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What Is Radial Tires?

What Is Radial Tires?

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Radial tires are becoming more and more popular for several reasons. They are much more comprehensive than their bias-ply counterparts, which means they can provide better traction due to having a higher ground contact area. However, there is also the issue of “cupping” that comes into play when you have too much lateral force in radial tires.

Radial tires will typically last longer because there is less stress on the sidewalls from cornering forces, which puts less strain on the rubber compound used to make them.

Radial tire technology has continued to improve over time; new advancements include an increased contact patch area and enhanced tread life with low rolling resistance than bias-ply tires.

If you’re considering switching your car’s current tires out for a new set of radials, you might be wondering if they’re the right choice.

How Do You Know If Your Tires Are Radial?

If you want to know if your tires are radial, the easiest way is to look for “radial” on the sidewall. You can also look at the tread; bias-ply tires usually have a groove that travels from the center of the tire to its outer edge, while radials have an uninterrupted tread pattern.

Also, remember that radial tires use a completely different rolling radius so that you can switch your radials for a set of bias-ply tires and vice versa. But radial tires do have certain caveats to take into consideration.

Radial Tire Maintenance And Cost

One negative factor to consider is that radial tires tend to be more expensive than their bias-ply counterparts because they’re more costly to make. Secondly, they are more challenging to maintain because they have a greater propensity for cupping over time. However, many of the issues with radial tires can be fixed through proper tire rotation and alignment checks.

Finally, there is an argument going on about whether or not you should run radials or bias-ply tires in the winter, and there are arguments on both sides. Some argue that radials are better because they have a wider contact patch, giving them more grip for acceleration and braking needs.

Radial tires also don’t need to be run at high pressure when driving in snowy or wet conditions due to their unique tread design, which is so familiar with radials.

In addition, some car owners claim that running radial tires in the winter doesn’t make a difference since they have a pretty decent grip on ice and snow.

Radial Tires Vs. Bias Ply Tires: Which Is Better?

The real question is whether or not one is better than the other.

Radial tires have a much more modern design and have various new features that enhance their performance, while bias-ply tires aren’t made as well and don’t always offer the grip you need.

However, sometimes this isn’t the case. Many drivers think they should switch to radial tires for durability but see a decrease in their tire lifespan.

So when it comes down to it, you have to figure out what’s more important: traction or longevity?

Radial tires come with better traction because of their higher contact patch, but this will affect the overall tread thickness and quicken wear and tear on your tire.

Advantages of Radial Tires

  1. Better grip – With a higher contact patch, radial tires provide better traction without sacrificing the tread life.
  2. Longer lasting – Radial tires last much longer than their bias-ply counterparts due to less stress on the sidewalls from cornering forces that come into play with radials.
  3. Even wear – Radial tire has a more even wear because of its higher contact patch, which means you’ll need to replace your tires less frequently.

Disadvantages of Radial Tires

  1. Radial tires cost more than bias-ply tires due to the production processes and the materials needed. This is why radial tire companies have been able to get so big.
  2. Lower rolling resistance – Because bias-ply tires have smaller contact patches, they roll up and down more than radials, so they lose less energy during rotation.
  3. More prone to cupping – Radial tire tread is much thinner than a bias-ply tire’s as it rolls over the road, which leads to cupping over time. This means you’ll need to rotate your tires more often if you go with radials.
  4. Less grip on ice – The radial tire has a wider contact patch, which reduces its ability to turn at low speeds in icy conditions. However, many drivers claim that this is not the case and that radial tires are fine on ice.
  5. Higher pressure needed – You need to run higher pressure in your radials due to the increased size, which reduces your vehicle’s fuel economy and causes excessive wear on the tire itself.

The Verdict

So what’s better? As far as traction, radial tires get that one done, but they don’t come without their challenges.

If you’re interested in more information on tire types and what benefits you can get from both radial tires and bias-ply tires, then head on over to Tires Plus Total Car Care.

They offer premium quality tires that are built to give you the best experience you can have, even if it’s snowing outside.


Q: Do all radial tires have the same tread?

A: No, there are some differentials within some brands. Make sure you identify the brand of your current tire and make sure that what you choose has an almost identical design.

Q: Should I switch to radials or stick with my bias-plys?

A: If you’re concerned about your fuel economy, then you should switch to radials.

For traction in harsh weather conditions, switching will not give you better results, so it’s up to you to decide if that is more important for you or not.

Q: Where do the tires come from?

A: Wherever there are car manufacturers like Toyota, radials are a must. The profits from these tires can help them reduce their overall cost of production and increase the fuel economy of their vehicles.

In the end, it all depends on what’s important to you when choosing your new tires. You can get excellent performance from both tire types if you make sure that you identify your needs beforehand and purchase accordingly.