How winter tyres work? A look at the Dunlop Sports 4D winter tyre

How winter tyres work?

How winter tyres work; As many of my readers know, I am a big fan of Dunlop Tyres. In my earlier career, I used to work for them as an office manager. At the beginning of 1970,s. Dunlop tyres were one of the leading tyre companies in those days.

Tyre manufacturers were more localised to their country of origin. Globalisation was a word that had not entered into the world of tyres. Most of the other large tyre companies originated from the USA.

The 1970’s were the beginning of the world car boom. People could afford to buy a car. Blue collar workers were entering the new car market, for the first time. Times were good in the Auto industry.

National automakers were doing well. Car sales were hitting new records. Higher car sales. Would mean that the tyres makers were seeing their market share rising. Tyre companies were starting to expand across countries. Michelin was very active in Europe and the USA.

Dunlop tyres were dipping their toes into the motorsport market. Michelin was also investing in motorsport to promote their tyre products. Dunlop became an important tyre supplier to the Prestige Jaguar cars.

Consequently, Dunlop was starting development work alongside the Jaguar engineers, to develop new products. However, this did not always work out the way they would have liked it. A new textile radial tyre had to be prepared for the Jaguar XJ6.

How winter tyres work

The XJ6 was having problems with road noise. A specific tyre size would have to be developed by Dunlop especially for this car model. The infamous ER70VR15 tyre. This was to be the textile radial tyre. The tyre had problems with the shape. Believe it or not, the tyres were not round?

To counteract this, Dunlop had to develop a unique machine. This machine would skim the tyre tread area to re-shape the tyre. I remembered clearly having to take the Jaguar cars to the Dunlop tyre depot in the centre of Leeds here in Yorkshire UK.How winter tyres work

However, the Dunlop tyres of today are a vastly different animal. The tyres are of superb quality. This includes the  SP Winter Sports 4D These winter tyres, exhibit excellent handling and grip for high-performance cars in wet and icy conditions. The fuel efficient design and enhanced snow and ice traction make it a popular choice amongst performance enthusiasts.

Car Tyres are going to get Taller and Thinner

Size and shape of car tyres will be changing

This is a good story for let’s say for the more mature garage owners amongst us, (the older guys). We are the ones that remember the cars and their car tyres back in the 1960’s and on from there. The tyre industry is about to do a turn around when it comes to car tyres design and sizes and will revert back to similar ones that were used in the early days, they are to start making taller and thinner car tyres.
This reversal has come about by pressure from governments to encourage car manufacturers to design and make their cars more ECO friendly. By reverting back to the tall thin tyre they are helping the car designers to reduce fuel consumption and help give their cars better carbon emissions figures.
When I first worked in the industry this type of tyre sizes were the norm. The MGB sports car came out on 165×14 tyres a narrow tyre by today’s standards. The early E-Type Jaguars were originally fitted with 185v15 size tyres as were the Ferrari 250 GT’s. Even the more every day type of cars such as the VW Beetles and Volvos were fitted with 155×15 and 165×15 size tyres, which were very narrow compared with some of the tyre sizes that were later to be developed.

bridgestone ecopia tyre
Bridgestone tyre showing the tall and thin effect of the new car tyres.

Pirelli one of the companies to develop the slimmer car tyres.

Pirelli have said that they will be driven to come out with new sizes by stricter European Union regulations that will force them to develop tyres that have the best ratings. The idea of this is to reduce the rolling resistance of the tyres. The first target for the regulations is 2016 and then a higher target in 2020. The new tyre rules will be getting stricter and stricter, and so it will not be long before we see this type of tyre coming into our garages and tyre shops.

What is rolling resistance?

