Radial Tires: What Makes Them Special?

A radial tire is a type of tire that has its body plies extending across the wheel from side to side at 90-degree angles.

Radial tires have revolutionized the industry, and they are now widely used. Most vehicles come with radial tires today. In addition to bias-ply tires (as an example), radial tires utilize a different method of construction that leads to better performance and durability.

Thus, they are ideal for many different applications, such as trucks, trailers, heavy equipment, etc.

Radial tires are used for passenger cars, SUV's and light trucks. They are made up of plies placed from one side of the tire to the other. This allows them to be flexible, prevent heat buildup, and last longer.

Radial tires are made up of many layers of rubber. The outer layer is called the carcass, and it provides support for the inner layers. These inner layers include the breaker, sidewall, and tread.

The breaker protects the tire from damage when it contacts the road. Sidewalls help protect the tire from punctures. Tread is what makes the tire roll. It is the part of the tire that touches the ground.

Radial tires help passengers by offering comfort as well as safety. Passenger cars use radial tires.

Are radial tires better than bias-ply tires?

Radial tires are better than earlier bias-ply tires. The radial tire's construction makes the difference, meaning it is made differently than bias-ply tires, and this construction means they are stronger, more durable, and safer.

Radial tires are constructed a bit differently than older bias-ply tires made of nylon or cotton cords. With steel belts to support their weight, Radials are safer to use on any road, meaning fewer blowouts or leaks.

Radial tire and bias-ply tire applications

Radial tires are used in passenger cars, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks, and trailers. Bias-ply tires cost less but handle better (since the sidewall isn't part of the tire's structural integrity). Additionally, radial tires last longer than bias-ply tires because their cords aren't under as much stress.

A radial tire and a bias-ply tire are constructed differently, so which one depends on where you are driving.

They can also be used on modern vehicles, such as passenger cars, construction equipment, and agricultural vehicles. Bias-ply tires are also popular with motorcycles because they're easier to handle when cornering at speed.

On the other hand, radar tires have become widely used in all kinds of places in the past few years, such as passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and racing cars. These days it's not easy to find bias-ply tires on modern cars or trucks because radial technology has improved.

What is a drag radial tire?

You know what a radial tire is, so let’s jump in (if you don’t, read the previous post on radial tires).

A drag radial is a radial tire with a soft sidewall. Whereas most radials have tough steel belts wrapped around their sidewalls, drag radials are made of softer rubber, allowing them to flex more easily when they contact the road.

Drag radials are used for racing, and their soft sidewalls give them extra grip and traction when launching off the line. They help eliminate wheel hop and allow drivers to put way more power down without spinning their tires and losing control or traction.

So, if you're into drag racing (or want to get a better launch), consider using a drag radial on your next car project!

Radial tire vs. bias ply

If you decide between radial tires vs. bias-ply tires, you may think that radials are better because they cost more. This is generally the case, but not always. This article will explain the difference between radial and bias-ply tires and what type of tire could be best for your vehicle.

When it comes to the two types of tires, a few main differences set them apart. A very obvious and immediate difference between the different tire types is the way in which the plies are arranged in the tire structure.

Radial tires have perpendicular plies to the wheel, while bias-ply tires have diagonally added plies. This difference is what gives each type of tire its unique properties.

Radial tires are designed with performance in mind, and they offer superior traction and handling on both wet and dry surfaces compared to bias-ply tires. In addition, they tend to last longer than bias-ply tires due to their increased durability.

These tires offer increased lateral stability, useful when driving on uneven or hilly terrain. In contrast, radial agricultural tires perform better on dry surfaces. Additionally, putting a bias-ply tire onto a wheel is typically easier than doing so with a radial tire because there is less torque required.

What is a steel-belted radial tire?

Do you know what gets my motor running? Steel-belted radials!

The steel-belted radial was introduced in the 1970s as a way to improve on the standard radial tire. If a tire's tread moves too much, that causes the tire to wear out quickly, causing discomfort for the car's passengers.

So, what if we added some steel belts under the tire's tread to give it more strength and prevent that from happening? Well, somebody gave it a try and—brilliantly enough—it worked. 

