When I was a kid, I watched lots of World War II movies. One thing that intrigued me was the jeep that had four-wheel drive. My dad told me that all four wheels would turn and the jeep could drive through anything. That made a lot of senses to me. I thought that one day I would get a jeep and be able to drive anywhere. That didn’t come true and I’ve never had a four-wheel drive vehicle of any kind.
Those trucks and jeeps on the movies had some funny looking tires. I thought that those tires must have something to do will all that pulling power of the trucks and jeeps. Now after 50 years of trial and error, we have more tires than ever. What happened?
This all came to me sitting in traffic that other day. All the cars around me had different kinds of tires. The treads had all sorts of shapes and special looking treads. I wondered why there were so many treads.
There are all sorts of tires. Tractors have different types of treads. Drag racers have something entirely different. Cars have special treads for driving in rain, snow or sand. I can understand some of these different make good sense.
Tires for driving on rain-slicked roads would be different than tires made for driving on snow. I just wonder why there are so many different types. It would seem that every tire company would like to produce an optimal tire for the job intended. It seems like after 100 years of all these tires, we could have one type of tire that would seem to be the best. That doesn’t appear to be true at all. Every day there is a new ad for better tires. All this talk and still we have to change.
We all want smooth rides, good gas mileage and safety. With those goals in mind, we have seemingly endless choices of styles and price ranges for our tires. I understand that a snow tire with studs in it would not be good on the interstate in Texas during the summer. Most of us drive on the highway. Traction doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Why so many treads? We are not racing. We don’t have to take off quickly like a drag racer.
We shouldn’t be driving over seventy miles per hour. There should be a happy medium in the type of tire we use. With all the miles we drive and testing that has been done there should be a tire that would be great on any car.
That’s probably not going to happen anytime. There used to be three carmakers and now there are over two hundred different models of cars. Maybe we do need lots of different treads.
I just have unrealistic expectations. I was hoping for the optimal tire for speed, mileage, wear and smoothness of ride. That’s not going to happen.
I probably got these unrealistic expectations from watching those movies so long ago. I wish I had one of those old jeeps with the spare tire on the back and an extra gas tank on the side. I’d leave the windshield down and only use the four-wheel drive when necessary. It’s too bad that I would need so many different tires to ride around.
Maybe I can get a tire company to sponsor my jeep to test for the best tire. After all these years, it will probably turn out to be the same old tire that they used in the World War II movies.
Editor’s Note: The above column was originally printed in our June 10, 2015 edition of The News.