Could manufacturers add deeper treads? More cost I know but they could just charge more for them up front.
My experience is from auto racing, but this probably applies to street vehicles as well. There’s a limit as to how thick you can make the tread. As a tire rolls, it flexes and generates heat. A little bit of heat is good (it helps with traction), but if you make the tread too thick, it’ll retain too much heat and damage the rubber.
You could also make the tire last longer by making it out of a harder rubber compound, but then there is a tradeoff between wear and grip. A harder rubber will wear out slower, but have less grip.
This isn’t too much of a hijack but it’s been years since I’ve seen tire ads that emphasised only long life and durability. Remember the Tiger Paw ads? The big target demographic is performance tires (for folks that buy a Lexus or SUV to drive on a skid pad no doubt) and of course as JJ stated that traction comes at the expense of tread life.
Well, how many miles does the average tire last? I seem to go through a set every 20,000 miles or so.
It’s still not uncommon to find tires rated at 80K miles, there used to be tires rated at 100K, I don’t know if they still are advertised. To make a tire last longer you can just use much harder rubber, which they do.
The tradeoff is ride quality and traction. Since most people seem to prefer nicer ride quality and better traction, the market for those tires seems smaller. I supposed you could add more rubber, but then you have to deal with more internal friction, greater rotating weight (lower gas milage, harder to brake), and structural integrity.
I don’t know about 100,000 mile ones, but they do make 80,000 mile tires. I almost bought a set last month, but the 60,000 mile ones were on sale, making them about 40% cheaper. Generally, the higher the wear rate, the lower the traction and vice versa.
Ever drive on snow tires?
They’ve got tread to spare. They’re also noisy and they don’t handle well.
As a side note, when my father was a salesman driving 70,000 miles a year, he could easily get 50-60K on a set of bias-ply (not even bias-belted) tires. Mrs. Kunilou and I get 35-40K out of medium-priced tires and city driving. Cynical,if you’re only getting 20,000 off a set of radials, you’re either buying very inferior tires, your car is badly out of alignment or you need to take a serious look at your driving habits.
Why not just make them of steel? Cause I see people driving on their steel rims on Cops all the time. Would last forever.
Tires are rated according to how many miles they are supposed to last. You can see this rating on the sidewall, and IIRC it goes from A downwards, with A lasting over 60,000. I may be off on the particulars, but the point is, as already pointed out, some tires are made to last longer. They cost more. I don’t know about the traction bit. I never heard that before. They sure like they would have good traction, with deep treads. But what do I know?
Well, that’s sort of comparing apples to oranges here. Snow tires also have a decidedly different tread pattern, with much larger cuts and grooves.
A very good point, and the main one I was going to make. Your driving habits and car alignment can have a profound impact on your treadlife. Always driving at the correct pressure, or slightly above (but always under the maximum), rotating properly, driving only on the highway, etc. can work wonders. I have personally made 45,000 tires last 70,000, and know of others that have done better - 60,000 mile tires lasting 100,000 miles.
Actually, there’s something called the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade), which looks something like “400 A B”, where the number is the treadwear, the first letter is the traction, and the second letter is the temperature capability.
The treadwear is a relative thing- a tire rated 400 can supposedly go twice as many miles as one rated 200, and four times as long as one rated 100. The problem is, that each manufacturer does their own testing, so the treadwear numbers are only comparable within a manufacturer’s product line.
The traction letters go AA, A, B, C, in decreasing order of wet traction. From what I understand, these are more standardized than the treadwear numbers. C is the minimum legal traction allowable by Federal law.
The temperature numbers go A, B, C in decreasing order of heat generation & dissipation ability. These are comparable across tires as well.
Another thing to look at is the speed rating, which is another letter which signifies the maximum sustained speed the tire can handle. These go from N to Z, with N being 87 mph, and Z being 149+ MPH(Y is 186+, oddly enough).
With all that laid out, and a quick look at http://www.tirerack.com, it looks like there are several all-season tires with 80,000 mile warranties out there- andthe treadwear numbers vary from 520 to 640 in that range. These tires are the Goodyear Aquatred 3, the Michelin XH4 and X-One, and the Uniroyal Tiger Paw.
Hope this helps!
Oh you guys
I have my tires rotated with every oil change, and the alignment checked or adjusted every other time. I’m really really really nuts about that, with my rapid tire usage.
I don’t OFTEN spin 'em off, but every now and then, when I need to get into traffic in a hurry, they just break loose
Spinning tires affects the wear, sure.
How about spinning them on ice? Nothing worn, right?
My tires last 30,000 miles. They grib like a bastard but they trade-off is they wear out fairly quickly. I don’t mind that, though being “performance” tires, they run $105-$210 each. I could get 60,000 mile tires for $200 a set, but it’s so not worth it.
I used to have Goodyear Eagles, they seemed to be made out of a harder rubber compound, they sucked in the rain, I’ll tell you what.
I wonder why they can’t make tires last an entire race.
There would have to be an advantange there somewhere.
Sure they have to come in for fuel, but a lot of cars lose the big races by seconds.
Man, Turbo Dog, I had to look at this twice before it soaked in.
It looks like you’re saying The faster they wear(softer), the less they grip, and vice-versa
But I think I’ve got it.
By higher wear rate, you are saying higher resistance to wear. (Hardness) Yes?
Another factor is the belt material.
Take a coat hanger and bend it back and forth for a minute.
What happens? It breaks.
Take a rope and bend it back and forth forever.
If you can find them, go for tires with nylon cords.
Ive seen such tires so bald the cords were showing where the tread used to be.
Steel belted tires often fail with plenty of tread left.
I’ll assume handy’s kidding, but …
I think steel tires would be hell on brakes – the pads would wear out in no time, and I think their effectiveness would be greatly reduced, no?
Um, Stephen, I don’t think there has been a single brake system in the history of the tire that has depended on tire contact to stop.
They could make a tire that was hard enough to last an entire race, but then it would have much less grip than a softer tire. Your cornering speeds would be so much lower, you would actually end up losing more time on the track than you would by stopping in the pits and replacing them.
Actually, steel tires would have hardly any grip at all compared to rubber tires (coefficient of friction is about a third, if I remember correctly). They would also tear up the road surface, so much in fact that metal treads are illegal for use on public roads.
Maybe, maybe not. Not if you have a good layer of snow and ice stuck on your tire. However, I have also got out and seen the rubber on the ice from spinning my own wheels, so I guess the answer is “depends”.