GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TIRES
Here are some NEED to know things as well as Frequstly Asked Questions (FAQs).
Tire Buying Guide
When is it Time for New Tires?
Replacing worn tires is a great way to help your vehicle to achieve its optimum traction for responsive handling and braking. If you're having problems deciding when to start shopping, follow these two simple tips to see if it's time for new tires:
- Check Your Tread Depth
Tread depth is an important indicator of tire wear. Check your tread depth to determine if your need to replace your current tires.
- Check Your Tires for Damage and Wear
Be sure to check your tires for any signs of wear, such as discoloration or cracks. If you notice any signs of damage or wear on your tires, stop by and see us for a free inspection by our tire experts.
What To Expect When Buying New Tires
The first thing you'll need when tire shopping is your tire size. Jot it down from your tire's sidewall. It may also be listed on the placard inside your driver's side door or in your owner's manual.
The make and model, as well as how you use the vehicle, are all important to selecting the right tire. Your tire choice may be different if you just drive around town, take frequent long trips or for driving both on- and off-road.
You should also keep in mind what tire benefits are most important to you. You may want great wet traction, traction in snow, high-performance traction or off-road capability. The more specific you are, the better tire choice you can make.
At All About Automotive and Tire you have 40+ name brand tire options. Our sales professionals can discuss the features and benefits of each tire to make sure you have confidence in the choice you make. Once you've settled on a set of tires you are happy with, it's time for the installation.
Installing New Tires
Once you select a tire, the installation process begins. This usually takes at least 30 minutes. Just a heads up, there are several itemized services required to properly install your new tires, regardless of where you make your purchase. The following services are included in your installation:
- Replacing the air valve stem on your wheels
- Mounting the new tires onto your wheels
- Balancing the tires to help reduce vibration and extend tread life
Buying tires is an important process, but it doesn't have to be intimidating. Talk to our tire sales professionals about how you drive and they will help you find the right set of tires for your vehicle.
READING YOUR SIDEWALL
Reading Your Sidewall - What Those Numbers Mean
You can learn a lot from the sidewall of your tire. At first you may think you stumbled across some kind of "Code", but actually found molded into the tires are it's specifications.
Example P235/75R15 91W
P Identifies your tire as a Passenger Tire. The P stands for "PMetric". If your tire size starts with LT than it identifies the tire as a "Light Truck" tire.
235 Identifies the tire section width, which is the measurement of the tire from sidewall to sidewall in millimeters. This measurement varies depending on the rim to which it is fitted.
(There are 25.4 millimeters per 1 inch.)
75 is the aspect ratio. This percentage compares the tires section height with the tires section width. For example, this aspect ratio of 75 means that the tires section height is 75% of the tires section width.
R indicates the construction used within the tires casing. R stands for radial construction. B means belted bias and D stands for diagonal bias construction. Most common tires today are of the Radial (R) type.
15 The last dimension listed in the size is the diameter of the wheel rim which is most often measured in inches.
Load Index and Speed Rating
91 is the he load index and speed rating, or service description are the numbers that follow the tire size.
The load index tells you how much weight the tire can support when properly inflated. Load indices range from 74 - 150 for passenger tires with each numeric value corresponding to a certain carrying capacity. The carrying capacity for each value can be found on a load index chart. On each U.S. passenger car tire, the load limit is listed in pounds(lbs.). European tires have the load limit listed in kilograms(kg) and sometimes pounds(lbs.).
W Speed ratings are represented by letters ranging from A to Z. Each letter coincides to the maximum speed a tire can sustain under its recommended load capacity. For instance, "T" is equivalent to a max speed of 118 mph. Even though a tire can perform at this speed, we do not condone exceeding local speed limits.
The Origin of Speed Ratings
We can thank Germany’s famous Autobahn for tire speed ratings. Tire speed ratings range from A (the lowest) to Y (the highest). But the chart is not completely in alphabetical order. For example, H is between U and V, with the common perception that H stood for “high performance” at one time. As manufacturers continue to add speed to their vehicles, tire speed ratings evolve to match the speeds. For example, Z was the highest rated speed at 149+ until W & Y were used to match the higher speeds of exotic sports cars.
