ERJ staff report (LMH)
Detroit, Michigan -- The tyres on the 2011 Buick Enclave luxury crossover may look nice on the road, but they went through a lot of abuse to prove their performance, durability and safety before being chosen, according to General Motors.
At the General Motors Tire-Wheel Systems Lab on GM's Milford Proving Ground, a team of more than 50 engineers tested numerous contenders to be Enclave's original equipment tyre.
"Tyres are the only contact point you have with the road," said Tyre Engineering Group Manager Dave Cowger. "Your tyres influence everything from fuel economy to steering and handling, road noise, and braking. So we beat the heck out of these tires in the lab to make sure they have the right traction, fuel economy, durability and other characteristics."
Staff from a range of major tyre manufacturers joined in the tyre abuse. Each tyre vying to be chosen for the Enclave went through 25 different lab tests to gauge how well they hold up against simulated real-world abuse. Some tests mimic hitting a curb at low speed or smashing into a pothole. Lab dynamometers with specially grained sandpaper were used to replicate tens of thousands of miles of road wear.
Tyres that survive the lab tests graduate to the test track where they are put through further punishment. Of the scores of tyres considered for the Enclave, only the 19-inch Michelin P255/60R19 and 20-inch Bridgestone P255/55R20 all-season tyres made the cut.
Since the Tire-Wheel Systems team was formed in 1968, the group has tested more than 20 000 tyre constructions, General Motors said. Buick, as well as Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac, use Tyre Performance Criteria (TPC) markings, which serve as a "seal of approval" for tyres that meet or exceed GM's stringent tyre standards. To earn the TPC marking, tyres must deliver exceptional results covering traction, handling, noise, endurance, tread wear and other factors.
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Press release from General Motors