Dear Tire Guy | February 2021
Have you ever heard the phrase, "this is where the sausage gets made?" I REALLY HATE that phrase. I enjoy sausage; breakfast sausage, summer sausage, all the sausage at the PCA-DE yearly sausage party... and yet I find myself with absolutely no desire, like - at all, to know what's in it. (Sausage-making PCA members, please don't tell me) I am, however, interested in "where the tires get made." Why Tire Guy? Rubber? Rubber's boring and everyone knows it. But certain tire manufacturers have experimented with some unique compound additives to enhance their performance.
Toyo, for instance, has implemented walnut shells in their winter tire compound. Named Microbit Technology (much cooler than 'walnut tires') Toyo has created an excellent studless winter tire. As it turns out, walnut shell fibers are one of the strongest natural fibers on earth. Ground-up walnut shells are added to the rubber mixture and the result is that these sharp protruding fibers grip snow and ice. The more the tire wears, the more the fibers that are exposed and giving you predictable winter grip throughout the life of the tire. Nuts!
Toyo isn't the only one with added winter traction. One of my personal favorites, Nokian, uses industrial-grade diamonds in their winter tread. Nokian's Cryo Crystal Concept, in their own words, "includes microscopic, multi-edged, crystal-like particles that are diamond rough. The crystals operate like built-in studs as they grab the driving surface with their sharp and tough grip edges." Diamonds are a tires' best friend too.
The new Michelin Pilot Sport All-Season 4, that so many PCA members favor, features its own strange compound additive: Michelin Helio+ Technology. That's code for sunflower oil. This unusual and heart-healthy ingredient, according to Michelin, aids in heat dissipation and cold weather flexibility. Fun fact: Helios was the ancient Greek's sun god. Sun god... Sunflower... Get it?
What will they come up with next? Bioluminescent tires for after-hours street racing? (Anyone wanna buy a patent? Hit me up) As always ladies and gets, stay safe, stay healthy, and until next time, Drive On!
The Tire Guy