15 Interesting Tyre Facts
You probably know which tyres suit your car the best. But you need to know a little bit more about these marvelous pieces of technology. Here are some interesting tyres facts that will amaze you.
1. Tyres are naturally white
We know tyres are made of rubber and hundreds of other compounds. Natural rubber is white in color. The first rubber tyres were originally white until a compound called carbon black was added to the rubber during the manufacturing process. Carbon black radically increased the tensile strength and durability of the tyres and changed the tyre colour to black.
2. Who brought carbon black in the play?
Heard of “Crayola”, the company that manufacturers crayons and markers? This company was formerly called Binney and Smith Company, after the names of the founders Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. This company produced carbon black for inks and pigments. In 1904, a chemist named S.C. Mote of an England-based tyre company used a small amount of carbon-black to add tint to the tyres and possibly replace zinc oxide which was used then. B.F.Goodrich then began experimenting with these tyres having carbon black. They found that adding carbon black does not only change the color of the tyre but immensely increases its strength. B.F.Goodrich then placed a massive order with the biggest manufacturer of carbon black – Binney and Smith Company, thus introducing carbon black in the production of conventional tyres.
3. Where did the word “Tyre” originate from?
Can you think of a tyre as a dressing on a wheel? That’s the logic used to derive the word “tyre”. Tyre is the short form of “attire”, which means attire for the wheel.
4. World’s largest tyre
The world’s largest tyre is 80 feet tall and weighs 10,886 kg approximately. It’s located in Allen Park, Michigan, US. Don’t miss a chance to see it when in Michigan!
5. Tyres are recyclable
Rubber is an important natural resource. Recycling of old tyres helps preserve the environment while making the best usage of this valuable resource. Recycled tyres are used to build roads, playground flooring, fuel, shoes and much more.
6. Tyres have manufacturing date printed on them
Did you know you can tell when was your tyre manufactured by just looking at the sidewall of your tyres? You will find a 4 digit stamp for e.g. 0419, it means the tyre has been manufactured in the fourth week of the year 2019.
7. Tyres that will never go flat
Heard of puncture-proof tyres? In 2005, Michelin revealed the “Tweel”, an airless concept tyre. The word “Tweel” comes from the combination of “Tyre” and “Wheel”. It was introduced on vehicles used in agriculture, construction, landscaping, etc. but not on mainstream passenger cars. In 2017, Michelin unveiled the “UPTIS” (Unique Punctureproof Tyre System) , a version of Tweel built for commercial use. Seems like punctures could be a thing of the past soon.
8. Tyres that can run even after a puncture
Runflat tyres are the type of tyres that can run approximately 70 to 80 km after being punctured. Most of the BMW vehicles are equipped with runflat tyres.
9. Tyres produced per day
Approximately 6.8 million tyres are produced every day globally.
10. Radial Tyres
Radial tyres, the most popular tyre construction was introduced, made commercial and patented by Michelin in 1948. Michelin owned a French car maker named Citroen at the time, and the first radial tyres were fitted to a Citroen vehicle.
11. The man who invented his own tyres to break the land speed record
Mickey Thompson was an American auto racer. In 1960, he was set to win the world land speed record when he realized there was no tyre available that could sustain the speed of 500 mph. He began designing his own tyres and won the world land speed record of travelling at 406.6 mph with those tyres.
12. Winter tyres were invented in Finland
Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. The northern land is the home of winter tyres. The winter tyres were first invented by Nokian Tyres in Finland with an aim to improve the driving experience and safety on snowy roads.
13. Most expensive set of tyres
Did you think your tyres were pricey? Take a moment to read further. A set of tyres manufactured by a Dubai-based company called Z tyres hold the record of being the costliest tyres in the world. The cost for a set of 4 tyres is USD 6,00,000. The tyre adorned with 24-carat gold and diamonds, broke the record of Michelin’s Bugatti Veyron tyres for the world’s most expensive tyres. Prior to the Z Tyres, Michelin’s Bugatti Veyron tyres were the costliest tyres priced at USD 42,000. Bugatti Veyron was designed to run at an enormous speed of 406 kmph. And, Michelin successfully delivered tyres tailored to sustain this high speed. Speed doesn’t come cheap for sure!
14. Walnut shells in winter tyres
Walnut shells are rather hard but, can you think of walnut shells in tyres? Toyo Tires did introduce walnut shells into their winter tyres for increased traction on snow-covered roads.
15. Who is the largest manufacturer of tyres in the world?
What is your guess? Michelin? Bridgestone? No, it’s LEGO, the toy company. Around 700 Million tyres are manufactured by LEGO every year leaving the actual tyre manufacturers way behind. These tyres will definitely not fit your car, but these toy tyres are still considered rubber tyres and hence even though miniatures, they make LEGO the largest manufacturer of tyres in the world in terms of the number of units produced per year.