Most tires look the same through the years, making people think that they have stopped evolving. That is far from the truth, however. Designers and tire engineers are continually working on tire advancement, with the aim of creating tires that run longer and with better performance and better fuel economy.
The following are some advances in tire technology that many drivers are not aware of:
- Run-flat tires can take you another 100 miles after losing air – Run-flat tires are designed to run flat for 50 miles at 50 mph. However, running your car at a much lower speed can give you even more mileage. When you drive slower, the tires generate less heat, which reduces the fatigue in the rubber and belts. The next time you experience a leak or puncture in your run-flat tire and are farther than 50 miles from the nearest Utah tire store, drive slowly to increase your chances of getting help before you run out of air.
- Tall, skinny tires are coming back – Perhaps you have seen pictures of the tall, lean tires of the 1920s. Expect to seen them again soon. Carmakers today are headed in that direction, with the BMW i3 using Bridgestone Ecopia tires with a taller, skinnier profile and higher inflation pressure. Carmakers are returning to this tire design because they have lower wind resistance and aerodynamic drag. Even the Corvette Z51 will be equipped with this type of tire.
- Beware of static electricity – Modern tires are less conductive for an electric ground between the vehicle and the road surface. This means that there will be more static electricity in the car, which could be problematic as you get out of your vehicle or when you refuel. Tires today can have an insufficient electrical ground because they are designed to reduce rolling resistance and weight, so they have less carbon block. This problem can be solved with an “antenna tread,” which is a thin strip of rubber that serves as a conductor between the tires and the pavement to keep the vehicle permanently grounded.
The tire we take for granted is actually an engineering marvel. It is made up of more than 200 materials that are combined to bring you the best performance possible. Extend the life of your tires by properly maintaining them. Always bring your tires in for a checkup and service at your nearest Salt Lake City tire shop.