How long did you spend deliberating over the ‘safest’ car seat?
If you’re anything like me, it would have been hours; trawling through reviews online, researching the best brands, the best models, the best colours…
And yet how long did you spend deliberating over the ‘safest’ tyres?
I, for one, know that on numerous occasions I have stood in the MOT centre, having been offered varying tyre types, and yet I have always opted for the cheapest option. A tyre is a tyre right?
Not once did I ever consider the fact that the tyre is the only component of the car that keeps you attached to the road!
But it makes perfect sense. In theory, if you have the best tyres, your chances of skidding, slipping or spinning out of control are highly reduced.
We seem fixated on ‘what happens if we crash’ rather than, ‘let’s do everything we can to prevent a crash!’ And it’s the tyres that are going to make all the difference should the worst happen and you find yourself in a potentially dangerous driving situation.
Last week, I had the pleasure of going to Luxembourg for a two day event, to visit the Goodyear Innovation Centre & test track, to find out how Goodyear make such great tyres, in particular, their new All Season tyre.
Day 1 involved learning everything from how the tyres are designed by hand, to the 25+ components that make up the tyre, to how the ingredients are expertly mixed together to create the perfect consistency of rubber compound. Not to mention the fact that Goodyear actually create their own different types of snow flakes to test the rubber compounds as much as possible, in order to create the safest possble tyre. Goodyear go to the extremes to ensure they put their tyres under stringent all weather testing, to provide the highest tyre performance possible.
The workshops taught us the journey of a tyre from the initial design stages, to getting the tyres on the road. But for me as a parent, the real value taken from the 2 day event, is just how much safer the All Season tyres really are in comparision to a summer tyre. (The tyres most of us currently have.)
On day 2, we went to the Goodyear test track to do exactly that, put the tyres to the test. It was great to have the opportunity to see how everything we’d learned on the previous day came together to ultimately create a safer driving experience.
To test the stopping distance we first drove a car with summer tyres over a specifically designed surface to replicate snowy conditions and slammed on the breaks. We then repeated this in a car with the All Season tyres, keeping speed and timing the same.
The results were unbelivable. The All Season tyres reduced the stopping distance by more than half!
And no word of a lie, the difference in grip was phenominal.
As a parent, mostly driving with small children in the back of the car, I instantly realised how important it was to have the best tyre possible for all weather conditions. The All Season tyre is exactly that.
To put the tyres through even further tests, we did the same as above but instead of a flat surface, we drove up and down a very wet hill. The summer tyres spun out, losing grip, making the hill climb incredibly difficult, whereas the All Season tyres bit into the road surface and climbed the hill with ease. The tyres made the difference between having control over the vehicle and loosing control of the vehicle.
Next we drove the 2 sets of tyres through a slalom. With summer tyres, it was not even possible to complete the slalom without taking out a few cones and spinning out of control, but with All Season tyres, I simply cruised through with ease. The extra grip made all the difference and I remained in control of the vehicle at all times.
It was all well and good testing the All Season tyres out in (replicatated) cold & wet conditions which, let’s face it, is pretty much the UK weather all the time, but I wondered whether the tyres would lose performance in hot conditions resulting in more fuel consumption. The answer is no – the mixture of different elements that make up the compound is so precise that when the tyre heats up, it maintains it’s firmness. The All Season tyres basically acted the same as a summer tyre in hot conditions.
If the advanced performance wasn’t clear from learning how the tyres themselves are made, it certainly was from testing the tyres for myself. The difference between the Summer tyre and the All Season tyre was vast.
Goodyear have managed to achieve the perfect balance between summer & winter tyres using the following technilogy. (Warning: technical jargon coming)
Essentially this means that there is more tyre touching the road than regular tyres. The more tyre that touches the road, the more grip you achieve. Simple.
Arrangement of smaller & connected blocks
If you look at off road tyres, they have a deeper tred to ‘grip’ with. The same concept works for the All Season tyre. They have improved arrangement of smaller and connected blocks across the surface of the tyre.
This refers to the grooves you see on the tyre that carve through road surface water. The grooves are designed in such a way that they cut through surface water and also carry the water away from the tyre.
When you’re driving in warm & hot conditions, you want the tyre to perform more like a ‘slick’ tyre. But because the tyre is cut into smaller blocks, as described in point 2, this wouldn’t be possible, if it weren’t for the 3D sipes. On the inside of the blocks, there are small claws that slot together. These hold the tyre blocks together to create a ‘slick’ style tyre. When it’s snowy & wet, the blocks give grip and when it’s dry & hot, the blocks hold together.
Increased Silica Proportion
This is the compound mixture that ensures the tyre will stay hard during hot weather and soft during cold conditions.
After two days of workshops and track testing I was in no doubt that my car needed to be fitted with All Season tyres. I questioned why I had been driving for so many years without them. But…
It’s industry standard in the UK that all cars are fitted with summer tyres.
Meaning that the chances are highly likely that you will be driving around with summer tyres on. And yet, you live in the UK! Which is very wet and getting colder!
In countries that see extremes (very hot in summer and very cold in winter), they change their tyres dependent on the season. This can be expensive and storage can also be an issue. But for us in the UK, we need somrthing that will cater for the vast majority of wet, cold & damp weather but also still perform well during the summer months where we might manage a bit of heat.
So this All Season tyre is the perfect solution.
Since attending this event, I am passionate about promoting the increased safety provided by the All Season tyre. Your tyres are perhaps the most important component to get right on your car, so don’t go with the cheapest option if at all possible.
Choose the best you can.
There is no doubt in my mind, the All Season tyre should be the preferred tyre of choice, and it could be the difference between having control or loosing control of your vehicle.
We are changing our tyres to the Goodyear All Season tyres. Because I’ve tested them myself, they’re phenominal and if they are going to keep my family safer when travelling in the car, I’m going to do it.
Watch our vlog from our trip here :)
*This is a sponsored post, but as always, thougths and opinions are entirely authentic