Nowadays, all vehicles sold in North America are equipped with steel-belted radials. This has made tires last longer, prevented flats and blowouts more often, and made your car ride smoother.

Steel belted tires are made up of high-tensile steel wires woven together in layers around rubberized cords. While maintaining flexibility at low temperatures, these cords reinforce against sidewall breakage.

In addition to providing excellent strength, these extra layers make the tire last longer and ride smoother. The only downside is price: steel-belted radials generally cost about 10% more than their non-steel brethren; however, most automakers say improvements recoup those costs to performance over time.

To prevent overheating, radial tires must be rotated at least every 10,000 miles. Overheated tires are a safety hazard and should not be ignored. For example, one semi-truck driver was on the road with his wife, who was riding in the passenger seat of the truck's cab.

You should read this: How Often Do I Need to Rotate My Tires?

He noticed that his radial tires were wearing down faster than usual after purchasing new tires. He made an appointment with a tire repair shop for the very next day to get them looked at.

One of the rear tires overheated due to incorrect loading and pressure and exploded before he could reach it. In addition to the damage to their vehicle, both passengers sustained broken bones due to the force of the explosion.

What is 820-15 in a radial tire?

  • The number “820” indicates the tire is 820mm wide. This measurement is taken from one sidewall to the other.

  • The number “15” indicates that the tire height is 15 inches. Tire height is measured from the edge of the rim to the top of the tire.

So, as you can see, in this case, 820-15 means that a radial tire is 15 inches tall and 820mm wide.

What is radial force variation in a tire?

The radial force variation is the difference in radially outward forces exerted by a tire on the road in static conditions as it is rotated. This number is expressed in pounds or kilograms and should be within a specific range (usually 9 to 11 inches).

What is a radial ATV tire?

Radial ATV tires have been specifically designed for ATVs and are not meant to be used on motorcycles. These tires are well suited to off-road use, but they aren't intended for use in extremely muddy conditions.

Several characteristics make radial ATV tires better than bias-ply tires. Since the tread blocks move independently and the sidewalls are flexible, they provide a softer ride and better handling.

Moreover, these tires provide more traction than bias-ply tires because of their stiffer construction, which means they move less and are more controlled. Because of their more rigid structure, radial ATV tires also have a higher load capacity and speed rating than bias-ply ATV tires.

What is a radial motorcycle tire?

A radial tire for motorcycles, or any vehicle, is a tire with the plies arranged radially. In the construction of standard tires, the plies are crisscrossed from bead to bead.

A radial motorcycle tire should be used for high-speed riding, long distances, touring, and sportbikes. A bias-ply will give you more grip on corners than radials, and they are also more flexible when cornering.

If you ride on the road at 100 mph or less, a radial is the best choice since it's great for highway speed and not as stiff when cornering, so it lasts longer.

Also, there are different types of bias-ply, such as rubber compounds that provide better traction but wear faster and rubber compounds that last longer but give less traction and somewhat sloppy handling characteristics.

While they are good, they don't handle as well as bias-ply tires but do handle well enough to meet most riders' needs in sport-touring motorcycles. Radial motorcycle tires can also be used on cruiser bikes where comfort is still an issue.

What is a radial-ply tire?

When people refer to a tire's "ply rating," they're talking about the tire's load capacity or, more specifically, its strength. The higher the ply rating, the stronger and heavier-duty the tire.

A 10-ply rated tire can carry a heavier load than an 8-ply rated one. A tire's ply rating is usually stated in its size designation, so you can tell a lot by its name about how tough it is.

The name isn't always obvious: on some tires, especially lighter ones, it can be hidden in a more generic description, like P225/50R16 89H (which would indicate an 89-load index). Here are some other key terms that crop up in discussions of radial-ply tires:

  • Tire construction refers to how the different components and layers of a given type of tire are put together to make it strong enough for certain uses.

  • Load range refers to how much weight each axle on your vehicle will bear when driving with various loads. If you know your load range and know what you'll be hauling or carrying in your vehicle (people, equipment, etc.), you can figure out what kind of radial-ply tires you should purchase.*

What is a radial tire pull?

