Understanding proper tire maintenance, selection, and safety starts with knowing the basics: Why are tires important? How do I choose the right set for my vehicle?

Tires are a driver's first and only contact with the road, transferring actions such as steering, braking, accelerating, and turning. They are specifically chosen for each vehicle, making tires one of the most important safety features on a car, truck, or crossover.


Tires are made up of many different parts, and it’s important to understand how they work.

A. Tire Belts

Rubber-coated layers of steel, fiberglass, rayon, and other materials located between the tread and plies, crisscrossing at angles, hold the plies in place. Belts provide resistance to punctures and help treads stay flat and in contact with the road.

B. Tire Sipes

Sipes are special treads within the tread that improve traction on wet, dirty, sandy, or snowy road surfaces.

C. Tire Tread

The portion of the tire that comes in contact with the road.

D. Tire Grooves

The spaces between two adjacent tread ribs are also called tread grooves. These allow water to escape effectively.

E. Tire Shoulder

The outer edge of the tread that wraps into the sidewall area.

F. Tire Sidewall

The sidewall of the tire protects cord plies and features tire markings and information such as tire size and type.

G. Tire Inner Liner

This is the innermost layer of a tubeless tire that prevents air from penetrating the tire.

H. Tire Bead

A rubber-coated loop of high-strength steel cable that allows a tire to stay "seated" on a rim.

I. Tire Body Plies

This is the tire itself, made up of several layers of plies. Plies, like polyester cord, run perpendicular to the tire's tread and are coated with rubber to help bond with other plies and belts to seal in air. Plies give tires strength and resistance to road damage.


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