Is tyre squealing normal?
Some colleagues have asked me this and said that the sound was cause for alarm.
Others wondered if they should upgrade to better tyres.
If you’re also wondering about tyre squealing, read on!
IT IS NORMAL IN SOME SITUATIONS
Tyre squealing is actually normal in some everyday situations.
For instance, when you drive in a carpark whose ground is painted, it is normal to hear crunching and squealing sounds when making turns.
There is no need to panic. It is merely the sound of the rubber gripping the surface.
Sometimes, smooth concrete surfaces in carparks cause tyre squeal, too.
WHAT IF THE TYRE SQUEAL HAPPENS ON THE ROAD?
Well, when you hear this happening, chances are you might also be feeling like the car is about to break traction.
For front-wheel-drive cars, the sensation if that of understeer, as the front wheels struggle to find grip. Most likely, the cornering speeds are too fast.
In rear-wheel-drive cars, you might feel the back-end becoming light. When this happens, ease off the accelerator pedal gradually to help the rear wheels regain grip.
IN THESE LATTER SITUATIONS, WHY DO THE TYRES SQUEAL?
It’s because they are approaching their adhesion/traction limits.
Think of it as an audible warning: Back off now, or suffer the consequences.
But when you hear them squealing in a carpark while driving at low speeds (less than 20km/h), obviously there’s no cause for worry.
WILL HIGH-PERFORMANCE TYRES ELIMINATE THIS PROBLEM?
No. Definitely not.
Most cars shod with “normal” or touring tyres create squealing noises in carparks with particular surfaces.
Having high-performance tyres doesn’t make the sounds disappear. On the contrary, their higher grip levels will make the squeals louder.
And since the grip levels are higher, it’ll take longer for high-performance tyres to start squealing.
However, we do not recommend trying to find out when this will happen, since this entails pushing your car very hard.
You may want to consider going to a racetrack instead, which will have runoff areas – in case your car slides!