DOT Serial Number
The "DOT" symbol certifies the tire manufacturer's compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) tire safety standards.
Below is a description of the serial number. Starting with the year 2000, four numbers are used for the Date of Manufactuer, first two numbers identify the week and the last two numbers identify the year of manufacture.
Prior to the year 2000 three numbers were used for the Date of Manufacture, the first two numbers identify the week and the last number identifies the year of manufacture. To identify tires manufactured in the 90's a decade symbol (a triangle on its side) can be found at the end of the DOT serial number.
|Speed Symbol||Speed (KMH)||Speed (MPH)|
Computerized Wheel Balance
Balancing your wheels helps prevent uneven tire wear and minimizes wheel vibration. Balancing is performed anytime you put new tires on your car and should be performed every 6,000 miles or as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.
Rotating the position of each tire helps equalize tread wear, helping to maximize the life of your tires. Front tires tend to wear faster than rear tires on front wheel drive vehicles due to added pressure/resistance from steering. If your tires aren't rotated regularly, they may need to be replaced prematurely. Rotating the position of each tire helps equalize treadwear to help maximize the life of your tires.
Plan to have your tires rotated every 6,000 miles.
Properly repairing a tire that has deflated or is losing air or has picked up a nail, screw or sharp object is critical. Some tires may be repaired if they continually lose air or have a puncture in the tread area. Whenever you have a tire issue, be sure to have it inspected by a tire professional at All About Automotive and Tire to determine whether it can be repaired or needs to be replaced.
Tire repairs need to be performed correctly in accordance with strict industry standards. Before any repair, a service professional must properly inspect the tire by removing it from the wheel and inspect the outside and inside to determine the extent of the damage and to determine if the tire can be repaired.
When a tire can be repaired, your All About Automotive and Tire Center performs a complete repair by using a tire repair plug and patch combination. Once completed, the technicians will rebalance the tire and rim assembly and reset the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), if applicable.
It’s important to have the proper air pressure in your tires, as underinflation can lead to tire failure.
The “right amount” of air for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and is shown on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner’s manual.
NOTE: Air pressure in a tire goes up (in warm weather) or down (in cold weather) 1–2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change.
- When you check the air pressure, make sure the tires are cool — meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile. (NOTE: If you have to drive a distance to get air, check and record the tire pressure first and add the appropriate air pressure when you get to the pump. It is normal for tires to heat up and the air pressure inside to go up as you drive. Never “bleed” or reduce air pressure when tires are hot.)
- Remove the cap from the valve on one tire.
- Firmly press a tire gauge onto the valve.
- Add air to achieve recommended air pressure.
- If you overfill the tire, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the center of the valve with a fingernail or the tip of a pen. Then recheck the pressure with your tire gauge.
- Replace the valve cap.
- Repeat with each tire, including the spare. (NOTE: Some spare tires require higher inflation pressure.)
- Visually inspect the tires to make sure there are no nails or other objects embedded that could poke a hole in the tire and cause an air leak.
- Check the sidewalls to make sure there are no gouges, cuts, bulges or other irregularities.
Good Driving Habits
You may not realize it, but the way you drive can have a lot to do with how long your tires will last and how well they perform. As you head down the road, there are a number of things to keep in mind, so cultivate good driving habits for your own benefit.
Observe posted speed limits.
- Avoid fast starts, stops and turns.
- Avoid potholes and objects on the road.
- Do not run over curbs or hit the tire against the curb when parking.
You may not realize it, but the way you drive can have a lot to do with how long your tires will last and how well they perform. As you head down the road, there are a number of things to keep in mind:
Take it easy. Avoid hard cornering, rapid accelerations and abrupt braking and stopping. They put a lot of stress on your tires. Smooth, safe driving is better for your tires—and for you, too.
