There are different types of tires according to their construction characteristics, the shape of the tread pattern, or the type of use for which they are intended. Surely you have heard of most of them, but it is not bad to give a quick review. Here you have them all.
Diagonal and radial tire
This classification is due to the construction technology used in the manufacturing process of the tire. Diagonal tires are composed of alternating and crossed layers placed diagonally in the carcass, forming an angle that is usually between 40 and 45 degrees. The overlapping of the layers – they can go between six and eight for a passenger car tire, and reach up to 12 in a truck – that go from side to side and are therefore on the flanks and on the top of the tire, provides a great rigidity, but its weak point was lateral stability.
The diagonal tire was the most used until the mid-1950s, until the appearance of the radial tire, in which the functions of the tire flank and the top are completely dissociated. Here, the armor of the tire is composed of layers of placed radially, directly from one heel to another of the tire, forming a kind of “tube” that shapes the carcass, and is topped layers of crossed metal wires. Thus, the flank is lighter and provides greater flexibility, with added advantages in duration and safety by heating less and ensuring greater area of contact with the ground than diagonal tires.
When it comes to buying tires for your car you don’t have to worry about this. At present, practically all tires are radial tires.
Summer, winter and “all seasons” tires
Depending on the season for which they are designed, there are summer tires, winter tires and the so-called “All-season” or “all-weather”. When you go to the tire shop and buy a set of tires, make sure you consider the following:
A summer tire can be used at any time of the year, but its design and construction characteristics are optimized to improve grip, reduce rolling resistance and allow smoother and more precise driving in snowless times.
Winter tires have special compounds to improve grip at low temperatures, and a tread with lamellae that cling to the snow. They are substitutes for chains, but they are not tires to use only on snowy roads. Their performance is better than any other type of tire when there is rain or the outside temperature is below 7 degrees Celsius.
There are manufacturers that sell “All Season” or “all-weather” tires, which fail to offer the performance of winter tires on snowy or icy roads, but provide more grooves and greater depth in the drawing than a summer tire, while being a good compromise for users who drive in winter areas where the outside temperature is not very low and the snow seasons are short.
Asymmetric and directional tires
Unlike a symmetric tire, with a tread with the same profile on the inside and outside of the tire, asymmetric tires have different patterns on the inside and outside of the tire. Pneumatic, for example, have a part optimized to drain the water, and another to improve dry grip. They only have a sense of assembly, and the flanks are marked pointing inside and outside.
Directional tires usually have a V-shaped or arrow pattern, designed primarily for good water evacuation, so they only have a sense of rotation. Currently, this type of construction is widely used in winter tires.
They are called “tubuless” tires – that do not need an inner chamber to enclose the air. The interior has an insulating layer made of a special rubber. They were developed in the mid-50s, standardized from the 70s; nowadays camera tires are no longer used.
The advantage of tubeless tires, in addition to their simplicity in assembly, is that in case of a puncture there is no sudden loss of pressure. They better maintain air pressure and, since the air is inside the tire and in direct contact with the tire, the heat emission is improved, so they suffer less from temperature problems at high speeds.
“Green” tires, ecological or low consumption
The so-called ecological tires are manufactured with special compounds and with a shape of their tread pattern designed to improve rolling resistance and thus reducing fuel consumption.
At present, these types of tires no longer compromise grip or durability, and with them you get consumption savings that can be estimated around 0.2 l / 100 km. So, in a tire that lasts 45k km, we could talk about a fuel saving of about 200 liters.