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Nationwide Vehicle Contracts takes a look at the science of tyres and how they impact car performance

Tyres are a crucial component of a car's performance. They are responsible for providing traction, stability, and handling while driving. The science behind tyres has come a long way over the years, and manufacturers continue to make advancements in tyre technology to improve car performance and safety. In this blog post, we'll explore the science of tyres and how they impact car performance.

Tyre Construction

To understand how tyres impact car performance, it's essential to understand their construction. A tyre is made up of several layers, including the tread, sidewall, belts, and inner liner. The tread is the part of the tyre that comes into contact with the road and is responsible for providing traction and grip. The sidewall is the vertical section of the tyre that connects the tread to the wheel, and it provides lateral stability. The belts are made of steel or other materials and provide reinforcement to the tyre, while the inner liner is the air-tight layer that holds the air inside the tyre.

Tyre Size

Tyre size plays a crucial role in a car's performance. The size of the tyre affects the car's speed, handling, and stability. A larger tyre will have a larger contact patch, which provides more traction and stability. However, larger tyres also create more rolling resistance, which can affect fuel economy. Tyre width and aspect ratio also impact the car's handling and stability. A wider tyre will provide more grip, while a lower aspect ratio will improve handling and steering response.

Tyre Tread Pattern

The tread pattern is another critical factor in a tyre's performance. The tread pattern affects a tyre's ability to grip the road and handle different driving conditions. Tyres with a more aggressive tread pattern provide better traction in wet or snowy conditions. However, they also create more road noise and can reduce fuel economy. Tyres with a smoother tread pattern provide a quieter ride and better fuel economy, but they may not perform as well in wet or snowy conditions.

Tyre Pressure

Maintaining the correct tyre pressure is essential for optimal car performance. Tyres that are over-inflated or under-inflated can affect a car's handling, fuel economy, and safety. Over-inflated tyres can reduce the contact patch, which reduces traction and stability. Under-inflated tyres can cause excessive wear and tear on the tyre, reduce fuel economy, and increase the risk of a blowout.


Tyres play a critical role in a car's performance. Tyre construction, size, tread pattern, and pressure all impact a car's handling, stability, and safety. Manufacturers continue to make advancements in tyre technology to improve performance and safety. However, regular tyre maintenance, including checking tyre pressure and tread wear, is essential to ensure optimal car performance.

For more information on tyres, check out our Tyre Type Information for Your Car and Van or our Replacing the Tyres on a Lease Vehicle guides.

Find out more about Car Leasing by calling Nationwide Vehicle Contracts on 0345 811 9595 to speak to one of our skilled leasing specialists about the right option for you.