Barry's Tire Tech

This is a different approach to what I normally do on this website. I'm going to write a new entry every month covering whatever topics I discover during the previous month. I could talk about almost anything and I suspect some months I will have a lot to say and some months hardly anything at all!

With that in mind, here goes:

Oh, and the photo to the left? I was sent this by one of my many internet friends. The photo is one of his children playing with newly received tires. I thought it was one of the cutest things. I hope you find it as amusing as I did.


Blog:

April 1, 2024:

Tire Business reports that 6 tire manufacturers have been sued in a class action civil lawsuit in both New York and California for price fixing. They are Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Michelin, Nokian, and Pirelli. This is on the heels of the EU raiding 5 out of the 6 for antitrust activities – Goodyear, not being raided. I suspect I'll have to write an article about how I think tire pricing works.

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I am writing this the day after the NASCAR Bristol race – and it was all about tires!

First, enough tires were worn to the cords that I could tell some things about the actual construction of the tires – namely the tires have a single circumferential cap ply, the belts aren’t steel (probably Kevlar). I’m not sure about this, but it maybe that there was only one belt. This doesn’t make sense to me, but I think it might be possible, albeit with a lot of plysteer. (See my webpage on Force and Moment.)

If you didn’t watch the race, the tires were wearing pretty fast because the track surface (concrete) was not “rubbering up” – meaning the rubber wasn’t getting imbedded into the macrotexture of the track so that at least part of the surface the tires was running on was the rubber being abraded off the tires, which is what normally happens. It appears that everyone was surprised by this. NASCAR wound up releasing another set of tires to the teams to make sure the teams had enough tires to last the race. (They started out with 9 sets, plus a set from qualifying, plus the set from NASCAR, for a total of 11.)

What happened was that the cars were capable of running much faster at the expense of tire wear, and you could burn off the right side tires in a few laps – either the front or the rear, depending on how the car was handling.

If I were Goodyear, I’d be assigning the fix to the rubber chemists. To my eye, the compound was too dry (You should take this with a huge dose of salt, because rubber chemistry is a weak point for me.)

HOWEVER, it made for a very interesting race. It challenged the drivers and the crew chiefs in ways they never imagined they'd be. I hope Goodyear doesn’t change things too much because the sight of a front runner suddenly dropping back because he burned off his tires really spiced things up!!



March 1, 2024:

Apparently India limits the imports of tires to its market. The latest is that they have now added 70 tire make/models to their mandatory quality standards and taken them off the exempt list. I don’t understand how this works.

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Tire Business reports that Bridgestone is suing Apollo tires over the use of the name “Pinza”. Bridgestone claims that the use of names ending in “nza” are characteristics of BS tires citing Potenza, Turanza, and Alenza as examples - and that this name creates confusion. BS brought a case before over the name Milanza by Federal Tires. BS lost in the lower courts, but won on appeal. I find this fascinating, but have no idea how this will play out.

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The European Commission raided tire manufacturers Bridgestone, Continental, Nokian, Michelin, and Pirelli claiming antitrust activities. I don’t know what to make of this. It is interesting who was not raided – Goodyear. Tire Business intimated that whistle blowers can get beneficial treatment for such activities.

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One of the problems I didn't anticipate when I started writing this blog was having to backtrack - fill in the details of some past issue so I could do an update. This next one is such an issue.

The Washington state legislature adjourned without acting on a piece of legislation that would authorize their commerce department to set rolling resistance standards for tires sold in the state. That means the issue is dead and won't be acted upon unless a new bill is proposed at the next session. I doubt that will happen.

So here's the background:

A bill was proposed in the state of Washington that would authorize their commerce department to require the publication of tire rolling resistance for tires sold in the state and to potentially set minimum standards. This proposal sounds very much like what the state of California has proposed, but California is very much ahead of Washington in the process.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has proposed a regulation authorized by a law passed by the California legislature. The proposed regulation was announced in February, 2023 and comments solicited. The USTMA (US Tire Manufacturers Association) commented that the proposal would eliminate 99% of the current tires being sold and was therefore unworkable. The USTMA has subsequently supplied the regulators with data to help the regulators understand the issues.That was 6 months ago.

I suspect the CEC will abandon the effort.

In the meantime, NHTSA (National Highway and Traffic Agency), the US federal agency the sets tire regulations has said they will issue a rule for consideration in June, 2024 - HOWEVER - they have said they would do this starting in 2009, and keep kicking the can down the road. I expect that to continue.

I go into more detail here: Barry's Tire Tech: Draft Framework of California's Replacement Tire Efficiency Program

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A friend of mine - Roger Marble - published a new post on his website RV Tire Safety:

RV Tire Safety The one dated Jan 24, 2024. I don't know why it took me so long to notice it.

But here's the thing: Roger and I have had a conversation on this issue and I decided not to pursue the point.- letting my webpage serve as my rebuttal. There's a part of me who wants to comment on the post, but I don't think it will serve the greater good.

In essence our difference is over what actually holds up the load in a tire. I wrote up a whole webpage on the subject: Barry's Tire Tech: Footprint. Roger is stating it's the air pressure, not the sidewalls - and I state it's the sidewalls and the pressure stiffens the sidewalls. But I see his point. He's saying that folks should not judge a tire by the stiffness of the uninflated sidewall - and he's right!!

The inflation pressure has way, way more effect. For example, a RunFlat tire has a really stiff sidewall - much stiffer than a conventional tire - and you only get a bit more harshness and no more load carrying capacity.

So in the big scheme of things, he is emphasizing that inflation pressure is very, very important - and much more important than the sidewall construction. I am not going to dilute his message.



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