LEGEND @ Work Truck Show 2022 - Launching the new brand!
10 Things Everyone Should Know About Tires
By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist
You probably know tires are made of rubber — but how much more do you know? Here’s a run-through of some important tire-related terminology:
1) Aspect ratio
This technical-sounding term refers to the relationship between the width of a tire and the height of the tire’s sidewall. High-performance “low profile” tires have “low aspect ratios” — meaning their sidewalls are short relative to their width. This provides extra stiffness and thus better high-speed handling and grip — but also tends to result in a firmer (and sometimes, harsh) ride. “Taller” tires tend to provide a smoother ride and better traction in snow.
2) Contact Patch
As your tires rotate, only a portion of the total tread is actually in contact with the ground at any given moment. This is known as the contact patch. Think of it as your tire’s “footprint.” Sport/performance-type tires are characterized by their wider footprint — more tread is in contact with the ground — which provides extra grip, especially during hard acceleration on dry pavement and during high-speed cornering.
3) Treadwear indicators
These are narrow bands built into the tread during manufacturing that begin to show when only 1/16 of the tire’s tread remains. Also called wear bars, treadwear indicators are there to provide an obvious visual warning that it’s time to shop for new tires.
4) Speed ratings
An alpha-numeric symbol you’ll find on your tire’s sidewall that tells you the maximum sustained speed the tire is capable of safely handling. An H-rated tire, for example, is built to be safe for continuous operation at speeds up to 130 mph. Most current model year family-type cars have S (112 mph) or T (118 mph) speed ratings. High performance cars often have tires with a V (149 mph) or ZR (in excess of 149 mph) speed rating. A few ultra-performance cars have W (168 mph) and even Y (186 mph) speed-rated tires.
5) Maximum cold inflation load limit
This refers to the maximum load that can be carried in a given vehicle with a given type of tires — and the maximum air pressure needed to support that load. In your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you should be able to find the recommended cold inflation load limit. It’s important not to exceed the load limit (or over or under-inflate the tires) as this can lead to stability/handling problems and even tire failure. Always check tire pressure “cold.” Driving creates friction which creates heat; as the tires warm up, the air inside expands, increasing the pressure. Measuring air pressure after driving can give a false reading; you may actually be driving around on under-inflated tires.
6) Load index
This number corresponds to the load carrying capacity of the tire. The higher the number, the higher the load it can safely handle. As an example, a tire with a load index of 89 can safely handle 1,279 pounds — while a tire with a load rating of 100 can safely handle as much as 1,764 pounds. It’s important to stick with tires that have at least the same load rating as the tires that came originally with the vehicle — especially if it’s a truck used to haul heavy loads or pull a trailer. It’s ok to go with a tire that has a higher load rating than the original tires; just be careful to avoid tires with a lower load rating than specified for your vehicle, even if they are less expensive. Saving a few bucks on tires is not worth risking an accident caused by tire failure.
7) Radial vs. bias-ply tire
Bias-ply tires have their underlying plies laid at alternate angles less than 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread; radials have their plies laid at 90 degrees to the centerline of the tread. That’s the technical difference. The reason radial tires are dominant today is that they help improve fuel efficiency and handling; they also tend to dissipate heat better than bias-ply tires. No modern passenger cars come with bias-ply tires these days and their use is generally not recommended. (Exceptions might include older/antique vehicles that originally came equipped with bias-ply tires. Some RVs also used bias-ply tires, etc.) It is very important never to mix radial and bias-ply tires; dangerously erratic handling may result.
8) LT and MS tires
These designations indicate “Light Truck” and “Mud/Snow” — and are commonly found on tires fitted to SUVs and pick-ups. LT-rated tires are more general purpose, built primarily for on-road use — while MS-rated tires typically have more aggressive “knobby” tread patterns designed for better off-road traction.
9) Temporary Use Only
Many modern cars come with so-called “space-saver” tires which are smaller and lighter than a standard or full-size spare tire. They are designed to leave more room in the trunk and be easier for the average person to handle when a roadside tire change becomes necessary. However, they are not designed to be used for extended (or high-speed) driving. Your car will probably not handle (or stop) as well while the Space Saver tire is on – and you should keep your speed under 55 mph and avoid driving on the tire beyond what’s absolutely necessary to find a tire repair shop where you can have your damaged tire repaired or replaced.
10) Treadwear, Traction and Temperature ratings
Each tire has three separate ratings for Treadwear, Traction and Temperature.
