What is the difference between steel belted radial tires and bias-ply tires?

  • What is the difference between bias-ply tires and radial tires?

  • Bias-ply tires are: 1) Most authentic, period-correct look for a vintage car. 2) Less expense generally. 3) In most cases, wider whitewalls and more choices of brands and whitewall sizes and appearances. 4) The most notable appearance features are the straight up and down or vertical side walls, the attractive "pie-crust" edges of the tires that resemble scallops and the period-correct looking tread patterns. A good example of a bias-ply tire with a wide four inch tire can be seen on this link: BIAS PLY TIRE. The disadvantages of bias-ply tires are that they do not ride as nice as steel belted radials will or perform as well on cornering or in wet conditions. They tend to follow cracks or seams in the pavement and they will "flat-spot" if they sit too long without use, although the tires will smooth out after driving for a given distance. If you are running bias-ply tires presently that are over 9 years of age, they are probably in need of replacement and new bias-plys will probably perform much better than outdated rubber will. Bias-ply tires probably will not have as long of an estimated tread life and may not have a high enough speed rating if you have a need for speed.

  • Steel-belted radial tires have: 1)  Superior ride and performance. 2)  Attractive design. 3) Period-correct appearance and whitewall stripes for more modern cars. 4) Longer tread-life and 5) Speed rated for higher speed driving. The disadvantages are: 1) Higher cost.  2) Can cause cracking or harm to antiquated wheels. 3) May detract from a vintage presentation on an older car. 4) In tight quarters, a steel belted radial may be wider than needed and could rub or make contact with a fender skirt or body panel. Please click here to see a fine example of steel belted radials on a collector car: STEEL BELTED RADIALS.

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How to keep your white wall tires white.

How do I keep my whitewalls clean? For simple clean-up, use soap and water. We have brought to market our own whitewall tire cleaner that can be found by clicking this link. For over-the-counter type products, you may use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or Simple Green Extreme. Avoid products that contain strong cleaning agents such as bleach or lye. Products like Comet Cleanser, Ajax, Brillo or Bar Cleaner have bleach in them and these chemicals will cause yellowing and cracking of the whitewalls. Do not use Armor All on whitewalls. Sadly, some products that are designed specifically for cleaning whitewalls have bleach in them, so, be careful.
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