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October 01, 2012

Raise Your Tire IQ: Amazing Facts About Your Tires from Cooper Tire

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Quick! How much do you know about your tires? Well, if you've been paying attention here, you should know all about how important tire pressure is to your safety, and you should know that winter tire care is especially important ... but did you know that there are more than 150 different materials used to create a single tire? Let's take a moment to go back to tire school and raise our tire IQ with these interesting facts about tires.

  • What goes into making a tire? Your tires may look pretty simple, but there's a lot of engineering and chemistry going into making them! Every tire is actually many different pieces, including the body ply, sidewall, beads, belt, and others, and each piece is made of its own special blend of materials, from natural rubber to sulphur to textiles and antioxidants! Tire makers like Cooper Tire are constantly introducing new materials and construction methods in order to achieve higher performance, whether it's tread wear, traction, handling, or fuel efficiency.

  • What does all this stuff on my sidewall mean? Your tire's sidewall contains a lot of information – which is probably just a bunch of letters and numbers to you. Allow us to de-mystify some of them for you. On the sidewall, you'll see the tire name, manufacturer, and a long string of numbers in large print. It looks something like this: 215/65R15. This is what they mean: The width of the tire (in millimeters), the ratio of height to width, whether it's radial, and the diameter of the wheel (not the tire) in inches. In the case of our example, it's a 215 millimeter-wide tire with an aspect ratio of 65, it's a Radial, and it goes on a 15-inch wheel. Don't ask us why one measurement is in inches and the other is in millimeters. It's just the way things are. While you're looking at your sidewall, here's a little-known fact about tires: their birthday is printed on them! Well, sort of. Look at your tire's sidewall and find the serial number, also known as the tire identification number. This number is the last four numbers located after the letters "DOT." These four numbers tell the week and year, respectively, when the tire was manufactured. Now you know your tire's birthday! Bake a cake or something! The tire won't eat much, and you deserve a little celebration.

  • How does liquid tire sealants like Fix-A-Flat® work? This is a tricky question, and many people ask if it works at all, but the answer is, generally yes – liquid tire sealers usually do what they are advertised to do, and that is temporarily seal a hole in a leaking tire. But are they the end-all solution to tire changes everywhere? Absolutely not! This is what happens when you squirt this stuff into your tire: first, the liquid finds the hole. This is what you want. Then, a chemical reaction takes place and the liquid becomes solid, temporarily sealing the hole. Perfecto? Not so fast! There's more of that stuff in your tire than just the bit that sealed the hole, and it all becomes solid too. That means it changes the shape of the inside of your tire, and worse, adds mass. This means that tire may never be properly balanced again. Liquid tire sealer is great for a quick fix to get your car to a tire dealership when you can't change to a spare, but use it spare-ingly, if you'll pardon the pun. These sealants should only be used for temporary mobility allowing you to reach a service station for a professional inspection and possible repair or replacement. The only industry-approved method of repair is the use of both a patch (to seal the inside of the tire) and a plug (to fill the hole).

  • Why do tires need to be balanced? Speaking of balancing, many of us ask for a “rotate and balance” out of habit – but you may be paying for a service you don't really need. Your wheels have little weights on them that keep them from wobbling at high speeds. A tire that is out of balance will produce a vibration at certain speeds, and it's pretty unmistakable. Something similar happens if your washing machine is loaded unevenly – once the spin cycle starts, you'll know! If you feel a vibration that comes and goes as you drive, you may need a balance. Balancing is done by trained tire professionals by mounting the tire to a machine and carefully adding and removing wheel weights until the tire is balanced perfectly. If you don't feel any vibrations when you drive, just rotating should be fine.

  • Are tires recyclable? Yes! In fact, many tires are recycled into … tires! Americans discard 280 million tires a year, 25 to 30 percent of which are retreaded or otherwise reused. One of the most promising ways to recycle tires is by turning them into ground rubber "crumbs" and adding them to asphalt for paving roads, running tracks, runaways, and playgrounds. The result: pavement life is increased by 4 to 5 years. Recycled rubber is also used in boat bumpers, carpet padding, insulation, and get this: in India, tires are cut up and used to make durable and inexpensive shoes! That's what I call fast fashion - from the roadway to the runway! Because you never know the history of a used tire, it can be unsafe to buy and use them. Buying a used tire is not "recycling" – it is risk taking.

