Sunday, February 5, 2012

Tire Siping, Not Sniping

The other summer I borrowed a tool from my neighbor and siped the tires for my Jeep plowtruck.  The other day I learned that all the work I put into siping the old tires was worth it.  My elderly cousin came to visit, and when he left to go home he ran off the road. The road looks wider than it actually is because the way the grader operator plowed with the wing on his machine the snowbank is about three feet past the edge of the road in the ditch. Even tho' my cousin's pickup is four wheel drive, with the tires on one side on ice and the other side in about a foot of snow he couldn't back out of the ditch.  I fired up my Jeep, and we hooked a chain between the vehicles. The Jeep pulled his truck out of the ditch with no wheel spin even tho' the road was basically a sheet of ice.

As you can see in the picture below the tires don't have a lot of tread left.  They are basically down to the wear bars.
One of the tires that I siped.  Doesn't have much tread left.
Today I was wondering if I could sipe my footwear after I fell on my ass getting out my truck.  It was the second time I fell on ice this winter. Last winter I fell on some ice and my knee was fucked up for most of the year, it is now finally back to normal.

When I googled siping, I discovered that siping is named for John Sipes; he cut small slits in the bottom of his rubber foorwear to improve traction on wet surfaces. Some say he worked in a slaughterhouse with wet floors and another story said he worked on a ship with wet decks.
Tire siping tool.


  1. I've never seen a hand tire siper but see by the picture that it's a hot knife. It would take a while to sipe a tire that way.

    When I worked in a Goodyear tire shop our tire siper was a spiral cutting wheel that crawled itself around the tire and it only took a few minutes to sipe one.

    Anyway, sipeing is well worth it for traction, keeping the tire running cooler at high speeds, and actually lasting longer.

    We also had a hot knife thing something like in the picture but but the knife was a U shape, took about a 1/4" grove out of the tire.

    Mostly it was just for regroving tires, we didn't use it much except on big truck and equipment tires.

  2. I thought everyone in the U.P. owned snowmobiles. Had some dudes on one go through the ice on Lake
    Alrain while I was up there.


  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Sarge, had snowmobiles many years ago, but they seemed to be built to run on the road or a well packed trail, so I stopped playing with them.

    BBC, the tool I used had the U-shaped cutter. It was upside down in the tool and I used the open ends of the U to cut small slits in the tire. It took a couple hours to do a tire. The tires probably don't have enough tread left for machine siping if I could find a tire shop that does it.


No Anonymous comments,it's not that hard to think of a nom de plume.