Proper tire inflation can help maintain tire structure, stability and handling. Each vehicle’s manufacturer has specifications for each model on the proper tire size, speed rating, load rating and tire inflation. This information is usually located on the inside of the driver’s door jam. When replacing tires on your vehicle, always make sure that the technician verifies this information on the placard to avoid any problems down the road.
How do you choose the right tire manufacturer?
We first must find the tire size designed for your vehicle, and then use that info to see which manufacturer offers that size.
Example: 195/50/R16 81H
195 = The width or contact area of the tire
50 = Aspect ratio or side wall (ranges from 30-80)
The smaller the aspect ratio, the less flex the tire will have going in a turn. It should also make the tire ride harder. You should always check your tire pressure more often with a lower aspect ratio/sidewall because it can be difficult to determine if the tire is under-inflated.
16 = The inner diameter of the tire (the rim diameter)
81= The load rating (weight the tire can support at a specific tire inflation)
H = Speed rating (maximum speed a vehicle can travel before the possibility that the tire will begin to come apart)
Once all the information has been verified, you can start shopping for tires. You must use the correct load and speed rating for that vehicle. At Hillmuth Auto Care, we have tires available from numerous manufacturers and will be happy to help you choose the right ones:
- BF Goodrich Tires
- Bridgestone Tires
- Cooper Tires
- Dunlop Tires
- Firestone Tires
- Goodyear Tires
- Hankook Tires
- Kelly Tires
- Kumho Tires
- Michelin Tires
- Nankang Tires
- Nitto Tires
- Pirelli Tires
- Sumitomo Tires
- Uniroyal Tires
- Yokohama Tires
All tires have a warranty or a guarantee to last a certain amount of miles. However, there are variables that go along with that. You must show proof that certain services have been completed and documented:
- The tires must be rotated every 6,000 miles
- Balance and rotation every 15,000 miles
- Alignment check or adjustment every 15,000 miles
- Tire pressure checked daily to the correct inflation (info located on the placard)
If tires are under-inflated you could experience outer tire wear. Too much tire inflation will cause excessive inner tire wear. Lack of rotation/balance/alignment could cause irregular tire wear.
Once you notice uneven tire wear, you can always correct the action causing it, but you can not change the pattern in the tire without replacement. So it is always good to follow the recommended tire service schedule to maximize the life expectancy of the tires and get your money’s worth.
How do I know when I need tires?
Each tire has a wear bar located inside the tire tread. When the tire tread is worn down enough where it’s touching the indicator, the tire is considered to be worn out—this tread depth is 2/32 of an inch. New tires come with tread depth of 10/32 of an inch. Tires can also have a lot of tread and still be considered worn out. It is very important to check to see if the sidewall is still in good condition and that there is no dry rot present. When replacing tires. it is suggested to replace in pairs.
Mounting and Balancing Tires
It is very important when mounting or balancing tires to have the proper equipment and know how to use it. At Hillmuth Auto Care, we use a tire machine designed to work up to 24-inch rim diameter tires. We can also mount and balance tires with a small side wall height, such as a 30 series aspect ratio. Mounting and balancing tires with a very small aspect ratio takes time and patience. Using the right equipment is essential so as no to damage or destroy your tire and rims. Not to mention that those series tires can be very expensive. Our tire installation technicians spend a lot of time in training on our tire equipment to be able to service any type of vehicle.
Road Force Balance Tires & Wheels
Our tire balancing machine, the Hunter GSP 9700, will give the best balancing that your money can buy. It can help reduce excessive tire wear from improper mounting location of the wheel weights, unsafe steering and handling, and possible damage to suspension and steering parts.
Variations in balance can lead to excessive wheel vibration. When we road force balance your tires, our machine will detect uneven stiffness in the tire’s sidewall or in the tire tread. Because no tire is uniformly flexible throughout (or perfectly round for that matter), balancing the tire and wheel assembly will not in itself help prevent vibrations. When we check the road force of the tire and rim assembly, we are able to find the stiff spot in the tire and the low spot in the rim and rotate the two so that they meet. It’s like a match made in heaven. We can now have a perfect round assembly going down the road.
Need more help deciding on the right tires for your vehicle or getting the most out of your existing set? Call us or visit one of our four Maryland tire service stations in Gaithersburg, Columbia, Clarksville or Glenwood.