Tyres. Theyíre just circular bits of rubber with grooves in them, arenít they? No need for technology there, you could be forgiven for thinking.
Well think again - tyre manufacturing has become extremely technical and forward-thinking as manufacturers look to push the boundaries of what can be achieved through new technologies. Whether itís improvements in fuel economy, handling performance or safety, technological developments in the tyre world are making a big difference.
Kwik Fit is here to take you through the next big things in tyres and explain exactly why changes to tyre technology affects you, the motorist.
One of the major recent developments in the tyre world has been the continuing popularity of run flat tyres. These allow a car to continue to move safely despite its tyres losing pressure - i.e. because they have run flat.
The two main technologies in use are Reinforced Tyre Sidewalls and Rubber Rim Clips. The former can be placed on any tyre rim, reinforcing the sidewall and enabling your tyres to support your carís weight. New rubber compounds are used to thwart total tyre damage, meaning that even if you lose pressure in your tyres you should be able to handle the vehicle effectively, reducing the risk of causing an accident.
Rubber Clips are slightly simpler to explain - they prevent the tyre rim from piercing your tyre when it runs flat. Michelin are the pioneers of this new technology.
Latest available technology is a gel tyre ďbondedĒ to the tyre that means the tyres become similar to a run flat.
So, if your car is fitted with runflat tyres you should be able to drive a short distance to get you safely home or to one of our Kwik Fit centres if you suffer a puncture.
Whatever you want to call environmentally friendly tyres, they all essentially aim to do the same job, which is to reduce fuel consumption but not at the expense of performance.
So-called Low Rolling Resistance tyres are made by adding silica to the tread compound of a tyre. This affects the amount of energy a tyre can absorb while it is turning or Ďrollingí. The less resistance caused during rolling, the less fuel your car requires to move.
Traditionally however, reducing resistance has come at the expense of grip in wet conditions, which is not something many of us would accept. Eco-tyres solve that issue by using silica in the tyre, which means manufacturers can improve wet grip and reduce rolling resistance.
Whatís the end result for the motorist? Well according to Michelin, eco tyres can save the average motorist £65.00 a year.
Filling your tyres with nitrogen may seem odd but thatís exactly what motor sport and aviation professionals have been doing for years. Nitrogen is completely safe. And by using it in a mixture with oxygen to inflate your tyres the theory is that itís possible to negate the issue of slow deflation, which is caused by oxygen slowly infusing through the tyre wall from the atmosphere.
Having a tyre that does not deflate means you will improve fuel consumption and will probably improve safety standards too. Itís not yet standard practice but Nitrogen could well be here to stay as a result.