Tips for choosing the right tires

The grip of the tire

The grip of a tire is essential for the safety of the driver and passengers. This grip factor is just as important for motorists as changing their brakes. The grip factor can vary from 1 to 10 depending on the conditions: The type of tire, its tread, width, rubber quality, and the quality of the soil. We can thus deduce 3 potential factors:

A – The grip on dry ground:

The tyre reacts much more quickly on dry ground because no condition interferes between the contact zone and the tyre. The wider a tyre is, the stronger the contact zone will be and the greater its grip factor.
Be careful to adapt the width of your tyres to the power delivered by your car.

B – Grip on wet surfaces:

The grip on wet surfaces is completely different. Water intervenes between the contact zone of the tyre and the ground. In this case, the tyre must be sculpted so that it can evacuate water as quickly as possible. There are several risks if the tyre is not sufficiently sculpted, a risk of aquaplaning (no more grip between the ground and the tyre, water cannot be evacuated quickly enough), a stopping distance that is multiplied by at least 2 or more.

C – Grip on the snowy or icy ground :

Many motorists do not have the required knowledge of driving on the snow-covered ground. It is therefore important to know how to anticipate and adapt your pace to the conditions. Snow tires, studded tires or chains are the different alternatives to ensure grip on snow.

They are fitted with sipes to make it easier to move around. They should be installed once the temperature is below 7°C.
Please do not keep your snow tires after the season is over as they have less grip in the summer and deteriorate more quickly.

Why a Winter Tire?

They provide superior grip and guarantee greater safety.
The winter season starts in November and lasts until March. Today, snow tyres make it possible to minimise the risks linked to weather conditions. In some European countries, the use of snow tyres is made compulsory under penalty of a fine.

Snow tyres have a different tread pattern from other tyres, giving them a better grip. For all temperatures below 7°C, the use of snow tyres considerably improves grip and makes braking distances safer.

The winter tire in brief

The constitution of a winter tire:

  • It does not harden when the outside temperature drops.
  • It has a deeper structure for the quicker evacuation of snow or water as well as numerous sipes that allow for greater grip.

The use of chains :
The use of chain is only allowed when there is snow on the road.
They provide extra grip when the tyres are no longer able to pull the vehicle. They penetrate the snow and grip it so that the vehicle can be driven forward. In many cases, the use of snow tyres is sufficient.
Please note that when buying chains, check that they are compatible with the dimensions of your tyres.

When to change your tires?

A motorist who does not change his tyres runs many risks.
Tyre wear comes from its duration and type of use. Tyres are worn out when they wear indicators are reached. These are 1.6 millimetres high. Exceeding this wear indicator does not allow you to be in a situation of maximum safety. The grip of the tyres is no longer the same, braking distances are greater and the vehicle degrades more quickly.

Tyre pressure

Car manufacturers select, test, and approve the different tires used for each vehicle according to its weight, size, and performance. These criteria as well as load and speed ratings are necessary and decisive in the selection of your tires.

The pressure indications to be injected into your tires are referenced inside the fuel filler flap, on the side of the driver’s door, in your vehicle’s manual or even sometimes in the engine compartment.

Be careful, the indications present in these places are double:
=> Tyre pressure under full load or on the motorway
=> Tyre pressure under normal loads.

The pressure of your tires should only be done when the vehicle is cold (the vehicle should not have been driven more than 5 kilometers in the last two hours. On the motorway, to obtain an accurate pressure reading, subtract 0.3 bar from the initial cold pressure. For information 1 bar = 1kg/cm2.
Never reduce tire pressure when the tires are hot. Plugs and valves must always be changed when fitting new tires to ensure a good seal.

The risks of incorrect tire pressure:

=> When a tire is under-inflated, it can potentially burst at any time. In addition, it leads to accelerated wear of the lateral treads and increased fuel consumption.
=> Conversely, an over-inflated tire will increase the degradation of the central tread.
=> The right compromise is to inflate the tire to the right pressure to save money and avoid any risks that could affect your safety.

The different types of tires

Here are the different types of tires:

Summer tires

Summer tires allow you to drive all year round whatever your geographical area, the weather conditions, and the use of your vehicle. The summer tires will offer you a perfect grip when the temperature is above 7°C. However, they will not allow you to drive on snow.

Winter Tires

It is strongly advised to mount winter tires in early November. Temperatures are often below 7°C. Your summer tires will no longer allow you to be in complete safety. Winter tires with their deep, siped treads will give you more grip on wet, snowy, or icy surfaces.

Changing from summer to winter tires can also slightly change your driving habits, as winter tires on dry surfaces have less grip than summer tires. Adapt your tire change according to your geographical area and climatic conditions.

All-Season Tires

This is the ideal compromise if you use your vehicle in all circumstances, summer and winter. The tires are compatible with all types of soil. However, it will not be as effective as a summer tire in summer and a winter tire on snow. It is important to check the wear and tear of your tires so that they remain adapted and performing at all times.

RunFlat or Pax tires

RUN-FLAT or anti-puncture tires are mandatory for certain vehicles that do not have a spare tire. Choose your RUN FLAT tire carefully because the wrong type of tire in case of a puncture will damage your rim and leave you at a standstill.
Reminder in case of a puncture with a RUN FLAT tire, you can drive at 80km/h for a maximum of 200 km.

Read more:

Should You Let Your Car Warm Up in Cold Weather?