Tire wear improves road grip and cornering traction, why is that?

Tire manufacturers have come a long way and now employ new techniques that maximizes the performance of tires throughout its life, but there is one bizarre phenomenon that you might have noticed. As the tire wears, its performance gets better. Why does this happen?

When you buy a new set of tires and with time as it wears down, its dry performance will actually improve, the braking distance gets shorter and cornering grip gets stronger.


When your tire wears out, its performance on wet surfaces decreases contrary to dry conditions. The braking distance gets larger while cornering grip diminishes.

Structure of tire

To understand why this happens, we are going to break down the basics of tire design and its gripping mechanism. The whole thing can be divided into three segments, the construction, its compound and tread pattern.

Construction:

The base construction of the tire defines the general form of the area that makes contact on the road and is also responsible for tire’s ability to absorb shocks from bumps or rough surfaces.

Compound:

The compound or the material of the tire undoubtedly has the most vital job as it dictates the overall performance of the tire. The positive aspect of compound is that it remains invariant throughout the life of the tire, so its best to use the most grippy compound to maximize traction.

Tread:

The tread patterns comes in various forms and sizes, and a good pattern is fundamental to attain superior grip on wet surfaces. They enhance the wet grip by channeling water away from the patch that is contacting the road, which helps prevent the tire from aquaplaning or hydroplaning. So, logically as the tire tread wears away, its wet performance decreases.

Why dry grip improve with tire wear

So what happens in dry condition that it improves road grip with wear? It has to do with the area of rubber touching the surface. Tread pattern reduces the total area contacting the road, so lower the tread, higher the grip. This is why in professional racing events you will see cars having tires without any treads in dry track condition.


Formula one race car without any tread pattern on tires

According to the statistics, you’re many times more at risk of crashing your vehicle when road condition is wet, which is logical, since you’ll have inferior road grip and possibly poor visibility as well.

Contact the author: robynrogers@wheelsjoint.com


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