Despite being one of the most important components of your vehicle, most people don’t know much about their tires. Here at Driving Change Automotive Group, we believe that more attention should be payed to these amazing pieces of technology. In particular, here are ten facts that we believe everyone should know about those little rubber doughnuts you rely on every day.
Tires Aren’t Naturally Black!
If someone asked you what colour tires are, you’d probably say black. But in actuality, the rubber in tires makes them white! Tire manufacturers add carbon black to the tires which increases the tensile strength of the rubber by 1000%! This also has the side effect of turning the rubber black, giving your tires their distinctive appearance.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
Despite their seemingly simple construction, tires are actually a highly engineered piece of technology. Tires use an advanced blend of rubber and polymers to maximize traction and minimize road noise in all weather and road conditions. However, developing this kind of technology takes time – two to four years of development to be precise! Who knew tires were so advanced?
Did You Know You Drive on Tires?
This seems blatantly obvious at first, but there’s more to it than there seems. In a process known as ‘crumbling’, old tires are broken down and are used to create asphalt for new roads. Not only does this help recycle old tires, but helps cuts the costs of building all-new roads.
Spare Tires a Dying Breed?
While spare tires can be an invaluable tool if you find yourself with a flat tire, sadly full-sized spare tires seem to be going the way of the dodo. In the quest for increased fuel economy and lighter curb weights, many manufacturers are replacing heavy spare tires with cheaper and lighter flat repair kits.
… As Well As Inflatable Tires?
Just as spare tires are gradually being phased out, so are several manufacturers trying to phase out inflatable tires. With all-rubber honeycomb designs, tires of the future might very well never need to be inflated – and therefore will never go flat!
Rubber to the Road
Everyone knows your tires are your only contact to the road surface, but have you ever thought about how much of your tires actually stick to the road? While most vehicles have fairly large tires, in actuality the contact patch (the part of your tires that actually are in contact with the road) are only about the size of sheet of paper!
Speed Doesn’t Come Cheap
With one of the fastest top speeds in the world, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport uses some pretty special tires. In order to cope with its enormous 258mph (415kph) top speed, the Bugatti uses unique Michelin tires which cost around $42,000 USD for a single set! Think about that the next time you complain about the cost of replacing your tires.
Temperature Affects Your Tires…
Because tires are filled with air, the outside temperature can affect your tire’s pressure most than you might expect. On average, experts say that for every 10 degrees (Celsius) of temperature shift, your tire’s pressure can fluctuate by up to 1.5psi. So as the seasons change, be sure to check your tire pressure!
…Except if They’re Filled With Nitrogen
Most race cars and some high-performance road cars use nitrogen in their tires instead of regular air. This is because water vapour which naturally occurs in air effects tire pressure as it heats or cools. To prevent this, nitrogen is used – which contains no water vapour and therefore isn’t as heavily affected by temperature.
Making the World Go ‘Round
Quick – who is the largest tire manufacturer in the world? Michelin? Bridgestone? Nope! In fact, it’s everyone’s favourite toy manufacturer Lego! They produce over 306 million of their little tires every year – keeping millions of children’s dreams on the road of imagination!
What did you thing about our list? Did anything surprise you? Do you have other surprising tire facts? Leave a message in the comments below!