Why are tyres black?

One of our most frequently asked questions is one you may not expect, but one you might find interesting… “Why are tyres black?”​

What makes tyres black?

You may not realise but tyres are black for several practical and important reasons.

The rubber that is sourced to create tyres is originally a milky white colour. This then changes to become black when a stabilising chemical compound called ‘Carbon Black’ is added. So, what is it and what does it do?

Carbon Black is a material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FFC tar, Coal tar or Ethylene cracking tar; it is a rubber reinforcing additive.  It protects the tyre from damaging effects of UV light which can cause the rubber to crack, as well as protection from ozone- these are 2 well known elements that cause the deterioration of a tyre. 


What does Carbon Black do?

There are many other reasons as to why Carbon Black is used in tyres, thus making them black. It also increases the strength and durability of the tyre and expands its lifespan by conducting heat away from parts of the tyre that tend to get particularly hot when driving, such as the tread and belt areas. This is also as well as improving tensile strength which make the tyres more resistant to road wear.

Not only does this stabilising compound improve the strength and durability of your tyres, but also the safety of your driving. Your tyres are a crucial part of your vehicle performance from factors such as acceleration and handling all the way through to the comfort of your journey. It is so important to have strong, durable and reliable tyres for your safety.

It is no wonder why black tyres that contain Carbon Black are so popular nowadays, as a result of the abundance of improvements within the tyre that are being created by using the additive. 



What colours were tyres originally?

As well as all the technical benefits, they are also easier to keep clean with being black compared to the milky white colour they used to be and help to keep your car looking shiny and new! 

Nowadays, most of us associate Carbon Black pigment with inks and toner, but the reality is that under 10% is used for this purpose. 70% is used for tyres and 20% into belts, hoses and other rubber items. Another interesting statistic for you about this stabilising chemical compound, is that old tyres that were milky white and were not treated with Carbon Black were good to drive for 5000 miles before they needed replacing, with the first rubber tyre being created in 1895. On the contrary, newer tyres that are made with the Carbon Black additive are good to drive for on average 20,000 miles before they need replacing. What a huge difference!

It really is no surprise why we only see black tyres on the road nowadays. With its abundance of benefits including protection against deterioration as well as improving road grip, safety and life span, it is clear to see that black tyres are the way to a safer (and smarter looking) journey!

If you have any questions or would like any more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with your local branch, who will be happy to help.