Rolling resistance is basically the friction between the wheel and tyre and the road surface. The broader the tyres footprint then the more resistance is created, we would normally put this down to a better grip and this is one of the reasons that the low profile tyres were developed, firstly for motorsport and then for road cars.
Also at the bottom of the tyre where the tyre meets the road surface, there is a flat spot, this is known as the “compact patch “and as you roll over it going forward the flat section moves round the tyre. The shape of the tyre is constantly changing. This gives an extra resistive force. This why the car uses more fuel when your tyres are not inflated correctly (under-inflated), the engine is having to work harder to push the car along with its flatter tyres. A simpler way of putting it is that if you have a half flat tyre on your bicycle you know that it is much harder to peddle, then it is the same for your car, this is known as “rolling resistance”.
Also because of more modern tread designs, then there has been no loss of “wet and dry grip,” This is also due to more modern tyre compounds and treads patterns with deeper sipes. Sipes are the tiny slits that help to dissipate the water in wet driving conditions. This tyre design is incorporated in Michelins new tyre the Michelin AS all season tyres, as the tyre wears down then the sipes do as well, giving excellent grip as the tyre wears down,
In fact Bridgestone and Michelin are two of the tyre companies that are involved in the development of the taller, thinner tyres.
In fact the new BMW i3 concept car has come out on 19 inch wheels, tyre size 155/70×19 but the tyres are half the width of the conventional BMW 3 series cars, according to Michelin by increasing the tyres diameter by 2 inches will reduce rolling resistance by about 5%.
The new Citroen C4 cactus will use 18 inch wheels, which will be just 155mm wide (about 6 inches).
One good thing about this is that I love change? I believe that these new tyre designs are what makes our job more interesting, especially for us older guys who remember the original skinny tyres going back 40 or 50 years.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Tyre Separation-Car Owners Blame the Tyre Makers but Whose Fault is it realy ?

Tyre Separation-Whose Fault is it?

In all my years in the tyre business, this has always been a difficult thing to judge. One of the reasons is because the tyre often disintegrates into pieces and the original cause cannot be seen , at tyre separationleast with the naked eye.
I am bringing this up because just this week we have had two cases of tyre separation on two different types of vehicle. One was a car and the other a caravan. The car had developed a large “egg” on the shoulder area, and the caravan had pieces of tread hanging off after a blowout occurred when the driver was returning from his holidays.
Both of our customers were disgruntled to say the least and both blamed the tyre separation on faulty tyres. More reading…

This takes me back to my younger days, when faulty tyres were very common. Even in my later years I noted that Firestone in America was having huge problems with tyres blowing out on the Ford Explorer. The problem of the tyres became a mixture of blames as the SUV’s turned over after the tyre blowout occurred, but other problems with the vehicles design came into play, so I won’t go any further with that.

Tyre tread separation in the 70’s

Tyre tread separation in the 1960’s and 70’s became a common thing.The problem stemmed from the tyre companies inability to design

tyre separation
This caravan tyre was due to a screw causing the tyres casing to separate.

and make a worthy steel belted radial to compete with the Michelin tyres, that were out classing all their other rivals in both quality and tyre mileage, the Michelin’s could double the mileage of all the other tyres on the market. Goodyear and Firestone experimented with different types of steel to make the steel belt wires with, but failed to stop the belts oxidising (rusting) and the oxygen that this gave off caused the tyres to separate. (Tyres are made of a build-up of different layers of rubber called a casing).
In the long run they were given a licence from Michelin and the secret of a steel belt coated with alloys made up of brass and copper resulted in the other tyre companies developing a better product, and virtually eliminating the tyre separation problem in their tyre products.
Another problem that let some of the tyre makers down was their lack of cleanliness in the factories that produced the tyres. I can vouch for this myself, having visited some tyre factories and seen the dirt and dust everywhere. In fact it has been known , over the years that things like screws and bolts, even a chicken bone and a screwdriver have been found embedded in a tyres structure, eventually giving the tyre owner problems.
The main problem in the past though has been dust and dirt contaminating the adhesive that helps to vulcanise the tyre layers together. If dust gets in then the tyre will eventually crack or start to form a bubble due to tyre separation. Other problems can be found with the steel belt. They can form rust and corrosion which can be evidence that there has been some sort of moisture contamination, during manufacture.
Tyre makers can now tell what a more specific problem may be. of moisture contamination during manufacturing. Bare wire is an indication of a manufacturing adhesion defect. Brassy wire is a strong indication that there has been an adhesive left out altogether. These type of faults can now be detected by the use of High resolution photographs. These images can be taken of any exposed surfaces as quickly after the problem has been discovered especially if this is required as evidence in an accident case.

