There’s a little bit more to tyres than most people think. Those four rubber rings on your car are the only thing keeping you in contact with the road. Australian tyre retailer, Tyroola, has created a page complete with tyre animations on the different types of tyres, how to maintain your tyres and what the future of tyres holds. It’s easy to dismiss tyres as a dry topic but there’s nothing boring about an industry worth over $200 billion in 2015 with 4.7% growth year-on-year.
Different Types of Tyres
This webpage is mostly directed at car tyres but it somewhat applies to bicycles and motorbikes as well. There are animations showing the different types of tyres, the impacts of overinflating and underinflating and a look at what the future holds for the passenger car tyre. What’s best about the animations is that you can zoom in and out as well as scale the image in its 3D glory, so you can really see from the angle you prefer, kind of like having a premium sports subscription where you can choose which camera angle you’d like.
All-season tyres are not as good in the dry as summer tyres but are more capable in wet weather with more grooves and sipes to displace the standing water. Off road tyres for 4×4 vehicles come in different varieties – highway terrain (H/T), all terrain (A/T) and mud terrain (M/T). Highway terrain is best for mostly road use with some light off roading, all terrain for a compromise between on road and off road use, and mud terrain for extreme off-road use and very light road use. High performance tyres are excellent in dry conditions and are still capable in the wet, but not as capable as all season tyres. Race tyres are slicks and semi slick, which have poor performance in the wet and poor tyre life, but their ability to perform in the dry is impressive. They do require some warming up to get the most out of them as they have a temperature range in which they work best at.
Tyre life and wear is highly dependent on the maintenance and driving style of the driver. Wheel alignments ensure that the tyres are facing straight as even a small amount of misalignment can make a big impact on the wear of a tyre. Over and underinflation of the tyres will wear the tyre out unevenly and reduce the performance of the tyre as it does not have the contact with the road that the tyres are designed for. 4×4 tyres, particularly mud terrains, are designed to run at extremely low air pressures to increase their contact patch in off road conditions. They have tread blocks and grooves on their sidewalls, which make contact with the terrain when running at very low pressures.
In the future, the tyres on our vehicles will likely be airless. This will mean the end of punctures and having to monitor pressures. There will be sensors on the tyres and the tyre tread will be able to adapt to the conditions on the fly, meaning that you can have high-performance grip in the dry with all weather water displacement in the wet. The future of tyres is going to be interesting with such a large market potential.