|| Tire Tips at Adams Tire & Battery Service, Berks County, Reading, Pa. With the emphasis on service. Offering Brand Names such as Cordovan, Dunlop, Kumho, Firestone, Goodyear, Deka Batteries, American Racing, Epic Wheels
Proper tire maintenance can save you money and headaches. You don't need to be a race car driver or mechanic to know what to look for. Just spend a few minutes each month checking those important "round black things". If you discover a problem early enough, you may be able to correct the problem and save the tire by taking your car to a tire dealer for inspection and correction of the problem.
Inflation is good:
Improper inflation is the single greatest cause of tire damage. Your tires will lose pressure over time. The result is premature and irregular tread wear, and poor gas mileage. No matter what brand of tires you have on your car, they cannot deliver their best performance without the proper air pressure.
Most service stations and tire dealers make compressed air available for your use. When you inflate your tires, refer to your car owner's manual for the proper inflation level. You will also find this information listed on a placard in your glovebox or on the doorjamb of your car.
The automaker has taken into account several important factors in order to determine the right inflation level for your car. Usually it is between 20 and 35 PSI (pounds per square inch). Never let your air pressure drop below the recommended level.
Although the sidewall of your tire indicates a "maximum pressure" figure, this number does not indicate the proper inflation level for your car. Rather, it indicates a top pressure which you should not exceed.
What you can Look for:
Looks can be deceiving, but visual checks can sometimes reveal loss of air pressure or cuts and punctures that can lead to trouble. Take a look at your tires whenever you get into your car. You'll get used to how they should look, and that will make it easier to spot problems.
Whenever you're checking inflation, look for obvious signs of wear on your tires. All tires have "wear bars" -- small raised points of rubber in the groove that let you know when tires are worn out. If your tread is the same height as the wear bars, it's time for a new tire.
Now, Listen up:
Your tires will talk to you. When you come to a stop or turn a corner at normal speeds, listen, do you hear a squealing sound from your tires? If so, one cause of this can be low air pressure.
Get the Feeling:
If your car does not respond normally to the movement of the steering wheel, or if it feels "mushy," the problem may be caused by under inflation. If it feels like there is a problem, there may well be one.
Every once in a while get your hands dirty and feel the tread of your tires. If there are high and low areas or unusually smooth areas, you may have irregular treadwear. Consult your tire dealer as soon as possible.
Check it out:
A radial tire can lose up to half of its air pressure and not appear to be low! That's why it is very important to check your tires with an air pressure gauge at least once a month. It's best to carry your own pressure gauge; but if you do not have one you can borrow one from your service station attendant or tire dealer.
There is an old, reliable trick you can use to check the legally safe depth of your tires. Be sure to inspect your tire at various points. Irregular treadwear may not be readly visible to you.
- Take a penny and pinch Abe's body between your thumb and forefinger
- Put his head into one of the grooves of the tire tread.
- If part of his head is obscured by the tread, you're driving with the legal amount of tread. If you can see all of his head, you're ready for a new tire.
And remember, . . beauty is more than skin deep. When you first buy tires they are shiny and black, but soon they look dull and scuffed This is caused by the "elements" (heat, cold; etc.) that affect your tires the way they affect the paint on your house. The color starts to dull and then it begins to chip and crack. The process is called "weathering" or "aging."
You should know that tires contain chemicals that work to counteract weathering. They secrete from the pores of the tire the same way natural oils are secreted from skin pores and for exactly the same reason. And, strangely enough, the similarity goes even further. The best way to keep your tires looking good is to keep their pores clean. Give them a good scrub whenever you wash your car.
People often use store bought vinyl and tire "protectants" to make their tires shine like new. However, many of these products contain petroleum or alcohol derivatives. You should know that both of these substances will damage your tires. Over a period of time they will cause the rubber to decompose. If you do use protectants on your tires, be sure to check the label on the can. If you're not sure whether the product is safe to use on your tires, the best advice is not to use it.
Tire rotation is a practical version of the old fire drill you may have done when you were a kid. Everyone gets out of the car, changes positions and gets back into the car. Tire rotation does the same thing, but with some serious benefits.
Each tire on your car probably supports a different amount of weight. The engine compartment is usually heavier than the trunk. If you drive alone there is more weight on the driver's side than the passenger's side; The list goes on, but the point is that this unequal weight causes your tires to wear at different rates. By having your tires rotated, you can extend their life expectancy.
Ideally you should have your dealer rotate your tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, and even more frequently if you do most of your driving around town or if you own a front-wheel drive car. Check your car owner's manual for recommendations.
