Despite progressively becoming the ‘norm’ to many drivers, the difference between standard tyres and 4x4 tyres still remains a mystery to the masses.
The most significant difference between 4x4 tyres and standard is their purpose and versatility. Standard car tyres were designed to suit the tarmac roads that we see every day by maintaining traction. 4x4 tyres differentiate from normal tyres by priming their design for off-road conditions such as snow, grass, dirt and mud.
Differencies between normal and 4x4 Tyres
The visible differences between the two are often subtle, though, with minor observation, it is clear that the differing tread is what alters the tyres’ purpose. When observing a 4x4 tyre, you can see that the tread is deeper and contains larger gaps between the tread than that of a standard tyre. This design helps to maintain traction in the aforementioned adverse conditions by ensuring that enough rubber remains in contact with the ground.
Regardless of these benefits, when using 4x4 tyres on the road, drivers will quickly notice the tyres wear down much faster than standard tyres. This is due to the increased rolling resistance which in turn applies more friction to the rubber. Additionally, creating so much traction with the road, 4x4 tyres considerably slow down the vehicle resulting in surplus fuel consumption.
If standard tyres were placed upon the muddy surfaces that 4x4 tyres excel at traversing, the regular tyres would swiftly become clogged with mud and lose friction with the ground. This lack of traction would cause the tyre to spin with no means of movement forward or backwards. This scenario can often be seen when a car using standard road tyres becomes stuck in the mud with its wheels spinning to no avail.
Types of 4x4 Tyres
Normally the tyres people refer to as 4x4 tyres are really 4x4 off-road tyres; just one of the many types of 4x4 tyre. The main types consist of the previous off-road tyres, 4x4 on-road tyres, and 4x4 all-terrain tyres. Though it is simple to understand the differences by name, the physical differences and results are not always noticed. 4x4 on-road tyres last longer on roads and usually consist of somewhat larger tread depths than regular tyres as manufacturers assume that there will be some off-road usage.
4x4 all-terrain tyres are designed for both off-road and on-road purposes though not as specialised as either. Sufficient off-road and on-road, they provide an ideal balance of the two.
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