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How Tyres Improve Your Car’s Handling and Performance

Published on: 05 November 2015

How Tyres Improve Your Car's Handling and Performance

It’s not uncommon to see cars whizzing by on the road decked out with big, formidable-looking wheels. Even smaller sports cars have tyres that wouldn’t be out of place on a 4x4. Although they look pretty awesome, there’s actually a non-aesthetic reason why tyres are getting bigger, thicker and more expensive – they aid in taking a car’s performance and handling from good to amazing!

Sure, you may not be able to afford the kind of tyres that are most commonly seen on luxury 4x4s and nifty little sports cars, but ensuring that your car is kitted out with a good, solid set of tyres from a reputable dealer will go a long way towards boosting your car’s handling and performance.

So, how do tyres actually improve your car’s handling and performance?

Get cash rewards by taking car insurance onlineWe look at a few key aspects of their function on your vehicle:

  • Safety: Well, we all know that our wheels keep us in contact with the road and steer the vehicle where we want it to go, but did you know that your tyres are crucial to your car’s braking system?

    The surface area of your tyres and their tread all create traction on the road to help your car come to a stop. This is why worn tread is so dangerous, as there is nothing for the vehicle to grip on to the road when it comes to braking – and also when it comes to handling on corners and when manoeuvring the vehicle. This also leads to an inability to disperse water which, in turn, can lead to dangerous aqua-planning in wet conditions. Which leads us to the next point…
  • Performance: Your tyres contribute to how your car handles sharp turns - and also how fast you can come into the turn without losing control. Most tyres are created with ‘performance and handling’ in mind, with specific types of tread that serve various purposes – for example, a sports or racing car will have ‘stickier’ tread to keep traction for sharp turns, as well as to exert the pressure necessary to transfer your car’s engine power and torque to the road.

Now that you understand the functions of tyres, it is time to ensure that you have the safest possible tyres fitted onto your motor vehicle. Here is a checklist to keep in mind when buying and fitting new tyres:

  • Before you purchase a tyre, you need to check the car manufacturer’s specifications for any tyres to be fitted onto the vehicle. These specs can be found inside the hood of your engine, at the bottom of the inside of your driver’s door or in your vehicle’s manual. Do not purchase tyres that do not fit these specifications – they have been put there as a recommendation from the manufacturer because they are the safest and most accurate sizing specs for your particular make and model of vehicle. Putting the incorrect tyres on your vehicle can lead to loss of control or a blow-out. Watch this video to find all this information regarding your tyres.
  • Check the tyre’s tread. The tread on a new tyre should have at least 8 to 9 mm of depth.

Other tyre maintenance tips to ensure that your vehicle performs and handles optimally:

  • Check the tread on your tyres every few months. Use a coin and push it into the tread of your tyre. If the depth is less than 1.6mm, it’s time for a new tyre.
  • Keep your tyres inflated, but not over-inflated, at all times. Under or over-inflating can lead to excessive tread wear. Have your tyre pressure checked regularly (every time you fill up) when at a petrol station. If you are uncertain of how much air to put into your tyres, you can read the instructions in your car’s instruction manual or on the guide inside the bottom of your driver’s door.
  • Rotate your wheels every 5 000 to 8 000 km to prevent uneven tyre wear.
  • Get your car’s wheels aligned every 6 months or 10 000 km to prevent tread wear and compromised handling.

Now that you know a bit more about your tyres, it’s time to give them a thorough check (and don’t forget your spare!). With healthy tyres and a car insurance policy from MiWay, you can enjoy many more hours on the road with peace of mind that you, and your wallet, are protected.

Fill in our quick car insurance quote form today.