Understanding Tyres and Types Part 1 – Tyre Compounds
Published On 06-Jun-2016
Tyres are mysterious items in their own right. But they are not mysterious objects by nature or purpose but because of the treatment meted out to them. After all, when was the last time you really gave your car's tyres a good look except when they showed less-than-desirable inflation level or an abnormal condition, say, a bulge? The statement made at the beginning of this article is a response to the question just asked.
Have you ever wondered about the type of tyres that you can procure from the market? Did it ever occur to you why Pirellis are considered better than Michelins? If yes, then you have come to the right place to find out the answer to this question. With that said, read on to find out more about tyres and their compounds:
Soft Compound Tires
As the name suggests, the soft compound tires are made with materials that are 'soft', meaning their effective life ends just above the 10,000 km mark, depending on factors like usage and driving conditions they are subjected to. The short lifespan comes with a trade-off – high levels of grip offered by soft compound tires. For better identification of such tires, look at the tyre treadwear reading (hyperlink tyre treadwear reading with How to read a Tyre's Sidewall article) on a particular tyre – if it reads 200, chances are the tyre is a soft compound type. Recently, tyre manufacturers have also begun venturing into the super soft compound tyre territory, with Formula One acting as their driving force (since most technologies trickle down from the racetracks to the streets). Super soft compounds have even shorter lifespan than soft compound tyres and offer more grip.
Medium Compound Tyres
These tyres are what carmakers usually equip their vehicles with. Medium compound tires have a longer lifespan than soft compound tyres but offer less grip. However, it is this balance of raits that makes them a favourite of carmakers. Unless it is a sports car you are buying, chances are your vehicle is equipped with medium compound tyres. Look for treadwear rating on your tyre – if it is close or above 300, it is a medium compound tyre.
Hard Compound Tyres
If you have been keeping up with us till this point, chances are you will be able to guess what hard compound tyres' properties are. If you are unable to do that, understand it in four words – longest lifespan, least grip. This tyre type is difficult to find at your local tyre shop as there are very few people who ask for hard compound tyres. For daily use, medium tyres more or less get the job done and are the best compromise between the extremes that are soft and hard compound tires.
So, here are some tyre types based on their compounds. In the next article, we will cover the tyre types based on their purpose. Till next time then.