Porsche "N" Rated Tyres
Tyres play a major role in the handling characteristics of any car. They effect cornering speeds, acceleration and braking, fuel economy, noise, wet grip, dry grip, hydroplaning and topspeeds to name a few. Quite often the design criteria for each of these needs are at odds with each other, and tyre designers have a complex balancing act on their hands to produce a tyre that meets all the needs of the car.
Like many car manufacturers, Porsche have long since recognised the importance of the tyre to the overal performance of their cars. Porsche has taken the step of producing its own rating system to ensure tyres used or approved for Porsche vehicles meet their own stringent criteria. If a Tyre meets the Porsche standard it will be marked with the "N" rating. Tyres developed by manufacturers, in cooperation with Porsche, offer a specific set of wet grip properties which few, if any, of the other automobile manufacturers demand in equal measure from the tyres they use on their vehicles.
Tyres for production that have passed all of the tests and received Porsche's engineering department's approval will be branded with an N-specification. The N-specification brandings include: N-0 (N-zero), N-1, N-2, N-3 or N-4. These markings on a tyre's sidewall clearly identify them as approved by Porsche for their vehicles. The N-0 marking is assigned to the first approved version of a tyre design. As that design is refined externally or internally, the later significant evolutions will result in a new generation of the tyre to be branded with N-1, N-2, N-3, etc., in succession. When a completely new tire design is approved, it receives the N-0 branding and the succession begins again.
It is recommended that only matching tires be used on Porsche vehicles. Since many Porsche vehicles are fitted with differently sized tires on their front and rear axles, this means matching the tyre make, tyre type and N-specification. If a vehicle was originally delivered with N-specification tires that have been discontinued and are no longer available, it is recommended to change all four tires to a higher numeric N-specification design appropriate for that vehicle.
The following is a quote from a Porsche owners manual:
Tyres should be replaced no less than in pairs on one axle at a time. Only tyres of the same tyre make and type must be used. However, in case of tyre damage such as cuts, punctures, cracks or sidewall bulges that cause a single tyre to be replaced for safety reasons, the remaining matching tyre on that axle must not exceed 30 percent wear. If the remaining tyre has more than 30 percent wear from new, it should also be replaced. Handling inconsistencies may result if this is not done.
Initially, new tyres do not offer their full traction. Drivers should therefore drive at moderate speeds during the first 60-100 miles (100-200 km). If new tyres are installed on only one axle, a noticeable change in handling occurs due to the different tread depth of the other tires. This happens especially if only rear tyres are replaced. However, this condition disappears as new tyres are broken in. Drivers should adjust their driving style accordingly.
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