Traction ratings run from AA to A to B and C — with C being the lowest on the scale. The ratings represent the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement under controlled testing conducted by the government. C-rated tires are marginal and should be avoided. Never buy a tire with a Traction rating that isn’t at least equal to the minimum rating specified by the manufacturer of your vehicle.
Temperature ratings from A to B to C — with C being the minimum allowable for any passenger car tire. The ratings correspond to a given tire’s ability to dissipate heat under load; tires with lower ratings are more prone to heat-induced failure, especially if driven at high speeds (or when overloaded). As with Traction ratings, never buy a tire with a Temperature rating that’s less than specified for your vehicle.
Treadwear ratings differ from Traction and Temperature ratings in that they aren’t a measure of a tire’s built-in safety margin. Instead, these ratings — represented by a three digit number — give you an idea of the expected useful life of the tire according to government testing. A tire with a Treadwear rating of 150, for example, can be expected to last about 1.5 times as long as a tire with a Treadwear rating of 100. These are just guides, however. Your tires may last longer (or not) depending on such factors as how you drive, whether you maintain proper inflation pressure and rotate the tires per recommendations — and so on.
The All-Electric 2022 Ford E-Transit™ Is Ready | Ford Pro™
Driving Tips for Wet Roads
Keeping Your Car (and Truck) Sensors Clean | Consumer Reports
Tire Blow Out Reaction Tips
Tires are the most important part of your vehicle and unexpected blows outs happen almost everyday! Watch this video to find out the two key steps to keep you safe in the event of a tire blow out.
Ask An Expert - Towing and Hauling Tips with Mark Hellwig
Hellwig Suspension Products CEO, Mark Hellwig has been in the load and sway control business his whole life. Over the years he has learned a few things about towing and hauling.
Mark shares a few tips and pieces of advice for proper and safe towing and hauling in this video.
Tommy Gate - G2 Series - Pickup and Service Body Operation
"Build a Better Truck" Video Ad for Tommy Gate "G2-Series" liftgates for pickup trucks.
F-150 Lightning: At the Work Site | F-150 | Ford
NEW STUDY FINDS GREATER GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTIONS FOR PICKUP TRUCK ELECTRIFICATION THAN FOR OTHER LIGHT-DUTY VEHICLES
- A University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company study evaluates the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions relative to gasoline-powered pickup trucks as part of the decarbonization of the transportation industry.
- Sedan, SUV, and pickup truck battery-electric vehicles have approximately 64% lower cradle-to-grave life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than internal-combustion-engine vehicles on average across the United States.
- Replacing an internal-combustion-engine pickup with a battery-electric pickup results in a reduction of 74 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the lifetime of the vehicle on average.
- While battery-electric vehicles currently have larger greenhouse gas emissions in their manufacturing than internal-combustion-engine vehicles, due to battery production, this impact is offset by savings in their operation.
Major automotive manufacturers are ramping up the production of electric trucks as a key strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of their fleets. Light-duty vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks, are currently responsible for 58% of U.S. transportation sector emissions. Pickup trucks accounted for 14% of light-duty vehicle sales in the United States in 2020, and the market share of both pickups and SUVs has grown in recent years.
But what does pickup truck electrification mean for the decarbonization of the transportation industry?
University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company researchers addressed this question in a new study and evaluated the savings in greenhouse gas emissions relative to gasoline-powered pickup trucks.
Researchers found that light-duty, battery-electric vehicles have approximately 64% lower cradle-to-grave life cycle greenhouse gas emissions than internal-combustion-engine vehicles on average across the United States.
“This is an important study to inform and encourage climate action. Our research clearly shows substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions that can be achieved from transitioning to electrified powertrains across all vehicle classes,” said study senior author Greg Keoleian, a professor at the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability and director of the U-M Center for Sustainable Systems.
“This study can help us to understand the potential impact of electrification from an emissions-reduction perspective, particularly as we introduce new electric vehicles, and how we can continue to accelerate our progress towards carbon neutrality. We’re proud to partner with U-M in this critical work,” said Cynthia Williams, global director of sustainability, homologation and compliance at Ford.
In the study, researchers conducted a cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment of pickup trucks and compared the implications of pickup truck electrification to those of sedan and SUV electrification.
