Car tires are the main connecting element between the road and the vehicle. They absorb vibrations and oscillations created by imperfections in the road surface, thus ensuring a comfortable and safe ride. The tires also transmit engine torque when the car accelerates.
Today’s market offers a huge number of tires from different manufacturers at different prices and characteristics. Often it is difficult for the buyer to make the right choice that will ensure his car to move properly. This article reveals the basic information that will help to make the right decision and buy car tires.
The markings on the sidewall of tires are quite a lot, but in general it’s not that difficult to pick up a tire. Let’s find out what numbers like best 195/65r15 tires mean, and how to deal with them.
- Types of car tires and their types
- Summer tires
- Winter tires
- All-season tires
- Types of tires:
- Depending on the frame
- According to the way the inner volume is sealed
- According to the type of pattern
- Cross-sectional profile
- What the tire marking means
- Cord Type
- Mounting (or Fitting) Diameter
- Tire Width
- Profile Height
- Load Index
- Speed Index
Types of car tires and their types
Types of tires can be divided by seasonality:
Such tires are allowed to be used if the temperature outside shows more than 8 degrees.Summer tires on cars are divided by tread pattern:
- highway – used for driving on paved roads. They are silent, good contact with the road, drain water and dust. Cannot be used in winter, and also perform poorly in mud and poor pavement;
- universal – suitable for both clean asphalt roads, dirt, wet grass. However, this type of tire is noisier than highway tires. They also lose in stability when riding on asphalt;
- mud tires – great tires for rough, stony roads, deep ditches, but extremely noisy. Thanks to the deep tread depth, mud and water are well removed from the wheel.
According to European practice, changing tires from summer to winter in some countries takes place from early November, in others – from early December. In Ukraine, there is no official act officially regulating the period for “re-shifting” the car. In practice, in conditions of temperate continental climate, like in Ukraine, change of tires begins approximately in the second half of October. During this period, just the first night frosts appear.
This type of tire is divided into:
- “European” – show themselves well in rain and wet snow, but are designed only for a mild winter or a winter without abundant snow and ice. The tread height in these tires is about 8 mm. There are soil hooks and diagonal pattern slots, which help drain water better.
- “Scandinavian” (“Arctic”) – tires for harsh winters with abundant snow and icy roads. The tread height reaches 10 mm. The rubber of such tires is very soft and does not change its properties even in a hard frost. The tread pattern is characterized by a dense slice, and there are also shoulder blocks with sharp edges.
- “Scandinavian” studded – due to the studs give excellent traction with the road. Great for ice. At the same time, at speed spikes on the asphalt can fly out.
A type of tire that is suitable for moderate conditions. Their performance characteristics are quite low in hot weather. Also, they are not able to show high traction performance in harsh winter conditions. Compromise option.
Types of tires:
As for the types of tires, they are divided:
Depending on the frame
- Diagonal – better mitigate shock loads when the car moves on roads with minor irregularities. They have a simple design, but are difficult to repair;
- Radial – have better traction than diagonal. Such tires also have higher load capacity, higher maximum speed, more radial elasticity and less heat.
According to the way the inner volume is sealed
- Chamber – consisting of a tire and a chamber with a valve. To date, this type of tire for passenger cars, manufacturers almost do not produce.
- Tubeless – are more reliable because of the absence of rapid depressurization. Easy repair of simple damages – for minor punctures use special paste, and the tire is not removed from the car. Give more mileage.
According to the type of pattern
- Summer – the main feature of this type of tire is to maximize the drainage of moisture. The pattern uses oblique deep lines, which are located from the center to the edges.
- All-season tires have an asymmetric pattern. The pattern closer to the outside of the wheel has the same execution as in winter tires. Closer to the inside, they have a “summer” pattern.
- Winter tires – most often the pattern consists of geometric shapes. Also on the tire, there are small notches that help the tire grip better with slippery surfaces.
- Low-profile – driving the car is easy, the braking distance is lower due to the large contact area;
- Extra-low profile – great for high speed driving, but picky for the road surface;
- Wide profile – good for high-capacity cars.
What the tire marking means
The type of cord construction – the power part of the tire, its “skeleton” – is also a characteristic that does not require much attention when choosing modern tires: almost all of them today are radial. This fact is denoted by the letter “R” in the tire’s marking: for example, the marking “185/70 R14 88H” means that it is a radial tire with the seating diameter of 14 inches, and not a “radius” of 14 inches, as they often mistakenly say and think.
Mounting (or Fitting) Diameter
This is also a simple parameter if you already have the rims for which you are selecting the tires: the seating diameter of the tire must necessarily match the diameter of the rim. If you choose the rims together with the tires, you need to check in the manual what diameter rims are acceptable for use on your model, and then match them with the tires of the same size.
Tire width is the first numerical index reflected in the tire marking. It is stated in millimeters: a 185/70 R14 tire is 185 millimeters wide. This is probably the first parameter on our list that can vary when choosing a tire for a particular rim or car.
The point here is that the rim can also vary in width, and the tire has to sit on the rim correctly. Too narrow tire will sit on the disk “house”, which is unacceptable because of the high risk of spontaneous disassembly, and too wide – “mushroom”, which is also unacceptable. Some tuning directions, like stance, consider “house” seating as beautiful and make it as a separate styling element, but from the point of view of civil use it is not justified and wrong.
Each car model has several variants of wheel diameter and tire size, suitable for operation. All of these options, recommended by the manufacturer, are listed in the manual of the car: it is worth choosing from these data. In turn, a disc of a certain width has several permissible variants of tires. Here the choice should be made depending on the desired characteristics.
Profile height, or series, is the second index shown in the tire label. It is stated as a percentage of the tire width: that is, it is the ratio of the profile height to the width as a percentage. For example, a 185/70 R14 88H tire would have a section height of 70% of its width. It’s easy to calculate the height in millimetres: multiply the width by the profile and divide by 100. For our tires, it’s 129.5 millimetres.
Profile height affects the performance of the tire. First, a higher profile provides better comfort and resistance to puncture. Lower profile tires, accordingly, better transfer the road profile to the suspension and body, and are also more prone to damage when hitting road surface imperfections. Secondly, a lower profile provides better handling, while a higher profile, on the contrary, makes the car more “wobbly”. Thirdly, as mentioned above, given the same diameter, wider tires have a smaller profile – this should be taken into account when choosing according to the desired characteristics.
Load index is a parameter reflecting the maximum permissible load on the tire during its operation. It is denoted by a numerical index, indicated after the geometric parameters of the tire: for example, our conventional tire 185/70 R14 88H has a load index 88. You may look for the index deciphering in the table given by the tire manufacturer, in our case the index 88 means the load capacity of 560 kilograms. When selecting tires, it is worth bearing in mind that the maximum permissible mass of the vehicle, respectively, must not exceed the maximum load index multiplied by 4 – according to the number of tires on the car.
The speed index is a parameter reflecting the maximum permissible speed at which the tire retains its performance characteristics. This is an alphabetic index, the deciphering of which should also be specified in the table provided by the manufacturer. Tires of the same diameter may have a different speed index depending on other parameters – width, profile, rubber compound composition and, accordingly, price. If the parameter of maximum permissible speed is important for you, you need to choose tires of high price category with better consumer qualities.