Tyres have to be the most important component of a vehicle. Not only do they evenly carry the weight of the vehicle, but they are also the only element touching the road. The other parts of the vehicle, such as the engine and the brakes, all depend on the grip of the tyre for their functionality. That is why it is important to make sure you know their purpose and ensure they are up to mark, as your safety as the driver and the safety of your passenger depends on it.
There are four main functions of any tyres.
- Support your vehicle
One of the basic functions of the tyre is to be able to carry and support the weight of the car and the passengers inside. If the weight being carried is more than the tyres are capable of withstanding, then the tyres are likely to blow out. That is why if you think the weight you are planning on transporting is heavier than the car can handle, it might be a good idea to check the sidewall of your tyres, just to double-check that it is safe to carry.
Remember, the actual support the tyres provide comes from the air trapped inside the tyre. So, make sure to double-check your tyres and that it has the recommended air pressure inside.
- Absorb road shock
When driving through rough terrain, or a bumpy road with potholes, it is the job of the tyre to make sure that you have a smooth ride. These are done through the shock absorbers installed in your tyres. Their main function is to manage the unwanted and extra movement thereby helping the tyre to maintain its constant contact with the road. If the shock absorbers in the tyres are outdated and not up to the standard, the tyres will not be able to ‘bounce back’ after going through certain bumps, wearing out the tyre a lot quicker than necessary.
- Change and maintain direction
Another major function of the tyre is to make sure the car goes in the direction you want it to go, whether that is to keep going straight or to turn right or left or a U-turn. If any of the tyres is not aligned properly or have different treads patterns, they are likely not going to perform uniformly, meaning one might turn more than the other, making it difficult to control the direction. That is why it is important to pay attention to the tread patterns on your tyres. If they have a pattern of arrows in the center, they are likely to be ‘Directional Tyre Tread’ such as in Dunlop SP Sport LM705. These are great for driving in the snow and mud. Another tread pattern is ‘Asymmetrical Tyre Tread’. These have two types of pattern combined on one tyre – a specific pattern towards the outward side of the tyre and another pattern towards the inward side of the tyre. These provide high grip to the tyre, giving you more control while driving.
- Provide grip for stopping and speeding
Imagine trying to stop the car because the car ahead of you stopped for some reason. If the tyres don’t have the right grip, they will not be able to stop and make the car come to a halt. Your tyre needs to have a strong grip on the road for it to stop. Sometimes, especially in case of new tyres when they have a coating on them, the grip of the tyres on the road is not as strong as it should be, and the car takes longer to come to a stop than you expect. Hence, experts always recommend breaking in the new tyres to create more friction.
This crucial function is also controlled by the treads of the tyres. As mentioned above, the type of tyre you have depended on the type of car you have and the type of driving you do. If you live in a country where it rains often, making the road slippery, perhaps tyres with Asymmetrical Tread will be more what you require. However, if you often experience snow, then opting for a Directional Tread will give you the stability and control you need.