How Various Tire Types Impact Car Performance and Handling

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Performance is always a crucial factor when it comes to machines. It’s all the more important for automobiles because they’re used to travel for leisure or work. So you’d want to have a car that performs all its necessary functions, including handling.

People tend to focus on the engine to assess a car’s performance. While it is an essential performance factor, tires are just as critical for cars to function as they’re intended to. Tires are the only direct contact that a car has on the surface it’s driving on, which means they affect braking and handling, two critical capabilities a vehicle should do well.

How Various Tire Types Impact Car Performance and Handling

Many types of tires are available on the market that enhances car performance. As a car owner, you should learn how a tire affects your driving mainly for your safety. Here’s how various tire types impact car performance and handling.

Summer tires

Summer tires are engineered to work best in warmer weather. They’re mostly built for speed and agility, making them ideal for high-performance vehicles. They’re composed of a softer rubber compound and are commonly fitted with large tread blocks to have maximum contact with the road in warmer weather.

Summer tires may also have shallower tread depths that allow for better stability when they’re pushed closer to their limits. They’re mostly designed to provide maximum holding grip on the road, increased responsiveness, cornering, and braking suited for dry conditions, which is why they’re typically marketed as performance tires. They improve pretty much every driving function your car has.

However, you can’t rely on them to drive during colder weather because their soft rubber compound hardens at that time, causing a decrease in traction. Cornering and braking are also affected, making summer tires unsafe for use during winter. Make sure to switch to suitable tires when you check Nexen tires for sale or other brands to adapt to the temperature change to stay safe while driving.

Winter tires

Winter tires are designed for driving once the temperature dips below 45 degrees. Contrary to their counterparts, winter tires are made with a deeper tread pattern with a series of thin cuts across the tread called sipes. That kind of composition is strategically for optimal winter driving, where snow can affect performance and handling.

Winter tires’ deep tread patterns aid in flushing out excess slush buildup that could cause noise and excessive tire damage. The sipes help pack snow between the tread blocks to allow better traction on snowy and icy roads. Also, winter tires’ rubber is specifically made to provide increased grip in cold pavements, making them an optimal choice for driving on them even when they’re dry.

Their deep tread patterns also make winter tires generally suitable for rainy weather. You’ll be able to sustain the necessary handling and braking you need when accelerating when driving on wet roads with top-quality winter tires. However, much like its counterpart, driving winter tires during the summer is disadvantageous because exposing their rubber compound to heat leads to quicker tire wear.

All-season tires

All-season tires are tires suitable for most of the year. They have the features of summer and winter tires combined in one tire. Their rubber compounds and tread patterns make them good when driving in wet conditions and for a wide range of warm and cold temperatures.

Although they’re equipped to improve performance and handling during warm and cold temperatures, it doesn’t mean that they can replace summer and winter tires. They will provide the necessary stuff you need when driving on wet and dry surfaces, but only adequately. All-season tires can’t be as effective as summer and winter tires, especially in the long run.

Tire specifications that also impact performance and handling

Apart from the various tire types, specifications also affect a role in car performance and handling. They are as follows:

● Wheel diameter

The wheel diameter is the total length of one side of the rim to the other. Your car’s handling will depend on it, and it will differ on how large or small the wheel diameter is. For example, a large diameter provides more traction, but on the flip side, it leads to less control when cornering and increases the risk of bending, which happens when the rim is bent and can cause uneven surface contact.

The larger your wheel diameter is, the more stability you get. However, it also makes rides bumpier and more uncomfortable due to thinner sidewalls.

● Tire width

The wider the tires you have, the better traction you get, although that’s not always the case. It all depends on your car’s suspension because you can only fit the widest tire you can find if your suspension allows you to. Without having your suspension modified, you can’t fit wider tires into your car.

Forcing to fit wider tires into your car with the standard suspension will only make things worse for you. Wide tires on the standard suspension will negatively affect the handling, especially when driving on challenging roads. Steering difficulties will occur, which will jeopardize your safety on the road.

● Tire rigidity

As you may have noticed in the previous points of this article, the softness and hardness of tires affect car performance. Softer tires typically provide higher road grip, making steering response better. On the other hand, hard tires are more durable and better suited for rough terrains or driving at high speeds.

The downside of softer tires is that they wear down faster and aren’t suitable for rough terrains. In the case of hard tires, they don’t offer the same traction level as their counterparts.

● Tire pressure

Tire treads become more prone to collapsing if tires are constantly underinflated or overinflated. Your car won’t be able to handle driving on snowy terrain, rain, gravel, and debris because of improperly inflated tires.

Remember that underinflated tires increase the risk of premature failure, while overinflated ones impair the tire’s capability to bend, which leads to quicker wear and tear.


Tires affect the overall performance of your auto. Take note of the types and specifications to find a suitable set for your car to avoid compromising your safety. Choose your tires carefully to attain the best performance and handling.

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