How Tires Affect Your Car’s Performance


Engine stats usually take the spotlight when talking about car performance. You want to know how much horsepower and torque the engine gets so you know how quickly the car can accelerate and the top speeds it can reach. You’ll also want to look at the transmission and the suspension to get a sense of how well the vehicle will perform under different circumstances.

Tires are an often overlooked contributor to performance, but they have a big impact on what the car can do. Tires are your car’s only point of contact with the road, and they influence how much control you have while driving, how quickly you can stop, how accurately you can take turns, and even how quiet and smooth your ride is. 

When you shop tire stores in Cincinnati, it’s important that you understand how the characteristics of the tire influence your ride so that you make the right choice for your vehicle and your specific driving needs.

Here are a few things you need to know about how tires affect your car’s performance:


You probably don’t think about wheel diameter when you are shopping for tires, but it can make a difference. Diameter is the primary number listed when you buy tires, such as 14, 15, 16, 17, 19 and 22. Most people don’t even know what this number stands for, let alone how diameter makes a difference to performance.

The larger the wheel diameter, the more stability the wheel offers during fast driving and the better the wheel is able to accommodate large brake rotors, which can provide greater stopping power. Many people also prefer the look of a larger tire.

However, the larger the diameter, the more tradeoffs you make in terms of performance. Larger tires are more vulnerable to bending, they change the center of gravity slightly, they are harder to turn, they don’t corner as well, and they make for a much bumpier ride. Part of the reason for these tradeoffs is that the sidewall is thinner to accommodate the overall wheel size.

Tread Depth

Tread depth plays a big role in traction and braking. 

Thicker tread can better cut through water, snow, mud, sand, gravel and other debris. With a thick tread with wide grooves, you can better manage hazardous driving conditions. Your car will maintain traction, and you’ll be at lower risk of hydroplaning or spinning out of control. You’ll also be at less risk of getting stuck in mud or snow or of sliding down an icy or snowy hill.

Because thicker tread provides greater traction, it can also improve your stopping time. Your car will grip the road better, and it can brake quickly, helping you to respond to emergency situations better and to avoid obstacles.

Thicker tread can also create a noisier ride. If you live in a hot, dry climate that doesn’t get snow or a lot of rain, you may not need the thicker tread. Your ride will suffer, but you won’t get the other benefits.


The rubber on tires can be softer or harder. Softer tires are going to grip the road better, which will provide more traction and improve braking. However, softer tires will also wear down faster and be more vulnerable to road hazards such as potholes and gravel. 

Harder tires may not offer as much traction, but they do stand up better under tough driving conditions, whether that’s driving at top speeds or driving through rough terrain. 

Rather than focusing on hard v. soft rubber, it’s better to choose a tire that offers a range of features to meet your driving needs.


Conventional wisdom says that the wider a tire is, the more traction it provides and the better performance it offers. However, this is not always true.

Tire width must be considered in relation to your suspension. If you do not also have a modified suspension, wider tires have the potential to make your car less safe by making it harder to handle. You may find it harder to steer, and your wheels may react so violently to changes in the road that the steering wheel jerks out of your hands while driving.

You must pay attention to the scrub ratio of your car when buying wheels. This can get quiet complicated, so it’s best to talk through this with the technician when you are shopping tire stores in Cincinnati.


Tire pressure affects a lot more than your fuel efficiency. Insufficient pressure can also negatively impact your car’s performance.

When a tire is insufficiently inflated, the tread collapses slightly, and the car is not able to handle difficult driving conditions as efficiently. Rain, snow, gravel and other debris can suddenly become big hazards. You will have to drive very slowly to maintain the same control that you would have if you simply maintained the right tire pressure.

Under-inflated tires are also at risk of premature failure. The tire is forced to flex more, which heats up the rubber and contributes to a faster breakdown of the materials. 

Over inflating your tires can also be problematic. Tires that are too full won’t be able to bend as much, which will make them less flexible when they encounter obstacles like potholes or bumps in the road. You’ll feel every bounce, and your tires will wear down faster as a result. 

The tires you choose for your car have a much bigger impact than the way they look or how much they cost. The characteristics of your tires can work together to give your car better performance, or they can make for one bumpy and unpleasant ride. The right tires can also make your car safer and protect your family while driving.

When you shop tire stores in Cincinnati, make sure you talk through your options carefully with the technician. You can find the right tires at the right price. You just need to be thoughtful and deliberate in your selection. You’ll protect your car and save yourself money in the long run.