Car tyres are an everyday object that we take for granted. But without them driving would be a very different experience. Any fan of Formula One Racing will be able to tell you about the importance of tyres. To keep up in a conversation with a motor sport fan, I have compiled five interesting facts that you may not know about car tyres:
1. There are several different types of car tyres, not just budget or expensive. The type of tyre you choose depends on factors such as the vehicle’s make, the desired performance, how you drive your car and the driving conditions.
Five different tyre classifications are:
a) All Weather
b) Wet Weather
c) All Terrain
A wet weather tyre will handle the harsher conditions of winter better than a performance tyre, which is suited to summer driving.
The tyre types differ in the rubber compound used (soft or hard) and the tread patterns. These can affect driving in terms of grip, performance, tyre noise and wear. For instance All Terrain tyres have large tread block patterns that are very noisy on normal roads but have great grip when driving off road.
If in doubt about which type of car tyre is best for you then consult a car tyre specialist such as Merityre for advice.
2. Over 40 million car tyres are disposed of by tyre retailers, garages and vehicle dismantlers every year. Responsible companies pay for the tyres to be disposed of in an environmentally friendly fashion.
A 2006 EU directive banned the disposal of almost all tyres in landfill sites. Many are re-used after having new tread applied. Others are shredded and used in carpet underlay or for road re-surfacing. An emerging market is energy recovery. It is hoped that tyres could partially replace coal as a fuel source for many industries.
Car tyres can be re-used at home in the garden. Ideas include as a raised bed for planting flowers or herbs, a basic composter, as part of a children’s playground or the old favourite- a car tyre swing.
3. Car tyres inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure can improve fuel economy by 10%.
Under inflated tyres increase the rolling resistance on the road and if one tyre is a different pressure to the others an imbalance is created. It makes the car engine work harder, using more fuel.
4. The legal minimum tread depth for a car tyre is 1.6mm. This applies to the entire circumference of the tyre.
Most tyres have a tread wear indicator built into them. It is a horizontal bar of rubber located between the tread patterns, at a depth of 2mm. When the height of the tread wears down to the height of this bar it is time to consider replacing your car tyres.
5. New car tyres need running in. This is where the Formula One fan can help. They will be able to tell you the tyres on the racing cars improve after a certain amount of use. The same applies to our new tyres but not really for the same reasons as a Formula One car.
A new car tyre is formed in a mould which is lined with a non stick coating. The coating is needed to be able to remove the tyre from the mould. It creates a wonderful shiny appearance on a new tyre but also reduces grip. It can take up to 500 miles to scrub the coating from the tyre. During this time it is advised to take extra care when driving fast, on corners or bends and driving in the wet.