As essential as your brakes, more important than your engine, but largely ignored. We tell you why tyres are the most important part of your car and what you should look for when buying a new set
What kind of tyre you exactly need?
What is tread? Tread is the pattern of grooves on the surface of the tyre that makes contact with the road. Tread dictates the tyre’s performance and grip levels.
When the depth of the grooves is worn down to less than 2mm, tyres run out of usable tread, and it’s best to replace them rather than let them go completely bald—this is highly unsafe in wet weather conditions. The conditions in which you intend to drive your car dictate what kind of tyres you need.
Different kinds of tyres will have different tread patterns. These patterns may be symmetrical or asymmetrical, again, depending on their purpose and intended use. Here are some of the different options you have:
Standard all-weather tyres
For most car owners, standard road tyres should be the way to go, and are usually what will come fitted from the factory. They have a tread pattern that is suited for driving on tarmac in a variety of road and weather conditions and are usually made to last long. While they have decent grip in both dry and wet conditions, these general-purpose tyres are no match for special-purpose tyres when it comes to their specific special conditions.
SUVs are often equipped with off-road tyres that use a ‘thick block pattern’, where blocks of rubber protrude from the tyre surface, enabling them to dig into the loose sand or slush. They also have tall sidewalls that help them absorb bumps, but these are made sturdy so that they don’t flex too much. On/off-road tyres are good for road use as well as mild off-road use, although for extreme off-roading, even more specialised tyres are best.
Most sportscars are equipped with high-performance tyres that are designed to withstand very high speeds and provide better grip around corners. These tyres are generally made of softer rubber and consequently wear out quicker; they are