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Goodyear addition proves testing strengths

When Goodyear releases a new tyre such as its 'Silent Armor', it is done so only after a rigorous testing programme is complete. The Goodyear laboratory and road test programme is so comprehensive, it equates to 139 trips around the world, or seven trips to the moon and back.

A new tyre 'travels' about 5.5 million kilometres, with its abilities checked in every possible situation and circumstance that can be created. "After all of that, if you maintain your tyres, following the directions given by us and the manufacturer of your vehicle, there is no reason why you can't enjoy a long life on one set of tyres," says Goodyear brand manager, Glenn Cross.

Most of Goodyear's tyre tests are done at its test facility in the American state of Texas where it has more than 17.5 square kilometres of paved highways, off-road courses and test laboratories on 7,250 acres of land.

The grounds include a 12.8km L-shaped track, mud and rough terrain courses, a glass plate for tread footprint testing, a vehicle dynamics area for noise, vibration and handling evaluation, tyre-punishing earthmover areas, and outdoor dynamometer wheels spinning year-round to test tyre strength.

It's also 'home' to the team of test drivers who work for the company and who cover, on average, around 160,000km each year.

While predictive computer tyre-testing capabilities are often used, Goodyear believes nothing compares to the feedback from actual driving. So, last year, the test team logged 18.4 million vehicle kilometres - or 88 million tyre kilometres - on 53 different test surfaces, checking braking, handling, treadwear, strength and ride comfort.

"Our drivers are so good, they can often tell us how they believe the product will perform before we get the quantitative test data back from the lab," Glenn says.

The company also conducts a significant amount of testing in Australia, in all tyres of terrains and conditions, particularly on tyres that have been designed as exclusive original equipment (OE) fitment for local vehicles. Those include the Goodyear Integrity and Fortera as used on the Ford Territory and the Goodyear Excellence for the new Ford BF. Goodyear's range, including the Silent Armor, is available from JAX Tyres Tyre outlets.

December 2005