Tire Types

What Are Radial Tires?

Pile Of Tires | Tire America

For decades, there have been two types of tires: Bias and radial. Bias tires owned the road until the '70s, when radial tires, game-changers in tire technology were introduced. Today, radial tires are the most popular by far.

The outside casing of a radial tire has a layer of rubber-coated steel belts. This layer - and we bet you already know this - is the "tread". A second layer of a radial tire is made up of "plies" which consists of rubber-coated steel embedded into the rubber. The direction plies point makes a huge difference.

In bias tires, the plies are diagonal, making the tires' walls less flexible and hindering performance.

With radial tires, the plies start at the center and run radially from bead to bead around the tire. That's why they're called radials and why they perform better.

Advantages of Radial Tires

  • Reliability. The tread of a radial tire does a better job of gripping the road and provides improved durability and maneuverability.
  • Comfort. Because their plies run radially from bead to bead around the tire instead of diagonally, radial tires are more flexible - giving you a more comfortable ride.
  • Protection. Radials have a thick shoulder that protects the interior from shocks and damage.>
  • Economy. There's less rolling resistance, so you use less fuel on radial tires.
  • Stability. Radial tires provide more stability and less vibration.
  • Durability. Radial tires last longer, in part because they generate less heat.
  • Maneuverability. Radial tires contain bead filler that allows the vehicle to handle better on the road.

Although vehicle owners can still purchase bias tires, radial tires have proven to be much safer and more comfortable option. To learn more about tire qualities, read our article on Quality Tires: Top 5 Things You Need to Know