You know, as electric vehicles continue to gain in popularity, we keep hearing the same story about how tires need to be built with attributes that these drivers expect. Tires spec’d for EVs need to be built to withstand the added weight and torque, but mitigating road noise is a big one too. Which leads me to wonder, have consumers become more sensitive to road noise overall, whether they’re driving an EV or not? We talk about that in this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video.
Even if they aren’t driving an EV, some of your customers might be sensitive to road noise in the cabin, and point to tires as a culprit.
It’s true that in many cases tires can make the cabin a noisy place to be. A big tire with chunky tread blocks could do it, for sure, especially if that tire is designed for OTR purposes and you’re cruising down the highway. In general, though, tire manufacturers have gone to great lengths to avoid tread-generated noise produced by their tires.
For example, tire engineers might stagger their pitches and tread blocks, using different patterns and sizes. These multi-pitch tread designs can quiet the tire through more random blocks and grooves.
Tiremakers have been addressing noises generated from tires for years, and have amplified those efforts in recent years through tread patterns, carcass composition, sidewall and shoulder profiles – even sound cushioning inside of tires by using a foam insert that dampens noise. Continental’s ContiSilent technology is a great example of this.
Despite maybe having questions for you about tire noise, consumers usually tier factors like price, brand and wear above noise. Thankfully, you, being the customer’s friendly neighborhood tire dealer, can help guide consumers with some general assumptions about tire noise.
For example, the softer the tire’s tread compound, the more likely it is to reduce noise. High-profile tires are also generally more comfortable and quieter than low-profile alternatives, but some of that is also due to the more aggressive driving nature of sporty cars with low-profile tires. Adjusting the inflation pressure can also affect tire noise.
If the customer has complaints about how noisy a set of replacement tires are, remind them the previous tires likely featured a smoother surface as the tread wore down – and this likely resulted in a quieter tire.