How to get the most out of your tires.
NOT ALL TIRES ARE CREATED EQUAL.
Some may be designed for city driving, winter weather, the off-road or other specific conditions. Wear rates vary – harder tread compounds wear at slower rates than softer compounds. Although not equivalent, most tires have at least one thing in common: Basic care and maintenance can greatly improve the number of miles your tires roll along.
THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW.
Regular alignment checks are the best way to maximize tire life. Excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear are clues that other maintenance is needed. All suspension components (ball joints, tie rods, bushings, etc.) should be inspected and lubricated (if equipped with grease fittings).
AVOID ROAD HAZARDS.
Potholes and bumps in the road – avoid ‘em! Hazards can affect tire balancing and throw your vehicle out of alignment, causing premature wear on your tires. Avoid sharp turns at corners – scuffing tire sidewalls on curbs can lead to excessive sidewall wear and, ultimately, tire failure.
IN THE BALANCE.
Your tires are like a world-class ballerina: They perform best when balanced correctly. Tire balancing affects the wear of a vehicle’s tire, as well as its performance. Tires not balanced properly wear excessively or unevenly. Check your tire balance at every tire rotation.
HANDLE THE PRESSURE.
Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare, as incorrect tire pressure can cause tires to wear prematurely. Always check your tires “cold” (before or with minimum operation) and refer to the tire pressure decal on the door jamb for the maximum load pressure.
Front tires generally wear faster than rear tires – especially FWD vehicles. For maximum life, rotate tires at manufacturer-recommended intervals and check the owner’s manual for the correct pattern. Recheck tire pressure after rotation to maintain front-to-rear balance. Don’t switch “directional tires” from side to side; this will make the tread less effective.
DID YOU KNOW?
Tire tread helps a tire cool by exposing more surface area to the surrounding air.
PSI rating is the maximum pressure a tire should be run at (checked cold) for the highest allowable load on the tire (see tire sidewall).
Directional tires, a design that provides greater traction and longevity, must be mounted to rotate in one direction only.
Tire ply is the amount of layers that are used to make up a tire. The number of plies becomes important (usually on trucks or trailers) when hauling or towing extra weight.
Wheel balance is the weight distribution between a wheel and tire assembly, both radially around the hub (static balance) and laterally around the circumference (dynamic balance).