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Which Type of Tire Tread Do You Need?

August 25th, 2016
There are so many tire designs on the road -- all-season, high performance, touring, light truck -- and even within a specific tire design, there may be several Different types of tire treadchoices of tread patterns. What differentiates them, and what are the pros and cons of each tread design? 
 
-- Directional tread has a pattern of grooves and chevron shapes, all pointed in one direction. This design makes it easy to direct water away from the tire's contact patch and prevent hydroplaning in wet weather, and also offers low noise and great road manners. The directional design means tires can only be rotated front-to-rear and not side-to-side or diagonally. 
 
-- Symme ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

A Brief History of the Tire

July 28th, 2016
The tire is such a commonplace item -- it's on every car, every truck, every bicycle, every aircraft. It's easy to not give the tire a second thought, but like every other technology, the tire has an interesting history of advances and failures. 
 
In the 19th century, carriages and wagons used steel strips for "tires" on their wheels, with the punishing sort of ride that you'd expect. In later years, they were shod with strips of natural rubber, which was an improvement but was still problematic. Solid rubber still rode pretty rough, and the natural, uncured rubber would get gummy in hot weather and shrink and harden in cold temperatures. Charles Goodyear was able to help with the invention of vul ...[more]
  Tags: tires, tire, tire technology
  Posted in: Tires 101

So You Get A Flat Tire...What Now?

June 16th, 2016

Flat TireNobody ever looks forward to a flat tire, and nobody ever says "well, that was a really good time" after having one. You can at least minimize the damage to your tire and danger to yourself, though.

Flats vs Blowouts

If you get a blowout, you'll know about it right away. Sometimes the tire can fail dramatically, with a bang as loud as a shotgun going off. Other times, it might just be a loss of air and a sudden change in your car's handling, followed by vibration, noise and a pull to one side. If it's a front tire that fails, your car might be a real handful to drive until you can get to a stop.

In either case, your first job is to pull off the road as quickly (but safely!) as you can. Don't jam on the brakes or make any sudden mo ...[more]

  Posted in: Tires 101

The Latest in Green Tech Innovations for Tires

May 12th, 2016

When it comes to your car, oil isn't the only thing there's a finite supply of. Rubber has its limits too, and it's estimated by 2020, the supply of natural rubber in the world may be outstripped by demand. And of course, tires require a great deal of oil to produce as well. Tire manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to innovate and conserve resources in tire production. Here are some recent advances:

  • Dandelions: Yes, those humble yellow flowers you try to eliminate from your yard. Dandelions actually contain a minute amount of latex in their milky oil, and research shows they can actually produce about as much latex, pound-for-pound, as rubber plants. German scientists have cultivated 1-foot-tall dandelions for just this purpose. This isn't a new development, either -- in WWII, Amer ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

4 Things About Tires You May Not Have Known

April 28th, 2016

Tires all look sort of the same…round and black…and people tend to think tires don’t change much over the years. That’s really not true, though – engineers and designers are constantly working on advances in tire designs for more miles, better fuel economy and better performance.

Here’s a rundown of current trends in tire technology you may not have been aware of:

  • Tall, skinny tires are coming back. If you’ve ever ridden a beach cruiser bike vs. a racing bike, you know that skinny tires have lower rolling resistance. Carmakers are going in that direction, too – the BMW i3 electric/plug-in hybrid uses Bridgestone Ecopia tires, with higher inflation pressure and a taller, skinnier profile. Tall, skinny tires also redu ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

Self-Inflating Tires…Soon To Be A Reality?

March 31st, 2016

Driving around on underinflated tires is just a bad idea all the way around. Underinflated tires increase a car’s rolling resistance, meaning a drop in fuel efficiency since it takes more energy to move the vehicle down the road.

A single tire that’s down by ten pounds of air means a 3.3 percent drop in fuel economy…multiply that by all four tires, and you can figure on giving up ten percent of your gas mileage. The added friction and rolling resistance also means more heat is generated, and heat is the enemy of the internal structure of a tire. That heat will damage a tire to the point of failure. Studies show that underinflated tires are a full 25 percent more likely to fail, and at least half of one-car accidents involve a tire problem as a factor. And still, it’s estimated ...[more]

  Posted in: Tires 101

Tire Dictionary

March 21st, 2016

Tire Dictionary

Air Pressure

Check the pressure in your tires at a minimum of once per month and before long trips when your tires are cool. Your tires can be considered cool after the vehicle has been stopped for at least 3 hours and driven less than one mile. Adjust to the vehicle manufacturer's specified pressure while tires are cold. Never bleed or reduce air pressure when tires are hot. It is normal for pressure to build up as a result of driving. Use an accurate tire gauge to check pressure and maintain it at the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Keep your tire within the manufacturer's specified pressure range. Ignoring this recommendation may result in unexpected loss of vehicle control or accidents.


Alignment of Vehicle

If you notice that your vehicle pulls to the left or right of the road while driving with the wheel in the 12 o' clock position, you may need a wheel alignment. A wheel ali ...[more]

  Tags: tires
  Posted in: Tires 101

Mixing Tires – Bad Idea

February 25th, 2016

In a perfect world, all four tires would wear out at the same time. In the same perfect world, everyone would be able to afford a whole set of tires all at once. Unfortunately, things often just do not work out that way. 

Sometimes you may just have to replace tires as you can afford them, one or two at a time, but there are some important things to bear in mind if you have to do that. 

If you can only afford to replace one or two tires, it’s essential that you go with tires that are identical (or at least as close as possible) to the car’s remaining tires. That means that internal construction, size, tread pattern and design should be close to the same. Don’t mix winter tires with all-season tires, don’t mix run-flat tires with ...[more]

  Posted in: Tires 101

Get The Most Out Of That Set Of Tires

January 28th, 2016
Your tires are a pretty big investment. Even with the cheapest set of tires, you’re going to be spending upwards of $400 on the tires, mounting, balancing, disposal fees and taxes. Since you laid down that kind of money, doesn’t it just make sense to make sure you get the most miles possible out of them? 
Here’s some advice on long tire life:
 
Regularly check your tire pressure. This one is really, really important. Underinflated tires will wear 
unevenly and reduce your fuel economy due to increased rolling resistance. That increased rolling resistance also means more heat, which will break down the tires’ internal structure and sh ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101

Winter Tires – Yea or Nay?

December 31st, 2015
In a lot of parts of the country, the winters are tough enough that all-season tires just won’t get the job done. All-season tires are a compromise; they offer good year-round traction with a quiet ride, good handling and road manners. They tend to perform well in wet weather and light wintry conditions, but when the snow is more than a couple of inches deep, all-season tires are out of their league. That’s when it’s time to consider winter tires. 
 
Today’s winter tires are a long way from the heavy, noisy, clumsy “snow tires” or “mud grips” that your dad might have had on his station wagon 40 years ago. Modern winter tires are designed for noise, handling, steering response and road manners that rival grand tourin ...[more]
  Posted in: Tires 101
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