If you want to maintain your vehicle, you essentially must replace any faulty parts in a timely manner. One such part that needs constant care is the tire. Tires keep your cars rolling, and are also responsible for keeping you safe on the road while you twist and turn on tricky landscapes.
Composition of tires
A tire is made up of several rubber compounds and other materials. This composition is created keeping in mind that they have to provide safety and comfort to the vehicles during various demanding conditions. A tire is made up of:
- Body Ply: Body ply is the structure of the tire and is responsible for giving it strength. This is the part that takes care of inflation pressure. The body ply also provides strength and flexibility to the tire.
- Bead: Tire bead is responsible for ensuring that the tire fits properly (air-tight) on the wheel.
- Belts: The belts strengthen and stabilize the tread area of the tire.
- Innerliner: The innerliner is made up of a rubber compound and is used to retain the inflation pressure of the tire.
- Sidewall: It is used to cover the body plies present on the sides of the tires. It protects them from damage caused by the road and the curb.
- Tread: These are the patterns made on the surface of the tires that provide grip and traction on the road.
Different types of tires
Tires are broadly classified into types based on weather conditions, road types, and driving styles. The main types of tires that you can purchase for your vehicle include the following.
- All-season tires
All-season tires have properties that make them ideal for all weather conditions, except extreme situations. These tires are suitable for both summer and winter and can handle both wet and dry roads. All-season tires are also known as dependable tires that provide good handling in most driving conditions. These are fitted in almost all the new cars. If you are looking for a profitable tire deal, you should consider all-season tires.
- Winter tires
Winter tires are made with a special kind of rubber that remains pliable even when the temperature dips below zero degrees. These tires also have a thicker tread and come with more grooves as compared to the other types. The thicker grooves let winter tires offer better traction and control when driving on the snow. Winter tires also offer better control on icy roads, and substantially reduce the risk of accidents, as well as, the possibility of getting stuck. Some winter tires also come with studs. These studs provide stronger traction on risky roads. If you live in a place of snow and ice, sign a deal for winter tires.
- Summer tires
Summer tires are known for providing top performance in the summer as well as the rainy season. These tires come with a higher profile rating between 65-80 and have tread patterns that emphasize performance and reduce noise. Summer tires have treads that perform well on wet roads and they are good if you require extra speed. These tires are perfect for the areas that have a dry climate.
- Off-road tires
Off-roading is when you are not driving on a road but rather on rugged terrains. These tires let you leave the road and occasionally drive on wooded trails. They are ideal for jeeps and pickup trucks and let you enjoy an adventurous drive in mountainous regions. These tires come equipped with thick treads along with deep grooves that can cut through gravel, water, mud, and sand. Off-road tires perform on these surfaces by cutting and diverting the soft materials as the vehicle moves. They are also meant to withstand impact because they do not get the luxury of super-smooth roads. These tires deal with shard stones, ragged edges, etc. and therefore, they are puncture resistant and have a reinforced sidewall.
- All-terrain tires
All-terrain tires are designed to give you the flexibility between city driving and off-roading in an SUV or a pickup truck. These tires have deep treads similar to off-road tires. The treads offer added grip while they also have the traction, which is required to drive on smooth, asphalt roads. All-terrain tires may be a little noisier in cities as compared to other types of tires.
- Low-profile tires
If you spend a lot of time driving, you need a set of low-profile tires that have been specifically designed for handling and performance. These tires will let you enjoy long drives or long-distance commutations daily. Low profile tires have short sidewalls and wide treads. How does this help? The short sidewalls make space for longer rims and bigger brakes. This means you can stop precisely and quickly. The wider tread provides a better grip on the road and improves performance while turning on steep curves. Low-profile tires are popular for their looks; they look sleek and sophisticated and are ideal for luxury cars that have to be driven inside the city limits.
- Performance tires
Performance tires provide excellent handling and maneuverability. Both of these factors make them ideal for high speeds. These tires are made with special, soft rubber and strong sidewalls. Together these features provide the vehicle with performance as well as precision. Since the rubber used to make these tires is soft, they have a shorter lifespan. Speed and rough handling take a quick toll on these high-speed tires. This type of tire deal may not be good for you if you do not want to frequently change your tires.
