Thursday, March 16, 2017

What about your tires?

I haven't posted in a while, no reason other than laziness..... Anyway, this came up at a race recently.  My car just seemed to be a pile of junk.  Nothing I did seemed to make any difference or change to how it worked.  Looking back, it reminds me of how an F103 would get when the T bar went bad.  Hind sight is 20/20 as they say.

Luckily, one of the other locals, Mark, happened to be sitting nearby and asked how old my tires were.  I hadn't thought too much of it, but I had put them on the car for the Hudy race in St. Louis, in January.  I had run the car for countless packs since that point in time.  Mark is pretty sharp, and has a lot of ideas on tires, including the idea of rotating between two sets during the day to keep the tires from getting too soft.  In any case, he got me to change tires on the car.

On a car that would barely crack a 9.8 second lap, a newer set of tires got the hot lap down to a 9.5 in the first minute of practice.  On the older tires, it was on skis, pushing all over the track.  The new set got back all the steering the car was missing.

This is not to say that your car needs to be fed a constant diet of new tires.  Far from it, new tires take 3-4 runs to get broken in, and they will last quite a long time.  They last so long, that the deterioration can be hard to notice.  2+ months of running is a long time to get out of any set of tires.

The lesson is that when nothing seems to help the car, it might be the tires.  Just like when nothing seemed to help an F103, it was usually the t bar.  Or when a new set of front and side springs brings a link car back to life.

Just keep an eye on your tires.