Know About Tyres

What do you want from a tyre?

Buying tyres is all about what you want from your rubber. Some drivers put Wet road safety as top priority, others high speed performance and some a quiet ride.

image: tyre girl

Tyre tread

Tyre tread is a series of block shapes lugs, voids, groove configurations, and sipes, all of which have an effect on the tyres traction and noise level. Typically, wide, straight grooves running in the direction that the tyre travels will have a lower noise level and good water removal. More lateral grooves running from side to side will usually improve traction while amplifying noise levels.

  • Lugs are the actual tread that is in contact with the road at any given time, known as the contact patch.
  • Voids are the gaps between the lugs allowing the tyre to flex as the contact patch leaves the road, also allowing the water to be removed.
  • Void ratio is between the amount of lugs and voids. The lower the void ratio the more tread it has in contact with the road surface giving better traction on dry tarmac. Mud and Snow tyres will have a higher void ratio to allow the mud and water to escape through the gaps in the tread.
  • Grooves are the main channels that run around the tyres circumference that push the water into allowing the tread contact with the road.
  • Sipes are the small slits that are cut across larger tread elements to allow the water from the groove channels to escape to the edge of the tyre, reducing the risk of aquaplaning. Up to a point, more sipes will produce more traction in snow and mud as well as over various terrains found off road.

tyre tread, showing sipes, grooves lugs and voids

Now you know what your looking for in a tyre. Clickety Click Order Quick


Related to safety, tyre grip is needed to keep the vehicle on its course, particularly when braking and on bends. Dry handling reveals a tyres performance turn in, grip and precision, long sweeping turns and quick direction change. Wet handling is cornering and braking with speeds just before aquaplaning which is when it loses control. Aquaplaning is the moment when a tyre is overwhelmed by the water it has to shift and rides up on top of it.

Asymmetric are better suited for dry handling and grip, where as directional tyres are better suited for wet weather. Look out for asymmetric tyres that have been designed for the wet weather.

Off Road Tyres

A robust tyre with plenty of resistance to impacts and cuts is a good choice
specific mud pattern with large tread blocks.
or sand terrain, Opt for a multi-purpose, not overly-aggressive pattern as this will bog yodown.

Rolling resistance

As tyres rotate, they deform to follow contours of the road leading to energy loss is the rolling resistance that increases vehicles fuel consumption. Fuel efficiency has now become a critical contender which makes the most sense at the pump, especially when choosing tyres.


Dry braking is having to do an emergency stop on the motorway at 70mph. Pirelli comes top.

Wet braking is an emergency stop at 50mph on a soaking wet road; this may come in handy in the U.K. You may want the best.


Improving comfort means designing tyres that absorb road irregularities and produce less noise, Relating to vibration from within the cars Handling is related to ergonomics, driving pleasure, pure performance or to reaction in emergency situations.


Tyre wear is a major concern for users, the longer the tyres life the better the return on investment. Majority of tyres start with 7mm of tyre tread yet some budgets start with 7mm and many bargain budgets tyres only start with 6mm of tread, losing a quarter of their life before its even been fitted. China have made the bottom end of the market there own but can give the driver false economy. Have you often wondered why Michelin tyres last longer, well most of them start with more tread. So if you are doing the mileage of 40,000 miles in 3 years before they start to deteriorate then Michelin could be a well worth investment for you.

Do you want to know about the History of Tyres, how they were discovered, invented and who made the first tyre. There are a lot of big names many are still well known brands today.

Tyre Efficiency Lables

Image: tyre efficiency lables

The European Commission has adopted a Regulation on the labelling of tyres which aims to provide end-users of vehicles with clear and relevant information about the quality of the tyre, and to guide them towards choosing a product which is more fuel efficient, has better wet braking and is less noisy. This came into effect on 1st November 2012 for car, van, and truck tyres manufactured from 1st July 2012 onwards.