Your tires contribute so much to the overall handling and performance of your vehicle. New, fresh tires provide much better grip on the road that results in a better handling and feeling car that runs more efficiently. Traditionally, tires are made from an advanced compound of materials including rubber, natural rubber, fabric, wire and also carbon black filler, which are derived partially from burning fossil fuels. In today’s day and age though, there are those who believe these tires are simply too harmful to the environment and have been looking for alternative ways to build tires that perform just as well.
While various types of tread and amounts of rubber are used depending on the type of vehicle and expected performance of the tire, the materials have largely always stayed the same. With these advancements and attempts at greener, alternative methods of making tires that are more environmentally friendly, it’s important to take a look at both and determine what material truly gives the best performing tire.
- Those composite materials are all put together to make a tire, though it doesn’t end there. Traditional tires feature sidewalls. These are the sides of the tire that have the specs to the tire printed on them and also help hold all the parts of the tire in place and provide added tire stability when moving side to side.
- The tread on a tire is located on the outer edge and is a mixture of natural and synthetic rubber. The grooves in the tread will maximize the performance and provide additional safety. The size and type of the grooves will factor in to the performance. For instance, deeper grooves mean the tire is better equipped for going off-road whereas shallower grooves are usually the sign of performance tires that work best on a race track due to the reduced grip that helps navigate the turns faster.
- Traditional tires are built to last at least 50,000 miles and oftentimes will last longer than a vehicle itself. Different factors will affect the lifespan of tires though, things such as driving style, the condition of the roads you drive on, any damage to the car that creates a rub on the tires can all lead to accelerated wear and tear or even hitting a pothole or nail can puncture your tire and be cause for repair or complete replacement.
- There are a total of 8 tire companies in the United States, meaning while the methods of producing tires are all relatively similar, there are various companies that specialize in their own specific type of tire, making finding the right type of tire for your vehicle easier than ever.
The fact that tires are also commonly disposed of either in landfills or even being burned doesn’t help the environmental impact that the production and elimination of tires has. While no alternative tires have emerged as a clear-cut and better alternative to traditional tires, the materials used would have a much better impact on the environment.
- Low oil tires have been designed to have less grip on the road and create less friction. These tires are projected to save at least 80 gallons of gas over their lifespan. Keeping your tires properly inflated as well will also help reduce the environmental impact.
- These tires are made with chemically toughened natural rubber, vegetable based processing oils and instead of petroleum fibers, plant cellulose is used. Benign silica filler is also being used in place of the carbon black reinforcement, which also reduces friction on the road.
- Yokohama Tires in Japan have started selling tires that use natural rubber compounds and processing oil derived from orange peels to replace a majority of the petroleum in traditional tires.
There are over 75 million tires sent to landfills each year in America alone, while traditional tires still represent the standard for drivers in terms of lifespan and performance, more and more companies are working to manufacture tires using alternative methods that not only help eliminate the number of tires left in landfills and burnt, but that also have a better impact on the environment and eliminate the use of fossil fuels and other harmful tire making methods being used.