How to run in spiked tires correctly and prolong their life noticeably

After the purchase of winter tires with studs the first thing to do is to run them in properly. This is an important stage in the preparation of the new set for the cold season, which involves the use of rubber in a delicate mode in order to adapt to the braking and acceleration, as well as the shrinkage of the studs in their place. During the running-in stage it is forbidden to allow sharp maneuvers and travel at speeds over 60 km / h. Consider the main features of running-in studded tires and tips for their preparation.

How studded tires differ from studded models

  • Studded tires. The carcass, rubber and tread of such tires are designed with the possibility of studding. Thus, the tread may have a dense lower layer, providing a reliable fixation of the lower flange, while the upper blocks and the tire itself guarantee excellent traction with snow or asphalt surfaces. The spikes themselves act as auxiliary elements, helping the car to overcome the difficult sections of the road with icing.
  • studded models. In this case, the tire is sold without studs, but its design has sockets to accommodate them at the tire shop. This is an affordable alternative to quality studding, because in this case, the quality of fixation and service life are reduced. Also studded tires have much worse performance properties than studded counterparts.

What leads to premature stud wear

With intensive use of the car in winter, motorists often observe the problem of studs falling out before the established terms, namely, after 1-2 seasons. There are several reasons explaining such an unpleasant situation:

  1. Driving with high speed. Under the influence of high loads the seating area of studs heats up, and efficiency of glue fixing decreases.
  2. aggressive driving. Dynamic acceleration and sudden decelerations contribute to loosening of studs in the seating area, which leads to their quick dislodging from the cavity.
  3. The tire is not inflated enough or too much air. The tire’s contact patch with the road surface increases with low tire pressure, which causes tire overheating, increased friction, and product loss. In case of excessive air the central part of the tread bulges out, and studs begin to interact more tightly with the surface, because of which they are subjected to abrasion.
  4. Frequent towing and slipping. If a wheel rotates in one place for a long time, studs stop coping with the loads in contact with the road surface and fly out.
  5. Natural wear and tear. During use for a long time or under heavy loads, the rubber compound loses its operational properties, namely – elasticity. As a result, it becomes rigid, the areas near the studs are cracked, and the seating area expands in size.

Basic manufacturing techniques for studded tires and the importance of running them in

Modern studded tires are produced in strict accordance with the technological process and the permissible number of studs. These requirements are prescribed in the legislation of different countries, so manufactured products must fully comply with them. In order to attract the attention of potential customers, some manufacturers try to place as many studs in the tires as possible, looking for different schemes and technologies of their placement.

The studding process itself is often made not in the tire manufacturer’s factory, but somewhere in a third country – for example, in China, India, Russia, etc. In this way companies reduce production costs and solve the problem of logistics.

Some brands also use automatic tire treading with computer quality control. Special equipment works with sensors to determine the most suitable place for mounting studs and integrates them in certain places. When the installation is complete, the stud’s pressing force and protrusion are checked. To make the process easier, the surface is sprayed with a special soapy solution.

Such technologies are used by the leading tire manufacturers, but the Continental brand surpassed them all by developing the following principle of studded rubber production:

  • the product is treated with a thermal adhesion compound;
  • the tire blank goes through a studding cycle;
  • vulcanisation to give the right pattern and shape;
  • The last stage is “soldering” of the rubber and the stud to provide a perfect fit and secure fixation.

This technique ensures a high quality fixation of the spike. To pull it out you have to apply force of 500 N*m, which is an order of magnitude higher than in conventional studding. Other companies have not yet achieved such results.

Once mounted in the factory, the studs are securely locked in the recesses, but debris or fluid fragments collect in the well. If you start intensive use with high speeds, dynamic maneuvers, fast acceleration and braking immediately after the installation, the studs will simply start to fall out.

What results from a proper running-in period

As studs are integrated into an already welded tire by pressing them into holes (if you do not take into account the Continental brand products mentioned above), after studding they should be left for 24 hours to adapt to temperature conditions of 20-25°С. During this time, the rubber will fill all the holes and form a tight hold on the studs.

However, even perfect studding equipment has certain tolerances for the product’s protrusion over the tire surface, and usually it is 0.5 mm. Because of this, some studs sit deep in the grooves, while others do not. And with running-in, it’s possible to achieve a perfect fit in a tire with one height of protrusion.

The results of proper running-in of studded tires are as follows:

  • The studs are in the correct position in the tread of the tires;
  • any debris and fluid residues are removed from the recesses under the studs.

Rules for effective running-in

To avoid unpleasant consequences when using rubber with studs, you need to properly run it in to studs successfully settled in the seats. Thus during the first 800-1000 km of run should not be allowed to dynamically increase and decrease speed, acceleration during turns and other manipulations. Allowed speed should not exceed 60-70 km / h.

If the tire for a long time interact with the asphalt surface, the studs are exposed to heat and tightly fixed in the grooves. As a result, it will be extremely difficult to remove them from the seat.

The following are some basic running-in recommendations:

  1. Start running-in tires at the end of the fall season, when the air temperature drops below +7 ° C (optimal at 0-10 ° C). Do not wait until the thermometer readings drop to -10°C. The most favorable time for running-in is early morning or evening. You can do it in the afternoon at a slight plus. If the weather is warm (up to 7 degrees), the lubricant from the factory is well heated and evaporates, so the running-in process takes less time.
  2. After installing a new set of tires, you should keep an odometer reading to monitor the process.

3. Use studded tires from one manufacturer rather than multiple sets. This way you can reduce the risk of accidents due to unbalanced tires.

4. The optimum distance for the initial run-in is 500-1000 km.

  1. Do not drive at speeds over 60 km/h, as this causes wear and tear on the tires.
  2. Carefully monitor the condition of the tires, keep them clean, remove debris and stones in time during the running-in period.
  3. Do not resort to dynamic starts and boosts, refuse sudden maneuvers and aggressive driving style with quick speed increase and the same braking. Smooth driving has a direct influence on the service life of studded rubber. Try to maintain a safe distance between the car in front to avoid accidents and the need for hard braking.
  4. Check the pressure level twice a week – e.g. on Monday and Friday. Inflation should be carried out in a warm place after the tread has cooled. Do not inflate the wheels to over 2.8 bar.
  5. Start on dry asphalt without any moisture or snow.
  6. Avoid driving on bumpy roads, over bumps or potholes as this can deform the tires and cause an accident.

Do not ignore the importance of proper wheel alignment. Before you start breaking in, take your vehicle to a service station for wheel alignment. If you don’t balance your tires properly, your tire wear will increase and your fuel consumption will increase. Also spikes will begin to fall out of the wells. When you are finished running the engine, re-balance your tires.

Observance of the above rules and recommendations will significantly prolong the service life of studded rubber and allow you to avoid unnecessary expenses when the set is worn out prematurely.

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