While some people argue that fire is the greatest invention of man, the fact is that we didn’t really invent it. In all likelihood, we witnessed fire as early humans numerous times before figuring out how to recreate it. Now, wheels, on the other hand, is an actual invention of humanity. The fact that we figured out round things roll, and were able to shape perfectly symmetrical wheels for horse carts and wagons, and ultimately automobiles, is really a signature invention of humanity that has helped propel us into modernity.
Though how much do you really know about tires? You know they’re often called wheels, and that they’re made of rubber, but what else do you know? Here are some key things that you should know about your wheels, especially if you want to get the most out of them.
Things That You Should Know About Your Wheels
1: There’s an Aspect Ratio
While it sounds very technical, it really isn’t. An aspect ratio of a wheel lets you know the aspect of a wheel in relation to its width vs. its height. The lower the ratio, the stiffer the wheel is. By understanding what you want out of your wheels in terms of performance, you will know which aspect ratio to select. Trucks and cars, for instance, will have different aspect ratios because they ultimately handle a lot differently, and their wheels need to flex differently.
2: There’s a Contact Patch
The wheels are going to rotate a lot. But, only a bit of the tires are making contact with the ground, which we call “the contact patch.” You can figure out a lot about your wheels from how the contact patch looks, so you can decide on what sort of wheels you want. You should be paying attention to the contact patches here. You want to see how your wheels are contacting the road, because you might need a tire option that makes a lot more contact for better handling, especially at higher speeds.
3: There’s Noticeable Wear
You don’t have to possess the keenest eyes to notice the tread wear indicators with wheels. You simply need to understand that the narrow bands around treads will become more exposed and more shallow the more the wheel wears. Regularly driving will eventually wear that tread down, so it’s important that you check for signs of wear quite often, which is especially true when the weather is bad or if you drive a lot on those wheels.
4: There’s Speed Ratings
Different wheels have different rates for different types of speed. So if you have a car that’s driven faster than other automobiles, it’s going to matter which set of wheels you choose to put on it. The idea here is to handle safely at higher speeds. You wouldn’t want a tire rated for low-speed handling on a sports car. For instance, you don’t want a race car slick on your SUV or small truck. You need to get the right wheel type.
5: There are Load Limits
Another thing of which to be aware are the load limits for certain wheels. The load limits really come in handy if you drive any sort of truck or van that bears a load of people, tools, and different items. You want to ride within the limits. When you put too much weight on a tire that wasn’t rated for that load, you’re risking a blowout, and this is something no one wants.
6: There’s an Inflation Limit
When wheels are cold, they act differently than when they’re warm. It’s to do with the rubber and how well it can expand. So you should understand that different wheels will carry different cold inflation limits, and you will want to look into these limits to be sure. So the goal here is to be aware of this limit so that you’re not just inflating your tire too much when the tire itself is “cold,” meaning that the rubber is at rest.
7: Bias-Ply and Radial
You should understand the difference here with modern tire options. Bias-ply will have underlying plies that are laid at different angles, whereas radials have 90-degree plies. This change makes a world of difference when it comes to things like vehicle type, handling, and the wear of your wheels.
8: Temp Use
Something you may already know concerning that spare in your trunk, but a lot of wheels are only for temporary usage. In fact, now many cars even have a spare for the spare, which is lighter and smaller, but also meant to be driven on a lot less. Any time you use a temp-use tire, it should be replaced with a permanent option as soon as possible.
9: LT and MS
Know the difference between wheels made for light trucks (LT) and mud and snow (MS). Having a set of LTs doesn’t instantly mean that your car is going to be able to handle the nastier elements. They might look similar, but they have very different tread patterns.
10: Important Ratings
You should also know that most wheels have tread, traction and temperature ratings. Take all of these things into account when you go out shopping for your car wheels, as you will need all of this information to get the right fit. You can work with the professionals to assess these ratings, so that you don’t have to do all the work yourself.
11: They’re Easy to Get
By choosing to do business with a quality local shop, you can find the exact wheels you need that will be a perfect match for your car or truck. Just make sure you’re armed with the accurate information needed to ensure the right fit.
Well, we hope you learned a lot more about the modern tire after reading this piece. If there are any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your local professionals. Remember, taking the time to really plan out your tire change will bring better results.