CHECK the pressure in your tires at least monthly and before long trips when your tires are cool (after the vehicle has been stopped 3 hours and then driven less than one mile). Adjust to the vehicle manufacturers specified pressure while tires are cold. The correct PSI can be found on the driver's side door placard. Never bleed or reduce air pressure when tires are hot. It is normal for pressure to build up as a result of driving. Use an accurate tire gauge to check pressure and maintain it at the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Dont forget your standard size or temporary spare tire. Your temporary spare - it requires a higher inflation pressure. Remember: Under inflation is the most common cause of sudden air loss or sudden failures in any kind of tire and may result in unexpected loss of vehicle control or accidents.
Alignment of Vehicle
A wheel alignment adjustment may be necessary if the vehicle pulls to the right or the left with the steering wheel is in straight ahead position. Another indicator of the need for an alignment check is if tires are wearing unevenly.
All Season Tires
All season tires can be used throughout the year. The following markings appear on the sidewall of the tire: M+S, M/S or M&S. This meets the RMA definition
of a mud and winter tire. However, there are also tires designed for severe snow
conditions. These tires will show a symbol of a mountain with a snowflake next to
the MS letters & are designed as winter tires.
Tires designed for use in severe snow conditions generally have tread patterns,
structure and materials to give superior performance. These tires are marked with
the "M+S" designation plus a snowflake symbol.
ABS / Anti-Lock Brake System
Under emergency braking using conventional braking systems the wheels can lock up,
making the car un-steerable. ABS systems provide continuous monitoring and control
of the braking force and in some circumstances can reduce the braking distance while
maintaining full car steer ability.
Modern high-quality tires are optimized and matched to the ABS functions. And "braking
on wet roads with ABS and ABS-brakes" are already often a standard test required
by auto manufactures for many tire test specifications.
ASR / Anti-slip-control
ASR is fitted to vehicles to prevent wheels slipping, spinning on slippery or uneven
Electronic sensors are used to control and dose the power transmitted to the drive
axle, in order to ensure that tires can properly and reliably grip the road during
The contact area of the tire to the road is reduced when water is on the road. In
extreme cases, the vehicle "hydroplanes (glides) on the water". This will
drastically reduce the control of the vehicle.
Tires have special tread patterns that ensure optimum drainage of the water away
from the tread surface. This effect does however reduce proportionally as speed
The most effective protection is to adjust driving speeds to the weather conditions.
The bead of the tire is that part which sits on the rim. At the center of the bead
is the core, which comprises a bundle of steel wires embedded in rubber.
This provides a safe and solid seating of the tire on the rim.
The distance required for braking depends on the speed of the vehicle, the condition
of the road surface and the condition of the tires, in particular the tread. Check
the tires tread depth regularly and change your tires when worn down to the "tread
wear indicators" located at the bottom of the tread grooves.Click Here for more information.
The purpose of wheel camber is to reduce friction during cornering. The camber is
measured when the wheels are standing on a flat surface. The difference from the
vertical (inward or outward tilt of the tire) is then referred to as either positive
or negative camber.
Modern tires are made of many different materials and components.
Looked at schematically, there is the outer cover - the tread and sidewall, and
the substructure, the casing.
Casing components may include steel and/or textile cord plies, the inner liner (to
make tube-less tires airtight), sidewalls, the apexes, the bead core (keeps the
tire on the rim) and the bead reinforcement.
Even modern winter tires can sometimes not help when there are huge amounts of snow
and steep gradients. In these situations traction, lateral control and reliable
braking require tire chains. In order to be prepared it is recommended to try and
fit chains in a "dry run".
Snow chains have to be draped over the drive wheels.
Please also note that a maximum speed is given. With some low profile tires a problem
can result: the reduced space between the tires and the wheel arch leaves no room
to fit snow chains.
Date of Manufacture
The date of manufacture of a tire is indicated on the tire's sidewall at the end
of the DOT serial number.
Tire manufacturers have adopted a standard identification system: four numbers,
which indicate the week and the year of manufacture. For example, the figures 0201
indicate that the tire was made in the second week of the year 2001.
Direction of Rotation
On standard tires with symmetrical tread patterns, it does not matter which way
the tire is fitted on the rim and in which position it is fitted on the car.
Some tire manufacturers have, however, started producing tires with specific directions
of rotation in order to improve wet grip and optimize noise generation.
The direction of rotation is marked on the side of the tire with an arrow. This
side of the tire must be on the outside, and the tire must roll forwards in the
direction of the arrow for optimum tire performance.
A number of tires with asymmetric tread patterns are also now available which do
not have a specific direction of rotation.
DOT Serial Number
The "DOT" symbol certifies the tire manufacture's compliance with the
U.S. Department of Transportation tire safety standards. The DOT serial number is
located on the lower sidewall of the tire, on one side only. Below is a description
of the serial number. Starting in the year 2000, four numbers are used for the Date
of Manufacture, first two numbers identify the week and the last two numbers identify
the year of manufacture. Prior to year 2000 three numbers are used for the Date
of Manufacture, 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) is located at the end of the DOT serial number.
