There are two basic kinds of automobile tires--radial and bias ply tires. If you've been shopping for new tires for your car before the worst of the winter weather season begins, you may be confused about the differences between the two types of tires. While both have their benefits, there are a number of good reasons to opt for radial tires, especially if you like in a snowy location.
What are radial tires?
Radial tires, first created by Michelin Tire Company in 1946, are constructed with the plies (the structural elements that hold the tire together) running perpendicular to the direction of travel. Bias ply tires (as the name implies) are constructed so that the plies run diagonally (on the bias.)
Benefits of radial tires
1. Better traction. The cross-cut plies of radials tires allow them to hug the road better, giving you greater traction and maneuverability, a big plus during the winter. The design of a radial tire allows the tread to stay in closer contact with the road than a bias ply tire does.
2. Durability. While the life of your tires depends on a myriad of factors, such as how much you drive, the type of driving you do, your driving style, and how often you put air in your tires, radial tires generally last longer than bias ply tires exposed to the same conditions.
3. Lower fuel consumption. Radial tires also help on gas mileage. By hugging the road better than bias ply tires, they have less drag and, thus, cause your vehicle to use less fuel.
4. Resistance to punctures. The multiple plies in a radial tire make it resistant to punctures by nails, glass and other road debris. The object embedded in the tire has to go through more layers than it would in a bias ply tire before the air would be allowed to escape.
5. Less prone to blow-outs. Radial tires generate less heat than do bias ply tires, because of the steel cables within the radial plies act to dissipate the heat generates by contact with the road. Heat can make a tire unstable and more prone to a blow-out, especially during a sustained highway drive.
While radial tires may not be the right choice for every car owner, this type of tire is durable, offers better traction than a bias ply tire, is resistant to punctures and can even help your car get better gas mileage.
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