Tires embody the term “from the ground up”. They are one of the most important parts of your vehicle and their condition is vital to your safety. So how do you manage the upkeep on these integral parts of your favorite machine? Research!
Let’s start with some interesting facts:
1. They make tires black
Tires aren’t naturally black, they are white! Carbon black is added to the rubber to increase the durability and strength. It even reduces thermal damage to the tires!
2. A veterinarian made the first practical rubber tire
John Dunlap actually made it for his son who was too sick to ride his bicycle with the wooden wheels due to the rough ride.
3. Crayola had a hand in it
Crayola began selling carbon black to Goodrich Tire Company; about 70% of all carbon black sold now goes into tires.
4. Maximum speed ratings are on the tire
The Q, R, S, T, H, V, W, Y marker on your tire determine the maximum recommended continuous speed for that tire. (Q = 99 MPH; R = 106 MPH; S = 112MPH; T = 118 MPH; H = 130 MPH; V = 149; W = 168 MPH; Y = 186 MPH)
5. Sipes vs. Tread
Sipes are the grooves cut into the tire to help with control in different terrains. Tread is what is left after the Sipes are cut in.
6. Tire pressure changes with weather
When gauging your tire pressure try to do so in a cold area. Heat expands air and can give you an inaccurate reading on your tire pressure.
7. Under inflation reduces fuel economy
Every 6 PSI that your tires are under inflated is equal to a reduction of 3-4% in fuel economy.
8. Reducing PSI does NOT help in snow
That is a myth, tires actually loose traction in snow when under inflated.
9. 1/6 Inch is the minimum
Tires with less than 1/6 of an inch of tread need to be replaced; this is for fuel economy and safety.
10. Tires take 300-500 miles to break in
Until you reach this mileage on your new tires, you should be extra careful on turns and braking.