Wednesday June 12, 2013
Photo © AutoCricket.com
There's been a lot of debate recently in the tire world about used tires. Used tires presently make up about 10% of the total tire market in the US, making them a pretty big business. For obvious reasons, a good used tire can be a godsend to cash-strapped customers looking to replace a damaged tire, for example. On the other hand, it's been shown again and again that a lot of tires are making it onto the used tire market that aren't any good and should not be sold.
Just recently in fact, a used tire recycler returned nearly 8,000 Kumho tires that had been recalled back onto the used market. The recycler claimed the tires had not been properly disabled, because apparently having three large holes drilled through the tread wasn't quite enough for the recycler to consider the tires unsafe to resell.
Several states have now introduced bills that ban the sale of used tires that are unsafe. While Florida has tabled their bill for the second year in a row, the Texas bill has passed the Senate and looks to go all the way.
But Bob Ulrich from Modern Tire Dealer doesn't think we need a law, and apparently so do many of his readers.
Sunday May 26, 2013
With the deepest of apologies to William Shakespeare:
To weld, or not to weld, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the Wallet to suffer
The outrageous cost of New Wheels,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of potholes,
And by Repairing, end them: to weld, to leak
No more; and by a weld, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Aluminum is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To weld a crack,
To fail, perchance to Crash; Aye, there's the rub,
Saturday May 25, 2013
Photo © Sean Phillips
After a long day of driving, our group repairs to an igloo village. No seriously, we have a tour of a small village where people can pay more than 100 Euros to sleep in an actual igloo, whether a real snow igloo, or an artificial glass-topped igloo. We are informed that many tourists are quite keen to sleep in a igloo in sub-zero weather. I'm willing to take a pass on that.
I'm also willing to pass on the sauna, but most of our group take the opportunity to get naked, get heated up and then jump into an ice-cold lake. Let's be clear; I have nothing really against sauna - the Finns adore it, and I'm sure it's awesome. Perhaps I'm a bit prude, perhaps I'm a bit chicken. Probably both, but I'm not quite willing to dip my fundament into a frozen lake and - Whoah boy, did I fundamentally not need to see that...
Instead, I relax in front of a roaring fire with a cold beer - Finnish beer is truly awesome - listen to Jim Smith from Tire Review hold forth with his endless fund of stories, and drowse my way through the early evening until dinner. It's time for some final thoughts on the trip and the tires. We'll start with the driving.
Monday May 20, 2013
Photo © Patrick Thornton, SSP
Department of Brilliant Ideas: South African Regional Office.
An 18 year-old student at Rondebosch Boy's High School in Cape Town, South Africa named Phillipe Lothaller has invented a device that could possibly reduce the wear on airplane tires by 35 to 45 percent, and like so many great ideas, it's literally forehead-slapping, why-didn't I-think-of-that kind of simple.
Like any good engineer, Lothaller found the solution by properly defining the problem: When a large airliner lands, it's moving extremely fast, but the tires aren't. The instant the plane hits the runway, the tires must immediately spin up to speeds in excess of 100 mph. That's incredibly stressful on the tires. It causes a lot of heat buildup very quickly, and tends to both throw chunks of rubber off the tread and delaminate the layers of rubber. Modern aircraft tend to be able to use a tire for about 200 landings before it must be retreaded, and the number of possible retreadings is limited.