September 29th, 2016
Believe it or not, many new vehicles come without a spare tire. Manufacturers have a few different reasons for that, including weight savings, space efficiency, and cost. When you're stuck by the side of the road, though, none of that really matters much, does it?
Instead, these vehicles come equipped with an inflation kit and/or a can of sealant.
Sealant is a gooey substance in an aerosol can that's designed to coat the inside of the tire due to centrifugal force once you get rolling again, hopefully sealing the puncture. These products, such as Fix-A-Flat, have been on the market for decades and tend to work pretty well on a minor puncture. They're not a permanent fix, however. Your speed should be limited after using ...[more]
August 25th, 2016
There are so many tire designs on the road -- all-season, high performance, touring, light truck -- and even within a specific tire design, there may be several choices of tread patterns. What differentiates them, and what are the pros and cons of each tread design?
-- Directional tread has a pattern of grooves and chevron shapes, all pointed in one direction. This design makes it easy to direct water away from the tire's contact patch and prevent hydroplaning in wet weather, and also offers low noise and great road manners. The directional design means tires can only be rotated front-to-rear and not side-to-side or diagonally.
-- Symmetrical tread patterns feature grooves or herringbone designs that ar ...[more]
July 28th, 2016
The tire is such a commonplace item -- it's on every car, every truck, every bicycle, every aircraft. It's easy to not give the tire a second thought, but like every other technology, the tire has an interesting history of advances and failures.
In the 19th century, carriages and wagons used steel strips for "tires" on their wheels, with the punishing sort of ride that you'd expect. In later years, they were shod with strips of natural rubber, which was an improvement but was still problematic. Solid rubber still rode pretty rough, and the natural, uncured rubber would get gummy in hot weather and shrink and harden in cold temperatures. Charles Goodyear was able to help with the invention of vul ...[more]
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