10 Things Every Gearhead Should Know About Car Tires

Car tires are arguably the most important exterior feature on any car, and they can make or break a sports car. Despite that, however, many owners don’t give them the attention they deserve or know anything about changing or fixing them.

Ever since the invention of the first pneumatic tire in 1888, tires have become major components of various vehicles, including cars, trucks, buses, aircraft, heavy equipment, and motorcycles. When it comes to cars, tires support the vehicle’s load, absorb road shocks, transmit braking and acceleration forces onto the road surface, as well as maintain and change the direction of travel.

The average person may not think about their car’s tires and wheels unless something goes wrong. However, tires can be a captivating topic of discussion, especially among gearheads. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the most interesting facts you probably don’t know about car tires.

10 Car Tires Are Naturally White

white wall tires

In the first 25 years of their existence, tires were white. This is because the rubber itself is white. The black color came as a result of added carbon black to enhance the durability and strength of tires. This was later substituted with Silica for most of the modern tire production. Still, black color has remained constant for appealing reasons such as the ability to withstand dirt and the color matching any color car.

Related: The Real Reason White Wall Tires Went Belly Up

9 Water In Tires Causes Pressure Changes

tire inflation

Between winter and summer, you can experience about 7 pounds per square inch (PSI) or more in pressure difference. Water, which typically enters in the form of humidity, is a bad thing to have inside a tire. Whether it’s in the form of liquid or vapor, water causes huge changes in pressure with changing temperatures than dry air does. Try filling your tires with nitrogen (usually denoted by green valve-stem cap). You’ll hardly find fluctuations since nitrogen doesn’t have water vapor in it, so pressure remains constant.

8 Run-flat Tires Can Work For A Limited Period Without Air

run flat tire

Run-flat tires have reinforced sidewalls that allow them to go without air inside the tire. Usually, they will run for approximately 100 miles after losing tire pressure. This eliminates the urgency of an immediate roadside repair.

However, once a run-flat tire gets punctured, it’s always advisable to replace instead of repairing it as the structural integrity is compromised.

7 Some Tires Can Cost More Than Your Car

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Sports Car Tires
Via: Twitter

Tires from manufacturers like Bridgestone, Pirelli, and Continental are known to cost more than their competition. However, their total cost is a small fraction of other tire models that can cost more than your car. A set of Michelin Pilot Sport tires meant for the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport can cost a whopping $42,000 and can as well withstand 258 mph. Their high price is attributed to their great capabilities, such as accurate handling, grip, control, and traction.

Related: Here’s What We Love About the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

6 American Racing Equipment Is The Oldest Producer Of Aftermarket Tires

American Racing Equipment Aftermarket Wheel

Founded in 1956, American Racing Equipment manufactures, markets, and distributes branded aftermarket tires. The company also distributes performance wheels and accessories. Aftermarket tires are not produced by manufacturers approved by or affiliated with the car manufacturer. American Racing Equipment’s wheels are often used by street racers or sports car owners.

5 Tire Makers Use Walnut Shells To Make Winter Tires

winter tires
Via: Poquet Auto Blog

Being one of the hardest natural substances on earth, walnut shells are used to make winter tires to enhance traction on slick roads. Crushed walnut shells embedded in the tire compound act like tiny spikes that dig into ice, adding traction, particularly during harsh winter driving conditions. Instead of simply “walnut” it’s better known as Microbit Technology in the manufacturing world.

Related: These Are The 10 Oldest Car Manufacturers That Are Still In Business Today

4 LEGO Is The Leading Tire Manufacturer In The World

LEGO tires

After merging their tires with a Lego kit set in 1962, their products have surged in popularity. The company produces about 318 million mini tires a year, making it the largest and the most prevalent tire manufacturer globally. This is over 50 percent more than any other competition globally.

3 Michelin Is Currently Working On An Airless Wheel That Will Never Deflate

Airless tires on a car
Via: engaget

The tire is an airless wheel and a tire combined (also known as the tweel). They hope to offer the reality of replaceable tread and no flat tires.

The Michelin Uptis Prototype Airless Tire
Via: InsideEVs

Its material is made from recyclable and organic materials, and the tire can also amass diagnostic info about the car when driving on them.

Related: Hankook Takes Biology Lessons to Develop Its Airless Tire

2 In 1960 Goodyear Developed An Illuminated Tire

illuminated tire
via Instagram

Dubbed one of the most dramatic wheel inventions in the history of the industry, the glowing tires were made of synthetic rubber and translucent material with lights mounted on the inner rim. Then, the company dyed it various colors—blue, yellow, and bright green—to name a few.

These tires ended up being a prototype as the rubber was too expensive. On the flip side, various detractors made the fad fade somewhat hastier than Goodyear may have projected. For instance, the material used was very expensive for tire production. Tires also tended to melt upon applying brakes heavily and performed poorly in wet conditions.

1 Modern Tires Contain Over 200 Materials

Tire components

Common compositions of a tire include steel, rubber, nylon, and Kevlar, but a lot more adds to a tire’s composition. They contain metals like cobalt and titanium to enable the compound to bond to the steel belts. Saline and Silica also help to improve performance.

10 Futuristic Tires You’ll See On The Road Soon

While industry advancements completely reshaped the looks of cars over the years, tires remained mostly the same. However, that’s all about to change.

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