You’re supposed to regularly rotate your car’s tires and to keep them evenly filled according to the PSI appropriate for your car. This allows the tires to wear evenly and provide you with that all-important traction that keeps your car gripping the road. Besides that, you may need a whole new set depending on the make of the tire, how often you drive, and what kind of terrain you drive on. Tire technology has advanced since the auto industry’s early days when wheels still resembled ones you’d find on wagons, and now you can outfit your car with tires designed to lower carbon emissions and to last even longer. Most tires now last about 50,000 miles, which means you’ll likely buy a new car before you buy new tires. Additionally, instead of hanging out in landfills, old tires are being recycled and turned into a variety of goods. Read on to learn how you can help the environment just by making smart decisions about your tires.
Tires: Materials and How They’re Made
Tire technology has come a considerable way since cars first became popular and affordable for the masses. Now, instead of tires simply being rubber that—before the vulcanization process—could melt or blow out often, today’s tires are made of a mix of materials, from natural and synthetic rubber to fabrics to steel. When tires are made, natural and synthetic rubbers are mixed together with oils and additives in a special machine. After that, the mixture is distributed to other machines where it will become various parts of one tire. Once those components are made, they’re fitted into a machine that presses them all together. The tire is then inflated and cured at about 300 degree Fahrenheit for 15 minutes (longer for truck tires). While the tire cures, it takes on the tread design and other information.
As you might imagine, the tire-making process creates a lot of waste and emissions. Additionally, keeping your tires properly inflated actually promotes better gas mileage, so a lot of tire manufacturers are exploring ways to not only make tires contribute more to your fuel efficiency, but they’re also looking for alternative materials and manufacturing processes to reduce their carbon footprints.
Sure, you’ve got tire swings and some other playground equipment, but old tires are being recycled in so many more ways now. From shoes to mulch to shingles and more, your old tires will likely have a second life after you discard them. This is way better than tossing old tires into a heap since such piles attract breeding mosquitos, and runoff can pollute groundwater. Check out where you can recycle your old tires today.