Editor’s Note: Every week Waikem’s Fixed Ops Director David Sams will tell you some service tips to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. This week Dave is telling you how to know when you need new tires.
I need tires…what do I do?
- Check the driver door jamb. There is a manufacturer’s sticker in the door jamb that spells out the OEM, (Original Equipment Manufacturer), tire that was placed on your vehicle.
- Compare that tire size and type with the tire on your vehicle to be sure you are replacing the tires with the same size and type that are on your vehicle.
- Using different tire sizes on your car than it originally calls for may affect your vehicle in several ways.
- Different ride characteristics
- Different handling characteristics
- Different wear characteristics
- Different engine and transmission performance
- Unusual or abnormal Anti-Skid or traction control behavior
- What do the tire designations mean?
- Example – 225/50 R16 92V
i. 225 is the tire tread width in millimeters
ii. 50 is the aspect ratio of height from the tread to the bead of a tire section.
iii. R designates radial
iv. 16 is the wheel diameter in inches
v. 92 is the load rating
vi. V is the speed rating
- If I don’t drive that fast, can I use a lower speed rating tire on my car?
i. The speed rating is more than getting a tire that will handle high speeds.
ii. If a car was designed with a higher speed rating, it needs to have the same tire installed for safety and predictable handling characteristics.
iii. Higher speed rating tires have stiffer sidewalls which enhance stability and provide predictable handling in sporty driving.
iv. Higher speed rating tires provide more heat dissipation to handle higher speeds and loads.
v. Performance tires may have softer rubber in the tread for advanced grip and handling
- Compare tread wear ratings on the various offerings. Not all tires have tread wear ratings and most ratings are only a means of comparisons with the other tires that manufacturer sells.
- Compare traction and heat ratings. Again these are a comparison to other tires the manufacturer sells, not necessarily to other manufacturer’s tire offerings.
- Various automotive manufacturers have tire programs directly with tire suppliers and may offer several perks to include road hazard warranties at no extra charge. They offer the same promotional pricing that is being offered to the public in other independent tire stores.
- When purchasing tires, see if mount and balance is included.
- Ask if alignment is provided by the installer and if so, how new is the equipment and how recently has it been calibrated and updated with the latest specifications
- And as always, you should maintain the tire pressures regularly to prolong the life of your investment.
And don’t forget to try to avoid the big potholes. We have seen them take out tires and wheels both in one fell swoop. I hope this edition provides you with some answers to your motoring needs.