Which Tyres Should You Buy? Different Types of Tyres Explained
Our cars are versatile. They run year-round, whatever the weather and, depending on the model, they go just about anywhere. If you’d like to further improve the performance, efficiency, reliability or economy of your car, the first place to look is your tyres.
That’s because tyres aren’t just made to fit a certain size of wheel. Many tyres are made to offer specific characteristics and perform specific tasks to a high standard. This includes driving in freezing or snowy weather, tackling off-road courses and grassy fields or even running perfectly despite a puncture.
Here, we’ll give you the definitive guide to the various tyres available for your car, van or motorcycle.
Summer tyres perform best in temperatures above 7°C, typically in the warmer months between late March to September. Contrary to popular belief, summer tyres are designed to perform in the wet and dry heat of summer. The rubber compound used stiffens as temperatures drop which means the tyre reacts to the environmental conditions that are common at this time of year.
The supple composition also helps reduce roads noise for those long motorway journeys. The treads of the tyre have fewer grooves, but they are deep to reduce the chances of aquaplaning. Some British drivers are fine using them the mild, wet winters of the south of England. However, elsewhere changing tyres to match the seasons is the best option.
Whereas summer tyres will stiffen in the lower temperatures, winter tyres use a higher silica content and different tread patterns to stay flexible under 7°C. The optimum set-up for winter tyres is to keep them fitted to a spare set of wheels that can be swapped with your regular wheels during inclement weather. This is because winter tyres, though unbeatable in cold weather, don’t perform well year-round.
All-season tyres are similar to winter tyres in that they share a comparable compound mixture. The tread patterns are also somewhere in between summer tyres and winter tyres, with a moderate amount of grooves and sipes. They are great for covering all bases but if you live in a rural area that has snow annually, don’t expect the impressive handling characteristics of winter tyres.
Run-flat tyres are all in the name. If your tyre gets a puncture, the tyre will be noticeably deflated but it will be safe to continue your journey. This is because run-flat have either a reinforced sidewall construction or a large support ring on the inner rim of the wheel. Both of these features are able to take the weight of the vehicle in a run-flat situation. Make sure to get the tyre repaired as soon as possible, however, to carry on using it safely.
4×4 tyres use deep treads in aggressive patterns to increase friction with the surface its travelling over and reduce the chances of the tread becoming clogged with mud. Though they will increase fuel consumption and wear rate when used on normal roads, 4×4 tyres are worth fitting to your 4×4 if you live in a rural area and travel off-road often.
Take and extreme example; in Formula 1 racing, a racing team may change tyres every few laps. Why? Because their tyres are performance tyres which means they are made of a soft compound that sticks to the road better but also means the tyre wears out quickly. This example takes the principle to the nth degree. With street legal performance tyres, you’ll benefit from softer rubber that will make your steering, braking and acceleration improve instantly and you won’t have to change tyres every few laps.
Like car tyres, there is a wealth of choice when it comes to motorcycle tyres. What with the many types of motorcycle, from touring bikes to cruisers to enduro to classics to sports to super bikes and everything in between, there’s much to deliberate when it comes to bike tyres. We suggest you seek professional advice regarding the spec of tyres appropriate to your motorcycle.
Tyres Northampton provide and install a huge spectrum of branded tyres for cars, vans and motorcycles alike. Our professionals deliver an efficient and thorough service, and are able to deliver many types of vehicle servicing, including MOTs and exhaust and brakes servicing. To arrange a visit, or to simply find out more about us, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team.