Does your driving style affect how your tires wear and hold up? You better believe it does.
If you put a lot of interstate miles on your car, that’s about the easiest thing you can do for the tires and your car’s drivetrain both. Tires and engines both love maintaining steady speeds for hours on end (provided the tires are at the correct inflation).
Here are some things that are likely to compromise your tires’ life, though:
- Frequently hauling heavy loads (especially for pickup truck tires)
- Frequently pulling a trailer
- Hard cornering
- Hard acceleration
- Taking potholes, railroad tracks and bumps at high speeds
It’s not surprising that heavy loads or trailer use would wear out tires prema ...[more]Read More
Soooo…it’s time to replace the tires on your late-model car. Maybe you weren’t that crazy about the original equipment (OE) tires, or you just want to try something different. Well, here are some things to consider.
The engineers and design teams that worked on your make and model of car selected a specific brand and model of tire for it. All of their formulations for ride comfort, handling, steering response, traction, noise and vibration isolation, roughness and overall performance used that specific tire as a benchmark (of course, the bid process for tires entered into it as well). A luxury car might have been designed around a grand touring tire with a quiet ride, an eco-friendly hybrid might use a low-rolling-resistance tire, ...[more]Read More
Over the years, manufacturers always field some concept cars at the Detroit Auto Show and others around the world. Sometimes they’re showcasing some great ideas, other times…not so much. Here are some standouts we noticed for 2014:
- Audi Allroad Shooting Brake – A “shooting brake” is a really archaic term for a small station wagon design, and the Audi Allroad is a sort of tiny crossover SUV…with a 408 horsepower hybrid drivetrain. This tidy little crossover looks like something that could actually make it to production and to car dealerships someday.
- Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Concept – This one also has a pretty good chance at production, with an unpainted sheet metal body and an assortment of stripes, flares and scoops to go along ...[more]
You’ll notice that the stamp on your tire’s sidewall specifies inflation for HOT tires. Why is that?
Pretty simple physics, really. Gases expand with heat, meaning both the temperature of a friction-heated tire and ambient temperature of outside air. A rule of thumb is that for about for about every ten degrees Fahrenheit change in air temperature, your tire’s inflation will fluctuate by about one PSI. In most parts of the United States, the difference between winter and summer temperatures can be as much as a 50-degree spread, meaning a potential fluctuation of five PSI. That’s not even thinking about the 20-degree spread between hot afternoon temperatures and cooler nighttime or early morning temperatures in summer.
Tires that are low by 5 psi will hurt traction, steering re ...[more]Read More
If you live in an area that gets cold enough and sees enough winter precipitation to warrant buying winter tires, there’s no substitute for the traction they can provide. Winter tires have come a long way since the heavy-tread, noisy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that were on your dad’s station wagon a generation ago. Modern winter tires offer better ride, road manners and handling than they did in previous years. That doesn’t, however, mean that they are good year-round.
Winter tires are designed with a tread formulation that stays flexible at lower temperatures, which is their chief advantage over all-season tires. All-season tires tend to harden and stiffen at sub-freezing temps, compromising traction and control. The flip side ...[more]Read More
Surely you’ve noticed the wide range of tread patterns and styles available between different tire brands and models. Here’s a brief technical breakdown of how they all work:
- Tread patterns: Tires are commonly designed with symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional tread patterns. Symmetrical treads are the most common, with ribs or tread blocks where the inboard and outboard sections of the tire come together and match. Asymmetrical tread patterns vary the groove pattern of the tire to help deflect water and snow in all-season conditions, making them a good pick for year-round use. The grooves on directional tires form a V shape at the tire’s center, helping to displace water and avoid hydroplaning. The geometry of the tread blocks and tread pattern is designed to fulfill very dedicated, s ...[more]
Hankook I*Pike RW11 Review
This affordable winter tire from Hankook is designed using their eco-friendly winter tread formulation, molded into a symmetrical winter tread pattern with a distinct center section and wraparound shoulder blocks. The central grooves on the I*Pike RW11 move water and slush away from the tire’s footprint for excellent traction. The I*Pike RW11 can be used with studs for extreme conditions (where legal), and is designed with a 6-row stud pin arrangement for minimized noise and excellent stud retention. The tread’s block stiffness is optimized and applied through the combination of wave and step kerf, making it an especially good choice for SUVs and light trucks.
The I*Pike RW11 delivers excep ...[more]Read More
Perfect for smaller sedans and crossovers, the Hankook Winter iPike W409 is an affordable winter tire that excels in snow and slush conditions. The Winter iPike W409 uses a winter tread formulation that’s compounded to stay flexible in subfreezing temperatures, for great traction. A wider footprint ensures a smoother ride and more stable handling and cornering on wet or dry pavement, with a dense pattern of sipes at the center tread for improved traction in nasty weather. A unique V-shaped tread pattern helps move water away from the contact patch to fight hydroplaning; the Winter iPike W409 can also be set up with six rows of studs for extreme conditions (where legal).
The Winter iPike W409 is a little noisier than many winter tires, ...[more]Read More
Lawn and garden tires, of course, are a different design altogether.
Think about what a riding mower does…it doesn’t ever go fast, it has to get good traction on grass, and it has to be gentle on the surface of the grass itself. Lawn and garden tires, then, are usually fairly wide to disperse the weight of the mower or tractor as much as possible. They also typically will use an inner tube and don’t have an especially robust construction since they don’t have to hold up at high speeds (believe it or not, there’s actually a designation in the tire speed rating system that applies to lawn and garden tires).
Lawn tires will usually have a turf tread pattern and balanced profile, for residential zero-turn mowers, golf carts, riding mowers, utility vehicles and the like, designed to baby the most delicate turf conditions. ...[more]Read More
Too much of the time, tires just don’t get a lot of thought…but they’re your sole connection between your car and the road. At no time is that connection more important than when wet weather hits. You can argue that most tires are essentially the same…polyester fabric, steel belts, compound of rubber, silica and carbon black…but there’s much more to it than that. Things like tread pattern, tread design and grooves all make a huge difference in wet-weather driving, and can improve your car’s traction and margin of safety. The enemy, of course, is hydroplaning – a film of water between your tread and pavement that can actually break contact with the road and send your car out of control.
An excellent choice for control and traction on wet pavement is the Michelin Pilot Sport A-S +, with aggressive direction ...[more]Read More