Tire testing from “A” to “C”
At Stratham Tire, we do our best to stay on top of everything when it comes to tires. With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to give our customers a quick rundown on how tires are tested before being made available to consumers. Because of the variety of driving conditions faced in New Hampshire and Maine, getting the right tires is essential when it comes to safety, performance, and longevity.
Tire testing is a critical element that helps separate different qualities and types of tires. When we think of a quality tire we think of dependability. This dependability is crucial considering the demanding driving conditions that we face daily. The brand and price of a tire also does not solely dictate how well the tire will perform. One must take into consideration driving style, type of vehicle and the location in which the vehicle is driving.
All of the above considerations are valid elements that tire testers actively consider when testing tires. All tires sold in the United States today must meet federal safety standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration enforces the Uniform Tire Quality Grade System, and tires must meet certain expectations set by government-mandated tests. These tests include a tread wear, traction and temperature resistance test. All of these tests are completed by the manufacturer who then reports the results to the government.
When the test results are analyzed and given back from the government the manufactures then assign grades to each particular tire. These grades are input into the sidewall of each different type of tire they manufacture. When grading tread wear, the grades range from 60 to over 500. The higher the grade, the better the tread wear will be on the tire. When grading traction testers first look at the tire’s ability to stop a vehicle in a straight motion on a wet pavement test surface. When testing traction the test does not require you to test for acceleration. Traction grades range from “AA” to “C” with “AA” being the highest possible grade.
When measuring temperature we look at the ability of the tire to maintain the ability to dissipate heat under a controlled indoor test. Temperature grades will range from “A” to “C” with “A” being the best grade. When analyzing speed ratings we look at indoor laboratory testing. In this lab testing, measurements of high speed tire durability are conducted under controlled test conditions. You might be asking yourself the question, why do we need a speed test; I thought people were supposed to stay under the speed limit? To this we answer, the reality is that people are not always going to obey the speed limit. With this said the tires top speed capability must at least equal the vehicles top speed capability. Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the importance of tire testing, and how it might play into the tires you count on everyday.