How Tyres Work
1 All season passenger tyres
All season passenger tyres are a compromise between summer tyres, which handle better on dry and wet pavement, and winter tyres.
Intermediate tread depth provides a fairly smooth, stable ride and longevity, while moderate siping — small "cuts" molded into the tread blocks — increases grip on snow, ice, and water.
Conservative grooves allow for water and debris to be channeled around the tread blocks, providing decent traction in adverse conditions.
Mid-height sidewalls deliver decent handling in corners, while still providing cushion to assist the suspension for a smooth ride.
As well as having deep tread depth, off-road tyres also have large grooves to allow mud, rocks, or debris to be routed around the blocks.
The grooves also help mud to fall off the tyre instead of sticking to it. Siping increases the ability of the tyre to mold around rocks or uneven surfaces while biting edges — uneven edges of a block — increase grip.
Generally, off-road tyres have tall sidewalls, allowing for lower air pressure; this can increase the tyre’s ability to "wrap around" uneven surfaces or rocks, increasing grip.
3 Track & competition DOT
While track tyres will typically be a smooth, solid piece of material, track & competition DOT tyres have just enough grooving to be considered street-legal by the department of transportation (DOT).
The minimal grooving and tread depth, soft material, and short sidewalls increase traction and cornering abilities on dry pavement significantly; however, they can also cause the tyres to wear down quickly or perform poorly in other conditions. For example our Achilles' ATR smoke and 123 S Semi Slick tyres.
Performance tyres are designed to function well on dry pavement at higher speeds, and also on wet pavement.
To provide stability, the tread depth is usually low; they will feature wide blocks and grooves, so as much rubber as possible can reach the surface.
Biting edges and siping may either be very limited or non-existent in many performance tyres.
Short sidewalls (low profile) boost stability around corners, but may increase the likelihood of damage to the tyre like bulges or bubbles when driving over something like a pothole.
Misaligned tyres will usually wear either on just the inside or outside of the tyre. This happens because the tyre isn’t aligned correctly to the ground and is leaning to one side. Check out our wheel alignment and tyre rotation guides.
Since the tyre has too much air in it, the middle of the tyre will contact the surface while the edges may be slightly off the ground. This causes the middle to wear down more quickly. Read more in our tyre pressure guide.
With under-inflated tyres, the middle of tyre may “sink” a little, causing the edges to touch the surface while the middle of the tyre makes little contact. The edges of the tyre will usually wear down more quickly in this case.
4 Tyre bulges
Tyre bulges can happen from a pointed impact or an imperfection in the tyre. Air gets in between the layers of rubber, which causes it to bubble. Sometimes the bubbles may even rupture.