There are numerous differences between racing tires and regular tires, in design, purpose, and efficiency. While every tire is built with a general idea towards performance in mind, this will differ from tire type to tire type. Before spending the money, it helps to know which tires is going to suit your vehicle best for the type of performance you expect from it.
Because stability and grip is crucial on the race track, a racing tire is made from a special polymer compound and two layers of particulate carbon. These tires must be made to withstand very high forces along with air resistance and loadings, while still maintaining a very light weight. They aren’t expected to last as long as a regular tire will, because with each turn at the track the ideal is the highest performance and not longevity. High heat is also a factor and the tire must be able to withstand the hot temperatures of the track. Slick tires are racing tires that are made with no tread. This is helpful on a track as more of the tire surface is in contact with the road and offers an even better grip; crucial at high speeds and when going around corners. It is impossible to get the same contact and control on a treaded tire that a slick tire offers. Another important factor with regards to racing tires is wet and dry conditions. Racing tires are made specifically to handle either one condition or the other. With regards to pressure, some racing tires are filled with nitrogen gas to help keep inner temperatures cool and increase the lifespan of the tire.
Regular tires are made using a durable rubber and aren’t expected to withstand the same pressures as a racing tire is capable of, but then, they aren’t exposed to that much pressure with typical city, highway or even off road driving. Partly due to their makeup and partly due to the use, regular tires tend to have a much longer lifespan than racing tires. Temperature isn’t as big a concern when it comes to regular tires, although pressure can certainly be affected and should be monitored during the colder and warmer months of the season. Regular tires must have a specified tread depth to be legal, and this is strictly adhered to. It differs from tire to tire depending on performance expectations and even between winter and summer tires, but there is a minimal tread depth regulation. Wet or dry conditions are each handled rather well by regular tires although they aren’t as masterfully handled as a racing tire which is built to handle either one with perfection. Regular tires are filled with air as a simple way to maintain pressure and performance.
The differences between regular and racing tires are numerous, as the tires are used in such incredibly different ways. Within each type lie still more variants, but this gives you an outline of the strengths of each.
Figuring out tire pressure isn’t complicated, but it definitely rates high on importance when it comes to your general vehicle maintenance. If you’re unsure how to check tire pressure, what tire pressure is optimal for your vehicle, or how to fill your tires, read below for some good information on tire maintenance!
When tires get low
You might not think it’s a big deal, but low tires can actually negatively affect your vehicle in a number of ways. Under inflated tires suffer from a far greater tread wear in a much shorter period of time than a well maintained tire. This can lead to unnecessary frequent replacements. Low tire pressure affects braking ability – and even more so if roads aren’t ideal. Studies show that a vehicle takes a lot longer to stop when tire pressure is low, often leading to accidents that could easily have been prevented. Gas mileage is also affected by tire pressure so keeping your tires at the recommended pressure can keep dollars in your pocket!
How often to check tire pressure
When temperatures fluctuate, tire pressure can be greatly affected. It’s best to check tire pressure at least once a month especially throughout the winter, but your best bet is to check them every time you gas up, or even during a quick walk around before you even get into the vehicle. You can check a few different ways; every day it’s a good idea to just eyeball your tires; it’s typically pretty obvious if you have a tire that’s low enough. The second way is with a pressure gauge – a simple tool available at any hardware store. The third way would be by a warning in your vehicle; generally vehicles are made with a built in sensor that will indicate when a tire is low. Some vehicles will even specify which one and by how much pressure! A general rule of thumb is that for every 1 degree Celsius that temperatures rise, your PSI goes up by .16. Knowing this, you can adjust tire pressure accordingly.
