The lifespan of a tyre can make or break how you perform at your next event. The last thing anyone wants is buying a boatload of tyres to realize they aren’t designed for the application you are using them in. A tyre UTQG (Uniform Tyre Quality Grading), more specifically it’s treadwear will tell you just that. UTQG explains to you, as a tyre buyer, what to expect from the performance of your tyre. The rating is compiled of treadwear, temperature resistance, and traction.
How is treadwear decided?
A tyre's lifespan is dependent on its treadwear, which part of the UTQG. The spirit of a treadwear rating is that the higher the rating the greater the tyre life, and vice versa. So, in theory, a tyre that has a rated treadwear of “600” would last three times as long as a tyre that is rated at a “200”. Though this can be true within brand lines it tends to get blurry when you are comparing brands. In full disclosure, the treadwear rating is mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) but NHTSA does not test the tyres or assign ratings. Rather, it is the tyre manufacturer's duty to test their own tyres.
This means that a tyre from Brand A that is rated at “200” may have a better or worse lifespan than Brand B’s “200” rated tyre. But don’t let that discourage you. Though ratings may be subjective brand to brand, treadwear is still the best way to decide if a tyre will work for your set-up or application that you are using it in, ultimately determining the performance of the tyre you are buying.
Why does this matter to me?
Well, great question.
No matter what motorsport that you participate in, the treadwear of the tyre you use matters. Not only does treadwear tell you the lifespan of your tyre, but it gives you insight on the performance that you can be expecting from the rubber you buy. Whether you drive endurance, track days, or are drifting and destroying tyres every weekend the tread life of the tyre you are using will ultimately dictate how well YOU perform. For instance, a tyre rated “180” or less should perform great during drift events or track days (depending on your set-up) due to a shorter lifespan and the extra grip you get from a softer compound, but we would not recommend that treadwear as a daily driver. On the opposite side of things, a tyre rated “400” or over would be great for high mileage but not for grip over the short racing time.
Although the requirements are stricter for official events, there are no such requirements for most grassroots drifting events, the only thing you are hurting by using a 400 rated tyre is yourself.
From our experience with the Accelera 651 Sport, which is has a treadwear rating of 200, we have found that a tyre that is rated 180-200 will perform well in almost all applications, but daily driving. This might also be because the 651 Sport is a r-compound that is made to handle the heat cycles that a 200-rated tyre would go through. Regardless, the Accelera 651 Sport lasts longer than your standard 200-rated tyre, while providing you the grip you need in any conditions you put it in.
When it comes to the treadwear ratings you just need to know what works in the application you plan on using the tyre in. The last thing anyone wants is a tyre that either provides too much grip or a tyre that dies before you even get started due to chunking or delamination. Know what treadwear works for you and factor in the tyre's tread pattern to maximize the performance of any tyre you use.