Important factors to consider when choosing a tire
Buying a tire is not just about choosing the brand and the right size. Various other factors come together to give you a great driving experience while saving on the fuel front. Different types of tires are ideal in different scenarios and you have to be able to pick from among them. Yes, they all look similar but they are useful under different conditions. The following factors will help you choose the best tires for your vehicle:
The first step to buying new tires is to answer a few questions.
- What are the weather conditions of the area you live in/drive-in?
- Where will you be driving? City, highway, or off-road?
- What is your driving style?
Now let’s discuss these questions and find out the best answers in all scenarios.
What are the weather conditions of the area you live in/drive-in?
Car tires are exposed to every weather of the area you live in. They are exposed to sun, heat, and ice, wherein their performance gets affected by each one of these factors. If you live in an area where the weather shifts gear every few months on an extreme basis, you may have to toggle between two sets of tires. In other cases, it is ideal to choose a tire type that works well in the most common (extreme) climate condition of your area.
- Warm climate
If your place has warm weather all through the year, you can invest in a good set of all-season tires. These tires are manufactured by all the top tires companies in the country.
- Seasonal climate
If you experience extreme climates all through the year, such as the summers are quite hot, you get a decent amount of rain, and the winters get chilly, you should invest in two sets of tires: one set of summer tires and one set of snow tires. Or you can invest in a set of good quality all-season tires that are known to serve you well in all conditions.
- Severe winter
Severe winter means temperatures that go in minus and there is snow. If the place you live in experiences severe winter, you should invest in two sets of tires: one set of all-season-tires and one set of winter tires. An all-season tire will not help you when it snows and your tires may get frozen and rigid because of the severe weather conditions, resulting in severe damage and high risk.
Where will you be driving?
Different types of road conditions require different types of tires. The following are the factors you need to consider while buying tires for different roads.
If a major chunk of your driving is going to be city driving you should consider the following factors:
- Braking distance
Braking distance is crucial for driving in traffic. Purchase tires that provide optimum braking distance in all- weather conditions.
City driving is hectic on tires because of all the braking, starting, and stopping. It is important to buy tires that will give you a long life.
- Fuel economy
Tires that save fuel will help you navigate the congested city roads and several traffic signals while saving fuel money. These tires have low rolling resistance.
If a major chunk of your driving is going to be highway driving you should consider the following factors:
- Braking distance
Highways mean high-speed driving. So, your tires should provide you maximum safety with optimum braking capacity on both wet and dry roads.
Highway driving involves sitting in the car for long hours and that is why you need your tires to provide comfort. You need to invest in tires that take care of the vibration and noise level.
High-speed driving requires tires that offer off-road traction and maximum durability. If you do not consider this point, you will have to change your tires frequently.
What is your driving style?
Everyone has a different driving style. To enjoy your drive, you must invest in tires that match your style.
- Quiet and comfortable drive
A quiet and comfortable drive requires tires that offer comfort, smooth ride, and low road noise. In technical terms, you have to purchase tires that have a lower speed rating. These are optimized for better comfort while compromising on speed. You should never purchase a tire with a lower speed rating. Also, to reduce road noise, you will have to avoid aggressive designs that look cool but create a lot of noise.
- Excellent handling
If you are someone who likes to feel every curve on the road, you have to look for tires that offer astounding handling and steering precision. These tires are also known as high-performance tires and usually have high-speed ratings. High-performance tires provide better control and precise navigation.
Things to remember
When you set out to buy a set of new tires, keep the following things in mind.
- Choose the recommended tires; this means go for the ones that your car company believes are ideal for your vehicle. By doing this, you ensure that you get the right width, perfect radial construction, tire size, speed rating, etc.
- Do not forget to consider the weather conditions of the place you live in because the wrong type of tires can be unsafe
- If you own an SUV and plan to drive it on off-roads, buying all-season tires is not a good idea
- Buy your tires only from a highly acclaimed brand; they might be pricey but there are worth the money
Shopping for a set of new tires is as complicated as buying a new car. This job needs a lot of homework and a good understanding of tire types, driving conditions, and weather conditions. Take your time to check some nearby tire stores and ask them for good tire deals for your vehicle. Compare them for the price, quality, and other factors and pick the best deal for you.
Where to get good tire deals
Some of the places where you can get great tire deals include Costco Tires, Costco Tires, Sam’s Club Tires, and Discount Tire Direct, among others. Doing an online search will provide you with more options.