Types Available and the Problem with Slick Tyres
Choosing a new set of tyres can be a daunting task because of the variety of tyres available. There are tyres manufactured specifically for certain vehicles like 4x4s or race cars and feature different tread patterns to provide good seasonal performance. When choosing tyres, choose them based on your desired performance and your vehicle type. Every vehicle will come with the manufacturer’s recommendation for tyres designed for optimal performance of your vehicle, use this as a guide. Choosing the right tyres for your vehicle is important as they improve the braking and handling of your vehicle.
The problem with slick tyres is that they are not recommended for road use. They are used in motorsports to allow greater speed and traction on the track and are prohibited by law for use on regular vehicles on regular roads. The key reason is that slick tyres only have good road grip when driving in dry conditions. They are dangerous on wet roads because of the lack of grooves that provide traction. However, semi-slicks which have some grooves and therefore provide some protection against wet road conditions are legally approved for regular road use.
You can choose a type of tyre based on seasonal requirements. Winter, summer or all season. Winter tyres are designed with a lot of grooves and sipes to provide additional tread and traction and are made to be flexible in low temperatures for increased grip in icy, wet and snowy conditions. Summer tyres also referred to as standard or regular tyres are made to offer superior road performance and are designed to handle temperatures exceeding 7°c. Summer tyres have a tread pattern that provides adequate stability and grip in dry and wet road conditions.
All-season tyres on the other hand are hybrid tyres that use a combination of winter and summer tyre expertise to provide adequate performance in all weather conditions. Some argue that this combination does not optimise the tyres for summer or winter and therefore offers a level of performance that is compromised.
Then there are second-hand or part-worn tyres and budget tyres to consider if interested. Just know that a majority of part-worn tyres are sold illegally and have damage to them that can prove to be extremely dangerous. Have a mechanic or your car service station look at them before purchase. If you are thinking about purchasing budget tyres vs. premium tyres, be sure to think through the pros and cons carefully before arriving at a decision.
You can also choose between energy-saving tyres and high-performance tyres. Energy-saving tyres are designed to deliver greater fuel economy and lower carbon emissions while high-performance tyres are designed to deliver greater road grip and stability when travelling at high speed.
Last but not least there are run-flat tyres which are specifically designed to provide safety in the case of a tyre puncture. Run-flat tyres have the distinction of being able to drive a fair distance post a puncture.