Tyre tread separation can be detected at an early stage

This is one of the dilemmas that we face when determining whether the fault lies with the tyre manufacturer or the customer. The main thing is to make sure that you check your tyres at a regular period and as well as checking the pressures look and feel for any sign of a small lump or bubble. I must admit that they are easy to see on the sidewall but not on the tread area.
These bumps and lumps on the sidewall are usually caused by the tyre being kerbed or if the car hits a stone or runs over a pothole. One of the sidewall cords breaks leaving a week spot, pushing out the rubber to form a lump. If this happens and you detect it, then

tread seperation
This tyre looks like it has developed a fault. We could not find any objects that had penetrated the tyre.


tread separation
This shows the same tyre from a different angle, showing the complete distortion of the tyre, this will be sent back to the manufacturer for examination.

unfortunately you will have to buy a new tyre.
The tread area is a little different. I have found that the main problem for an egg to appear on the shoulder/tread area comes down to a previous puncture repair that the tyre has had. What happens is that the nail or screw, whatever you had in the tyre has damaged the wire in the steel belt and the tyre oxidises, just like a faulty new tyre does. In 90% of cases an old puncture repair will be to blame and we are able to show the problem to the customer. If we cannot find anything that could have caused a problem then we will send the tyre back to the manufacturers with a suspected faulty tyre.
This is a bit of important advice. If you do go over a pothole or hit a kerb with you tyres bellow the pressure that they should be, then you will increase the chance of tyre damage. Also if you feel that the car is pulling to the left or right, or your wheels are out of balance then this is an early sign of a separation problem in your tyre. Whenever a customer has a balancing problem, then the first thing we do is to examine the tyre for other problems, because it is most unusual for a tyre to go out of balance, unless a wheel weight comes off, which is very rare. So if you need the wheels balancing then it is likely that you will have another problem and it is usually a slipped belt caused by separation.
Eric Roberts
Hi I would like to introduce myself. I have worked in the Garage and tyre and I am MD for online battery company I have worked for a couple for national tyre companies in my younger days, before starting my first business. I now own a garage and MOT testing centre, here in the UK called Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre, and I am a keen blogger about anything to do with cars and their related products that will help my business. We are members of Point-S and Motor-Codes and are also a Unipart Car Care Centre and of course Tyre-safe.




Michelin Premier A-S All-Season Tyre

Michelin Premier A-S uses new materials

Like many other major tyre companies, Michelin have being experimenting with different materials to use in the tyres compound. This is to try and reduce the amount of petro-chemicals that are used in the manufacture of tyres. Michelin have used a combination of sunflower oil and silica.
The silica is used by most tyre companies, especially in the winter tyre ranges. The silica helps the tyre in wet weather by providing more strength and stability to the tyres

The excellent new Michelin Premier AS All-Season tyre

performance, whist the sunflower oil helps the tyre perform well in lower temperature, a mix that goes well in an all-season tyre, helping it to perform in both summer and winter, hence the name all-season.
Most tyres have incorporated sipes and grooves into the tyres tread, this dissipates the water from the tyre in inclement weather. As the tyre wears with use these grooves start to disappear in many makes of tyres, in fact some tyres in particularly Continental, look like racing slick with 3mm of tread left and would be useless in the wet. The new Michelin however has grooves that are spread around the outside of the tread, which become wider as the tyre tread wears out, this means that the tyre will maintain its grip as the tyre wears down and dissipate the water, where normally the opposite happens ,the tyre loses grip when it wears down.
As the tyre wears more grooves that have been placed deeper in the tread will start to appear, in fact there are about 150 extra hidden grooves placed in the central area of the tyre, only showing when the tyre wears down, this also gives extra grip in wet weather. When the tyre increase its mileage the tyre gives a more stable traction on the road surface.

