Typically Unavoidable Performance Trade-offs
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?
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
More Precise Handling vs. Smooth Ride
- 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.
High Performance vs. Low Rolling Resistance
- 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: 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.