Tyres and Wheels - the relationship explained
The wheel and tyre unit on your car or 4WD works together to allow your vehicle the movement we take for granted. Many people don’t understand this relationship that allows your vehicle to travel safely at impressive speeds. At JAX Tyres, we are passionate about tyres and wheels so we want to share our knowledge and help you understand your vehicle and how it works, so you can make the best decisions for your vehicle.
Tyre vs Wheel
The tyre is effectively a rubber case, that employs research and development to make reliable contact with the road for mechanical grip and make it possible to drive in dry and wet conditions (with acceptable tread depth). A tyre clearly doesn’t have the structural rigidity or load bearing capability to carry the vehicle on its own. This is where the wheel (also known as a rim) comes in. When the wheel and tyre are combined, they carry the load of the vehicle through the strength of the wheel and the compressed air contained within the tyre and wheel unit. The tyre is made to fit with a wheel and includes a bead arrangement so the tyre and wheel stick together as a unit. The base of the tyre sits partially below the extremity of the rim, rather than solely above the wheel unit. When the tyre is inflated it keeps the bead ‘seated’ on the rim and in place. This is the reason that punctured or flat tyres, if the driver keeps travelling, can pop off the bead and then the rim.
The contact patch of the tyre meets the road, including the specifically designed tread pattern. This is the footprint that rotates as the car moves. Further towards the centre of the tyre, down the sidewall below you can see a cross section, the carcass of the tyre. This section of the tyre often includes Kevlar, steel or nylon belts and is important for the strength under the load of driving, braking and cornering during your commute. The tyre can then be seen fitted to the rim at the inside of the tyre circle (its smallest diameter).
Maintaining your tyres and wheels
Have you ever seen a police chase where the tyres are deflated with a puncture strip? Eventually the tyre (or ‘tire’ as it is known in the USA) fails due to extreme damage and often the criminals are driving on the rim. All safety, handling and performance are lost as the air is no longer contained by the tyre and the chase ends soon after as the bad guys lose mobility. Even if you could drive around on the rim, it wouldn’t be comfortable at all as you wouldn’t have the cushioning effect of the tyre and compressed air. Driving on just the rim, you’re effectively back in the old days of low speed wooden horse and cart wheels.
Maintenance includes regular checks for correct wheel balancing and wheel alignments, which are all covered by our myjax platinum tyre maintenance program. Help your tyres wear and perform properly by checking their inflation pressures regularly.
Tyres and wheels could be thought of as boring but as you have read, they are essential components for your vehicle’s performance and your safety, that of your family and other road users. While the concept of the tyre and wheel including pressurised air has been around since the mid 1800s, a viable improvement on the design has not yet been developed.
As you’ll understand, tyres and wheels should be maintained to ensure they operate correctly. If you have concerns about your tyres or wheels, let your nearest JAX Tyres store know. Make sure you don’t put up with cracked wheels as you could be heading towards low tyre inflation levels.
Happy and safe motoring!
Got more questions? Pop in and speak to our expert team. Find the JAX Tyres store that is closest to you