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What's a tire? -- more than you ever needed to know about tires.

Tires are what this web site is about. That might seem like an obvious statement and not need any more tire facts, but for those who want an in-depth view, we'll try to provide a bit more information.

Tire Facts...I just love to dish these out!

typical tire
A typical automobile tire

You might already know that the word "tire" is written as "tyre" in Britain and those who use their language preferences.

The origin of the word, according to Fowler's Modern English Usage is from a shortening of the word "attire", because originally it was meant to be a cover for a wheel. What is not widely know is that "tire" was also used in Britain and the change to "tyre" was originally opposed by several established institutions including The Times, newspaper.

Where we use tires

So, in its widest meaning a tire is a covering on the circumference of a wheel. Most commonly it is considered to be something that is used on automobiles and other vehicles like trucks, and buses, but it doesn't stop there. Tires are used on

  • bicycles

  • hand carts

  • wagons

  • airplanes

  • lawn mowers

  • wheelbarrows

  • garden tillers

  • tractors

  • and even trains

More tire facts: What a tire is made of

The tires we see most commonly today are made using some kind of rubber or rubber-like material, but they may use or incorporate of several other materials such as plastic, leather, natural or synthetic fibers, and even steel. A typical passenger car tire in use today is an extremely complex product and may contain over 1,000 individual ingredients.

What a tire does

Taking all that we've said into account up to now, the most basic, essential function of a tire, then, is to protect the wheel on which it is mounted from wear and tear. Of course there are several other vital functions performed beyond that, such as dampening the vibrations caused by irregular surfaces over which the wheel passes and to enhance traction and control characteristics for the vehicle using them, however, some of these additional functions depend on the type of vehicle and even specific applications in which the tires are used. Examples of this are the differing requirements of tires used on racing cars as opposed to those used on tractors or airplanes.

Different kinds of tires

Most vehicle tires are air-filled, called "pneumatic", but in some special purpose applications, and in some experimental prototypes there are air-less, solid types. Railroad tires are a solid steel ring which are mounted on the train's wheels.

So now you know a few tire facts that most people don't know and you can dazzle them with your tire trivia at the next cocktail gathering. If you're interested in a bit of tire history, follow this link...


tireguy

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