Watch out for overloading. Driving on an overloaded tire is hazardous. When your car is carrying too much, the weight can create excessive heat inside your tires—and that can cause sudden tire failure. Never exceed the maximum load rating of your tires, which you can find on the sidewall of the tire, in the owner’s manual or on the vehicle placard. When you replace a tire, make sure the new one has a load-carrying capacity equal to or greater than the tires that originally came with your vehicle.
Sudden Vibration or Ride Disturbance - If the vehicle experiences a sudden vibration or ride disturbance and/or there is a possibility the tires and/or vehicle have been damaged, gradually reduce speed. Do not abruptly brake or turn. Drive with caution until you can safely pull off the road. Stop and inspect your vehicle and tires. If a tire is underinflated or damaged, deflate and replace it with the spare tire. If a cause cannot be detected, the vehicle should be towed to the nearest vehicle or tire dealer for an inspection.
Driving on damaged tires is dangerous. A damaged tire can suddenly fail leading to situations that may result in serious personal injury or death. Tires should be regularly inspected by a qualified tire service professional.
Getting Stuck and Unstuck
If you find yourself stuck in snow, ice, mud or wet grass, don't spin your tires rapidly, and never spin them if a drive wheel is off the ground. Doing so can actually cause a tire to explode and seriously injure someone, because if one drive wheel is stuck, and the other is free to spin, all the engine's power goes to the free wheel. If you're in snow, turn off the vehicle, apply the brakes and shovel snow away from the tires and vehicle. Try sand and gravel to get more traction. If that doesn't work, gently rock (alternately using forward and reverse gears) with the least amount of wheel spinning. Repeatedly shift the gear lever from drive to reverse on automatic transmissions or reverse to second on manual transmissions, while applying gentle pressure to the accelerator. Vehicles with ABS or traction control systems may have specific instructions in their owner's manual. Keep people away from your tires and the vehicle as you rock.
The idea is to accelerate slowly; never exceed 35 mph on your speedometer.
The centrifugal forces created by a rapidly spinning tire can cause an explosion by literally tearing the tire apart. These forces act on the complete tire structure, and can be of such magnitude as to break the beads in addition to rupturing the tire. Some vehicles are able to bring a tire to its centrifugal force failing point in just 3 to 5 seconds.
Excessive speed in a free-spinning tire can cause the tire to explode from extreme centrifugal force. The energy released by such an explosion is sufficient to cause serious physical injury or death.
Never spin a tire above a speedometer reading of 35 mph (56 km/h). Never stand near a spinning tire.
Paying attention to road conditions and weather can help ensure safe travels. Snow and wet weather require extra attention and quick response while driving. Driving too fast on wet roads, through standing water or in the rain, can cause your tires to hydroplane. This means that your tires travel on a film of water rather than contacting the road. After a dry spell, rain can further reduce traction from oil and other substances that have collected on the roadway. In addition, leaves can hide moisture on a road surface, even long after the rain has stopped. When roads are wet, slow down and drive carefully.
Obviously, it's best not to hit potholes or objects in the road, so avoid them and other hazards in the road. But if you can't avoid them, remember that the faster you are going when you hit something, the greater the impact on your tires so slow down as much as you can without endangering yourself or others.
If you can’t avoid a pothole, don’t apply the brakes when you hit it. Instead, apply them as you approach the hole, and release them just before striking it. This slows you down, but allows the tire to roll as it hits, softening the impact. If you hit an object or hole, have your tires checked by a professional. Such collisions can cause internal tire damage that you can’t see—but which can cause problems later on. Sometimes, a tire can be severely damaged and travel hundreds or even thousands of miles before failing. A vibration or rough ride may be a sign of such damage—and that it is time for a replacement.
Remember that tires lose pressure when the air temperature gets colder (about 1 psi or 7 kPa for every 10°F drop in temperature). Tires may also lose a certain amount of pressure due to their permeability (about 2 psi or 14 kPa per month).
Never reduce tire pressures in an attempt to increase traction on snow or ice. It does not work and your tires will be more susceptible to damage from underinflation. In snowy areas, some locations may have “snow emergency” regulations which are invoked during heavy snowfalls. Check with authorities for the rules in your area. Under some rules, motorists are subject to fines if they block traffic and do not have snow tires on their vehicles. Slow down and drive carefully in all winter conditions.
