As winter approaches its time to think about winter tire solutions. We’ll post a special report on the topic soon but first, we wanted to remind you that tires expire even when they’re sitting on a shelf. Rubber simply degrades so consider this, if you still have the spare tire that came with your car, and your car is more than six years old, you will want to get a newer spare or your back up tire might not back you up very well.
Now, please enjoy a look into high-performance tires as an accessory.
Although now a mainstay of racing culture, high-performance tires weren’t actually introduced by Goodyear until 1980 for the Corvette. That’s right, it was only thirty years ago before “regular” passenger cars could have race car inspired wheels. The original Gatorback tire had big tread blocks to better grip the roads and hard and low side walls in order to make a machine that was built for speed perform even better.
A new rating system was in order and the Gatorback got a “V” which meant it had been safely tested in a laboratory to perform at speeds up to 149 mph. Quickly, other speed ratings (which are now called “performance ratings”) were created including “S (112 mph)”, “H (up to 130 mph), and “Z (unlimited).” Instantly, horsepower enthusiasts were hooked.
What Hasn’t Changed
Unsurprisingly, high-performance tires have always been costly – much like other parts necessary for a “modded” ride. Original high-performance tires cost around $200 each and not much has changed over the years. Today’s price of high-performance tires varies, but drivers interested in these accessories should expect to spend a few thousand dollars.
Types of Performance Tires
“Performance” no longer means solely racing tires. There are performance tires for all seasons, for all weather conditions, and of course still for speed. There are many different tire makers touting an abundance of options. It’s important to consider what your particular car is used for. Touring tires are a popular option for luxury cars and provide a very high-quality tire to ensure comfort and great handling – this is the option for daily commuters.
Performance, and even ultra-performance tires, are the go-to for racers. Of course, there is never a “perfect” tire and if you opt for these tires there will be a decline in comfort. However, the way the machine handles and grips the road can be vastly improved.
Do I Really Need to Upgrade?
The good news is that manufacturers of sport and muscle cars quickly realized the benefit of high-performance tires. Many companies include quality performance tires with every new vehicle. After all, what better way to add even more of a boost to a car’s performance than with tires that provide better grip and handling? If you have factory tires already, there’s a good chance that they provide more than enough for the average driver.
There is also a downside. Some people don’t realize, until it comes time to replace the tires, just how much they cost. If you’re at the point where you need to replace factory tires, it can be a tough decision. You can go with similar tires, or the same, as you had before, opt to improve them, or settle for something more affordable (just don’t expect your car to perform quite the same way).
Who Really Needs It?
“But I’m not a performance driver!” is a common complaint when drivers realize they’ve been taking advantage of these prime factory tires. It’s true, most people don’t (or at least shouldn’t) be going over the lowest performance rating of “S.” That doesn’t mean they aren’t performance drivers. Everyone wants and deserves the best from their machine. A good grip on the roads, tight turns, and the ability to withstand a summer road trip all require quality tires – so look around. Choose a median performance and price, unless of course, you are a racer.