With a focus on evaluating greenhouse gas emissions, researchers looked at three different model year 2020 powertrain options—internal-combustion-engine vehicles, hybrid-electric vehicles, and battery-electric vehicles—for midsize sedans, midsize SUVs, and full-size pickup trucks, accounting for differences in fuel economy, annual mileage, vehicle production, and vehicle lifetime across vehicle classes.
“This study expands upon previous studies that have focused on comparing battery-electric vehicle sedans to their internal-combustion-engine or hybrid counterparts,” said Keoleian. “We report emissions for vehicle production, use, and end-of-life stages on a per-mile basis and over the total vehicle lifetime. In addition, we analyzed the regional variation in emissions considering differences in electricity grid mixes and ambient temperatures, and we also explored the effects of the rate of grid decarbonization on emission reduction.”
The study offers key findings. Researchers, for instance, found that switching an internal-combustion-engine vehicle to a battery-electric vehicle results in greater total tonnage of emissions reductions as the vehicle size increases, due to the greater fuel consumption of larger vehicles. “Though the percentage savings is approximately the same across vehicle classes, on average replacing an internal-combustion-engine sedan with a battery-electric sedan saves 45 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, replacing an internal-combustion-engine SUV with a battery-electric SUV saves 56 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, and replacing an internal-combustion-engine pickup with a battery-electric pickup saves 74 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent over the lifetime of the vehicles,” said study first author and Center for Sustainable Systems Research Specialist Max Woody.
The researchers also found that battery-electric vehicles have larger greenhouse gas emissions in their manufacturing than internal-combustion-engine vehicles, due to battery production, but this impact is offset by savings in their operation. For battery-electric vehicles and internal-combustion-engine vehicles, the breakeven time is 1.2 to 1.3 years for sedans, 1.4 to 1.6 years for SUVs, and 1.3 years for pickup trucks, based on the average U.S. grid and vehicle miles traveled.
Vehicle emissions vary across the country, as different temperatures and different drive cycles affect a vehicle’s fuel economy. For electric vehicles, the emissions intensity of the local electricity grid is also an important factor. The study developed maps to show the lifetime grams of carbon dioxide equivalent/mile for each powertrain (internal-combustion-engine vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and battery-electric vehicles) and vehicle type (sedan, SUV, and pickup truck) by county across the United States. Researchers found that concerns about battery-electric vehicles having higher emissions than internal-combustion-engine vehicles or hybrids are largely unfounded, as battery-electric vehicles outperform hybrids in 95% to 96% of counties, while battery-electric vehicles outperform internal-combustion-engine vehicles in 98% to 99% of counties, even assuming only modest progress towards grid decarbonization.
Charging strategies can further reduce battery-electric vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. The study found that charging during the hours of the day with the lowest grid emissions intensity can reduce emissions by 11% on average. “Deployment of electric vehicles and expansion of renewable energy resources like solar and wind should be done at the same time; the benefit of each is increased by the development of the other,” said Woody.
The study, “The role of pickup truck electrification in the decarbonization of light-duty vehicles,” was published online March 1 in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
The other authors of the study are Parth Vaishnav of the U-M School for Environment and Sustainability and Center for Sustainable Systems and Robert De Kleine, Hyung Chul Kim, James E. Anderson, and Timothy J. Wallington of Ford Motor Company’s Research and Innovation Center.
Click here for more information.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan, that is committed to helping build a better world, where every person is free to move and pursue their dreams. The company’s Ford+ plan for growth and value creation combines existing strengths, new capabilities and always-on relationships with customers to enrich experiences for and deepen the loyalty of those customers. Ford designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of connected, increasingly electrified passenger and commercial vehicles: Ford trucks, utility vehicles, vans and cars, and Lincoln luxury vehicles. The company is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, connected vehicle services and mobility solutions, including self-driving technology, and provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. Ford employs about 183,000 people worldwide. More information about the company, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company is available at corporate.ford.com.
A.R.E. DoubleCover - Unique Truck Bed Cover That Lifts And Retracts - Quick Overview
The A.R.E. DoubleCover truck bed cover. The Industry's first and only truck bed cover that lifts up for quick access and retracts for full bed access. Learn more at: https://www.4are.com/#
F-150 Lightning: Cold Testing the Lightning in Alaska | F-150 | Ford
Stop. Trains Can't.
For more information, please visit: https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/rail-grade-crossing/stop-trains-cant.
Drivetrains 101 | Consumer Reports
A car’s drivetrain is how you get power from the engine to the wheels. Consumer Reports’ expert explains the difference between front-wheel, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel, and four-wheel drive.