Reading your optimal PSI
First of all, understand that PSI is an abbreviation for “pounds per square inch”. Your vehicle will probably list the maximum PSI right on the tire itself – but take caution – this is not the recommended tire pressure for optimal performance, it’s the maximum tire pressure before you risk overinflating. The correct pressure will be listed elsewhere; usually on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door, or in your vehicle manual, but at times in the trunk lid, in the fuel door, or even somewhere in the console. It will say “recommended PSI” as opposed to “maximum”, and refers to the cold pressure. This means the pressure while your tires are cold, so it’s best to check and inflate either in the early morning or after your vehicle has been sitting in the shade for a while.
Have your tires checked by a professional mechanic whenever you have the vehicle in for repairs. Staying on top of tire maintenance is safe, economical, and will help ensure your vehicle stays on the road for years to come!
We spend a lot of time in our vehicles – whether we’re commuting to work or school, travelling, or driving for pleasure, it’s important to know that you’ve got the right wheels for your use and weather conditions. It’s best for them to be professionally installed; torque and wheel wear are all things to be considered when having tires put on, and your dealer has the knowledge required to get it right. You’ll also want to consider wheel size, width, tread pattern, quality and name brand when trying to decide what tire to go with.
Remember that no tire is good for the entire season; shifting temperatures and road conditions call for different treads and composites, and a tire worn year round will wear down fast. In order to get optimum performance out of your vehicle, and to maximize the safety of you and your passengers, no matter what vehicle you drive, you’ll want season specific tires.
As their name implies, these are the tires you should have installed for the fair weather seasons; they’re designed to withstand hot temperatures (and, in turn, hot paved roads) and wet conditions due to showers. Tread patterns on your summer tires are designed for water evacuation and to resist hydroplaning, so you have better control on wet roads.
Most people will think it’s the treads that are the main difference between summer and winter tires, and the treads do definitely differ, but it’s the type of rubber used in winter tires that provides the biggest performance difference. Winter tires are designed to withstand freezing temperatures, and the rubber compound needs to stay soft when temperatures drop. The treads need to both grip the road (or bits in snow and ice) and are built with grooves to siphon away water and keep more tire in contact with the road.
All Season Tires
Some will say that all season tires just won’t make the cut, but all season tires can be a good choice for some people. Their tread is deeper than that of a summer tire, and they have a good balance of features designed to hold up during cold or hot months. Think of the all season as a jack of all trades, master of none. They will do a good job, but aren’t designed to excel at any particular road condition the way that your winter or summer specific tires will. Overall, their durability can be long lived, and they’re good for a wide variety of vehicles and for the average driver.
Studded tires come equipped with small metal studs embedded in the tread to help your tire grip onto snow and ice on the road. The drawback is that they’re good for just these very limited conditions, but could damage roads (or your driveway) that aren’t covered during harsh winter months.
As of January 1st, 2016, all private insurance companies in Ontario were obligated to offer a discount to drivers that invest in a good set of winter tires (all 4 wheels must have them) for their vehicles. If you’ve invested in a set, check with your insurance company to ensure you’re getting the discounts you’re entitled to.
These aren’t the only things to think about when determining the best tires for your vehicle. Think first about the type of vehicle you own, as tires are built specifically with yours in mind. A truck, for example, requires a whole different set of parameters than a small sports car or family wagon. The way you drive is also impacted by the type of vehicle you own. The tires on a minivan hustling the kids back and forth to school and soccer practise won’t have the same wear as the sports car driven by a single trying to impress his or her friends by dropping the needle. Tires will likely last longer on a vehicle driven by a fixed income and financially savvy retiree than by a new driver in their first ever vehicle putting that little car through its paces.
Touring tires are great for comfort and are practical when it comes to an overall balance and dependability, while high performance tires are better suited for a sports car or for those looking for better handling at higher speeds, especially when cornering. You might be looking for a light truck tire that helps to keep you out of sticky situations when off roading, while if you drive an SUV an on-road tire with a high comfort level might be in your best interests.
The tread, width, tire quality as a whole, and rubber composition of course will all have an impact on how well your tire performs, and our professional team can help you to determine which will perform best for you and your family.