Tires perform several important functions and are the only part of your vehicle that comes in contact with the road. The average “footprint” of a tire in contact with the road is similar to the bottom of an average man’s shoe sole. The entire weight of your vehicle and its contents is supported by the tire and air inside the tire.
Due to this critical role of tires, they are extremely complex in their design. While designs vary by product and manufacturer, an average tire contains over 100 separate components. Tires can include natural rubber, synthetic rubber, steel, nylon, silica (derived from sand), polyester, carbon black, petroleum, etc. The combination of ingredients and processes used by different manufacturers leads to different performance characteristics for every tire in the market today. Understand the basics of a tire and rely on your owner’s manual and professional tire retailer to explain the differences between tires and recommend the right tire for you.