Last updated on April 30th, 2023 at 03:58 pm
Even though the tire compound is not the actual decider of the tire’s performance it still has a much higher impact on the way the tire performs in certain conditions. The tire tread compound exists under all that hard rubber you see on tires, it consists of fabric, textile, steel belts, nylon caps, and radial sheets combined together making the tire stronger to hold the air inside the rubber and absorbent to accept the damage from road materials.
The tire tread compound is the main decider that certain tire is for what type of conditions. Different tire compounds can be found on F1 and other professional races, the reason behind that, even though the tread design is usually slick, the compound makes a big difference in the performance and durability of the tire.
In this article, we will explain the type of tread compound, the low and high silica content in the compound, and the different features of tread compound for performance. Although the topic is not in the interest of everyday drivers, reading this will help you understand the tire and make you a better buyer of tires for your vehicle.
Table of Contents
Soft tire Compound
The soft tire compound is famous for having the best performance grip and handling on tracks, this is the reason why many summer tires have this kind of compound. Due to the softer materials inside the tire tread, this tire is low on weight and delivers the most aggressive track performance with confident brakes, acceleration, and handling.
If it is so good in performance why every tire utilizes this compound? The reason behind that is that although it is good for performance, the softer tire compound is the least durable compound among all types of compound. That is the reason when F1 drivers drive with soft compound tires, they have to make a pit stop every 5- 6 laps.
Hard tire Compound
The hard compound tire is the opposite of soft compound tires. Hard tires have the most durable tread however their performance compared to soft tires is not good. Also, the hard compound tires are good for weight carrying and off-road performance which requires robust tires to handle the harsh conditions of the terrains.
The hard compound is mostly available in all-season touring, performance, winter, and off-terrain tires. Most tires nowadays for passenger cars utilize hard compound that is the most durable and delivers a more comfortable ride.
Medium tire Compound
The hybrid of both or the midpoint between soft and hard compounds. This compound has a slower performance than soft tires and a higher performance than hard tires. Similarly, it has less durable treadwear than hard tires and more durable tread than soft tires.
As there is no option available for passenger car tires where you can choose hard or soft compound still, if you are an enthusiast who wants to buy something exquisite for their vehicle, then having this information allow you to make a good decision on whether you want durability or performance.
High/rich silica content
If you ever read the description of a tire, and some tires have rich silica and high silica compound, does that make you question it? In simple words, silica is silicon dioxide a chemical substance where two oxygen atoms make one silicon atom. The tire manufacturer uses it to improve tire performance on wet and snow terrains. The high silica compound tires are known to have the best performance in wet and icy conditions, however, they are not low rolling resistance and are not as good performers on summer and dry tracks.
Low silica content
Just like high-silica compound tires, low or no-silica tires also exist. Reducing the number of silica makes the tire have low rolling resistance due to the less power it requires to push forward and also a better tire to drive on dr summer tracks. With these positive points, the low silica compound tires have low durability and are not so good in wet and wintery conditions. This is the reason why summer tires usually have low silica compound tires and winter or all-weather tires have high silica tread compound tires.
Slick Tire compound
Why do some tires have slick compound or tread, have you ever wondered how would they achieve grip in wet conditions? The answer is yes, some tires have a slick tread compound that usually drives in racing competition. The reason for manufacturing these round ball tires is to achieve proper traction and grip in wet conditions. Even without grooves and sipes, on fast-track cornering, these tires deliver the most confident performance on wet roads and rainy season
Zero grooves tread
Just like no tread design/slick tires, they are tires that have no grooves. Although not everywhere you will see these tires but if you notice in rally racing or dirt racing you can see the drivers using these types of tread. The reason for no grooves tires is that they are perfect for dry, hot, and dirt drive, the absence of grooves make the tire a proper performer by delivering excellent traction, grip, and control on wet roads and summer season.
The tire compound is as important as tire tread design and patterns, that’s why having information about that as well keeps you more informed about your tires and, if in the past you made a wrong decision of buying bad tires you can avoid that in future. Also, the tire compound determines the type of performance a tire delivers under certain conditions. Even though there are not many choices when buying new tires among tread compounds, however, if you search the market you can find the right tire tread compound according to the desire of your car’s performance.