INFO CENTER Heat Cycling

Heat Cycling

Leading tire manufacturers including BFGoodrich, Kumho, Nitto and Yokohama offer competition type tires that qualify as DOT legal for street use. Autocrossing, race days, driving schools and other racing venues demand this category of tire for maximum performance. However, like any high performance part, these tires require careful break-in to achieve the full benefit of their construction.

A competition tire is built with a highly sophisticated tread compound. This compound is capable of sustaining traction throughout a much wider temperature range, but is also extremely sensitive to the first heat cycle of its use. During this cycle, if controlled precisely, the tread compound stretches as it heats, breaking the weaker, shorter molecular bonds within the rubber. The benefit of this process is a tread compound that lasts longer and provides better traction. However, if the first cycle is not performed correctly, the tread may develop irregular compounding, leading to poor wear and inconsistent traction.

In the past, many racers tried to “heat cycle” their own tires with mixed results. In addition to the inconsistency, there was the inconvenience of mounting and dismounting the tires before using them to race (after the first heat cycle, a competition tire must be rested 24 to 48 hours to reform the molecular bonds). In response to customer requests, Discount Tire Direct now offers heat cycling service.

The Discount Tire heat cycling system ensures consistent results by maintaining key conditions during the process: vertical scrubbing and “soft” temperature curve. Using rollers of proprietary design and placement, the system generates uniform heating and temperature build up throughout the tread by rolling the tire and exerting vertical scrubbing force only. This condition is not achievable while the tires are on a vehicle due to camber. No lateral force is applied. A soft temperature curve, where the tire is gradually heated and then cooled over a specified time (ambient temperature must be consistent as well), is maintained and monitored during the cycle. In this way the entire tread is heat cycled uniformly throughout its depth and width.

This service costs $15 per tire. If you would like to add this service to your order, please contact our sales staff at 800.589.6789.