Chains - Make sure chains are the proper size and type for your tires, otherwise they may damage the tire sidewall and cause tire failure. If you have dual tires on your vehicle, particular care must be taken to assure adequate clearance between loaded tires to avoid damage from chains. Consult a tire service professional for proper application.
How often should I check my tire pressure?
Experts say that you must check your tire pressure at least once a month and before going on a long trip. Also, make it a habit to check your tires every time you fill up your gas tank. Ideally, tire pressure should be measured when tires are cold—that is, when you have driven less than a mile. Otherwise, your tires may have heated up, increasing the inflation pressure inside them by several pounds. This is normal. Never "bleed" or reduce the inflation pressure in a hot tire. Also, don't forget to check the pressure of your spare tire at the same time.
What is the correct air pressure for my tires?
There is no universal "right" pressure for all tires. The proper inflation level will depend on your vehicle and it may even be different for your front and back tires. To find the correct pressure for your tires, look at the tire information placard that’s mounted inside the frame of the driver’s door, in the glove box or inside the fuel door. You can also get that information in your vehicle owner’s manual and from your tire service professional. It's important to be accurate in filling your tires. Don't try to "eyeball" the pressure—a tire can lose half its pressure without looking flat. Instead, use a reliable tire pressure gauge. It's also a good idea to have your own gauge, because you can’t always count on the gauge on the inflation hose at the gas station. According to a study, less than half the service stations with inflation pumps provide a tire pressure gauge for customer use. Even if there is one, it may not be accurate—about 20 percent of the gauges on station pumps are damaged or off by 4 psi (28 kPa) or more.
How often should I check my wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment and balancing are important for safety and maximum tread wear from your tires. Inspect your tires regularly: at least once a month inspect your tires closely for signs of uneven wear. Uneven wear patterns may be caused by improper inflation pressure, misalignment, improper balance or suspension neglect. If not corrected, further tire damage will occur. These conditions shorten the life of your tires and may result in loss of vehicle control and serious personal injury. If any of these conditions exist, the cause may often be corrected at your tire dealer or other service facility. Your tires will then last longer.
How important is it that I rotate my tires?
Rotation is important because each tire on a car carries a different amount of weight, making them wear at different rates. By rotating them, you basically even out those differences. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often to rotate your tires, but as a rule of thumb, it should be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. You might want to rotate them sooner if you see signs of uneven wear. Misalignment and other mechanical problems can also cause such wear, so check with your mechanic to determine the cause.
In what pattern should my tires be rotated?
There are various patterns for rotating tires. A common one for front-wheel drive vehicles involves moving the tires in a criss-cross fashion, with the left front tire trading places with the right rear, and right front trading with the left rear. If you have a full-size spare, you can include it in your rotation pattern—but don’t do so with a small “temporary use” spare, because those are meant only for low-speed, short-distance emergency use. The proper rotation pattern depends on the type of vehicle and tires, so be sure to look at your owner’s manual. After rotation, adjust the inflation pressure of each tire for its new location, using the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
What should I look for when inspecting my tires?
In addition to performing regular maintenance, you must also keep an eye out for potential problems that might affect your tires. Regular inspections can help you prevent tire trouble, and keep you rolling safely down the road. When inspecting your tires, look for:
Uneven tread wear. This can include more wear on one tread edge than the other, a rippled pattern of high and low wear, or exposed steel wire. Uneven wear can be caused by problems such as underinflation, misalignment and improper balancing.
- Shallow tread. Bald tires tend to skid and slide on the pavement, and are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. The tread on your tire should be at least 2/32 inch (1.6 mm) tread depth everywhere on the tread face. If it isn’t, the tire must be replaced. To help you see tread problems, tires have built-in “tread wear indicators.” These are narrow bars of smooth rubber that run across the tread: When any portion of the tread is even with the bars, it is worn down to the minimum level and must be replaced immediately. You can also try the penny test: place a penny in the tire's most worn groove with Lincoln's head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head, the tire should be replaced.
