferior in quality to specialized options. Such tires provide worse grip compared to winter and are heavier on the road than summer models. All-season tires can not be used either in very cold or very hot weather.
Important: when choosing all-season tires, make sure that they are suitable for temperate climates. Quite often, there are tires designed for a hot climate with a small difference in air temperatures in summer and winter. Such all-season tires will not work for a temperate climate.
As can be seen from the characteristics, summer and winter tires are made of rubber of different chemical composition and are designed for the appropriate temperature range.
Winter tires at a temperature of +5°C and above becomes even softer, and summer by approaching to 0°C even harder. Both significantly increase the risk of an accident. For each season, it is necessary to have an appropriate set of tires – summer and winter. Do not skimp on your safety!
There are also such types of tires:
- Highway – used for driving on dry or wet roads with a hard surface. The use of such tires on snow or ice is prohibited, as they do not give proper grip.
- High-speed (Performance) – designed for high-end cars. Such tires feature enhanced traction performance and a high level of controllability of the vehicle. High-speed tires are resistant to severe temperature loads. Disadvantage – a short lifespan.
- All–season high-speed (All Weather Performance) – combines the qualities of all-season and high-speed models. Such tires, as the manufacturers assure, provide high speed of the auto in all weather conditions, including on ice and snow.
Essential parameters of tires: construction, resistance to wear and mechanical stress, weather conditions, tread pattern.
The latter can be symmetrical and asymmetrical.
Symmetrical – are of two types:
Directional – the axis of symmetry passes relative to the central plane of rotation of the wheel. Such a pattern resembles a “Christmas tree.” Remember that the direction of the pattern should be the same on all wheels. Tires with a directional pattern are characterized by its low noise level and are well suited for driving on a wet road.
- Non-directional – the axis of symmetry passes relative to the radial plane of the wheel. This pattern occurs in two versions: two “Christmas trees,” directed in different directions or pattern, devoid of direction. Tires with a non-directional symmetrical pattern are most common.
Asymmetric – combined version: differs from the previous ones by a different pattern on each side of the tire.
As a result, one side of the tire (external) provides traction with the asphalt road, and the other side is designed for dirt and snow. These are more efficient tires, but their price is higher. These tires are installed on expensive cars.
The key parameters that affect the performance of the tire are:
The inner diameter of the tire in inches. The key parameter that determines the possibility of installing a tire on a particular car: the diameter of the tire must match the diameter of the wheel disk. It is worth noting that some cars have diameter tolerances of +/- 1 inch; this point should be specified separately in each case.
In modern passenger tires the most widespread are the rim diameters: 12″, 13″, 14″, 15″, 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″, 21″, 22″, 23″, 24″.
You can find out what type of tire is suitable for your car from the operating instructions. If the accompanying documents indicate that 35 inch tires are needed, then these should be selected. Read our guide on 20 inch tires for Dodge Ram 1500.
The width of the tire profile is the distance between the sidewalls of the inflated but not loaded tire.
Width is one of the characteristics that determine the compatibility of the tire with a particular disc (the second characteristic – rim diameter). It should be noted that the width of the tire does not necessarily have to correspond to the width of the disc strictly, certain deviations are allowed. There are special tables that allow you to determine the allowable width values for a particular wheel; also, such recommendations can be specified in the documentation for a particular car.
In the modern market such variants of tires on width are presented: 135 mm, 145 mm, 155 mm, 165 mm, 175 mm, 185 mm, 195 mm, 205 mm, 215 mm (8.5″), 225 mm, 235 mm, 240 mm (9.5″), 245 mm, 255 mm, 265 mm (10.5″), 275 mm, 285 mm, 290 mm (11.5″), 295 mm, 305 mm, 315 mm, 320 mm (12.5″), 325 mm, 335 mm, 345mm (13.5″) and over 345 mm.
The height of the tire profile. This parameter is usually specified as a percentage of the width since the practical value is not the height itself, but its ratio to the width of the profile.
In general, the lower the profile – the more stable the tire, the better it is suitable for high-speed driving on flat roads. Higher profiles, in turn, work better on uneven surfaces and overcoming obstacles, due to which they are good for bad roads and off-road. If we talk about specific figures, today on the market are mainly such options:
- Low profile tires: 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%;
- Mid-profile: 45%, 50%, 55%, 60%;
- High profile: 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 82%, 85%, and 90% or more.
Recommended parameters of tires are specified in the technical documentation to the car. A significant deviation from the manufacturer’s stated parameters is not recommended: a change within 1-2 sizes will not have a significant impact on the performance. If the rubber is significantly different from the factory-supplied, expect significant changes. Buying too large tires, be prepared for increased fuel consumption and problems with the chassis due to increased unsprung weight. By choosing a smaller rubber, prepare for the deterioration of the quality of grip, reduced comfort, and permeability.
To buy the right tires, you need to be able to decipher the markings that are present on the sidewall of each model. Consider this on a specific example: 195/65 R15 91 T XL
- 195 – tire width in mm.
- 65 – the ratio of profile height to width in %.
- R – the radial design.
- 15 – the diameter in inches.
- 91 – load index on one wheel.
- T – index of the maximum permissible speed of the tire.
- XL or Extra Load – reinforced tire, load index of which is higher by three units than conventional tires of the same size.
Driving characteristics – the key to finding the best option
Manufacturers of tires took care of all categories of drivers. Prefer a quiet ride around the city? It is better to buy the appropriate tires and do not overpay for high-speed characteristics. Driving on highway tires is less comfortable, but if you rarely move slower than 90 km/h – this is the best choice. The use of tires for SUVs is justified for those who are often out of town. If your daily journey takes place on city roads, it is better to buy tires for such conditions.
Tires maintenance and storage
How to store tires? For the tires to last as long as possible, they should be stored only in an upright position as they set on the wheel. Yes, it is more convenient to just put them on top of each other in the corner of the garage, but this approach is difficult to call right (only if you do not store them together with the disks – in assembled form it is even better to store them, making a “stack”).
Before removing them until next season, the tires need to be cleaned of dirt, and also check if anything is stuck in the grooves of the tread. Do not forget to sign, what tire on what place was, and at the next “change” to swap the front and rear tires, so that they are equally worn.
From high humidity, the cord threads can begin to rot, consider this when choosing a place to store tires. Also, the place should be dark and cool.
Many people prefer to keep the tires on the rims in inflated form. In this case, it should be borne in mind that excess moisture is an excellent environment for corrosion between the disc and the tire.
As for constant care, nothing supernatural is required of you. Check the tire pressure once a month, and if you notice that one of the tires has become stronger to lower the air, you should consult a specialist.
Also, check the tires for objects that can get stuck into the tread pattern while driving. Pay attention to the degree of wear of each tire – it is better to change the tires before the due date than to wait for possible consequences.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated in the aspects of the selection and operation of tires. We hope our advice will be useful to you.