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Tires are where the proverbial "rubber meets the road". No matter what BOV you drive, everything will come down to your tires in the end. They will effect handling, braking, acceleration, off-road capability, traction, and any other performance aspect imaginable.

A Goodyear F1 all season tire


Types of Tires

There are many different types of tires, but most of them fall under one of a few categories. Each tire is designed for a specific road condition or range of road conditions.

  • All season tires are the most common tire on passenger vehicles today. They are designed for use in most driving conditions on pavement, but will perform poorly on snow or mud.
  • All-Terrain tires offer enhanced off-road performance while still retaining good road manners.
  • Mud-Terrain tires offer aggressive traction for both mud and deep snow, but will degrade on-road performance.

A mud / snow off-road tire

  • Snow tires are similar to all season tires, but with deeper treading and superior performance on slick surfaces.

Tire Features

Tires are available with different features that effect that peformance.

  • Lugs are like large knobbly teeth on the outermost edge of tread or side or a tire. Lugs increase traction in mud and snow by helping to fling build-up off of the tire as well as provide extra "bite" in deeper mud or snow.
  • Siping is made up of slits cut out of the rubber that improve traction on snow. By using the flexibility of the rubber used to construct the tire, the sipe is widened at the top of the tire, and closes at the bottom. By using sipes over snow, the slit closes and traps snow in the sipe, effectively covering the wheel in a layer of snow. This layer of snow is now the effective surface of the tire, and the coefficient of friction between two layers of snow (covering the tire, and the ground) is greater than the coefficient of friction between rubber and snow. Sipes aid in wet or icy conditions as well, by providing lots more tiny edges that improve friction. Sipes are virtually required in cold environments where snow is expected.

A siped tire showing the razor-thin slits on the tread

  • Studs are small, hard knobs typically made of hardened metal embedded in the tread of a tire that help improve traction on extremely slick surfaces such as snow and ice. Be aware that metal studs may be illegal in your area due to the high wear on asphalt and concrete roads. Check with state and local laws before using studs.

An example of very large metal studs in a car tire

See Also


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