- Troublemakers. Check for small stones, pieces of glass, bits of metal and other foreign objects that might be wedged into the tread, and carefully pick them out. They can cause serious problems if they are pushed farther into your tire as you drive.
- Damaged areas. Cracks, cuts, splits, punctures, holes and bulges in the tread or on the sides of the tire can indicate serious problems, and the tire may need to be replaced.
- Slow leaks. Tires lose some inflation pressure (about 2 psi or 14 kPa) over the course of a month or so, but if you find that you have to add inflation pressure every few days, have the tire, wheel and valve checked—and if necessary, repair or replace the tire.
- Valve caps. Those little caps on your tire’s valve stem keep moisture and dirt out, so make sure they are on all your tires. Also, when you have a tire replaced, have a new valve stem assembly installed at the same time. Driving on a damaged tire can be dangerous. If you see something you’re not sure about during your inspection, have it examined by your tire service professional. Any time you see damage to a tire, don’t drive on it—use a spare if you need to go somewhere. And finally, pay attention to the “feel” of your tires as you drive. A rough ride may indicate tire damage or excessive wear. If you notice vibrations or other disturbances while driving, and/or you suspect possible damage to your tire or vehicle, immediately reduce speed, drive with caution until you can safely pull off the road and stop, and inspect your tires. If a tire is damaged, deflate it and replace it with your spare. If you do not see any tire damage and cannot identify the source of the vibration, have the vehicle towed to a mechanic or tire dealer for a thorough inspection.
Can I mount my own tires?
Tire mounting can be dangerous and should only be done only by trained tire service professionals using proper tools and procedures. Serious injury or death may result from explosion of tire/rim assembly due to improper mounting. Always have your tire service professional mount your tires on rims. If you are not a trained tire service professional, never attempt to mount tires.
What do all of the numbers and letters on my tire sidewall mean?
Please refer to the sidewall information above.
How do I register my tires online?
We generally do it for you, but if you run out of time you can register your tires online, go to Register Your Tires under Customer Care on the web site. You will need the following information to register your tires:
- Customer Information — Your name and address.
- Tire Information — The quantity and tire ID number (DOT)* for each tire purchased. *Your DOT number should read like this example: UP0RCNK2309. The full 11-digit DOT number is located on only one side of the tire. You may have to check the other side of your tires for the proper DOT to input for on-line registration.
What do I do if I think my tire has been recalled?
To ensure your safety and satisfaction with our product, any consumer who believes they are affected by a recall should not wait to receive a notification but should contact us or the tire company for the tire brand which they have purchased.
If the tire dealer inspection verifies that you have a tire or tires that are part of a recall, it/they will be replaced with new tire(s) and will be mounted and balanced at no charge. Should any questions or issues arise while tires are being inspected or replaced, please call us.
If you are affected by a recall, and we or your Tire brand fail to replace your tire without charge and within a reasonable amount of time, you may submit written notification to the Secretary of Transportation at the following address:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Phone the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline
at 888-327-4236 (TTY 800-424-9153)
Go to www.safercar.gov
Where can I find the date a tire was manufactured?
The date of manufacture is part of the serial number (DOT) which is located on only one side of each tire (the other side may have only a partial number or no number). The DOT is an 11-character number and looks like this: UP0RCNT1209. The date of manufacture for this DOT is the12th week of 2009 (1209). If the DOT ends in only three (3) digits (contains only 10 characters), the tire was manufactured before January 2000 and should be removed from service and scrapped because it is over 10 years old.
How can I find out which tire fits my vehicle best?
Always check the vehicle placard or vehicle owner's manual for the proper tire size. Then select the right tire brand for your vehicle by consulting with one of our tire experts. We wil need to know how you drive and what is important to you. There you will specify the year and make of your vehicle and be able to view your tire options. By selecting a tire option, you can then view the tire, its ratings, and its features and benefits. ALWAYS check with your us to confirm your tire selection, before replacing your tires.