When people think about their car’s performance, they often think
of their engine, transmission, suspension, exhaust, or a number of other
systems. However, few people pay enough attention to their tires and just
how much of an impact they can have on their vehicle. Tires are extremely
important: they keep you stuck to the road you’re driving on, allow
your car to turn, stop you when you need it, and even influence your fuel
consumption. These are just a few reasons why it’s vitally important
that you choose the right set of tires for your needs. Each car and driver
is going to have different needs that influence their ultimate decision.
If you need help choosing the right set of tires for your car, then this
blog is for you. Here is a brief guide to the different sets of tires
you can buy and a few tips for when each is appropriate so you can make
an educated purchasing decision.
Summer vs. Winter Tires
If you’ve been around the automotive world for any amount of time,
you’ve probably heard people mention that they need to put their
winter tires on their car when the first sign of chilly weather starts to sink
in. However, generally these people are from northern states. It’s
no secret that the weather is quite warm here in Texas for much of the
year, and because we see very little in the way of snowfall, winter tires
aren’t really necessary.
Generally, winter tires have deeper treads placed in a pattern that encourages
them to “dig” into the snow that can collect on roads during
winter months. This encourages better traction in low-grip conditions
and makes driving safer. However, since snow isn’t all that common
here in Texas, these aren’t really a necessity.
Summer tires usually have a much shallower tread because they want more
rubber exposed to the road than winter tires. The more rubber makes contact
with the road, the better the tire performs. One of the most characteristic
signs of a summer tire: orbital grooves running all the way around the
tire. However, summer tires also have a downside: they tend to lose a
lot of traction and grip during wet weather, so be careful during summer
monsoon rains if you chose to go with a set like this.
There is a happy compromise between the two as well: all-season tires.
All-season tires are kind of a hybrid combination of both summer and winter
tires, providing better grip during low-traction conditions while also
offering a smoother and more enjoyable ride and added durability that
you find in summer models. Most average day-to-day drivers find these
the ideal choice because they often have a great lifespan, ride, and handling
characteristics while also offering better poor-weather safety.
Touring vs. Passenger
If you’ve been tire shopping for some time, you’ve probably
heard two different terms thrown around in regards to tire models:
passenger. Touring tires are generally designed for lower road noise and better handling.
They have smaller tread depths, and are generally softer, leading to a
comfortable ride, but one that’s also fairly high-performance. An
all-season touring tire is going to offer you perhaps the best compromise
between performance and longevity if you use your car as a daily driver
but occasionally want to have a bit of fun.
An all-season passenger tire is usually better for daily drivers or commuters
who don’t care so much about pushing their car’s performance
and just want something that’s going to last a long time and give
a smooth ride. These tires usually have better warranties, but you’ll
find they struggle to keep up in any sort of a performance application.
Want to have some fun with your car? Performance tires are the way to go.
These tires are generally designed to encourage maximum grip, handling,
and braking capabilities, but sacrifice in durability and longevity in
order to do so. Performance tires are generally built using some of the
softest rubber compounds available, which is great for getting the most
out of your car, but also means your tires are going to wear out much
quicker. High-performance tires are also generally more expensive as a
result, especially when you start getting into larger rim sizes.
There are four common grades of these tires: performance, high performance,
ultra-high performance, and competition-grade. A sports car owner who
doesn’t take their car to a track and instead uses it as a daily
driver but still wants to be able to have that sporty capability will
likely want to stick with a regular performance tire. Conversely, someone
with a drag-strip or autocross monster that
only runs during racing events should invest competition grade tires to get
the most from their ride.
Need help choosing the right tires for your ride?
Call HP Motorsports at (281) 231-9950 to speak with one of our Houston high performance automotive experts!