They’re black, they’re round, and you probably don’t think too much about them until you’re stranded on the side of the road. Tires. We have a love/hate relationship with them. When you experience that quiet, comfortable ride down the road, we love them. But when we are stranded, we hate them. That aside, we found five fun facts about tires that we bet you didn’t know. Take a look:
- The natural color of rubber is white – tires were white for the first 25 years of their existence as a byproduct of Zinc Oxide being added to the rubber to add strength. Researchers then began adding Carbon black for longevity and this turned the tires black.
- Turning dandelions into tires – Most people view dandelions as a nuisance. But here at Continental Tire, we embrace the flowering weed as a key component to the future of tires. That’s right, in conjunction with The Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Julius Kuehn-Institute, and EKUSA, Continental Tire has produced, and tested, the first tires where the tread is made 100 percent out of dandelion natural rubber as a polymer. Plans are in place to begin manufacturing consumer road tires made from dandelion-derived rubber in five to 10 years.
- World’s largest tire – The World’s Largest Tire currently resides in Allen Park, MI. This 12 ton, 80-foot-tall beast is built to withstand hurricane force winds.
- Over 200 materials – Tires are made up of over 200 materials. In addition to rubber for traction, tires include various metals such as titanium and cobalt along with fabrics such as rayon, nylon and polyester.
- Who produces the most tires? – The answer is Lego. That’s right. Lego churns out 306 million miniature tires a year, more than any other tire manufacturer.