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Performance Tires - Tire Anatomy 101

The Inside Story On Performance Tires

Plus-Sizing: An option allowing drivers to customize their vehicle by mounting low-profile tires on wider rims of greater diameter, usually enhancing vehicle appearance, handling and performance.

Radial Tire: A tire built with casing plies that cross the crown at an angle of 90 degrees.

Rotation: The changing of tires from front to rear or from side-to-side on a vehicle according to a set pattern; provides even treadwear.

Shimmy: Wobbling of wheels from side-to-side on a vehicle. Shimmying can be caused by a variety of factors, including improperly balanced tires, poor alignment and bent wheels.

Shoulder: The area of a tire where the tread and sidewall meet.

Sidewall: That portion of a tire between the tread and the bead.

Sipes: Special slits within a tread block that increase wet and snow traction. Sipes provide more biting edges and allow for the dispersion of water from under the tread surface.

Speed Rating: An alphabetical code (A-Z) assigned to a tire indicating the range of speeds at which the tire can carry a load under specified service conditions.

Tread: The area of a tire where the tread and sidewall meet.

Tread Rib: The tread section, usually composed of many tread blocks that run around the circumference of the tire, separated by the circumferential tread grooves.

Treadwear Indicator (Wear Bars): Narrow bands, sometimes called "wear bars," that appear across the tread surface of the tire when only 2/32 inch of tread remains.

Tread Width: The width of a tire's tread.

Traction: The friction between the tires and the road surface; the amount of grip provided.

UTQG: Uniform Tire Quality Grade. A government-mandated tire rating system based on a tire's performance in treadwear durability, traction, and temperature resistance. UTQG ratings are branded on a tire's sidewall.

Speed Ratings
Rating Maximum Speed
Q 99 mph
S 112 mph
T 118 mph
U 124 mph
H 130 mph
V Above 130 mph
  (without service description)
V 149 mph
  (with service description)
Z Above 149 mph
BFGoodrich Tires
Pirelli Tires
Dept. MM
P.O. Box 7988
IL  60680
Toyo Tires
6261 Katella Avenue, Suite 2B
CA  90630
P.O. Box 3531
OH  44309
Yokohama Tires
601 S. Acacia Ave.
CA  92631-5106
Mickey Thompson Tires
4670 Allen Road Stow
OH  44224
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