TIRE PERFORMANCE TRADEOFFS
When you’re ready for your next set of tires, you’ll also need to be ready to decide on the most important feature you expect from your tires: A smooth, quiet ride? Great grip on hot, dry roads as well as in the wet? Longer tread wear?
Typically Unavoidable Performance Trade-offs
All tires have these same characteristics, divided into three sets of trade-offs: Traction v. Treadwear, Handling v. Ride and High-Speed Performance v. Low Rolling Resistance.
Note: Today’s technology, especially in the advanced rubber compounds, does allow for some premium tires to perform well in two opposite attributes at the same time.
Grip vs. Treadwear
- Grip: Stop and corner faster in wet conditions or on hot, slick surfaces but expect a shorter tread life.
- Treadwear: Get long, uniform wear across your tread pattern but a stiffer, less flexible tire with less grip.
More Precise Handling vs. Smooth Ride
- Handling: Get a stiff sidewall for less tire-flex and more precise cornering but you will feel a firmer ride and hear more road noise.
- Smooth Ride: Glide down the highway with reduced noise but you will lose some cornering agility.
High Performance vs. Low Rolling Resistance
- High Performance: Get better grip and stability at higher speeds with an optimized “tread patch” (the tire’s contact area – literally the “patch of ground” that a tire covers at the point where it contacts the road surface) but sacrifice some fuel economy because your engine is being asked to overcome higher tire to road friction.
- Low Rolling Resistance: Enjoy improved fuel efficiency from a profile and specialized rubber compound designed to reduce friction. There will be a slight loss of stability and cornering at high speeds with a tire designed primarily for fuel efficiency.