Why Car Tires Are An Integral Part Of Your Vehicle

by Chris Scarborough

Car tires are more important than many people give them credit for being. They are a link to the road in a number of different ways. It can be a very scary and dangerous situation to lose contact with, or not have very good contact with the road. This becomes even more of a quandary since you do not have any control over what direction your car will be taking, and when you are going over 60 miles per hour, your vehicle becomes scrap iron waiting to happen. The goal here is to achieve friction, and every driver must realize there are things that can be controlled and others that cannot, to this regard. You are responsible for your own and anyone else's life in the car you are driving and so you had better be sure that you have taken all the measures that you can to prevent a problem.

Regarding the contact of the tires on the road, there are a few factors to keep in mind. When the rubber of the tires comes in contact with the road's asphalt or concrete surface, most of the friction would occur. The action of gravity on the mass of your car is the only thing that is causing this contact and so naturally more weight equals more friction between the road and your car tires. A good thing but can turn against you in the form of inertia after the friction has been overcome say after you've locked up the brakes, now inertia is greater with a heavier vehicle and takes more in the way of friction to stop it. Think about it this way -- rubber and concrete are jointly conducive to friction.

Here's the main thing about the contact with the road -- there are several elements involved. Most of the friction would be derived when the tire's rubber makes contact with the road, regardless of the type of surface. This is a basic example of what was taught to us in Physics class way back in the day, as gravity exerting itself on the mass of your car would be the only thing leading to such friction, and there will, of course, be more friction between the road and the car tires with more weight. This may sound like a good deal at first, but inertia (you should remember that concept) would be greater with larger vehicles, and more friction would be needed to prevent this from happening. Anyway rubber and concrete naturally have a lot of friction.

There is -- tread. You know what tire tread is, but how does it affect your vehicle's tires' friction-ability (for lack of a better word) with the road? Let's talk weather for a moment, as this is probably the most predominant factor that could change the road's surface. Water and snow and mud decrease the amount of friction by filling the natural grooves and not allowing contact between rubber and road.

Now you might be going, does tread help or harm, and how can it help, if so? Well tread is actually good because of the grooves in the tread of your car tires. It's quite simple, really, because grooves make your tires' material have some other place to go other than getting between the rubber and the road. This decreases the "hydroplaning" effect that you get with all the different natural elements that can make driving conditions bad. So the moral of the story is to make sure that you always have good tires with lots of tread on your vehicle in order to maximize the ability of your car to grip the road and therefore provide you with control over the vehicle that allows you to slow down and steer to avoid problems.

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