Learning Center / Tire Anatomy and Construction


To most of us, we think of a tire as what connects our vehicle to the road and what we hope never goes flat on an important day! Although that may be what we think, there is far more to a tire than that for which most of us give it credit. There are many components to a tire that work together to keep your vehicle connected to the road, and the construction of the tire makes a difference in terms of the quality and performance you can expect. Knowing these parts can help you to get the best tires for your vehicle the next time you need to replace them.

The Parts of a Standard Vehicle Tire

There are six main components of a tire. Starting on the inside, is a layer of rubber. In older types of tires, this used to be a tube; however, newer tires are created without tubes and are now made up of a butyl rubberized liner that is totally impermeable. Just like the rubber tubes of old they can still lose pressure,  but if you check the pressure on a monthly basis, you can easily keep it in the right range for your vehicle.

The next component of the tire is what is called the “carcass ply.” This is a series of fiber cables that are combined and then pushed into the rubber of the initial layer of your tire. These thin cables are typically a major component in the strength of the tire. On top of the carcass ply, are found the “beads.” These beads are responsible for keeping the inside parts pushed up decisively against the rim of your wheel.

The sidewall is the next component of a tire. These have multiple uses. First, they add height to your tire. Second, they offer protection from side impacts with objects such as curbs or similar firm objects. Third, they can also add style to how your tire looks. You will find the specifics about your tire located on its sidewall, such as the overall dimensions of the tire, how much of a load the tire is rated to carry, and the maximum speed at which the tires are rated to go.

“Crown piles” are the tire’s next component. This covers the gaps between the sidewalls, and is the base upon which the tread will later be built. The more rigid the crown piles on the tire, the better gas mileage your vehicle is going to get. There should be a bit of flex so that, as you drive, your ride is not stiff and bumpy; but it should also be strong enough to provide the proper support for a vehicle in your weight range. The crown piles will also bring a bit of lateral stability to the tire, keeping it strong all the way across.

The final component of the tire is the tread. These are strips that are built up to help keep the vehicle on the road under a wide variety of conditions. You can purchase tires with treads that are resistant to punctures, heat, wear, and abrasion, allowing for a longer tire life for the price paid.

How each of these components is placed together determines the overall quality of a tire. Learning how these components rely on each other allows consumers to ensure they are getting the best quality tire available for their budget. If you are on the lookout for a new set of tires in the near future, take this newfound knowledge along when you go shopping, and make sure you get the best set of tires for your particular circumstances.

If you want to simplify the tire-buying process, you can even buy your tires online through companies like TreadHunter. When they arrive,  have them installed at your local tire store. This allows you to get the best tires no hassle or running around from place to place to find the best deal.