Want the best car tyre tips, hints and tricks? Then look no further than our tyre FAQ…
Here At FC we’re constantly asked all sorts of technical stuff via the mediums of Facebook, email and being shouted at in petrol stations. Now, although we’re a knowledgeable lot, contra to popular belief, we don’t actually have the answer to everything.
So we thought we’d get onto the industry experts to find out the definitive information to clear up any of your niggling questions. We speak to Ben Lawson, from Nankang UK, armed with all your FAQs about those inflated black circles.
Why does my bike have an inner tube and my car hasn’t?
As rubber is porous, years ago you needed a non-porous butane inner tube to hold the air. Car tyres now have a butane inner lining built into the tyre which seals the air inside the tyre. Tubed tyres are still used for off-road vehicles and bikes where low pressures are used, as the stresses on the tyres sometimes causes them to come away from the rim slightly. Using a tube inside the tyre allows the tyre to retain its shape and hold air inside a separate cylinder.
What do the figures and letter(s) mean on a tyre? I have 165/45R15 68V written on mine.
The numbers and letters refer to the size, dimensions, speed rating and load rating of the tyre. 165 is referring to the width of the tyre in millimetres. 45 refers to the aspect ratio, R means radial, 15 is the rim diameter in inches and 68V is referring to the load and speed rating.
What’s the point in buying winter tyres?
Winter, or cold weather tyres as we call them in the UK, provide a massive benefit over normal summer tyres in the winter months. Cold weather tyres have been designed to work best below 7 degrees C, which means you could stop 11 metres sooner than a summer tyres on an icy road. Contrary to popular belief, winter tyres do not wear out faster than summer tyres.
I keep seeing the expression ‘stretched tyres’ what does this mean, is it safe and is it legal?
Nankang do not recommend or condone ‘stretching’ tyres past what we deem safe. However, unlike many other manufacturers, we do approve fitments over the permitted widths given by ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation).
Why aren’t slicks road legal if they provide the most amount of grip?
Although slick tyres, provide superb grip in the dry, they do not have any channels or grooves to allow water dispersion in the wet. As we live in the UK, we regularly get rain, so an all-weather tyre is needed for the road.
How do run-flat tyres work?
A run-flat tyre works by having extensively strengthened side walls, which allows the tyre to retain its shape, even when at low to zero pressure. A run-flat tyre allows you to drive to a tyre shop when your tyre pressure is low or even flat. However it is still recommended that the tyre is changed after it has been ran flat/damaged.
Why are 16-inch tyres more expensive than 17-inch tyres?
Tyre prices vary according to several factors, including the amount of materials used to make them, and market demand. As with anything, the greater the demand – the more are produced – so the cheaper the product gets. Therefore, a very popular fitment such as 225/45r17, can actually make it cheaper than a smaller, but less-common 16in tyre.
Why is there a big difference between budget and branded tyre prices?
Budget tyres are mostly made in Chinese factories in large batches to keep the prices down. However, the budget names do not stay around for long, which can make it difficult to match the tyres if you wish to purchase them again. Although the price is cheap, the quality is often sacrificed to lower cost.
Branded tyre manufacturers have years of experience in the trade, and spend vast amounts of money on research and development so the technology in the tyres is far superior. Quality, product innovation and longevity are all high priorities for tyre companies such as Nankang who have been in the tyre industry for over 50 years producing quality, but cost efficient tyres.
Why are tyres black?
Tyres are made using colourless rubber, but carbon black is added for reinforcement and to make the rubber more durable. This is why they are black in appearance.