Q: “Should my tires be squealing through every corner? Is that a good indicator that I’m at the limit of adhesion of the tires? Or does that mean I’ve gone that past that point?”
A: Yes and no. The best thing is that you’ve recognized that the sound of a tire absolutely relates to how close it is to its limits.
A tire that isn’t making any noise is probably not at its limit; a tire that is screaming is over the limit. Unfortunately, every tire is different, so there’s no one perfect sound, but typically if the tire is growling, that’s a pretty good sign that you’re near the limit. If it’s making too much noise, you’re sliding it too much. Having said that, there are some tires that don’t make a lot of noise, so it gets to be hard to determine if you’re at the limit solely by listening to the tires.
You need to compare the sound to the feel, and then you’ll be more sensitive to what sounds the tires make when they’re at their limit. I strongly recommend that drivers use the Sensory Input Sessions that I write about in my books and my eCourses. The process of focusing specifically on the sound of the tires as they compare to what you’re feeling… well, eventually you’ll learn that “this” sound means you’re sliding too much; “that” sound means you’re not pushing the tires hard enough and you can go faster.
It would be very cool if I could produce an audio recording on the exact sound that all tires make when they’re right at their limit, right? That way you could just go out and drive in a way that made your tires sound the same. Put if I gave you all the answers, it would take the fun out of learning it on your own. J