Automotive Tips

Top 4 Tire Tech Questions

tire_rotationTire-makers constantly launch new products and features aimed at improving a vehicle’s safety and performance. In this article, we highlight four of the most popular tire tech questions we hear from our customers.

Should I Buy Run-Flat Tires?

Run flat tire technology enables vehicles to drive as much as 100 miles on a tire with no air. Some drivers like these tires for safety reasons; they eliminate the need to pull over in dangerous situations. Many do not, citing their:

  • Propensity for premature or uneven wear
  • Stiff road feel
  • High replacement cost
  • Limited replacement choices

“Run-flats” will not work for every vehicle. In fact, they are only standard on 12% of new vehicles, according to Edmunds data. They require tire pressure monitoring systems because a driver may not otherwise know the tire is flat until it starts to break apart. Also, certain vehicles with run-flat systems have specifically designed wheels that will not accept conventional tires.

Our recommendation is to first check the manufacturer recommendations to see if run-flats would work. If they do, the next step is to decide what you value more:

  • The ability to drive to a repair shop on a flat tire;


  • The lower cost and easier maintenance of conventional tires.

What Happens to Old Tires?

Since California’s 1989 Tire Recycling Act, the state has made major headway on finding ways to recycle its 40 million waste tires generated per year. In 2010 (the last year of available data), beneficial use was made of 33.2 million waste tires, a tire recycling rate of 81%.

Recycled tire markets are expanding; waste tires are more frequently getting turned into fuel, playground equipment, and rubber-modified asphalt for road construction. Research is also expanding. Scientists are exploring methods like pyrolysis and devulcanization, which seek to turn old tires into valuable raw materials.

Is There a Better Way than the Penny Test to Check Tread Wear?

In a previous article, we described how the “penny test” shows when tire tread has worn down to the point of replacement. This is an important safety check; balding tread leads to poor handling, braking, and dangerous punctures.

Now, technology is providing a penny test alternative. Sensors are being built in to tires that activate a warning light on the dashboard when tire tread gets too low.

These sensors are still in the testing phase and not yet available to consumers. But they may be brought to mass markets soon; tire-maker Continental says the feature will be available in 2017. And when it becomes available, more drivers would know when to replace their tires, making the roads one big step safer.

How Do I Prolong the Life of My New Tires?

No technology will free tires from maintenance. Drivers will still have habits that lead to uneven wear. Rubber will still wear down over time. And air pressure will still find ways to escape. That is why a regular tire rotation service is so important. It will protect your tire investment, as well as your safety and performance on the road.

What tire technology questions do you have? Message us on Facebook or send us a tweet. We would love to hear from you.

©2021 Jiffy Lube service centers are owned and operated by independent franchisees.