Understanding Car Tyres
Estimated that at least 80% of tyre purchasers do not know that the design of a tyre has differing characteristics. And quite often, this leads to unhappiness with a set of tyre you purchased.
Before embarking on buying a set of tyres, it is important first to know your driving style and the opted characteristics delivered by them. The two key factors which are highly relevant to most drivers are water and noise. Water since it influences your breaking distance, especially in Australia’s weather conditions. Noise because it can be quite unbearable to hear your tyre humming and licking throughout the ride.
Sadly there may be a reverse relationship between a quiet tyre and a wet performance tyre, meaning a quiet tyre is rarely excellent in the wet condition, and a wet performing tyre is rarely quiet for riding comfort. Therefore, understanding tyre design could help you in deciding precisely what is best for your car.
Tyre designs can be broadly categorised into: Directional design, Symmetrical (wave) design and Asymmetrical design.
Tyres built with grooves in a directional manner will disperse water in the most frugal manner, which is outwards and away from the direction of travel to give you better road holding during wet weather conditions. And the wider the grooves are, the better they are with water dispersion. Nevertheless, wider grooves (in a directional manner) particularly generates the most road noise, since grooves are arranged against the travel's directions, which may result in air trapped, be pressurized, and continually release tyre noise.
Directional tyre designs will appeal to customers who can endure some level of tyre noise, and still have a preference for wet weather performance over driving comfort.
Later on you may discover few exceptions where directional tyres are designed for more comfort than wet climate performance. The best way to judge that is to see how aggressive or how wide the grooves are.
Symmetrical design/ wave/ non-directional design
Symmetrical designed tires have grooves arranged in a wave-like manner, and usually have smaller lateral grooves cutting the tyre design to help further break up road noise.
Tyre designs such as these are usually quieter since priority is not in wet weather performance, but rather providing a peaceful ride. There are again some exceptions when wider grooves are built-in to serve to slightly better wet weather performance.
Asymmetric designed tyres are a blend of comfort and wet weather performance, merging between the principles of wet-weather and principles of comfort. Half of the surface of the tyre tread is made for wet performance, while the other half is for comfort.
Asymmetric designed tyres have been increasing in popularity in recent years and are now easily buyable, but usually with a tiny premium in price.
So the next time you are going to buy a set of tyre, read into the tyre design and decide what is right for you. Happy car driving!