Car Tires, You and The Road

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Car tires are a lot more essential than many people afford them credit. They literally connect you to the road. Probably the most harmful situation for you to be in, is out of, or in bad connection with the roadway. In this predicament you are not able to give any input to your direction, and that is really bad news, when you are going  over 60 m.p.h. without any means to prevent yourself from ramming into something. Friction is what is needed and there are some variables that you do have control over, and some things that you don’t. You are accountable for your own life, and anyone else’s life within the car you are operating. This means you had best be sure that you have accommodated all the safety measures that you possibly can, to avoid issues from any road mishap.

Now, contact with the road has a number of factors involved, as previously mentioned. The majority of the friction arrives from the connection of the tire’s rubber with the road itself. Gravity and the over-all mass, or weight, of your vehicle is what is causing this contact, so naturally the greater the weight or mass, the greater the friction between the street and your car wheels, so the greater the grip on the road. Although this is a good thing, it can turn against you, through inertia. If the friction have been overcome, say after you have locked up the brakes, the inertia is made greater the heavier the vehicle and requires a lot more in the way of friction to stop it. Luckily, rubber and concrete, or asphalt, naturally create a great deal of friction.

Air pressure in tires will change the properties of the tire’s rubber by stretching it. So if a tire is overfilled, or has too much air pressure, this can decrease the availability of friction. This situation also means much less surface area to be able to grip the road.

Another most important factor affecting the overall performance of your tires, and therefore your vehicle, is tire tread. The ability of tread to make good contact with the road surface, is largely determined by outside, or environmental factors, that affect the actual surface of the road. Commonly known as the weather. Water, snow and mud decrease the availability of friction by filling the natural grooves in the road and decreasing the contact between the rubber and the road.

In hazardous weather conditions, the grooves in the tire tread gives the mud, etc, a place to go other than between the rubber and the road. This also diminishes the “hydroplaning” effect that you can get in really adverse weather conditions.

So, in order to be able to steer properly, being able to slow down and generally manage your vehicle safely as you drive, you need to always have good, well maintained tires, with adequate tread and air pressure.


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