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Properties of Rubber Tires

by Greg Fish

Rubber tires are an essential part of a vehicle, the contact point between a car or truck and the road surface. Rubber tires come in many styles--for instance, all-season radials and snow tires--and they come in varying quality and sizes. Most rubber tires, however, regardless of size or style, share certain features.

Composition

All rubber tires have a rubber and fabric composition, which is molded to the size needed to fit the various rim sizes on vehicles. Additionally, chemicals are added to the rubber to improve its life and performance. Steel wires also are built into the tires, near their inner edge, to help them better stay on the metal rims.

Bonding

Rubber tires, with their flexible qualities, bond to the minor irregularities in the surface of a road, providing higher friction that helps tires grip the road better. That serves to improve handling, stability and braking capabilities as well.

Strength

Rubber, in addition to being flexible, is highly durable, even more so after a tire goes through the vulcanization process. Rubber tires are strong, able to hold the air pressure needed for them to operate properly and to resist puncture from objects such as sharp stones in the road.

Wear and Tear

The chemical processing used in the manufacture of tires makes an already tough product even better. Those chemicals make tires more resistant to wear and tear. The chemicals also stop tires from melting from excessive heat, or cracking in extreme cold. In addition, this treatment slows the aging process of the rubber tires, making them last longer than they would untreated.

Steel Belts

Steel belts are a common feature in many rubber tires, helping to further improve handling and resistance to wear and tear; they often improve gas mileage as well. In addition to steel, other materials, such as rayon and fiberglass, are used in belted tires.

About the Author

Greg Fish has been writing professionally in Maine since 1987. He has reported and edited at "Lincoln News," "Advertiser Democrat" and the "Bar Harbor Times." Fish currently writes for the "Penobscot Times."

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