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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Richard Romando
March 13, 2006

Cambridge Dictionary defines tire as "a rubber ring, usually filled with air, that fits around the wheel of a car, bicycle, or other vehicle."

Tires have reinforcing treads within them. Based on the direction of the treads, tires may be classified as cross-ply or radial. Radial tires are standard for modern automobiles. They have belts that run around the circumference of the tire to give stability to the tread. Underneath the belt are multiple plies of steel, Kevlar, or other textiles that run vertical to the belt. Beneath the belts is the casing, which is made of rubber, with polyester, nylon, or rayon cords within the rubber give it strength. Beneath the casing is the inner tube. There is no cord reinforcing here.

A monthly check-up of tire pressure is important. Under inflation causes reduced fuel efficiency and heat buildup in the tires. Over inflation wears tires out more in the center of the tread. Friction from moving contact with the road causes the tread on the outer perimeter of the tire to deteriorate. When the reinforcing treads inside the tire get exposed, the tire is bald and should be replaced.

Sometimes, a tire gets a hole through which the air inside leaks out, resulting in a flat tire. Nails, broken glass, or other sharp objects cause flat tires. If the hole is small, plugs from a repair kit can mend the tire. Otherwise, a plug coated with a semi-liquid form of rubber can be inserted into the hole with a special tool. The rubber covering the plug solidifies quickly, after which the protruding ends of the plug can be cut off, the tire can be refilled with air to the appropriate pressure, and the repaired wheel replaced on the vehicle. Tubeless tires that go flat can be fixed with a plug, but tube tires require the removal of the wheel and tire so the tube can be patched or replaced.

Discount Tires provides detailed information on Tires, Discount Tires, Snow Tires, Wheels and Tires and more. Discount Tires is affiliated with Tractor Tire Chains.

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