There are several patterns you can use in rotating your tires. Just be sure to ask the dealer which pattern he used and stick with it as long as you own those tires.
You would think that your tires and wheels are moving in a straight line when you are steering. straight. Well, that may not be. If your car's suspension system is out of alignment, it may cause your tires to move in a slightly different direction than you are steering them. Potholes and rough roads are often the culprit. Greater than normal friction on the tire and irregular treadwear are often the result.
Misalignment could also result in a major repair bill if it is not corrected. In addition to damaged tires, your car's suspension system can be damaged over time. By checking your alignment periodically, your mechanic should be able to spot small problems before they become big ones.
Have your alignment checked-about every 10,000 miles, or at least once a year, to avoid unnecessary problems. Call ahead for an appointment with your dealer. The job generally takes less than an hour.
Take a pen and balance it on your finger. The pen will tend to fall one way or the other because it is heavier on that end. This is what happens if each wheel and tire (called a wheel/tire assembly) is not properly balanced.
The result is that your tires will behave like an unbalanced toy top. They will spin unevenly, and that will cause them to bounce. You'll get an uncomfortable ride, the steering wheel will vibrate, and you'll do damage to your tires and, your suspension system. These problems can be easily prevented by having your tire dealer balance your wheel/tire assemblies when you buy new tires. It's a worth while investment.
READING THE SIDEWALL
There's a lot of useful information molded into the sidewall of a tire. It shows the name of the tire, its size, whether it is tubeless or tube type, the tire grade, speed rating, maximum load, maximum inflation, an important safety warning, and more.
All tires sold in the United States must meet the size standards for bead shape, width, diameter and other parameters established by a recognized standardizing organization. World leaders among such organizations are the European Tire and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO) and the Tire and Rim Association (T&RA). Both use a partially metric based system. Virtually all passenger tires on the market today use the system established by these bodies. The several tire size designations in use today depend on when a vehicle was manufactured and whether it was domestic or imported. All tire sizing systems used today provide information about a tire's dimensions. Among the most important for proper fitment are height, width and load carrying capacity.
Example: P215/65R15 89H
P - Passenger (P-metric/Non-P-metric) - This indicates a passenger car tire. If the first character in the size designation is a "P", the tire is a "PMetric" tire and is engineered to standards set by the T&RA (Tire and Rim Association). If there is no "P", the tire is engineered to ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization) standards and is a metric tire. The standards set by T&RA and ETRTO have evolved together and are virtually interchangeable.
215 - Section Width - These numerals indicate the tire section width in millimeters. This is the dimension from sidewall to sidewall. A tire's section width will vary depending on the rim to which it is fitted. The section width will be larger on a wide rim and smaller a narrow rim. Therefore, each tire is measured o specific rim width. (To convert millimeters into inches, divide by 25.4.)
65 - Aspect Ratio - This two-digit number indicates the tire's aspect ratio. It compares the tire's section height, which is the distance from the bead to the center of tread, to the section width. An aspect ratio of 65 means that the tire's section height is 65% of the tire's section width. For clarity, the section width in millimeters is separated from the aspect ratio by a slash (/).
R - Construction -This letter indicates the type of ply construction in the tire's casing or carcass. "R" means radial. "D" means diagonal, referring to bias tires. "B" means belted for belted-bias tires. Never mix radial tires with any other construction on a car.
15 - Rim Diameter - The "15" indicates the rim diameter in inches. It is the diameter of the bead seat in the rim. Most tires are built to inch standards for rim diameters. However, some tires are built to millimetric rim dimensions. Always match the tire's rim diameter to the wheel rim diameter.
89 - Load Index - Refer to the load index chart of a tire guide and you will find the maximum load carrying capacity of this tire to be 1279 lbs.
H - Speed Symbol/Speed Rating - In terms of speed, this tire is designed to go a maximum of 130 mph.
Light Truck Tires --
"LT" stands for Light Truck "LT235/85R16" is the size designation for a metric light truck tire "LOAD RANGE D" identifies the load and inflation limits "RADIAL" indicates that the tire has a radial construction "MAX LOAD SINGLE 2623 lbs. AT 65 psi COLD" indicates the maximum load rating of the tire and corresponding minimum cold inflation pressure when used in a dual configuration. The other markings on the sidewall have the same meaning as described for the passenger car tire.
Speed Rating --
The speed rating is the maximum service speed of a passenger car tire. Light truck tires are not speed rated. This is a list of rating indicators and their mile-per-hour equivalents. This rating system applies to all tire makers.
||Above 130 mph (without service description)
||149 mph (with service description)
||Above 149 mph