When it comes to our cars, we often want to take as good of care of them as we can. These steps can be as simple as filling up on gas when the tank is to or running it through the car wash and as big as replacing the brake pads or getting a new alternator. Especially if you are a car lover, being mindful of the parts and substances you’re putting into your vehicle can be an important aspect of caring for your car. We try to be aware of the foods and nutrients we put into our bodies; why shouldn’t the same apply to our vehicles?
Tires are an integral part of our cars. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to leave our driveway, let alone be able to utilize our vehicles in the way they were designed to. Additionally, tires offer traction and stability on the road, acting as an additional safety feature. With all that tires do, it only makes sense that we might want to learn more about them. Often, we only think about tires once they made it to car repair and tire shops, such as Good Tire. However, tires have quite a life before they make it to the store shelves. Therefore, let’s take a look at where tires are made and how they are developed.
The tire manufacturing industry in Canada is primarily engaged in manufacturing and retreading tires and their inner tubes from natural and synthetic rubber. The finished products are then sold to vehicle manufacturers and tire wholesalers. So if you’re hoping to represent Canada in every aspect of your life, including through your car, then you’re in luck! There are three brands that have tire manufacturing plants right here in Canada:
Goodyear manufactures tires in Napanee, Ontario, at which there are 750 employees, and in Medicine Hat, Alberta, at which there are 300 employees. Therefore, if you buy Goodyear tires from your tire shop in Alberta, you’re essentially buying local.
Michelin manufactures tires in the towns of Bridgewater, Waterville, and Pictou in Nova Scotia. Michelin Canada employs approximately 3400 people, and actually creates tires for both cars and busses.
Bridgestone/Firestone operates out of Joliette, Quebec, while employing around 1300 people. This particular manufacturing location manages to make more than 17,000 tires a day.
While these brands cannot be labelled as Canadian, it’s nice to have branches in Canada. Since Canada has its own manufacturing standards, it can feel comforting to have these select companies represented in our stores.
As Goodyear, Michelin, and Bridgestone/Firestone are all reputable companies, you can feel confident that your purchase will be worth the investment. Tires can be expensive, so no one wants to be paying for new tires more often than they need to.
The automotive industry is a global enterprise. While many companies’ headquarters can be found in the United States, there are tire manufacturing facilities all over the world, as reflected by the Canadian plants above. However, Consumer Reports tested 172 tire models over a span of three years, which were sourced from 26 different countries. It was found that the majority of the tires were manufactured in the United States compared to anywhere else, accounting for 43 of the 172 models. This amount is on the rise, given the increase of tire factories being constructed in the United States.
Investigating Existing Tires
If you bought a used car, you might not even know where your tires are from. However, if you’re interested in learning, there’s a relatively simple way to find out. If you look on your tire’s sidewall, you will see the federally-mandated Tire Identification Number (TIN) moulded into it. In case you are unfamiliar with the sidewall, it is the smooth area on the side of the tire. The TIN will tell you the tire plant, the tire size code, the manufacturer’s code, and the date of the manufacturer’s code. For tires approved for sale, the code will begin with DOT.
If you are unfamiliar with the codes, they are available online to the public. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides an online Manufacturer’s Information Database, which can be used to plug in the information you find on your sidewall. Don’t be concerned that you don’t already have the codes memorized; in 2018 alone, 65 new plant identification codes were issued. That brought the total count up to 1,040, which likely increased over the following years.
If you would like an immediate confirmation that your tires were made in Canada, there is a way to accomplish this. Simply look for the maple leaf on the tire after the DOT number to identify Canadian-made tires.
Can Tires Be Recycled?
Knowing where your tires are made is just as important as knowing where they end up. Once tires have been made, sold, and used, they will eventually come to the end of their life. However, with the number of tires being made every year, one would hope that same amount isn’t ending up in the landfill. Fortunately, tires are almost 100% recyclable at this point. While you can’t simply leave them on the curb for recyclable collection day, there should be several options in your city, or at least a town nearby, that will accept old tires. This will allow old tires to be repurposed, while helping to save the environment while we’re at it.
With tire manufacturing plants all over the world, there are so many possibilities as to where your tires are made. While there are Canadian plants, this does not guarantee that they’ll be sold in Canada. However, taking the time to understand where your tires are made allows you to better understand what products are being used to construct and maintain your car. Hopefully this article has given you the tools to find out where your own tires were made if you so wish!