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Tyre Construction

When considering tyres, you need to consider the tyre construction to best suit your needs.

Passenger (or highway type tyres - hence you will see the abbreviation H/T) and light truck (LT) or all terrain (A/T) designated tyres vary greatly across the tyre range with some manufacturers building tyres of the same size and vehicle application, but one is a passenger type and the other a LT or A/T type. Then you’ll also get M/T (for mud terrain) type tyres, and these are the most aggressive and toughest of a tyre range.

For a great many small all wheel and four wheel drive vehicles, passenger tyres are fitted as standard, and are generally okay on road but for the bigger 4WDs that carry some weight and go on any type of dirt surface, then the passenger tyres should get the flick and LT or A/Ts fitted.

The bulk of 4WD manufacturers fit passenger type tyres as standard but offer a choice of A/T tyres to cater for their buyers - this is as much a cost saving measure as what the stats show - most 4WDs don’t go off road - and car companies do look at their target audience.

To quality the above statement, passenger tyres have generally been developed for city work with low noise, ride comfort, high speed durability and handling, and cost the major factors considered. On the other hand, A/T and LT type tyres tend to be used as work horses and aren’t vehicle specific with the considerations listed as puncture resistance, load carrying capacity, extended wear life and added off road grip. To give you a further idea, check out the Tyre Characteristics chart. This was supplied from Bridgestone Australia and is a good basic indicator of the differences between the two types of construction.

TYRE CHARACTERISTICS - PASSENGER OR H/T 4WD TYRES

Shallower tread depth
Lower noise levels, because there is less air passing through the tread grooves. Off road grip can be compromised because of reduced block height and puncture resistance can be lower. Lower heat generation improves high speed durability.
Reduced skid base gauge (distance from the bottom of the tread grooves to the top of the belts)
Improved high speed durability (because the tyre generates less heat), and is therefore common in tyres with higher speed symbols (S and H). Puncture resistance can be lower.
Thinner sidewall gauge
Improved ride comfort, because the tyre casing is more pliable. Sidewall puncture resistance can be lower.
Thinner belt cord wire style and/or smaller number of belts (gen 2, as opp to 3)
Improved ride comfort, because the tread area has more ‘enveloping power’ (ie it conforms to the road surface more easily). Puncture resistance can be lower.
Body ply cord thinner, and/or smaller number of plies
Improved ride comfort, because the tyre casing is more pliable. Puncture resistance can be lower. Lower casing strength also limits maximum inflation pressure, reducing load carrying capacity.

TYRE CHARACTERISTICS - LIGHT TRUCK OR A/T 4WD TYRES

Deeper tread depth
Improved wear life and puncture resistance, but limits the speed capability of the tyre and can increase noise levels. Improved off road performance, especially in soft conditions
Heavier skid base gauge
Increased puncture resistance. Can increase heat generation, reducing speed capability of the tyre.
Heavier sidewall gauge
Increased puncture resistance. Stiffer casing reduces ride comfort, but can help to increase casing strength and thereby maximum inflation pressure and maximum load.
Heavier belt cord wire style, and/or more belts
Increased puncture resistance, but harsher ride
Bold ply cord thicker, and/or more body plies
Increased casing strength increases maximum inflation pressure and thereby load carrying capacity. Can reduce ride comfort.

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