ABSTRACT The dynamic characteristics of a tire are studied by simulating its rolling over a cleat and observing the effect on in-plane rigid belt vibration modes. Three modeling approaches are used to understand various tire design parameters affecting the tire dynamics relevant for vehicle ride performance. First, a simplified three-degree-of-freedom rigid ring model is used for fundamental understanding of these modes. Next, a detailed finite element model accounting for component compliances is used for studying the sensitivity of the modes to most common design parameter variations employed in tire development. Finally, to study these tire design changes in operation, vehicle simulations using CarSim and FTire models are performed. FTire model parameters corresponding to tire design parameters are adjusted accordingly. Observations are reported of the effects of tire design parameters on cleat responses and on correlation of results between finite element and FTire models.