Your tires are the first mechanism that keeps your vehicle safe as you travel around the roads of Springfield. How a tire is constructed determines the performance specifications, and its safety rating. Before purchasing your next set for either your personal or commercial vehicle, it’s important to understand the difference in tire compounds and how they affect your vehicle’s handling.
Not All Tire Compounds Are the Same
First, understand that not all tires are the same, and those differences account for much of the cost difference between makes and models. One of the most significant differences is in the tire compounds used to make each tire.
Every manufacturer has a little different formulation, and uses slightly different material to make their tires. Most tires will include some amount of rubber, plus silica and steel bands. Beyond that, the exact makeup of any particular tire is a matter or proprietary knowledge from the manufacturer.
There are two primary types of tire constructions, radial and bias. Both of these construction types have many layers within the tire, each with a particular purpose for how it effects tire wear.
For radial tires, you have the tread on the outside, followed by several layers of plies. Cap plies make tires less prone to separation. The crown ply provides a rigid base that helps give good gas mileage. The edge ply reinforces the tire shape at the shoulder. Below these, you have the steel belts, radial plies, and then the radial cords. Most passenger tires are radial designs with differences in the plies and the individual ingredients that make up the tire.
Bias tires still have the plies, but they are simply layered on top of each other between 30 and 40 degrees in a crisscross pattern. This makes them very effective for heavy loads like machinery or trailers.
Individual Tire Ingredients
Most people are more familiar with the different makes of tires, such as all-season, all-terrain, or even winter tires. The big difference between these different tire makes are the individual ingredients that comprise the various layers.
Tires generally are comprised of some kind of rubber material, both synthetic and natural, not to mention a lot of petroleum. According to the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association, it takes about seven gallons of petroleum to produce a single passenger tire.
Beyond rubber and petroleum, another very common ingredient you’ll find in most tires is silica. This is a mineral found in common beach sand. The purpose of the silica is to help increase resistance to cuts, chunks, or chips.
Then you get into special research being done by various manufacturers for more sustainable ways to manufacture tires. This includes using recycled plastic bottles, as Michelin is developing, or using guayule or Russian Dandelion, as Cooper is researching.
Testing Ingredient Mixtures
Any time a tire manufacturer formulates a new mixture for a tire material, it has to undergo extensive testing. This testing process is what yields the ratings you’ll see when you go to purchase a new set of tires.
One of the first things manufacturers have to test is heat durability, and how the new mixture handles changes in temperature. Most testing includes extreme cold and heat to see how the substance handles the temperatures. The temperature tests commonly range from about -150 degrees to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once the substance shows that it has promise, the manufacturer moves into prototype development. These prototype tires then move on to functional testing, where they test the tire performance on either vehicles or trailers. These tests include handling, stopping distance, tread wear, and acceleration tests. Tires are normally tested with similar caliber models so that you can adequately compare tire performance.
Getting the Right Mixture For the Right Application
Different ingredient mixtures are good for different applications, and so the specific type of tire will determine what exactly goes into the tire. For instance, winter tires generally stay softer during colder weather to help provide additional traction during snowy and icy weather. The trade-off is that these softer tires get even softer during warm weather, leading to accelerated wear and more frequent replacements.
Finding the right tire compounds for your particular performance needs can be challenging. That’s why working with the tire experts at MTS Express can save you a lot of frustration. Our team of technicians can help guide you to the best tires for your particular application, and they come straight to your home or office to complete the tire repair or replacement.
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