Summer driving allows us to enjoy the thrill of the road. It's a great chance to zip around the bend and enjoy our favorite stretches of pavement unburdened by snow or ice.
The best tool to get the most out of our summer journeys: a set of high-performance tires. But what sets high-performance tires apart from their rubber counterparts, and how can we choose the right ones?
Built to thrill
High-performance tires (often listed as UHP for "ultra-high-performance") are built to handle the demands of thill seekers. They typically come with higher speed ratings, which signify the speed at which the tire can safely carry a load. For instance, the Nokian zLine A/S carries a speed rating of W, which means it's rated for speeds as high to 168 mph.
Now, don't think for a second that we're saying you should drive that fast -- always obey the speed limit. But a higher speed rating also indicates stronger traction, cornering and grip even at lower speeds. That means you can do things like this:
What helps high-performance tires handle such high speeds? Their tread compounds play a big role. Softer tread compounds help tires respond well to the road and manage the heat generated by rapid speeds. That gives us peace of mind to push the envelope when we might otherwise proceed with a little more caution.
Nokian Tyres' UHP tires offer Cooling Edge technology that provides more efficient cooling to the hottest parts of the tire, improving handling and durability. We also developed a new tread compound for the Nokian zLine A/S -- our Dynamic Traction Boost compound -- that increases wet grip and fuel efficiency while also withstanding stress from rough roads.
When you talk with your tire dealer about UHP tires, make sure you ask him or her about the technology that comes in the products you're considering. They'll be able to help you decipher between clever marketing gimmicks and substantive technology built to provide peace of mind.
Let the buyer beware
As with any tire, UHP tires come with tradeoffs. If you want a tire with maximum tread life, consider a touring tire that's built to provide a more balanced driving experience. UHP all-season tires also aren't designed for use in winter conditions -- temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) cause their compounds to harden and become less responsive. If you want a tire that can navigate all four seasons, consider an all-weather tire...or take off your UHP tires in time for winter and put on a set of dedicated winter tires that will deliver ultimate safety on snow and ice.
But if you love carving around every corner in the spring and summer months, there's nothing better than a high-quality UHP tire. Want to find the right set for you? Visit our tire selection tool to find the right fit for your vehicle!