Advice Fact List

Advice: Why your choice of car tires is so important

Comments (9)
  1. jo archer says:

    Sorry if this sounds harsh but the site admins should remove this article.

    “Narrow tires, for instance, offer better grip” no they don’t.

    “the latter (a wider tire) offers less grip … it makes it better on uneven surfaces, such as snow and slush”

    Narrow tyres cut through pools of water better and will grip the ground below a deep puddle better if the grooves do not redirect the water fast enough preventing aquaplaning but that is the only time that occurs. Wider tyres provide more surface area and with that more grip. If there is tarmac below the slush, you want narrow tyres, if there is not then you want wide tyres.

    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned rubber types and winter vs summer tyres.

    Some of this info seems to have been misinterpreted from stuff read elsewhere and no-one should rely on the info in this article which is at best incomplete and in some cases dangerously misleading. I wish this site wouldn’t do any articles on safety stuff they don’t really understand.

    1. Dan says:

      Narrow tires offer better grip, YES, they do. Wider tires are only better for soft or loose surfaces that skinny tires would tend to dig down into. I am not talking city driving though. Anything will get you across town..

      1. Pete says:

        Ahhhhh no. No no no. As a general rule, wider tyres will offer more grip in the majority of driving conditions on surfaced roads.

  2. Rudy says:

    I don’t completely understand why a car manufacturer knows how much pressure should be in the tire, when the max pressure is written on the side of the tire and varies from tire to tire.

    1. jo archer says:

      The tyre manufacturer prints the maximum pressure that the tyre can handle, not the recommended tyre pressure. It is there so that you don’t use a tyre with a max of say 35 psi in an application that requires 40 psi. You can actually take a decent car tyre up to about 10 times that before it will break the tyre or wheel (yes the metal of the wheel will break first in some cases). The car manufacturer knows the weight of the car which is pressing down and changing the contact area. The tyre manufacturer does not because the tyre could be used on many different cars. Some will have very different weights and most will weigh more at one end than the other (engine weight). Long story short, trust the car manufacturer recommendation, the tyre company are giving you maximums, not recommendations. If you are treating them as recommendations then your tyres are probably dangerously over inflated.

  3. Alex says:

    There is also the point, not mentioned, about specific ratings tires have, be it speed load. Those are also important things to consider as well.

  4. Jibberish18 says:

    I really feel you should have gone more in depth on various topics, including winter tires. People just don’t seem to realize how beneficial they can be. Most people think a tire is a tire.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about why the choice of car tires is important. I liked that you mentioned that different tread blocks and patterns have different properties. I never knew that there are different tread designs for tires and that they do have a significant role. I’d make sure to check out my car’s tires and do some replacement if needed.

  6. xeeka says:

    As can be seen by the formula pressure=force/contact area, the contact area does not depend on the tyre size, but only on the tyre pressure and the load (part of car weight) on that tyre.
    The grip force doesn’t depend on the contact area, it only depends on the material pairing rubber – tarmac (tribological factor), as long as there are no fluids in between. So it doesn’t depend on the car’s weight ( a frequent misunderstanding) , which can be seen with the formula of the 2 concurrent forces when driving in a curve:
    u x m x g = m x vxv / r,
    u tribological factor
    m weight load
    g earth’s gravity factor
    v speed
    r radius of the curve.
    I.e. the weight can be eliminated on both sides, it doesn’t influence the grip.

    This is a simplified theory of course, in reality some preconditions may be failing, e.g. the tribological factor may be slightly dependent on the contact area, i.e. may be not perfectly linear etc.

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