What are High Performance Tires and Who Needs Them?
By: Barney Garcia
In the early 1980's Goodyear Tire prepared a few high performance cars, mostly the Chevrolet Corvette. The tire's roots were based in formula one racing. The tire's design was very different than most passenger car tires and was an overnight victory with devotees of the race car. The tire featured a low profile side wall, large tread blocks for good dry traction grip, a very stiff sidewall and a nylon cap over the steel belts to hold the tire together at high speeds. The tire received a unique sidewall rating and it was designated with a "V", which meant the tire had been safely tested in the laboratory to stay together at speeds as high as 149 mph. This is the first time the high performance tire was made in America.
This tire was an instant hit and was also very costly, even by today's standards. It was not uncommon for them to cost over $200.00 each. This was an immense price for a tire considering the average tire costed around $45.00 at the time.
Since then however, the high performance tire has made its way onto almost every modern car. This is because automobile manufacturers found that high performance tires helped cars handle better, corner better, stop better, steer better, were safer and worked well with anti-lock brake technology.
During this time tire manufacturers began to produce a multitude of intermediate high performance tire known as "touring" tires which were designed to accede to high performance demands and lessen ride and wear issues. Within a few years, there was an entire list of high performance tire categories which included Ultra-high performance, performance, touring, cosmetic performance, touring performance, etc.
As technology advanced, automobile manufacturers began to equip nearly everything with a performance tire, even the mini van because of one simple reason: they help sell cars because they are attractive and because of the benefits they add to the cars' steering and braking.
The drawback of this was that a consumer would buy a family sedan and then end up unexpectedly having to pay up to $700 dollars for replacement tires. This created problems because consumers didn't want to pay for this because they didn't believe they were "performance" drivers so, instead of replacing them, they'd end up driving on bald tires. But the fact is that we are all performance drivers. Everyone profits from performance tires because they are safer, stop better, react quicker, steer better and are less likely to blow out on the highway. They react and work much better with modern car systems, and so, it is a good idea to look into getting performance tires, if not for your flashy sports car, at least for your own safety.
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