Now that we've helped educate you on some of the most interesting facts about tires, let us educate you on one of the best tire deals around right now.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is saving consumers money this fall, with the popular Take the Money & Ride® National Event reward promotion August 24 to November 6, providing consumers the opportunity to take advantage of the best national savings event of the year on select Cooper tires.

Consumers are eligible to receive up to a $75 Visa® Prepaid Card when purchasing a new set of four qualifying Cooper tires through participating dealers in the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The lineup of eligible products for the Take the Money & Ride promotion include:

  • CS4 Touring

  • Discoverer A/T3

  • Discoverer CTS

  • Discoverer H/T and H/T Plus

  • Discoverer LSX* and LSX Plus*

Consumers can obtain full terms, conditions and other details, and get an official mail-in form by visiting a local Cooper Tire dealer. Rewards can be tracked at www.coopertirerebates.com. Visit www.coopertire.com for a convenient dealer locator tool to find a local dealer.

Cooper Tire encourages smart savings during the National Event with tips that can lengthen tires' lifespan, providing maximum handling, performance and gas mileage for vehicles.

Not only is ongoing preventive maintenance a great way to help ensure the safety of the vehicle and its passengers, it is also the best method to maximize tires’ performance, saving money by prolonging tire lifespan and improving fuel economy. Cooper Tire recommends these procedures be practiced at least once a month and before long trips as part of drivers’ normal vehicle upkeep.

The following money-saving tips from Cooper Tire are simple, do-it-yourself maintenance items that can take less than 10 minutes a month to conduct.

  • Test air pressure: Under-inflation causes excessive stress on the tire, and can create irregular wear, which shortens the lifespan of tires. Proper air pressure can improve gas mileage by more than three percent, reducing gasoline consumption and expense. Reference the vehicle owner’s manual or tire placard attached to the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door for your tires’ correct pressure. Keep in mind, the tire pressure listed on your tires’ sidewall indicates maximum pressure.

  • Check wheel alignment: Wheel alignment and balancing are important for safety and maximum mileage from tires. Alignment should be checked periodically as specified by the vehicle owner’s manual or when there is an indication of trouble such as pulling, vibration or irregular tire wear. Inspect tires at least once per month for signs of uneven wear or damage (i.e., cuts, cracks, splits, punctures, bulges and impacts). These conditions shorten tire lifespan and may cause tire damage or failure if not discovered and corrected.

  • Rotate tires: Rotating tires on a regular basis ensures more uniform wear, resulting in an extended tire lifespan. Unless the vehicle owner’s manual has a specific recommendation, the rule of thumb for tire rotation is every 6,000 miles.

  • Examine tread: Bald tires can skid and slide on pavement, and are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. Tire tread should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep, and tires should be replaced immediately if worn past this measurement at any location on the tire. Cooper tires have a built-in "tread wear indicator," making it simple to monitor tread wear. Tread can also be checked with a simple test using a U.S. penny. Place the edge of the coin into the tread, with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the top of Lincoln's head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread. If the top of his head is entirely visible, it is time to replace the tire.

For additional money saving and safety tips from Cooper Tire, visit www.coopertire.com.

*Available at select retailers only.

About Cooper Tire & Rubber Company

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Cooper) is the parent company of a global family of companies that specialize in the design, manufacture, marketing, and sales of passenger car and light truck tires. Cooper has joint ventures, affiliates and subsidiaries that also specialize in medium truck, motorcycle and racing tires. Cooper's headquarters is in Findlay, Ohio, with manufacturing, sales, distribution, technical and design facilities within its family of companies, located in 11 countries around the world. For more information on Cooper, visit www.coopertire.com, www.facebook.com/coopertire or www.twitter.com/coopertire.


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