Quiet tyres are making a lot of noise right now in the auto world
While noise-cancelling tyres have often been dreamed about by motorists imagining what the car of the future looks like, recent years have seen Pirelli, Michelin, and others pioneer tyre tech that promises a quieter ride for drivers and passengers alike.
But how does this technology work? And are there any special things to consider when weighing up buying a set of quiet tyres? Here’s a look at what you need to know.
How do quiet tyres work?
With the Aussie tyre industry alone turning over $5 billion dollars a year, tyre manufacturers know getting drivers excited about their latest offering requires innovation. With the development of quiet tyres, they really have something to shout about.
Regular tyres produce noise, and that noise can become even louder because of the tyres’ location within the wheel well, which amplifies the sound like a concert hall does a musical instrument. Quiet tyres can fix this issue.
While each quiet tyre manufacturer may have a slightly different manufacturing process, they do have one element in common: a foam cushion. The cushion is inserted inside the tyre tread that is visible on the outside of the tyre, but on top of the carcass (which is the last interior layer between the tyre and the steel wheel).
Because this layer is there, it restricts a variety of normal tyre sounds caused by compressed air and vibration. This dampens the emergence of noise from the tyre that would normally occur, so the noise the tyre makes when in motion is substantially reduced.
The sound of silence
Though the technology behind quiet tyres is unquestionably cool, it can also create some new considerations when used alongside other car technology. With certain products like noise-cancelling headphones, the benefits of reducing sound come with little risk to the people around you. But quiet tyres are a bit different in this regard.
If fitted on a car with a conventional fuel injection engine, quiet tyres could be utilised safely with the knowledge that the engine will roar even if the tyres are quiet. This means drivers will always remain attentive to their driving (and pedestrians to their surroundings) even if there is less noise around them overall.
But with the growing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles, quiet tyres could be a riskier proposition. Because so many hybrid and electric engines are quiet, the combination of a quiet engine and quiet tyres could mean the inside of the vehicle becomes virtually sound-free. While this may sound like a good thing, hearing noise when driving is important. It helps you assess the effects of your car accelerating, braking, and its overall performance.
It also helps maintain driver attention, since noise can keep us alert, while silence can make us relax, and even sleepy. Given that the removal of sound (thanks to advancing technology) has already proven an issue in recent years, quiet tyres should be considered carefully on this basis.
Your mileage may vary
As with an auto purchase, buying quiet tyres should be done only after some research, and deciding what’s best for your vehicle. It’s also important to keep in mind that there are a variety of quiet tyre manufacturers out there. And like with any tyre or vehicle product, each of them may perform differently.
If you’d like to try quiet tyres but aren’t yet sure what would make an ideal setting for you, check out all the possibilities available. From Pirelli to Michelin and Continental, the quiet tyre options have major manufacturers behind them. The specific technology behind each model varies, meaning you may find one in the research that you feel is a far better fit for your car and driving style than the other possibilities.
It’s also important to keep in mind that manufacturers have been working on making tyres quieter for many years now, so if you feel your current set is already pretty noise-free, you would not be wrong. In this case, it’s a matter of personal choice on how much quieter you might want your tyres to be next time you go to buy a set.
Making noise about it
Quiet tyres are part of a new wave of technology that’s asking us to change the way in which we perceive and use cars. It’s a trend set to only grow further as manufacturers prioritise a ‘lean and green’ model for car-making going forward. There’s definitely a new era underway.
Once upon a time, many drivers adored cars with the loudest engines, the biggest tyres, and sleek details throughout. Even though this trend has now taken a backseat to other styles, the popularity of hot rods from the 1950s and 1960s to this day confirms a strong fanbase out there on the roads. Now that quiet technology is rapidly emerging, there’s set to be a big change surrounding the way in which gearheads view the past versus the future. But rather than seeing it as a sign of a divide emerging, it can be viewed as an opportunity to be excited about.
Though vehicles like hot rods may have first roared with fuel injection engines, today they are getting a new lease on life thanks to electric power. The same principle applies to the introduction of quiet tyres. Some challenges remain, and some changes may still need to be made, but this is a fantastic new innovation in the world of automobiles.
All up, there’s never been a more exciting time for car innovation – and that’s something nobody should stay quiet about.