November 20, 2008
I’m surprised we didn’t see these in the DUB booth at SEMA. Developed by Resilient Technologies and Wisconsin-Madison’s Polymer Engineering Center, these new honeycomb non-pneumatic tires can support a heavily armored Humvee, survive an IED attack, and still make a 50 mph getaway. They were designed to provide an alternative to the current run flat tires used by the military, which have often left troops stranded and vulnerable after being shot or blown out. Full story at CNET.
November 4, 2008
The signs on both sides of this gigantic tire warn not to touch it. I wonder why that is exactly? It couldn’t be because a couple of good shoves could send it barreling through a hall packed to the gills with horrendously expensive show cars, right? The Titan people probably just don’t want anybody getting their hands dirty. That must be it.
October 23, 2008
I saw my brother a couple of weeks ago, and he asked me to check something on his Miata. What he thought was a problem turned out to be okay, but I still spotted something serious: weather-checked tires. Don’t forget, tires can "age out" before they wear out. In his case, that’s what had happened. His tires still had plenty of tread, but at 8 years old they had moved past their prime. How old are the tires on your car? And speaking of tires, when is the last time you checked the pressures?
October 3, 2008
In the past, I’ve been accused of being obsessed with donks, so it might come as a surprise to some of you that I’ve never plus-sized my tires and wheels. Now, it’s not that I don’t think bigger wheels look better—they almost always do—or that I don’t acknowledge the associated performance gains. Mostly, it’s because I’ve always liked my stock set-up, and since my cars have generally lived in urban environments, I also don’t want to worry about curbing some spiffy wheels. So how about you? Have you plus-sized your tires? And did you notice a difference in performance?
September 29, 2008
This morning, I hopped on to a bus with the other journalists and left downtown Seoul for Hankook’s R&D Center in Daejeon. The drive took about two hours, and while the country—Korea is 80 percent mountains and lush—was beautiful, I have to admit that the burly jet lag from the 13-hour flight across the Pacific made it impossible to keep my eyes open for the entire trip. After arriving, we had a Q&A session with Hankook’s top engineers before heading into the facility. Unfortunately, all the various testing gear they demonstrated for us was top-secret, so they didn’t let anyone take pictures. The first piece of equipment was the flat-track machine, which basically looks like a giant belt sander. Once it’s running, the engineers then lower a tire mounted to a shaft on to the surface, and can compress and twist it to simulate the kind of stress it will endure in the real world.
September 27, 2008
So right now, I’m completely freaking out. In a couple of hours, I’m catching a flight to LA, and after that, I’m flying to Seoul, Korea. Hankook tires is bringing me over there tour its R&D Center in Daejeon, and I couldn’t be more stoked. I’ll be in the air for almost 13 hours, but I don’t even care. Now, I know it seems like I get to fly places all the time. But seriously? I’ve never even been to Mexico! And now I’m going to Korea? For work? Awesome! Obviously, I’ll be blogging and taking video, but I’m also going to ask my hosts to hook me up with some seriously spicy stuff. I hear they don’t play over there, and I’m curious to see whether I can hang! Stay tuned!
September 25, 2008
By Gary Faules
NASA Mentor Director
I was recently invited by the Air Resources Board (ARB) of California to attend a meeting to discuss the development of a regulation to reduce emissions from under-inflated vehicle tires. That’s right, the State of California wants to figure out a way to implement a means to control how much air you have in your tires, as well as a means to enforce it.
I can’t wait to hear how they intend to do this. Back in the 60s and 70s, the California Highway Patrol had random road-side inspections in which an officer would perform a checklist of required safety items. A list consisting of things like horn, lights, turn signals, emergency brakes, cracked windshields and yes, even bald tires, was checked. If there were any infractions, the motorist was then given a fix-it ticket and the safety items would then need to be repaired within a given time period and signed off, or suffer the consequences. Continue reading…
September 19, 2008
And do they match the nationality of your vehicle? For example, do you roll with Cooper tires on your Chevy, or Falkens on your Nissan? Obviously, a lot of OEM tires don’t match the nationality of the car. For example, our Jag XF test car has Pirellis. And Ferrari uses Goodyears on many of their cars. I’m sure it might piss some old school muscle car guys off off, but this guy went with Yokohamas on his ‘Cuda.
September 12, 2008
As I wrote on Monday, last weekend Jen helped me get my old XJ6 back on the road. I was super stoked to hear it fire up, and I was even more stoked to see that the junkyard alternator we put on was alternating like a champ. But even after that success, we weren’t out of the woods. Since the car had been sitting for so long, the tires had lost a bunch of pressure—one of them was down to a scant 12 pounds—and since we didn’t have any way to pump them up, I had to drive to a gas station. Of course, there aren’t any gas stations in downtown Seattle, which meant I had to travel a little bit to get properly inflated. Jen followed in her Escort as I limped along, and as you can imagine, it was a pretty tense trip. Even though I kept my speed below 20MPH for the entire 2.5 miles, the tires were squealing so badly that I was afraid they were going to roll right off the rims. Fortunately, even though the first place we went had a broken air machine—yikes!—I managed to make it to a 7-Eleven—oh, thank heaven—and get the tires all squared away. The whole ordeal made me wonder exactly how low tire pressure can get before it renders a car impossible to drive, and if any CarDomain members have had a similar experience. So how about it? Has anyone else done anything this sketch?
September 5, 2008
By Jen Dunnaway
With all the hype about gas mileage and tire inflation, everyone’s familiar with the kind of tire wear caused by overinflated and underinflated tires. But do you remember what your rollomundos can tell you about some of the less obvious suspension and alignment issues? Read on for a quick refresher.
Shoulder wear (outer edge more worn down than inner). Usually due to excessive positive camber—the wheel is angled inward from top to bottom. Check the alignment, but also look for thrashed control arm bushings, bad tie rod ends, and bent suspension parts or body structures (i.e., shock tower pushed out of place from crash damage). Shoulder wear can also be caused simply by frequent hard cornering. More…