New Tire Innovations and Tips
September 13, 2017
With all the high-tech devices incorporated into today’s new vehicles, tires are often one tech sector overlooked by drivers today.
While most of the tires we see on the road today are pretty standard, recent developments in tire innovation may soon be changing the way we view our wheels.
The auto industry as a whole is always looking for new ways to go green, and the tire industry is no exception.
Just this summer, Goodyear announced the introduction of a new passenger tire made from soybean oil. In development since 2012, Goodyear has found that factory energy consumption can be reduced by substituting soybean oil and could potentially cut the company’s oil use by 7 million gallons per year. Researchers at Goodyear also found that by using soybean oil as an alternative, the tire tread life could be increased by up to ten per cent.
2017 has also been a big year in terms of innovation in this sector, with industry giants Goodyear and Michelin unveiling key new concept tires.
Goodyear debuted new smart tire concepts at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, the Eagle 360 Urban and IntelliGrip Urban, both designed for autonomous vehicles. Complete with sensors and other features to interact with the vehicle and an artificial intelligence system, both tires can sense road and weather conditions to optimize speed and handling.
Michelin also unveiled a concept tire in Montreal earlier this summer. Michelin’s Vision, a 3D printed and airless concept tire, is both a wheel and a tire. Made with bio-sourced and biodegradable products, Vision’s tire structure relies on its coral reef-like design. The tire is also equipped with sensors to provide real time information about its condition.
Although we’re still some long ways away from seeing either of these tires on our roads, we still have the state of our current tires to consider.
Tires that are not properly disposed of and recycled could spell negative effects on the environment when the tires break down and start leaching heavy chemicals. In British Columbia, old tires can be recycled into products through a province-wide program managed by Tire Stewardship BC.
There are also many ways you can prolong and maximize the life time of your tires.
Your vehicle owner’s manual should contain a specific time for when to schedule in a wheel alignment. Tires should also be rotated every 10,000 to 13,000 kilometres to ensure even tire wear.
Check your tire pressure at least once a month in the mornings or evenings when its cooler – air expands with heat and will give you an incorrect reading if you check during the day. Having proper air pressure will even out the tire wear and give you better fuel efficiency.
It’s also important to check the tread of your tires so that you’re not driving with bald tires. Bald tires mean a greater risk of hydroplaning and punctures, and there are ways for you to check tire tread yourself to keep you safe on the road.
Some folks recommend using a toonie to check your tire tread – if you slip a toonie between your tread blocks and the tread reaches the bear’s paws, you’re good to go. If the tread only reaches as far as the word ‘DOLLARS’, you’re going to be needing a replacement soon.
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].
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