Car tires may look simple enough for the average individual. One can make the mistake of thinking that they’ve been the same ever since vulcanized rubber tires were invented in the 1880s. However, tires have come a long way since then.
Modern tires are highly engineered and manufactured. They can provide excellent traction and performance on the road. An important aspect that can determine its overall performance is its contact patch.
Contact Patches Defined
In essence, a tire contact patch, also known as the tread footprint, is the area of your tire that makes physical contact with the road whenever the vehicle moves. The tire contact patch area is composed of tread, grooves, and tire design features.
How It Works for Your Tire
Contact patches are designed to offer a smooth and safe ride in various driving conditions, whether you’re driving in rain, snow, or hot weather. The size and shape of the contact patch can affect the way the tire performs in certain driving situations.
For example, tires with higher profiles have narrower patches that offer a smoother ride and easier control on the road. These are often found on passenger cars and light trucks. On the other hand, tires with a lower profile tend to have shorter and wider patches for traction and cornering stability. These can be found on high-performance tires installed on sports cars.
Factors That Can Affect the Contact Patch
As the car remains in contact with the road, the tire’s contact patch will continuously change its shape based on the wheel itself and the shape of the surface. Bumpy roads, uneven surfaces, and loose materials such as dirt and gravel can alter the shape of the contact patch.
Besides this, the dimensions of the contact patch area can also be affected by how much load is being carried by the tires. The more weight placed onto the tires, the wider the patch gets.
The optimal contact patch of the tire can be achieved by properly inflating the tire based on the recommendations of the manufacturer. If it’s underinflated or overinflated, it can drastically affect the tire’s overall performance. On top of that, it can also result in irregular tire wear that can shorten the lifespan of your tires.
If you’re looking for professional tire repair services, contact Graham Tire and schedule an appointment. Our expert mechanics will recommend you a tire that matches your vehicle. Get in touch with our team today.