The Michelin Premier A/S will replace the MXV4 All season tyre.

All the new developments in this Michelin Premier tyre are known collectively as Ever-Grip technology and it is said that Michelin have been working on the Ever Grip system for many years. The new tyre has been tested against its predecessor and other makes. The disappointing aspect of the new tyre was the performance in “dry braking”. This was measured as only average when compared to other makes of tyres and actually worse that the MXV4. When a worn tyre was tested the dry stopping distance was even worse, about 10 foot different.
The new Michelin shone out in a wet weather test when water was added to the test track. The new tyre stopped almost exactly the same in wet as it did in dry weather both with a new tread and a worn tread.
The tests showed that the Premier was miles ahead of its predecessor the MXV4 all–season. The Premier A/S delivered a safe, predictable stopping performance on dry and wet roads and is largely immune to the effects of tread loss, the tyre performs almost perfectly with a good tread and when the tyre is nearing the end of its treads life.

Michelin premier cross section

The new tyres rolling resistance was found to be very good, making it a good tyre when it comes to fuel economy. The tyre also performed well when handling on ice and snow and also did well for hydroplaning resistance. The new technology has proved very successful for Michelin and is expected to be used in future tyre developments and new products. This new tyre will be available from Pellon Autocentre in the Halifax area of Yorkshire UK.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.



Vredestein Tyres made me sick?

Driving too fast-Vredestein Tyres made me sick?

I really mean physically sick, let me explain. It was back in 2006; Vredestein tyres were going to launch a brand new product. The new tyre would be to fit the new popularity for SUV vehicles that were hitting the car market.
The 4X4 and SUV market was starting to become more popular amongst Europeans in most countries and were a growing favorite amongst women drivers. The extra height in the

vredestein tyres
Vredestein tyres on test in the Austrian mountains

vehicles gave the drivers a better driving position, especially for the usually smaller female drivers, and in my opinion was one of the popular points of these cars.
These vehicles also came out in the more up-market brands such as BMW and Mercedes and these were followed by a new Porsche SUV and a completely new type of Landrover Discovery, with a much more streamlined and sexy shape that were becoming popular with the business owner types of customers.

Vredestein tyres could see the market gap

Vredestein tyres were already established as a leader in the winter tyre market and could see that this growing class of vehicles were going to need winter tyres especially in the countries that have to fit them by law, including Germany, Austria and Switzerland. These cars were primarily coming out from original equipment shod with summer tyres.
The summer tyres were developed by the tyre manufacturers to provide these top class cars with comfort and strength when cornering, because of the large sizes of tyres that these vehicles were coming out in, some are now even larger with 23 inch wheels fitted. If the makeup and compound of the tyres were not right, then these tyres would be a very hard ride and uncomfortable on most vehicles, so the correct makeup of the tyres was very important.

Vredestein tyres announce new type of tyre

Vredestein tyres had seen this problem arising and had developed a new type of tyre specifically for the SUV and 4X4 winter tyre market; the tyre would be the “Wintrac 4 Xtreme”. The tyre was to be available in 16 different sizes and included some of the more exotic tyre sizes that fitted the more up-market models, including the new Porsche Cayenne.

