Tire shaving, also known as tire truing, is an old art that was popular before the advent of radial tires in the 1960s and 70s. Before radial tires, tire manufacturers had not achieved the accuracy they claim today. Old tires came with extra tread or were simply out of round. Tire experts would shave off the tread to make the tires circular or true. Tire shaving machines were very popular in the years before radials.
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The art is not dead; some drivers still shave tires for different reasons. There are times when vehicles vibrate when driving at highway speeds. Drivers usually attribute the problem to unbalanced tires and bring the automobile in for balancing and alignment. If that doesn’t fix the vibration, there may be an issue with out-of-round high points in the tire treads. Tire shaving can help solve the problem.
Any tire with a diameter larger than 36 inches is prone to have out-of-round high points that need to be shaved. Tire shaving may also be used when you just change one tire rather than the full set. The resulting mismatched tires could force your vehicle to be constantly managing torque. You will need to shave down the diameter of the new tire to match the others. Car racers shave their new tires, lopping off the top tread layers to improve their grip on the tracks. Slick tires have better grip on dry pavement, such as racetracks.
Tire shaving is a low-tech, but specialized process. It requires a special machine and an experienced operator at the controls.The tire is mounted on the shaving machine. The shaver, or cutter, is a rotating blade that can be adjusted side to side and in and out. When the blade comes in contact with the tire, it will peel off thin strips of rubber. The angle and dimension of the cut can be adjusted depending on the type of the tire. Shaving is a slow process, requiring about 20 minutes per tire.