When mounting wheels & tires on to the vehicle, ensure the following checks are made:
- Wheels are not damaged in any way
- There is no dirt or oily build up between the hub and the wheel
- Lugs are properly torqued
- Both tire beads are securely mounted
- Any retaining clips on the brake drums are removed
Tires are manufactured to close tolerances, however as they wear their mass can become unevenly distributed, negatively affecting the original balance. The most common signs of unbalanced tires are vibration problems. These can affect the speed, handling, and mileage of your vehicle. Balancing is done by a computer that spins the wheel / tire assembly, senses heavy spots, and gives a location for the technician to apply weight to counter the heavy spots. The best type of balance is a dynamic balance, and this should be performed whenever possible. (Some rim designs will not ...[more]
Below are the most common (but not the only) causes of noise and vibration problems:
- Tire / wheel assembly is out of balance
- No hub rings on aftermarket wheels
- Incorrect mounting hardware for aftermarket wheels
- Tire is poorly seated on the rim
- Irregular tire wear
- Out of round rim
- Out of round tire
Do not ignore apparent impacts, pulling, or vibration. This could be an indicator of tire damage as much as mechanical problems that should be inspected by a professional. If there is a problem with your tires and the way they have been installed they will most likely begin to shake and vibrate your vehicle at between 50 and 65 mph.
A puncture to any area of a tire's tread will affect performance and safety, and therefore must be immediately attended to through either replacement of the tire (spare or new tire) or a patch. Any patch that is applied to a tire must be applied to both the outer part of the tire (tread) and the inner part of the tire. The reason for this is that the rubber on each side is very different (inside is made of halo butyl rubber meant for holding air, while the outside is a harder durable rubber primarily designed for traction). A good tire repair can only be made if the tire is removed from the rim (wheel) and inspected carefully for any hidden damage. Only straight through holes, 3/16" or smaller diameter may be repaired, when no secondary damage has occurred.
Vehicle alignment is one of the most important factors in tire care. For most vehicles, poor alignment results in excessive and/or uneven tire wear. Improper alignment can reduce a tire's life by more than 70%. Improper alignment on either the front or rear wheels can result in unusual tread wear, damage to your suspension, and unusual handling for the car. Wheel alignments should be performed every time you install a new set of tires, and any time you experience an impact such as a large pothole, curb, or other obstacle. For maintenance purposes, alignment should be checked every year.
There are several alignment types, including both two and four wheel alignment. Four-wheel alignment is always recommended, but some vehicles are not able to have the rear alignment adjusted. Consult with an alignment specialist you trust to find out what's best for your car.
Warning signs that you might need an alignment are your car pulling to one ...[more]
Because each tire on your car typically supports a different amount of weight, and your driving patterns will typically wear out one tire faster than the others, it's important to rotate your tires every 5000 to 8000 miles. Rotation patterns differ depending on what kind of vehicle you drive. The best place to check is in your vehicle's owners manual. If you cannot find what you are looking for, below are some diagrams showing you the most common patterns.
Of course, if your vehicle has different sizes of tires from front to back, or if your tires are directional, these may not work. Consult a professional if you are still not sure.
As your tires wear down, their ability to grip the road decreases. Each tire has what are known as wear bars. These appear at various points around the tire as bars running through the tread design from one side of the tire to the other. When your tires are legally worn out (2/32") the tread will be at the same level as the tread wear indicators and they will be easily visible. Usually before the tire gets to this point, they will begin to feel unsafe. If that is the case, do not wait for them to get to the wear bars. Just because the tread depth is not as low as the tread wear bar, does not mean it is safe.
The most common way of damaging tires is improper inflation. As tires lose pressure over time it causes them to experience irregular treadwear, poor vehicle handling and traction, and decreased gas mileage. Under inflated tires can build up excessive heat and blow out without warning. Pressure should be checked at least once a month using a good quality tire pressure gauge. Pressure should be checked when the tires are cold (tires have not been driven for 2 hours). You can find out what the proper inflation numbers on your tires are by checking the owner's manual of your vehicle. Even if the tires have been changed since the vehicle was new, the car manufacturers recommended pressures still apply. Also remember to check your spare tire for loss of air.
Generally tires should not be mixed on any vehicle. To receive maximum safety and performance it is preferable to keep every tire on a vehicle identical in size, brand, model, rating etc. One of the only exceptions is if the front and rear wheels are different like on all Porsche's and other high performance vehicles.
Five Most Important Tire Saving Tips
Check tire pressures regularly - with a good tire gauge, before you drive, when tires are cool. Don't guess - read your owner's manual or the vehicle's door jamb for proper pressure. Don't under- or over-inflate them.
The first tire rotation is the most important. When regularly rotated, your tires will last longer and produce even tread wear. Follow your owner's manual guidelines, or the rule to rotate tires at every 5,000 - 6,000 miles.
When you replace your tires, have them computer balanced. Have the balance checked when you rotate them. Balanced tires create a more comfortable ride and will last longer.
Not aligning your vehicle may cause poor handling and worn tires. ...[more]
The Uniform Tire Quality Grading rating is a quality rating system developed by the Department of Transportation. It is designed to tell consumers the relative performance of passenger tires (but does not apply to winter tires).
The "150" indicates the treadwear rating
the "A" indicates traction
the "B" indicates temperature
The Treadwear rating is based on a wear test performed on a 400 mile government test course covering specified sections of public roads in Texas. A group of not more than 4 test vehicles travels the course in a convoy so that all tires experience the same conditions. Tread groove depths of the tires being tested are measured after each 800 miles. The same procedure is followed for a set of "control" or "course monitoring tires" Upon the completion of the 7200 mile test, the rating result ...[more]
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