Its all about the tires!

Have you ever heard anyone says “this car doesn’t do well in the snow”? If you have, then you have possibly heard the most ignorant words ever spoken. Somehow people don’t know that your tires have an effect on traction.

I find it quite strange when someone is describing how a car handles or performs, the tires; the most important performance factor of a car, are somehow overlooked.

Lately, because its now winter, this usually manifests itself as people complaining about how some car they had in the past was so terrible in the snow. Coincidentally, my brother just told me how a co-worker of his was saying how he had to get rid of his 350z because it was so dangerous in snowy conditions.

If you ask these people why the car was so bad, they will probably reply “because its rear wheel drive”. I guess this response is from a combination of not knowing, but also not caring. People seem to know that dress shoes with no tread on them tend to slip in snow, but somehow cant put it together that tires with no tread on them will also slip in snow.

As you know, the 350z is a sports car that comes with high performance tires. Usually, these types of tires are known as “summer only” tires and compromise everything to achieve the best dry traction as possible. These tires lack any sipes, have very large tread blocks, and are usually made of rubber that’s more temperature sensitive than all-season tires. To snow, they might as well be ski’s.

Back to the main point of people overlooking tires.
It doesn’t have to be some car performing poorly in the snow, and its not just every day Joe’s that forget the importance of tires. I have noticed when people start looking to make their car handle better or get around a corner faster, that they tend to focus on suspension parts and on tuning those pieces. What they do is think about the suspension first and then how it will change the dynamics of the car. What they should be thinking is about the tires, and how changing the suspension is going to effect them. Somehow they overlook that the tires are the only things that (hopefully) comes into contact with the road, and that its how the tires are used which effects everything else.

By simply looking at the wear characteristics of the tires and checking their temperatures, you should be able to get an idea of how the car handles and what changes need to be made without even driving the car…


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2 Comments to "Its all about the tires!"

  1. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    April 2, 2012 - 11:38 am | Permalink

    So say you do have a car that is rear-wheel with snow tires: are the handling difference noticeable enough to still consider a FR or AWD vehicle with snow tires instead?

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