May 31, 2018 << Back to Blog

Why Tires Are Black

31 May

May 31, 2018

Have you ever wondered why we don’t make our tires green and yellow to match your John Deere Tractor? Or orange to match your Kubota loader? Or why we don’t just leave rubber its natural color, white (other than it would get filthy when you play in the mud)? ATG makes some of the most advanced and longest lasting tires on the market, so why don’t we call them out with a signature color rather than letting their performance speak for itself?

Tires are actually intentionally made black to increase performance and prolong their life by the addition of a chemical to the rubber called carbon black. Why carbon black? Because it works—the performance gains in natural rubber when carbon black is added are so great that its use has been universally adopted.  (Fun fact: 70% of manufactured carbon black goes into the production of tires.)

Carbon black dramatically increases the durability and strength in rubber, improving a tire’s tensile strength and its resistance to road-wear abrasion. Further helping to extend a tire’s lifespan, carbon black helps conduct heat away from hot spots (namely the tread and belt areas), reducing the possibility for thermal damage to a tire. Remember whitewall tires? Before World War I, zinc oxide (which made the tires bright white) was added to tires instead of carbon black for increased temperature stability and hardness; as the performance of carbon black became known, they began adding it to the tread portion of the tire—hence, white zinc oxide infused sidewalls with black carbon black infused tread.

Carbon black also helps tires resist the corrosive effects of ozone. Since ozone is one of the biggest contributors to tire rot, protecting against ozone is of the utmost importance to manufacturers and consumers alike; without it, our tires would deteriorate much faster. (The effects of ozone on tires is the reason you should never store tires near electric motors, which emit ozone. For more tire storage and winterizing tips, click here.)
Nobody knows what the future will bring in tire technology, but I assure you that ATG is in the lab, in the field, and on the job site engineering and developing the next great tire innovation. It’s our commitment to make the best tires on the market, while providing the consumer with the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) possible. Who knows—maybe we’ll come out with a special line of red tires to match your Case, blue tires to match your New Holland, or even natural white to match your Bobcat.