Last week, I flew to Luxembourg and joined fellow European bloggers Mama Van Vijf, Minimenschlein, The Daily Lady, Ma Che Davvero and Les Enjoliveuses to meet Goodyear and learn about the crucial role tyres play in ensuring our safety and comfort on the road.
We were there to learn about Goodyear’s latest all-weather tyres, the Vector 4Seasons.
Goodyear were the first to create an all-season tyre back in the mid-80s and have been perfecting the design for over 30 years.
It’s easy to understand the value of an all weather tyre that performs in both winter and summer conditions. It’s a pain to have to change your tyres during the year and in the UK, where it can be summery one day and wintry the next, it’s even more of a pain. With an all-weather tyre, you fit it and in general, won’t need to worry about them again until the tread has worn down.
But Goodyear didn’t want to just show us the tyres, tell us how they worked and send us on our way. No, they wanted to show us all the work that goes into ensuring safety and comfort on the road and then get out there and try it for ourselves.
First stop, we learned something crucial about tyres. On average, as your car travels along, the area of each tyre that is actually touching the round is about the size of your outstretched hand. That’s four hands on the road. Such a small amount, and it has to grip just the right amount, displace water just right, flex just right so that it’s not too soft on wet summer roads or too brittle on cold roads.
Suddenly we were all trying to remember what tyres were on the car we own or have owned, and most of us didn’t really know. The ones it came with, maybe? The ones the garage sold us at the last MOT?
It’s funny, isn’t it? We research into our cars so carefully before we buy, not just look and feel by practical features and safety records. We choose the model that best suits our family needs, but we forget to think about that crucial feature that connects us to the road: the tyres.
We were shown round the Goodyear labs to understand the work that goes into producing tyres that offer safety and comfort.
Those curved grooves you can see in the photo below are ‘hydrodynamic grooves’ – they help deliver the water out from under the tyres, reducing the chance of aquaplaning on wet and slushy roads.
We were shown how the material tyres are made from is constantly being tested, adjusted, and bettered. How a single treatment or tweak can change synthetic rubber from a material that snaps when exposed to cold to one that remains flexible.
Moving, into the sound lab, we were shown how the grooves in the tyres are intentionally misaligned and the sections varied in width to prevent a particular frequency being overexcited as the tyres vibrate against on the road, which in turn means less noise outside and inside the car.
I’m not going to go into detail about all of the techy bits and pieces we were shown, but I do think it’s incredibly relevant to families to know that tyres – and the performance a tyre can offer – are important. .
And then it was time to hit the test track. Brilliant fun, but also eye opening as we witnessed a 20 metre difference between a car fitted with Vector 4Seasons tyres braking on a wet surface and that of the same car with rival tyres. In fact, the rival car was still moving at 17kpm when the car with the Goodyear tyres had stopped altogether. It’s sobering stuff, when you think what that could mean in a real life situation.
I learned so much about tyres and family safety. I’ll never just accept any old tyre – I’ll take the same care I do when choosing a buggy or car seat. What a difference a day makes!
Come back tomorrow, when I’ll share what happened on the rest of our trip, as we took a scenic and eventful trip from Luxembourg, through to Belgium and then on to France.
This is a commissioned post for Goodyear. Non-watermarked images are courtesy of the Goodyear photographer.