Tires are produced in a variety of designs, types, sizes and treads to suit different purposes. Tire World Exports offers a quick guide to the different tires that are used in South Africa and the other African markets we serve.
Tire Types and Treads
The answer to the question of how many different types of tires there are usually depending on who you’re asking and where you are, but generally speaking there are eight general types. There are as follows:
All Terrain Tires
These are designed for use both on- and off-road, providing traction for a comfortable drive in wet and dry conditions. When vehicles need to perform both on the highway and on more rocky terrain, all-terrain tires are what is needed.
Cargo Medium Van (CMV)
As the name suggests, these tires are for heavier vehicles (within the C1 vehicle class) used to carry either cargo or passengers.
High Performance Tires
These have a lower profile than other tires and have increased grip for higher speeds and better handling.
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Highway Terrain Tires
With a distinctive ‘rib’ design, these are intended to provide quieter rides and longer tread life.
A decent set of off-road tires, as the name suggests, is designed to carry vehicles over rocky, muddy and sandy terrain. You’ll usually find these on SUVs and Jeeps, etc.
Owners of cars that need an increased handling response – such as sports cars, for example – will normally fit performance tires. They feature unique tread patterns for precision and responsiveness.
Ordinary cars for day-to-day use, without the need for increased handling or responsiveness, are fitted with standard tires.
These are designed for all-season traction and a comfortable ride but also feature more responsive handling. Touring tires fit somewhere between all-season and performance tires.
There are scores of different tire sizes to suit a variety of vehicle sizes and uses. The best way to understand tire sizes is to learn how to read the markings that appear on the sidewalls of tires. For example, you may read: 195/60/R15. This means that the tire you’re looking at is 195mm in width, the profile of the tire is 70% of the width, the R indicates that it is a radial tire (a reference to the construction of the tire), and it has a rim diameter of 15 inches. The specifics of these markings vary widely but as long as you know what each number in the sequence means, you can work ascertain the various dimensions of the tire. It breaks down as follows:
- The first number is the tire width
- The second is the profile rating
- The letter indicates whether it is a radial or non-radial tire
- The last number is the rim diameter.