by Leftus Turnus
It’s that time of year again, the time of year when we all remind ourselves of all those sad, abused tires. Typically, these reminders come about while watching TV, when those black and white commercials show tires being beaten, abused, and not properly maintained by their owners while some famous celebrity tries to guilt you out of your hard-earned money over a sad backing track. Man, I hate those commercials, like why does this rich person think they have the right to get paid to guilt us out of our money. Yeah, I feel bad for those tires, but I watch TV to escape from the horrors of modern life, so use your own money if you care so much you rich fucks! What was I talking about again? Oh right, sad tires. Today I plan to discuss the state of those oh so very sad tires, how they may end up in these abused situations, and how you can help them without giving your hard-earned money to a charity that may or may not be a scam.
The life of a tire is all about providing its owner a safe and efficient means of travel, and as a result of this relationship, many owners of tires forget that they too have to take care of their round friends. This is a problem that is not limited to just a domestic setting, professionals may also forget about, or refuse to acknowledge, the well-being of our rubbery friends. But before we delve into these so-called “professionals” and how they treat tires, let’s talk about the regular people who are totally inept at taking care of their treads. Firstly, if you were confused about the word ‘treads’ I used in the last sentence, you should probably replace your tires immediately as you have been artificially keeping your current tires alive for so long that they have been screaming for death internally. Outside of the morons who don’t realize that regular road tires aren’t supposed to look like racing tires, an easy way to take care of your tires is to routinely check their air pressure to make sure they are at the proper levels. According to jdpower.com (you know, the company that every single car manufacturer seemingly claims to have earned awards from for several years in a row), improper air pressure can increase the chance of a flat tire or blowout, decrease your fuel mileage, and can worsen handling of your motor vehicle. Now how can your rubbery friends help you if you refuse to help them? Outside of making sure the air pressure is proper, it is also important to check the treads of the tire as I alluded to earlier. While the truly stupid will wear their tires down until the treads don’t exist, those who wish to take proper care should check to make sure that the treads aren’t wearing down unevenly and that treads aren’t getting too worn down.
Now let’s move on to tire abuse in professional settings. Firstly, I am going to comment on the fact that tires in motorsports aren’t abused simply by racing them as the compound within the tires does not last nearly as long as the tires on-road vehicles. Much like comparing a hamster to a cat, proper care isn’t indicated by how long of a lifespan your tire may have. One example of tire abuse in motorsports would be tire wars. What is a tire war you may ask? Well, it’s certainly not your elected representatives sending your children off to fight a war over oil. A tire war is, in fact, a period of time in any motorsport where two competing brands of tires are being used by the same series at the same time. Two famous examples of tire wars would have to be Goodyear vs. Hoosier in NASCAR and Bridgestone and Michelin in Formula 1. In both cases, the integrity and safety of the racing events and the tires themselves were put into question. In the case of NASCAR’s most famous tire war, tire failures became more common and as a result injuries of drivers also increased. This culminated in the deaths of two drivers during Daytona Speedweeks in 1994, which was initially blamed on the Hoosier tires but was later proven to have a different fault. In Formula 1, the tire war led to the catastrophic 2005 US Grand Prix, which, as a result of Michelin providing unsafe tires, saw only six cars start the race (out of the twenty entered). As a result this race, and by extension the tire war, is largely blamed for the lack of US interest in Formula 1 for many years. To wrap up this section of professional abuse of tires, I am going to discuss how teams may improperly install tires throughout a race. If teams fail to secure the lug nut (or nuts) of a tire, it may fall off during the race causing an accident that is entirely due to human error but is still somehow blamed on the tires. As a whole, the professional abuse of tires tends to come from some kind of human interference, causing more psychological harm on top of physical harm to tires.
In closing, remember to take care of your own tires. If you do, there is no reason to feel guilt from those commercials as you are doing the best you can with what you are able to take care of. Remember, too many people in a life raft cause everyone to sink. Also, make sure you avoid using slurs about those sad tires. Some people seem to think using the term “satire” (I hate having to write it down) in the modern-day to refer to depressed tires is still acceptable when it is most certainly not.