Tire manufacturers are working harder than ever to find a niche that makes their tires superior over other brands. These engineered tires are being designed for specific vehicles and weather applications. And although so many computer engineered and exotic tires are being developed, how many people are actually running on them? Let’s discuss the all-season conundrum and the diverse tires on the market in greater detail, below.
Tires are being developed which are a cross between an all-season tire and a winter tire. They have some sipes which bite into the road in the cold weather and still hold up well in all temperatures. Most snow tires seem to wear out quickly as the weather warms up because they are made of a special rubber that stays supple in cold weather.
Although it seems like there is only so far that you can stretch a tire for one application without losing the benefits of another, tire manufacturers are trying their best to find the ideal hybrid mix. Yet, you will probably only see these tires in a magazine that features special order tires and for a limited number of models.
Cheap Versus Pricey
Most of the difference in quality tires and cheap tires is the quality of the rubber. A higher-quality tire will stay gummy and grip the road better in the particular temperature ranges that it is designed to perform in. This softness of the ride can eliminate some of the road vibrations and may even transfer more power to the wheels because the traction is improved. Cheap tires can feel hard and slick when the weather is bad. They’ll slide around like hockey pucks and don’t seem to dampen the ride at all but instead magnify every detail.
Tires are even being engineered for high-end sports cars. These tires are specifically designed to lay down more rubber without smoking and burning up. Before the engineering of these tires, it was hard for any vehicle pushing more than 500 horsepower to maintain any edge because the wheels would spin too much and slip. The new compounds are playing a pivotal role in racing and street performance vehicles that kick out upwards of 800 horsepower. Most of these exotic tires are engineered specifically for a production model and available at the time of purchase as standard equipment. These limited contracts make it hard to get your hands on a set of high-performance tires if you are tuning your own vehicle to kick out serious power.
Formula 1 racing has maintained a love affair with different tire compounds for decades. The type of tires that a driver uses can mean a huge difference in lap times and performance. The temperature of the track and the level of friction heat at any given time are constantly being monitored to improve the engineering.
Run-flat tires are more expensive than regular tires but may just save your life. If you are someone who does a lot of highway driving, experiencing a blowout at high speeds can be a fatal mistake. Run-flat tires are used in bulletproof cars, as well, so that the occupants of the vehicle can shuttle off to safety even if they were being heavily fired upon.
A run-flat tire has an internal center ring or a rigid sidewall that allows it to drive along and mitigate the loss of control that occurs with a flat at high speeds. They are about as effective as replacing your flat tire with a donut when it pops and can definitely save drivers from injury and the inconvenience of being stranded.
Low Rolling-Resistance Tires
Low rolling-resistance tires can help you reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 15 percent. These tires are engineered to roll smoother, with less resistance. This saves your vehicle from having to get over that small hump or lump in your tire of deformation at every degree of rotation.
Although low rolling-resistance tires seem like a no-brainer that everyone should be buying for the fuel savings alone, they are hard to find for many models. This is the chief problem with low rolling-resistance tires. Few people are aware that they exist or where to get them even if they do want a set.
If you have ever hydroplaned on a highway at night in a severe thunderstorm, you know how scary it can be. And while there are tires out there which have a V-shaped pattern in the directional treads to efficiently channel water away from the tire, these tires can also be hard to find for many models.
For people who live in areas that experience tropical rains and lots of pooling on the roads, you would think that they’d be selling like hotcakes. It is just one of those weak spots in the industry that drivers are not being educated and not being marketed premium tires hard enough to fill the logical market demand.