WASHINGTON—For the first time, speed ratings have been included in the tire chapter of The Car Book, the 1997 edition of which has just been issued. Edited by former government regulator Jack Gillis, The Car Book celebrates its 17th anniversary this year. Each annual edition evaluates new vehicles, includes a ``Best'' and ``Worst'' list for that year's models, and provides hints for motorists on how to obtain the most value and safety from their cars.
The '97 book's tire chapter includes information on speed ratings along with its traditional description of treadwear, traction and heat resistance grades of the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System (UTQG).
It explains the meaning of the different speed rating symbols in the tire size code—for example, that ``S'' means the tire has been tested at speeds up to 112 mph, ``T'' for speeds up to 118 mph, etc.
The chapter also includes, as it did last year, a paragraph lobbying for establishment of a rolling resistance grade for tires. ``Michelin has introduced a new rubber compound that doesn't sacrifice traction for fuel economy,'' the paragraph states.
Since the book's inception, the tire chapter has included a list of tire models, rating them according to UTQG treadwear, traction and heat resistance grades.
The 1997 book lists nearly 120 tire models, including—for the first time—12 tires with treadwear grades of 560. Last year, the highest treadwear grade listed was 540.
As in past years, the tire list provides estimated expected mileage for each tire, a practice tire manufacturers have always discouraged as necessarily inaccurate. For instance, according to the book, a tire with a treadwear grade of 560 should have tread mileage of anywhere from 84,000 to 168,000 miles.
The Car Book may be obtained from bookstores for $12.95, or at $16.95 (including $4 for postage and handling) from the Center for Auto Safety, 2001 S St. N.W., Washington DC 20009.