SINCE THE DAWN of the auto industry, tire
manufacturers have been fighting roll resistance to create increasingly energy-efficient
tires. This is good news for motorists because
roll resistance, a tire-industry term describing
the energy required to put a car’s tires in
motion, claims one in five tanks of gasoline.
Today’s low-roll-resistance tires not only
increase a car’s fuel efficiency, they are safer
and minimize its carbon footprint.
According to Ron Margadonna, senior
technical marketing manager of Michelin’s
North American operations, there have been
three major victories in the battle against roll
resistance since the invention of the rubber
tire: the development of the radial tire, the use
of silica filler in tire construction and recently
improved rubber chemistry.
The advent of all-steel reinforced radial
tires, developed and patented in 1946 by
Michelin technical director Pierre Marcel
Bourdon, was a boon for motorists. These tires
dramatically improved tire traction and handling, and enabled cars to run with 10 percent
better fuel economy.
The next landmark innovation took place
in 1992, when tire makers began using silica
filler in tires. Filler is the “glue” that bonds
rubber and gives it its strength and durability.
Some tires feature a carbon-derivative filler,
Better tire technology saves fuel
known in the industry as carbon black. It is a
good bonding agent but it doesn’t perform as
well in wet driving conditions as tires con-
structed with silica. In addition to making
tires safer, silica filler also significantly low-
ered roll resistance.
In their quest to boost fuel efficiency, tire
manufacturers have developed new-generation
tires, simply called low-rolling-resistance (LRR)
tires. Due to the use of advanced elastomers in
rubber, LRR tires feature less rolling resistance
than any previous generation of tire on the
market. Because they’re designed to boost fuel
efficiency and lower motorist’s carbon foot-
print, these tires are used most frequently on
hybrid cars. However, LRR tires are now being
used on mainstream vehicles as well.
YOU CAN TELL a lot about your car by the way your tires wear. Abnormal wear patterns are often a tip-off whether you need simple tire maintenance or a front-end alignment. Learning to interpret tire wear patterns can help you extend the life of your tires
and improve your vehicle’s overall performance. The chart below, provided by Michelin,
will help you understand what common tire wear patterns indicate.
What are your tires telling you?
Condition: Tread cut or puncture
Caused when a foreign object penetrates the tread area. Can lead
to air loss and possible tire destruction.
Solution: If a puncture occurs, repair the damage if it is within
recommended limits. Your local Costco Tire Center can determine
if a puncture is repairable.
Buyer’s pıck Carmen Westbrook Automotive Buyer
Condition: Brake lockup Localized tread damage and unusual abrasion can occur during brake lockup. The extent of the damage may depend on the severity of the brake lockup, the road surface or other conditions. If severe, the dam- age can extend into the steel belts. Solution: When possible, avoid severe braking situations.
Condition: Shoulder wear (mechanical wear) on one side
Worn parts or misalignment may result in uneven wear. This condition will reduce tire life and may lead to other tire damage.
Solution: Have the vehicle inspected for possible mechanical or suspension problems that should be repaired.
Condition: Shoulder wear on both sides This occurs when the tire is under-inflated and the outer shoul- ders are forced to carry the majority of the weight. It will lead to excessive shoulder wear and reduced tire life. Solution: Maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation level. Use new valve stems and cores when mounting new tires. Follow proper mounting procedures and use rims in good condition.
IF YOU LOVE seeing your car’s paint
glisten on sunny days, you’ll love the
DuPont Pro-Fusion Color Scratch Repair
Stick. This little marker-like stick quickly
repairs scratches, nicks and dings in your
car’s surface, leaving a sealed, profes-sional-looking repair.
The scratch stick contains a unique
blend of resins that fills in scratches in the
clear-coat layer of a car’s paint from the
bottom up, creating a convex lens that
refracts the car’s color across the
scratched area. That’s why you don’t need
to buy a color-appropriate scratch stick to
match your car’s paint. After you apply
the stick, minor scratches are hard to
detect. Most important, the formula seals
and protects the repaired area against the
elements for years to come.
To see a short demonstration of this
product, visit www.youtube.com, type
in “DuPont Scratch Repair Stick” in the
search tool and select the video with
Our competitors sell this product for
$10.99 each, but Costco sells a three-pack
for $13.99. C
TIRE PHO TOS COURTESY OF MICHELIN TIRES
Condition: Center tread wear
This type of damage can be caused by
over-inflation. The center of the tread
will bulge outward, forcing it to carry
most of the weight and, in turn, wear
out the center of the tread prematurely.
Solution: Maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation level.
APRIL 2012 The Costco Connection 41
The Costco Connection
Your local Costco warehouse carries a
selection of motor oil and other auto-related items and accessories. You’ll also
find premium tires for your car, including
low-rolling-resistant tires, at a huge savings
at Costco Tire Centers and Costco.com.