Pros and Cons of Racing Tires: Are They Right For Your Vehicle?

Most drivers understand that upgrading to a performance tire brings significant gains, but upgrading to a niche tire is a different matter. If you are trying to get the most out of a track car, racing tires can give you the traction necessary to make the most of your next drag race. They do not bring those same gains to everyday driving situations, though.

DOT Approval for Drag Tires

Racing slicks have very little tread compared to the average street tire, on top of being made with a softer material that behaves differently at high temperatures. Slicks tend to get sticky to help with traction when they heat up, and between the two major design changes, some tires are not street legal. For that reason, it’s important to check out the DOT approval status of any racing tire you are considering for a daily driver. If you’re changing to dedicated track tires at each event the way you swap out Jeep parts for different off-road events, then DOT approval does not matter.

Drag Radials for Daily Use

Drag radials are a hybrid design with a little more tread and a lot more puncture protection than the average racing slick. They do not always give you the best performance at the track when compared to tires designed without DOT approval in mind, but they are an upgrade from street tires that you can drive to the event. The advantages of this option are pretty clear, since you do not have to switch your drag racing wheels and tires every time you want to run a race.

Unfortunately, drag radials still do not have a lot of tread compared to other street legal tires. That means that while they will have increased traction and performance under dry conditions with pavement that is well-maintained, they do not do as well in rain or snow. They’re also not ideal for loose material like gravel roads and unpaved driveways. To top it all off, the softer material wears down faster under everyday conditions.

Are Racing Tires Right For Your Vehicle?

If you want to be able to drive to the track and race on the same tires that got you there, then drag radials are a decent upgrade. If you want to get the best track performance possible, then slicks are a good idea, but you do not necessarily need to worry about street legality.

Most drivers with a serious racing build keep a dedicated set of drag wheels with a rim and tire combination that suits their current build. They also keep a set of street tires, typically high-performance all-terrain tires designed to hold up in rain and snow. The only downside is having to rebalance your tires whenever you change back and forth, but the upside is that you get your car’s best in every situation.

More Upgrades For Your Track Car

If you really want to make the most out of your performance at events, you need to upgrade to the most powerful engine that fits your vehicle. There are a lot of options for crate engines with upgraded power profiles compared to the OEM designs for most cars, it’s just a matter of finding the right one for your build. Get started today.

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