Radial tire pull means you have a left or right pulling vehicle. This term is used to describe a vehicle that tends to pull to the left or right due to an issue with the tire or suspension.

The most common cause of radial tire pull is an out-of-balance tire, which causes uneven wear on a tire. Radial tire pull can also be caused by tires that are not fully inflated, damaged threads, and lumps within the inner part of the tire’s sidewall.

What is a radial tire used for?

You can find a radial tires on a wide range of vehicles. You'll be riding on radial tires if you drive your car to work or ride your motorcycle to the weekend.

Radial tires in snow are what?

A radial tire is a type of tire designed to provide better traction when compared to other types of tires. Radial tires are used in many different types of vehicles and industrial applications.

If you're looking for tires for your car, truck, or bike, there are many different choices that you can make, and each type of tire has its own set of benefits.

One benefit of using a radial tire on snow and ice is that the tread pattern does not cause a buildup on the surface. This feature is especially important if you live in an area with a lot of snow and ice in the winter months.

Diameter tires are also good on wet surfaces since their tread pattern helps them grip much more easily than other tires. Therefore, if it's raining or water puddles around, these tires will give you better handling than different types.

What is a radial tubeless tire?

A radial tubeless tire is a very common type of tire. It's the kind you'll find on most cars, trucks, and SUVs made after 1980. This type of tire has sidewalls built with multiple plies of cord that run vertically from bead to bead.

The cords are laid at varying angles and overlapped like shingles before they're covered with rubber to form the tread at the tread area.

A bias-ply tire has cords that run diagonally across the sidewall in alternating directions. Radial tires have stronger sidewalls and deliver great handling compared with bias-ply tires.

Tire manufacturers offer hundreds of sizes and styles for every possible application, and some are even constructed specifically for off-road use or low rolling resistance tires for fuel economy.

If used incorrectly, radial tubeless tires will perform poorly or damage your vehicle's wheel assembly components (like wheels, bearings, and brake drums).

The Advantages of Radial Tires

Bias Ply Tires are better than Radial Tires. Radial Tires are more expensive than bias-ply tires, and radial Tires cost less than bias-ply tires.

Fuel Efficiency

Radial tires allow the tire to maintain an optimal shape under the weight and stresses of driving. The radial tire design prevents the tire from building up pressure on the tread area, which reduces fuel consumption. Radial tires also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Lengthened Tread Life

Radial tires are stronger than bias-ply tires because they use more rubber. Heat resistance helps reduce wear, and even pressure distribution keeps the tread from wearing out too fast. Radial tires last longer than bias-ply tires.


A steel belt helps to maintain the tire's shape under pressure. Radial ply placement strengthens the tire’s structure, and Bead filler prevents the tire’s deformations. A tire’s load and durability depend on the strength of its structure.


Radial tires are more stable than other types of tires. The optimal placement of the ply allows them to follow the road surface closely, so they're easy to control.

The tread centers improve steering response and driving stability. Plies in tires provide drivers with better control over the vehicle and enhance handling performance.

Performing Safety

Radial tires are more durable than bias-ply tires, and Bias-ply tires are less durable because their structure is weaker. Tire sidewalls are thicker in radial tires than in bias-ply tires, which means radial tires are more durable.

The Disadvantages of the Radial Tire Structure

Radial tires are great because they're strong and durable. However, they can't be easily fixed if you get a flat, and you can only fix them in the middle.

Radial tires are more difficult to repair than bias-ply tires, and patching radial tires incorrectly can damage them. Tire shops must take care when repairing radial tires.

When were radial tires invented? 

The car with the radial tire was in 1948. The tires were to be used for cars, trucks, and military vehicles


Now that you know the difference between a radial tire and a bias-ply tire, how to check your tires, find the right tires for your car, and safely change a tire, you are prepared to travel with confidence.

By checking your tires regularly, choosing the right tire for your car, and changing your tires when needed, you can ensure that you will be safe on the road.

You will also save money by getting the longest life out of each set of tires. With today's busy world, being prepared for any situation that may arise during a road trip is a great idea.

David V. Williamson

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