Mechanic pushing black tire with gloved hands.

Why Are Tires Black?

Some things never change. The sky is always blue, the grass is always green, and tires are always black. Most of the time, we accept the world as it is, but sometimes it’s interesting to do a deep dive into commonplace items. For example, why are tires black, and not red, white, or navy blue? The reason has to do with the functionality of the tire.

Today, we’re going to discuss a brief history of the tire industry, how tires are made, and ways that you can use this information to add visual flair to your own vehicle.

A Brief History of the Tire Industry

Natural rubber, a byproduct of a specific class of plants, is a relatively simple compound formed entirely out of carbon and hydrogen. Rubber has been around far longer than the average person realizes. There is compelling evidence that ancient civilizations such as the Mayans used this durable, cushioned material for all sorts of purposes, from waterproofing to recreation.

Once European explorers got a hold of the material, its use became more widespread, culminating in modern use cases such as the tire. In addition, noted inventors such as Charles Goodyear helped proliferate rubber use across the automobile industry. World War II, however, spurred the creation of the more modern synthetic rubber compounds we see in everything from industrial equipment to electronics.

What are Tires Made of?

Tires are synonymous with rubber. And while it is the primary component in most tires, there are many other materials and compounds present. Some of those materials include:

  • Natural rubber
  • Various synthetic polymers
  • Steel
  • Textiles
  • Carbon black
  • Fillers
  • Antiozonants
  • Curing agents

Carbon Black: The Ideal Additive for Tires

Why are tires black? Because of carbon black.

Carbon black is a leftover byproduct that occurs when you burn fossil fuels. As the name implies, the material has a sooty, black look and is used as an additive in tires—the ideal additive, in fact. Carbon black does an excellent job of absorbing heat, and it also adds strength to the tire, reducing your maintenance costs over the long term.

Do Tires Come in Other Colors?

Did you know that rubber in its natural form is white? In fact, the very first tires were made in the late 1800s. While we’ve already answered the question, “Why are tires black?” in the preceding section, it raises another interesting question: do they have to be black? The short answer? No. Tires can come in many different colors, including:

  • Pink
  • Green
  • Red
  • Yellow

However, colored tires lack the tensile strength of black tires because they lack carbon black. While you can have different colored tires, they are far from ideal for daily use.

How to Liven up Black Car Tires

What if you want your car to turn heads without sacrificing the safety and efficiency of traditional black tires? Here are some ways to spruce up your ride without settling for sub-par quality.

Rims

One way to add visual flair to your tires is to change the rims on which the tires sit. There are generally three subcategories of aftermarket rims, including:

  • Steel
  • Alloy
  • Chrome

Hubcaps

Another great way to inject a little bit of style into your plain, black wheels is to add custom hubcaps. Hubcaps fit over the center of the wheel, covering the rim. Both bolt-on and clip-on hubcaps are available for aftermarket purchase.

Make Them Shine

Tires take the brunt of the road. Besides oil and gas, they are one of the most consumable materials in an automobile. Treat them right by making them shine. There are many methods, from a drop of dish detergent in water to products intended to make your wheels shine.

Find The Perfect Tires For Your Car And Budget At Telle Tire

Rubber has come a long way in a relatively short time. In its purest form, it is a malleable, white material. However, all modern tires are black due to the addition of carbon black in their composition. In turn, carbon black gives tires their longevity and strength. While other colored tires are available aftermarket, we recommend black tires for all daily use.

If you have any questions about which tire is right for you, please contact the experts at Telle Tire today.

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