7 Things You Didnt Know About Your Tyres

Posted by: Dan on 4/11/2015

Category: General

Many people know everything there is to know about their car’s engine, from how it was built in the factory to how it’s been tuned - even how people spend their weekends around the world customising their own engine of the same maker. Yet, fewer have the same level of knowledge about the tyres on which their cars drive.


Here now are seven facts to bring you up to speed on tyre history and trivia:


There are Multiple Tyre Classifications

These are five types of tyre classifications: performance, mud, all terrain, wet weather and the standard all weather set.


To many racing fans or those who live in rural communities, regularly changing tyres - and using performance or mud types - is a familiar experience. Yet, those in city or urban environments will most often only have use for a all weather set. Accordingly, there also exists a range of modifications to tyres, with snowchains for wet weather driving being among the most common example of these.


Our Roads Have Adapted to Our Tyres

You might think of roads as being quite standard, but our roads have actually become tyre-friendly over time. With the ubiquitous presence of cars in our daily lives, many don’t stop to imagine what our roads and transport network was like before their existence. Yet, even for those that do, a vision of a horse cart and buggy is often imagined, and it's then just left at that.


The reality is that, since the horse cart era, the entire network of roads has been fundamentally transformed in an array of ways. This is especially true as it concerns the road itself. Gone are the cobblestones and dirt of bygone eras, replaced with asphalt. Yet, even asphalt is significant to the story of tyres; for it often contains shredded used tyres in its composite.


This means that the next time you need brake on the road, part of the surface being brought together with your current tyres is an array of older and used tyres that enhances and maximises grip over concrete alone.


Today’s Tyres Have Noble Roots

The modern tyre owes its history to car racing. Racing has so often delivered innovation to the commercial sphere via trials and tribulation that it’s no surprise that Formula One is where the origins of the modern tyre structure reside. True, these racers who regularly go in excess of 300kms an hour may hardly be seen as ideal advocates of tyre safety and management, it is no less a reality that the modern geometric shape of the tyre comes from the many years F1’s racing have spent racing their tyre’s across tracks around the world.


Tyres are Subject to Delamination

While everyone knows a tyre can be worn down on its tread, fewer know of the phenomenon of delamination. While a far rarer occurrence - and one that more commonly arises due to a manufacturer’s error than a driver’s instigation - whole segments of a tyre are able to come apart from the wheel base in the right (or rather, wrong) conditions.


This isn’t something a daily driver generally needs to worry about, but it is a useful consideration to keep in mind if you’re ever purchasing used tyres. If you’re ever in doubt, just don’t buy.


Your Tyre Pressure Influences Your Fuel Economy

Inflating your tyres to the recommended PSI by your vehicle manufacturer can improve your car’s use of fuel by upwards of 10%. For all the upgrades, customisations and tweaks that car lovers seek to add to their vehicles, many still make the mistake of not properly inflating their tyres.


Not only does this impact a wide variety of factors - such as relative speed and braking capacity - but a tyre inflated below the ideal level will be a serious drag on your fuel bill over time.


Tyres Have Been Around for Some Time

Though we may never know who invented the wheel, we do know that the marriage of a wheel with a rubber tyre on our modern roads was a long time in the making. Originally used in horse carts and buggies, it was not until the advent of the Henry Ford era of mass manufactured vehicles that tyres began to take their modern form and design when it comes to being used on our roads.


Tyres Require Constant Vigilance for Safety

In general, 1.6mm is the minimum legal depth for your tyre. While you’re legally permitted to drive a tyre at this level, it is known that a driver’s braking performance will be 55% less effective when their tyres have reached this state of erosion.


This is why it is remains important to regularly check your tyre wear - with all manufacturers being required to install tread wear bars within the tyre itself. While initially at a depressed level (and sitting below the new tyre tread), as your tyre wears down these ‘nubs’ will eventually become level with the tyre’s surface. If you check your tyres and see these nubs are now in alignment with the rest of your tyre, it’s time for a new set.

When it comes to a car's visual appearance, tyres may not often be the first attraction. The lines of its body, the roar of its engine, and the detail of its interior and console often take precedence in assessing a car’s aesthetics.


Yet, those who know and love autos find ‘something to love in everything’ across any car’s make and form. While each car may differ, they all share the commonality of so many tyre brands and types. Whether you’re a certified motorhead or simply a daily commuter keen to know a bit more on tyres, you know have an array of trivia and fun facts to wheel out the next time you’re getting an oil change at your mechanic.


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Image: Flickr