What are reinforced tires (XL tires)?
Reinforced tires, also known as XL tires, are characterized by an increased load index. Organizations such as the European Tire and Rim Manufacturers Association (ETRTO) work with brands to define a load index for tires of all sizes. Reinforced tires are used especially in situations when the target working conditions of the tire require higher load capacity. XL tires are found much more often in delivery vehicles and sports cars. Reinforced tires for passenger cars are suitable mainly for vehicles with higher torque and greater engine power.
How do I recognize reinforced tires?
At first glance, the construction of reinforced tires may not differ much from ordinary tires. The differences usually lie on the inside of the tire, as the load capacity can be improved, for example by thanks to interference with the forehead or the bead of the tire. All tire manufacturers provide information on the application, date of manufacture, and use-by date in the visible outer part of the tire. The pressure level inside the tire can also be an indication for more experienced people, but the most important thing is the side marking.
To be sure that a given tire is reinforced, the marking XL, EXL, EL (Extra Load) or RF, RFD, REF, REINF (Reinforced) must also be shown. Normal tires with the SL (Standard Load) marking do not have an increased load index.
How are reinforced tires constructed?
The largest tire manufacturers use various techniques to increase the load index of the reinforced tires they offer. A more durable type of rubber and additional carcass layers are very often used. One of the solutions used is also the thickening of the steel cords or the enrichment and strengthening of the basic elements of the tire. Thanks to the use of appropriate materials and modern technologies, the construction of reinforced tires are perfect for higher pressures. All information can usually be found in the vehicle book. It is from there that we will find out whether a given vehicle is approved for XL tires and what the pressure recommended by the manufacturer is.
Who Should Use Reinforced Tires?
Reinforced tires are great for driving with a feeling of load. For this reason, they can very often be found in delivery and transport vehicles. It might seem that cheaper ordinary tires are a better solution, but unfortunately, it does not take into account the safety of the driver and all road users around him. Inadequate tires can easily cause a painful accident or a costly collision. The use of appropriate tires allows you to fully use the capabilities of a given vehicle for a long time. Reinforced tires are also found on sports cars because they can provide greater stability in curves. They also increase safety during braking and acceleration. Greater engine power often translates into higher driving dynamics and greater speed amplitude.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of XL tires?
Reinforced tires are usually more expensive than normal tires. However, it should be remembered that the higher cost in this case translates into greater durability. XL tires make it possible to reduce the likelihood of failure resulting from intensive use of a given vehicle. Greater resistance to mechanical damage is perfect for Polish roads, which unfortunately leave much to be desired. Disproportionately high curbs and common holes in the asphalt can seriously damage the average SL tire.
XL tires also help improve cornering stability and increase safety by reducing reaction times. They perform very well on difficult surfaces and can withstand high overloads associated with braking and dynamic acceleration much better. Of course, remember to check the pressure regularly and follow the recommendations of the vehicle and tire manufacturer.
Reinforced tires tend to be heavier than normal tires, which generates additional costs related to higher fuel consumption. Some drivers say that they also reduce driving comfort and generate more noise than regular tires.
Is it worth buying XL tires?
In the case of vehicles whose manufacturers have indicated reinforced tires as part of the approval, it is not worth trying to save by buying regular ones. A very unpleasant surprise may be the insurer’s refusal to pay compensation depending on the individual terms of the contract. They are most often found in vehicles that are mainly used to transport more people or things. The purchase of reinforced tires should be of particular interest to owners of larger family sedans, multi-purpose vans, sports pearls and vans.