For Example: DOT NJ HR 2AE2 529
529 Date of Manufacturer, example: 529 (52nd week of 1999) or 5200 (52nd
week of 2000).
2AE2 Tire Type Code (coding for type of tire optional by manufacture).
HR Tire Size Code Number.
NJ Manufactures Plant Identification Code
DOTReference Symbol (certifies the tire manufactures compliance with U.S.
Department of Transportation tire safety standards).
ESP / Electronic Stability Program
An Electronic Stability Program, ESP, helps master critical driving situations,
for example when the vehicle suddenly over steers during cornering or when sudden
evasive action is required. The systems detects skidding movements within fractions
of a second and can take corrective action.
ESP systems not only function when road conditions are good, but also on wet, on
icy and on unpaved roads.
Technically speaking, The ESP system combines the ABS / Anti-Lock Brake Block System,
electronic braking pressure distribution, ASR / Anti-slip-control and yaw control.
Emergency Mobility Systems
If a tire punctures and looses air, a standard size or a temporary special spare
tire must be put on in order to continue the journey.
In order to avoid the troublesome, sometimes dangerous procedure of changing a tire
on an open road, various manufacturers now offer so-called emergency mobility systems.
What these tires have in common is that when all air pressure is lost the rim does
not destroy the tire. The journey can be continued without changing the tire - over
a limited distance at a restricted speed.
Load Index, Ply Rating or Load Range
These symbols are found on the sidewall of the tire indicating the load - carrying
capacity of the tire.
It is recommended that all four tires be of the same size, construction and speed
rating. If tires of different speed rating are mounted on a vehicle, the vehicle
speed capability will be limited to the lowest speed-rated tire on the vehicle.
It is recommended that the lower speed-rated tires be placed on the front axle regardless
which axel is driven. This should be done to prevent a potential oversteer condition.
Vehicle handling may also be affected. Consult the tire manufacture.
Radial tires have body cords that run across the tire nearly perpendicular to the
beads. Radial tires have belt plies, which are laid diagonally under the tread to
stabilize and strengthen the tread area. and add flexibility to the sidewall. By
restricting tread movement during contact with the road, the belt plies increase
improve tread life, traction and improve handling.
Reinforced or XL (extra load) Tires
Reinforced or XL (extra load) tires are specially reinforced tires. They can carry
higher loads than a tire of the same size.
Reinforced tires are designated on the Sidewall by the letters "RF", extra
load tires with the letters "XL"
Reinforced and XL tires require need higher inflation pressures compared to standard
Revolutions Per Mile (RPM)
The number of revolutions a tire makes in one mile, at a given load, speed and inflation.
Sometimes called RPK or revolutions per kilometer.
The drag force required to put a free rolling tire into motion. Tires are not rigid,
but flexible. During driving the tires compress, and flex.
This flexing absorbs energy, converting it into heat.
In order to reduce rolling resistance, manufacturers use special rubber compounds.
Any reduction in the rolling resistance of the tire helps reduce fuel consumption.
Since rolling resistance also increases with low Inflation pressure, it is beneficial
to check the pressure of tires regularly.
Speed ratings for tires are identified by means of a speed symbol shown on the sidewall
of a tire. The maximum speed for these symbols in shown in the table. Although a
tire may be speed rated, tire manufactures do not endorse the operation of any vehicle
in an unsafe or unlawful manner. Furthermore, tire speed ratings do not imply that
a vehicle can be safely driven at the maximum speed for which the tire is rated,
particularly under adverse road and weather conditions or if the vehicle has unusual
Speed ratings are based on laboratory tests which relate to performance in the road,
but are not applicable if tires are underinflated, overloaded, worn out, damaged
Example: Tire size P215/60R15 H 185/65 R 15 H: the H indicates a maximum
permitted speed of 130 MPH.
Temporary Spare Tires
Temporary spares are designed to carry the same load as the standard size tire on
your vehicle and can be applied to any position. Maintain the proper inflation pressure
as shown on the sidewall of the tire, it requires a higher inflation pressure than
a standard size tire. Refer to the information on the sidewall of the tire for proper
usage & speed restrictions. With such a tire, a vehicle may be operated until
it is convenient to repair or replace the disabled tire. Have your standard tire
repaired or replaced as soon as possible, then return the temporary spare to the
trunk to conserve its useable tread life. The temporary tire can be worn down to
the tread wear indicators, same as your standard tire. At such time the tire must
At high speeds, tires generate enormous centrifugal forces. Even tiny irregularities
in the tire of only a few grams are multiplied by many orders of size. Such imbalance
stresses tires and suspension. Every time a tire is fitted to a wheel, it should
Refer to your Vehicle Owners Manual for recommended tire rotation pattern and interval
for your vehicle. If not available, follow one of the patterns shown below. It is
recommended to rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or sooner if uneven
treadwear begins to appear. The purpose for regular tire rotation is to achieve more
uniform treadwear on all tires on your vehicle. If tires show uneven treadwear,
ask the serviceperson to check and/or correct any alignment or other mechanical
problem before rotation.
This is true for both front wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles. Full size spare
spare tires should be included in the tire rotation pattern for your vehicle. Compact
spares (temporary use spares) should not be included in the tire rotation pattern.
