With just four tyres, each equating to around a footprint sized piece of rubber between you and the road surface, the importance of understanding your tyres becomes inevitable. At Tyres and More we realise not everyone is a tyre expert and can sometimes get lost in the technical jargon we use.
Save yourself the confusion when it comes to purchasing your new tyres by taking a look at some of the key components you should know about tyres, especially when purchasing new ones.
1. Air Pressure. Most of us know it is important to keep tyres at the recommended air pressure. What is commonly misunderstood, however, is the reason for this. It is the air within the tyre that ultimately supports the weight of the vehicle. An underinflated, or indeed overinflated, tyre becomes a danger when its ability to hold your vehicle’s weight is reduced, ultimately leading to a reduction in performance, lifespan and safety. To find out more about how to maintain the correct air pressure in your tyres take a look at our guide on how to look after your tyres.
2. Body Piles. A tyre’s ‘body piles’ refers to the numerous layers of fabrics used to make up the tyre body which is then sealed by the rubber we see on the tyre’s exterior. Generally speaking, a tyre’s strength can be determined by the number of body piles it has. For example, most car tyres have two body piles whilst large jetliners can have up to thirty! If you are seeking a heavy duty tyre, this may be one of the areas you need to look at. Contact one of our tyre specialists at Tyres and More to discuss the best option for you.
3. Contact Patch. Picture your tyres whilst you are driving; the contact patch is the small part of your tyre that actually touches the road surface. The size of the contact patch will vary between tyres, and as a general rule, the larger the contact patch, the more grip the tyre has. This is why tyres used for motorsports are often fairly wide, allowing for ultimate grip whilst travelling at high speeds. It is helpful to keep this in mind when comparing tyres, enabling you to choose the best option for your needs.
4. Sipes. These provide your vehicle with traction (grip). The sipes are the grooves or cuts in the tyre which, in wet weather or snowy conditions, push water quickly out from under the tread allowing for reduced slip and faster movement. As the tread wears down, the sipes become more shallow and ultimately less effective. For those of you who use your vehicles frequently, and/or travel in wet weather/snowy conditions you should consider a tyre with a zigzagged sipe pattern, allowing for increased grip whilst on the road.
5. Sidewall. When shopping for a new tyre you may come across tyre enthusiasts and specialists referring to their tyres ‘sidewall’ or even reading a virtually impossible code to break on the side of their tyre. Fear not, once broken down the code is not so hard to crack and your tyre’s sidewall will become an important component to your tyre shopping. Learn more about reading sidewalls here or consult one of our Tyres and More tyre experts to find out more.