The industrial revolution brought the luxury of using automobiles to the average household. Nowadays, people encounter various types of vehicles throughout their day. Despite the differences in the types of commute people use, one thing remains constant. They all require healthy tires to complete their desired fundamental task, i.e., driving with a firm grip and maintaining steady comfort.
Although these tires may look and feel the same to an average person, they vary in size, shape, construction, material, treads, and many other vital factors. These factors are directly related to a tire’s performance, durability, and lifespan. In this article, we will explore the origins, manufacturing, types, and some famous brands of tires. So keep reading till the end to learn everything you need to know about tires.
Brief History Of Tires
Long before the invention of the first pneumatic tire, people used wheels covered with bands of iron and leather. The creation of the first pneumatic tire dates back to the 18th century. A Scottish man named Robert Thomson designed the first tire with an inner tube holding air pressure in 1845. Unfortunately, the idea gained little attention due to less public interest.
Later on, John Boyd Dunlop, a Scottish inventor, developed the first pneumatic tire in 1888 for a child’s tricycle. This time the invention gained ground and attracted a large number of people. The pneumatic tires were much more efficient than the simple metal tires and gave startling results when used on bigger wheels.
Afterward, different companies started working on the manufacturing of tires and used modified technology to create more efficient and sturdier tires for transportation. According to an estimate, every skilled tire company with experienced workers creates almost two hundred and fifty million new tires yearly.
Now let’s look at how companies manufacture tires and the essential features that make a tire stand out from other tires.
How Are Tires Made?
Modern-day tire manufacturing is done through a five-step process: making essential compounds, creating quality components, building tires, and vulcanization and quality control checks.
Step 1: Production of Rubber and Other Compounds
Tires comprise almost thirty different materials, such as rubber, antioxidants, chemicals, steel, fabric, and other products. In the first step, all essential raw materials needed for the production of tires are bought from different sources. The better the quality of the raw materials, the better the tire production. For instance, high-strength steel is required for better-quality steel belts or bead cores. Good quality rubber and textile such as nylon and polyester are needed.
Step 2: Manufacturing Other Components of a Tire
In the second step, all the raw materials and required components are mixed with natural or synthetic rubber to prepare them for the tires. Steel cords are combined with rubber to make long sheets that are cut according to the size of the tires. Rubber treads are created to provide cushioning and grip to the tires. Moreover, in this step, the rubber and non-rubber components, such as sidewalls, steel beads, belts, and shoulders, are made for the tires.
Step 3: Construction of Tire
The previously created components are assembled to build a tire in this step. This step is also known as the “green tire.” Green tiring is done in two steps that include casing and belt assembly. Once both steps are completed, a particular chemical is sprayed on the tire to prepare it for the next step.
Step 4: Vulcanization
Vulcanization involves exposing the tire’s rubber to a higher temperature and high pressure and using chemicals to give it a final and more rigid shape. Moreover, in this step, the tire is placed into a machine known as a curing press. The curing press helps in giving shape and pattern to the interior and exterior sides of the tires. It is the final step in tire production, after which the tire is complete.
Step 5: Quality Control
This is the last step that is done during the production of tires. From the collection of materials to the final output of the tire, strict quality control is conducted to ensure the vehicle’s security. All tires must go through a multi-layer, thorough quality control check. The checking steps include X-rays, visual inspection, tire uniformity, and faults check.
The quality check is not only done with the help of machines. Various skilled workers also assess the quality and production of the tires before sending them to distribution centers.
Once the tires reach the distribution centers and stores, the next step is the purchase of the tires. One must be fully aware of the qualities of good tires before making any purchase.
How to Identify a Good Quality Tire?
There are several features to consider when looking for a good tire. Some of them are as mentioned below.
- Size: Always consider the tire’s size and ensure that the tire is the right size for your vehicle. To know the correct tire size for your car, you can check the vehicle’s manual or the sidewall of the current tires.
- Load-carrying capacity: Always check the tire’s load and weight-carrying capacity. It is also mentioned on the sidewall of the tires. A suitable tire for your vehicle must have an excellent load-carrying capacity.
- Speed rating: Make sure the tire has a speed rating suitable for your vehicle. This is usually indicated on the tire’s sidewall and expressed as an “H” for high speed.
- Tread depth: Look for a tire with sufficient tread depth. A good tread depth provides high grip and resistance to the tire.
- Brand and model: Consider the brand and model of the tire. Some brands and models have a reputation for being of higher quality or having better performance characteristics. Some well-known tire brands include Bridgestone, Goodyear, Michelin, and continental tires.
Some other tire brands, such as Toyo Tires, Maxxis tires, and Hankook tires, manufacture good quality tires at an affordable price. However, finding the best tire brand for your vehicle depends on your preference, needs, and budget. Therefore, you must do the complete research work before making any purchase.
- Price: There are a variety of tires available in the market whose prices vary according to their quality and performance. You must try to find the best tires in the best price range but make sure never to compromise on the quality of the tires. Investing in high-quality tires that will last longer and perform better is always better.
How to Identify Poor Quality Tires?
Several key signs indicate poor-quality tires. Refrain from buying the tires if you notice any mentioned signs in them.
- Visible Damage: If there is any visible damage to the tire, such as damaged cuts, bulges, or cracked treads. Any visible damage indicates that the tire can have structural weakness and is unsafe to use.
- Uneven Tread: If the tread of the tires is irregular, then it indicates that either the tire is not inflated correctly, has a bad grip, or is of poor quality.
- Excessive Noise: If tires produce excessive noise when driving, avoid buying tires from the same company again.
- Uncomfortable: Some tires need to improve at absorbing shocks and bumps on the road and lose their grip. If the tires feel uncomfortable and less gripped, the tire is of poor quality and unsafe to use.
- Braking Distance: Lastly, if the tires have a long braking distance, they cannot handle the quick changes to your driving. Therefore, always avoid buying tires with longer braking distances.
Safety must be a top priority for everyone. Therefore, we should invest in the best quality tires that deliver high performance and are more efficient and long-lasting for our vehicles. Guides like these can help identify quality tires and make purchasing easier for everyone.
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