vredestein tyres
Vredestein Wintrac 4 Xtreme tyres on test

Vredestein tyres were in those days a mid- range tyre manufacturer, but always produced quality tyre products and they were very excited about their new tyre. The plan was to have a European wide tyre dealer launch and this was to be presented at a lake side resort in Austria with extensive tyre testing in the mountains of Austria. The whole adventure was kept secret to the last few days and all the European tyre dealers were given different dates to attend the new tyre launched. Countries were kept apart and we would be in the United Kingdom party to travel from Manchester to Saltsburg airport in Austria.
The whole thing had been kept a secret, a part of the fact that we knew it must have been something about tyres and I must admit that we were a bit excited about what was coming. We were then transported by coaches to nearby lake side resort, which I think was called the Schloss Fuschl Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg and were told to meat at seven in the evening for drinks and a presentation.
Vredestein had certainly gone to town with all the preparations and I was most impressed with the whole experience. After checking into our room we refreshed ourselves and were told to meet in a certain bar for pre-presentation drinks. I guess there were probably a hundred dealers there from all over the UK and Ireland and after drinks we were funneled into a conference hall to be seated for the presentation of what was to be the “wintrac 4 Xtreme”, especially designed for the new generation of SUV and 4X4 vehicles.
The presentation was in keeping with the rest of the excellent hospitality and we were then treated to an evening meal followed by a male soul singer from Holland. We were briefed that the following day we would all be taken in groups of four in different brand new vehicle that were kitted out with the new wintrac tyres, this was to prove to us the dealers how good the product was.
The following day we packed our bags and assembled outside the Hotel frontage where we were given the number of the vehicle that we would be driving in. All the cars were driven by professional drivers with experience of driving in snow and mountains and all were covered in Vredestein logos. My car was to be a brand new Landrover Discovery the first one I had ever seen. We waited until all the cars were filled with tyre dealers and the cars all set off in a convoy.
I must admit to feeling slightly nervous, not knowing what to expect. The vehicles split up into small groups and we were climbing higher and higher until we reached the snow line. We continued to go higher and higher, but now we were driving at speed on very narrow single roads with deep drops at one side, I was now out of my comfort zone as I am a poor passenger at the best of times . We eventually reached the summit, which I was told was a glazier.
After doing several wheelies on the glazier I started to feel uncomfortable, but was assured by the drive that we were perfectly safe and he had been using these tyres for practice over the past 6 months. We then started to descend down the mountains, but we never lost the car once, I was most impressed with the tyres performance. After reaching the forest line going down the mountain, the driver decided to demonstrate how good the tyres were on a mountain gravel track and started hurtling the Landover downhill at great speed before slamming on the brakes.
That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could feel my stomach hurtling up to mouth and threw up all over the brand new Landrover, just missing my fellow passengers.
I did feel a little better after that and the journey became more tranquil as fee wound down the small roads of the foothills back towards our waiting coaches and then onto the airport for our return flight home. It was on the whole a really well planned new product launch by Vredestein tyres and it proved to be successful for Vredestein and future sales, but the one thing I learned is that I will never be a rally car driver?
Eric Roberts
Hi I would like to introduce myself. I have worked in the Garage and tyre and I am MD for online battery company I have worked for a couple for national tyre companies in my younger days, before starting my first business. I now own a garage and MOT testing centre, here in the UK called Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre, and I am a keen blogger about anything to do with cars and their related products that will help my business. We are members of Point-S and Motor-Codes and are also a Unipart Car Care Centre and of course Tyre-safe.




Michelin 4X4 CrossClimate- now available for 4×4 and SUV : Tyrepress

Michelin 4X4 CrossClimate

Michelin 4X4 CrossClimateMichelin’s popular – some would even say trend-setting – CrossClimate tyre is now available to a wide range of SUVs and 4x4s.The Michelin CrossClimate was the world’s first summer tyre to achie…

Michelin 4X4 CrossClimate

There is no doubt that the Michelin CrossClimate has been a winner for the famous French tyre maker. This tyre has been a triumph. Hence, a summer tyre suitable for winter use.

This new range will definitely be of benefit to drivers of SUV’s and 4X4’s. As a result, we have had complaints in the past. Hence, about their vehicle not handling very well in wet and winter weather.

In my opinion the CrossClimate will be of benefit to this range of vehicles. For the purpose of better handling.

Source: Michelin CrossClimate now available for 4×4 and SUV : Tyrepress

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