The toe describes the distance between the centerlines of the tires on an axle.
The toe setting can be adjusted on all cars.
Since most wheels tend to run towards the outside because of the camber, most cars
are set with a slight positive toe-in. This means that the wheels are slightly closer
together at the front than at the back.
Incorrect settings for your vehicle result in uneven tire wear. If you notice uneven
tire wear, then have your vehicle alignment settings checked.
The tread is that part of the tire with the groove pattern which is in contact with
the road. The tread is specifically design to provide traction for stopping, starting,
cornering and provide long lasting wear.
The measured distance from the tread surface to the bottom of the main grooves away
from the Tread Wear Indicators. Usually specified in 1/32 of an inch.
TWI (tread wear indicator)
Tread wear indicators ("wear bars") are located at the base of the main
grooves and are equally spaced around the tire. Always remove tires from service
when they reach a remaining tread depth of two thirty-seconds of an inch (2/32").
If not corrected, wet weather accidents are more likely to happen due to skidding
on bald or nearly bald tires. Also, excessively worn tires are more susceptible
to damage from road hazards. Built-in treadwear indicators, or "wear bars,"
which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread, will appear on
the tire when that point of wear is reached. When you see these wear bars, the tire
is worn out and it's time to replace the tire.
Tire Size Designation
The dimensions of a tire are detailed on the sidewall.
In the case of a P185/65R 14 tire, the figures mean the following: 185 = width of
tire in mm; 65 = the ratio of the height to the width as a percentage; R = radial
construction; 14 = diameter of the rim in inches.
Tires should be stored in a dry, cool place, away from sunlight and sources of ozone,
such as electric motors.
If you must store tires flat, (one on top of the other), make sure you don't stack
too many on top of each other. Too much weight can damage the bottom tire.
Also be sure to allow air to circulate around all sides of the tires, including
underneath, to prevent moisture damage.
If storing tires outdoors, protect them with an opaque waterproof covering and elevate
them from the ground. Do not store tires on or over black asphalt or other heat-absorbent
or reflective surfaces, such as snow-covered ground or sand. Solvents, fuels, lubricants
and chemicals should be kept out of contact with tires.
Spare tire carriers on your vehicle are not intended to be used for long term tire
storage. If your vehicle has a full size tire (same size and type tire recommended
for use by the vehicle manufacture not temporary use spares) as a spare, it should
be included in the tire rotation pattern.
UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading)
The treadwear grade is a comparative rating based on the wear rate of the tire when
tested under controlled conditions on a specified government test track. A tire
graded 200 would wear twice as long on the government test course under specified
test conditions as one graded 100. It is wrong to link treadwear grades with your
projected tire mileage. The relative performance of tires depends upon the actual
conditions of their use and may vary due to driving habits, service practices, differences
in road characteristics and climate.
Traction grades, from highest to lowest, are AA, A, B and C. They represent the
tire's ability to stop on wet pavement as measured under controlled conditions on
specified government test surfaces of asphalt and concrete.
The temperature grades, from highest to lowest, are A, B and C. These represent
the tire's resistance to the generation of heat when tested under controlled conditions
on a specified indoor laboratory test wheel.
The valve, fitted in the wheel, ensures that the tire can be filled with air. The
correct valve is required for the correct wheel/tire assembly, this is the job of
the tire dealer. The cause of a slow loss of air pressure can be a defective valve.
The valve cap should always be fitted to the valve in order to protect the valve
core from dirt and moisture.
The valve cap, although small, has a very important job: it protects the sensitive
valve internals from dust, dirt and humidity. If valve caps are lost they should
be replaced immediately in order to avoid expensive damage later.
In snowy areas, many cities and counties 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 winter tires on their vehicles.
You can avoid this by equipping your vehicle with winter tires marked with "MS,"
"M&S," or "M + S" on the sidewall and severe snow marking.
If you change to winter tires, be sure they are the same size and construction type
as the other tires on the vehicle.
It is recommended that winter tires be applied on all four positions.
It is acceptable to install winter tires only on the rear position of a rear wheel
If winter tires are installed on the front position of any vehicle, the MUST also
be installed on the rear position. Without winter tires on the rear, vehicle handling
can be adversely affected. This may result in loss of vehicle control which could
cause serious injury or death.
If winter tires with a lower speed rating than listed on the vehicle placard are
installed for use in winter conditions, the speed capability of the vehicle is reduced
to the speed rating of the winter tires.
In areas where heavy snowfalls are frequent, many drivers carry chains for use in
emergencies, or have their tire dealer apply studded winter tires or install tires
for use in severe snow conditions.
Most states have time limits on the use of studs. Before installing studded tires,
check the regulations in your area. If studded tires are applied to the front axle,
they also must be applied to the rear axle.
If you use chains, make sure they are the proper size and type for your tires, otherwise
they may damage the tire sidewall and cause tire failure.
Tires designed for use in severe snow conditions generally have tread patterns,
structure and materials to give superior performance. These tires are marked with
the "M+S" designation plus a mountain/snowflake symbol.