You most probably know the basics about the rubber feet for your car. You buy them from specialist shops, they’re commonly filled with air that slowly leaks through the sidewall/valve and they gradually wear down. Like everything though I’m sure there are a few things that may surprise you about tyres. Here’s a list of 10 interesting tyre facts that are not common knowledge outside the tyre enthusiast community.
1. Car tyres are naturally white
The natural colour of rubber is white, therefore tyre’s if left in their natural state would be white. Why are they black? The black originally came as a byproduct of adding carbon to strengthen the tyre. This was later replaced by silica for the majority of modern tyre production. The colour black has remained constant for aesthetic reasons like being able to withstand dirt and the colour complementing any colour car.
2. Tyres can be recycled into a variety of products/materials.
Tyres are currently recycled into more than 110 products. This is a great initiative and is decreasing the quantity of scrap rubber ending up in landfills. Common uses for recycled tyres around the world are roading, artificial turf and playground mats. To create these products the tyres go through a recycling process including removal of any steel frames then shredding the strap tyres into small bits of rubber called crumbs.
3. Where did the name derive from? The word tyre or tire originated from 'attire' as the product was seen as clothing for the wheel
Commonly spelt as ‘tire’ in America, in New Zealand we typically use tyre which wasn’t around until the 19th century. ‘Tyre’ over the course of the 20th century became established as standard British spelling.
4. The world's biggest production tyre weighs over 5.5 tonnes and is over 4.2 metres tall
Titan Tyre created these monster tyre and wheel assemblies (pictured below). The tyres were first shipped to Canada’s oil sands for use in mining applications. They now are being used all over the world for machinery at large mining operations.
5. Tyres have the date they were produced on the sidewall - it's called a dot code
Pictured here the dot code is a four digit number with the first two indicating the week in the year they were produced and the last two specifying the year. These are important to note, especially when purchasing or using second-hand tyres.
6. Run-flat tyres have the ability to work for a limited time even with no air.
Reinforced sidewalls on run-flat tyres give them the capability of travelling without any air in the tyre. This eliminates the need for an emergency roadside repair. Although once punctured it’s not advised to repair a run-flat tyre as the structural integrity is compromised, it’s recommended to replace in this case.
7. The LEGO Group is the world's largest tyre producer.
After introducing their tyre’s in 1962 with a Lego kit set the products have surged in popularity. Lego produced 318 million mini rubber tyres in 2011 making it the largest tyre manufacturer in the world. Coming in second is Bridgestone with 190 million in 2011.
8. Over 6.8 million tyres are produced every day
This is expected to grow to over 8.2 million per day by 2019. The largest tyre producing nation is China followed by the United States, Japan, South Korea and Germany.
9. Tyres were bolted onto artillery wheels on early cars
In the early 1900’s tyres were bolted onto the artillery the main reason for this was security. This would no doubt make changing a tyre a bit trickier than it is now…
10. Mickey Thompson invented his own tyres to break the land speed record
Mickey Thomson and Gene Mcmannis started designing a tyre that would withstand travelling at 500mph as there was currently nothing on the market that could handle these speeds. In 1960, his own tyres helped him break the world land-speed record by travelling at 406.6mph (650.56kph).
Thanks for reading, If you’re in the market for new tyres or know of someone who is you can browse our online range which we ship for free New Zealand wide.