Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

The History of Car Tires

Classic Car Tire

Since the inception of rubber pneumatic tires in 1888 on the Benz gasoline powered car, advancements in materials and technology have made huge strides. Air-filled tires began to increase in popularity in 1895 and have been the norm since then, though in many various designs.

Early developments

In 1905, tread was introduced onto pneumatic tires for the first time. It was a thickened contact patch designed to reduce the wear and damage that occurred to the soft rubber tire.

In 1923, the first balloon-style tire was used that looks similar to what is used today. It vastly improved a vehicle’s ride and comfort.

The development of synthetic rubber by an American company, DuPont, happened in 1931. It totally changed the automotive industry as tires could now be readily replaced, and the quality could be controlled much more precisely than natural rubber.

Gaining traction

The next major development came in 1947 when a tubeless pneumatic tire was developed. No longer were inner tubes required as the tire’s bead sealed onto the lip of the tire. This milestone was due to the increase in precision manufacturing both by tire manufacturers and wheel makers.

A short while later in 1949, the first radial tire was manufactured. The radial tire was preceded by a bias ply tire that had cords running on an angle to the tread, which tended to wander and develop flat spots when parked. The radial tire vastly improved handling, extended tread wear, and was a huge bump to the safe operation of a car.

Radial run-flat tires

Tire manufacturers continued to tweak and fine-tune their offerings through the next 20 years, and the next major development occurred in 1979. The radial run-flat tire was produced which could be driven up to 50 miles per hour with no air pressure, and as far as 100 miles. The tires incorporate a thicker, reinforced sidewall that can support the weight of the tire for limited distances with no inflation pressure.

Increasing efficiency

The year 2000 saw the world’s focus turn to environmental practices and products. A never before seen importance was put on efficiency, especially in emissions and fuel consumption. Tire manufacturers looked for solutions to the these concern, and began testing and implementing tires that reduced rolling resistance to improve fuel efficiency. Manufacturing plants also sought ways to decrease emissions and streamline the production plants to decrease greenhouse gases. These developments also increased the number of tires a plant could produce.

Future developments

Tire manufacturers have always been at the forefront of vehicle development and technology. So what does the future hold?

The next major development has actually been introduced already. Major tire manufacturers are all feverishly working on airless tires that were originally introduced in 2012. They are a web-like support structure that mounts on the rim without an air chamber to inflate. The non-pneumatic tires cut the manufacturing process in half and are made of a new material that can be recycled or possibly even retreaded. Expect the initial usage to focus on the environmentally friendly vehicles like electric cars, hybrids, and hydrogen-powered cars.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...


Related questions

Q: How do I check the fuel economy on my car?

There are several ways to determine the actual fuel economy you’re getting from your Accord, but Honda actually states that the best option is “direct calculation”. That means you’re going to have to use math. Don’t worry, though. It’s really...

Q: Engine puffs blue smoke; thumping noise at highway speeds

Hi there, thanks for asking about your 2004 Infiniti FX45. The blue smoke you notice on initial start-up is likely caused by worn exhaust valve stem seals. They allow a tiny amount of oil to get into the combustion chamber...

Q: Gas milage probably too bad

Hello. Without knowing your specific MPG, you should be getting better, if not the same, mileage as the Focus. Keep in mind that this vehicle has an adaptive memory. This means that it has adjusted to the person who was...