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Tire Tips and Maintenance

How to Read a Sidewall

Driving Tips for Wet Roads

Tire Tips and Maintenance

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that actually touches the road when you drive. It only takes a couple of minutes of maintenance each month to keep your tires working at their best.

Check Your Air Pressure Once a Month

Incorrect air pressure is the leading cause of tire damage. To avoid tire damage you need to check your tire's air pressure once a month.

The correct tire pressure is listed on the vehicle placard & can be found in the following places:

- in the car' owner manual
- gas tank lid
- driver's side door's edge
- door post

The air pressure listed on the side of your tire is NOT the correct air pressure for your vehicle. That number is the maximum air pressure for the tire. Remember to check the air in your spare tire.

Don't get stranded or put out costly towing expenses. Check your air pressure on your spare regularly. Note: If you have different rims than came on your vehicle originally, make sure that the bolts on your spare tire are the correct fitting.

Failure to keep your tires properly inflated can increase wear and will have a negative effect on your vehicles handling. When checking and adjusting tire pressure, the following should be kept in mind:

Check the air pressure when the tire is cold - tires become hot even after driving just a mile. If you must drive to add air, check your air pressure before you leave. Air pressure changes 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Air pressure goes up in warm weather and down in cold weather. Tire pressure must be the same on the tires of each axle, but may be different on the front and rear axle. Valve caps must be tightly closed to protect the valve from dust and dirt and prevent it from leaking. Replace missing valve caps without delay. Take this opportunity to inspect your tires to make sure there is nothing stuck in them or they have no deformities.

Tread Depth

To prevent hydroplaning and skidding your tires must have proper tread depth. The minimum tread depth is 1/16th of and inch.

Ask anyone, the easiest way to check your tread depth...the penny test. What is the penny test? Take a penny and place it in the tread of your tire. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread your tires have enough tread. If you can see Lincoln's entire head, you should buy a new tire.

You should also check your tire tread for uneven wear. Irregular wear shortens the life of your tires, if you think you have uneven wear you should take you vehicle to your tire dealer.

Rotation

The best way to prevent uneven wear is to have your tires rotated every 6,000 - 8,000 miles or as specified in your vehicle's owner manual.

Potential Tire Troubles

Curbs can prove to be big trouble to your tires. Approach curbs with care, if you drive over them too fast or at the wrong angle the impact may cause the tire to crack.
Avoid potholes or debris in the road when possible. Avoid fast stops & starts. Be sure to check your owner's manual for your vehicles maximum load. Overloading your vehicle can shorten your tires life.

Replacing Your Tires

You should replace your tires with the same type of tires that came on your vehicle original equipment. This includes tire size, type and speed rating.

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Reading Your Sidewall - Understanding Tire Hieroglyphics

There is a lot to learn from the sidewall of your tire. Although at first glance you may think you stumbled across tire hieroglyphics, you've actually found molded into the tires side its own user manual.

Tire Size
Example P205/55R16 91W


P identifies your tire as a Passenger Tire. The P stands for PMetric. If your tire size starts with LT rather than a P than it identifies the tire as a light truck tire.

205 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.)

55 is the two-figure aspect ratio. This percentage compares the tires section height with the tires section width. For example, this aspect ratio of 55 means that the tires section height is 55% 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.

16 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 The 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. European tires have the load limit listed in kilograms and sometimes pounds.

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, S is equivalent to a max speed of 112 mph. Even though a tire can perform at this speed, we do not advocate exceeding legal speed limits.

DOT Serial Number
The "DOT" symbol certifies the tire manufacturer's compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation 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 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.

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Driving Tips for Wet Roads

Driving in the rain can be dangerous; in fact thousands of car accidents each year are caused by wet driving conditions.

Routinely Check Your Tires
It is a good idea to always check your tires before you hit the road. To ensure your tires are working at their best, make sure you do the following routine maintenance:

Keep your tires properly inflated. The correct air pressure for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and can be found on the vehicle placard located on door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door. It is also listed in the owner's manual. The number listed on the side of the tire is not the recommended air pressure for your tire -- it is the maximum air pressure for the tire. You should check your tire's air pressure at least once a month.

Check the tires tread depth. Tires should have minimum 1/16 inch tread depth. Proper tread depth will help prevent skids and hydroplaning. Have your tires rotated at least every 6,000 - 8,000 miles. This will aid in detecting alignment problems and help prevent irregular wear.

Slow Down
As rain falls, it mixes with grime and oil on the road creating slick conditions perfect for skids. The best way to avoid skidding is to slow down. Driving at a slower pace allows more of the tires tread to make contact with the road, which leads to better traction

Recover From a Skid
Skids can even happen to the most cautious drivers. If your car does skid, remember not to slam on the brakes, and do not pump the brakes if you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS). Instead apply pressure to the brakes in a firm manner and steer the car in the direction of the skid.

Keep a Safe Distance
It takes about three times longer to break on wet roads than on dry roads. Since more distance is required to brake, it is important not to tailgate. Keep a little more than two car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Recover from Hydroplaning
When it rains, water creates a barrier between the road and your tires. The liquid film that forms can cause you to loose traction and glide or hydroplane across the waters surface. If this happens, do not hit the brakes. It is better to take your foot off the gas, hold the steering in place, and lightly apply the breaks. If you have a manual transmission, push in the clutch and let the car slow down on its own.

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