The NFL has had a number of interesting topics to investigate over the past few years. In every investigation, the overall question is: was an advantage or disadvantage gained? In dealing with automotive wheels and tires, there are plenty of investigations you can do to keep from being at a disadvantage and plenty of signs that could prompt a challenge for further review.
The automotive industry is massive. Cars and trucks are used around the clock for a number of reasons. Vehicles rely heavily on wheels and tires and expect them to do their job. However, wheels and tires can be complicated. Axles and wheels have many moving parts that require routine maintenance. Same could be said for your tires. Giving attention to your tires is crucial and can give you an advantage or a disadvantage on your daily commute, and increase the longevity of your tires and your vehicle.
Your tires, like a football are pressurized with air. They both have a pounds per square inch (PSI) number that they are supposed to be pressurized to for ideal usage. Just like having a better grip on a lower inflated football, a lower inflated tire will also give you more traction by increasing the surface to ground contact ratio. If you happen to be drag racing this could be an advantage, however for a daily commute, a under inflated tire will not only reduce your gas mileage but it will also increase strain on some important components of the axle, wheel and tires causing them to wear faster. Improper pressure could potentially be catastrophic to you and/or your vehicle. This is when a metallurgical investigation takes place!
Be sure to check your automobiles user’s manual, door sill labeling, and the sides of your tire for the ideal numbers regarding pressurization. Also, remember that the psi rating for your tires is an approximate maximum rating, meaning anything over this number could be unsafe. A tire pressure less than this number could as well be hazardous, so get as close to this number without over inflating for optimal use. It is important to check your tires frequently for proper inflation. Drastic differences in tire pressure in a short amount of time could be indicative of a leak or a faulty tire and should be addressed immediately for you and your vehicles safety. Routine maintenance and thorough investigation of your automobile can increase its lifespan and performance and keep you and your vehicle from being sidelined.
Wheel and tire failures are a frequent topic here at JEI. Check out our website to read more about a few of our metallurgical investigations regarding vehicular tire/wheel accidents.