General Car and Tire FAQs

General Car and Tire MaintenanceGeneral Car and Tire Maintenance from Pete’s Tire Barns

  1. Can my driving habits affect the life of my tires?
    1. They certainly can. Here are some tips to increase the life of your tires:
      1. Don’t speed: excessive heat is generated when driving at high speeds. This heat increases the rate of tire wear and reduces the tire’s durability.
      2. Avoid fast turns on curves and around corners; fast starts and panic stops.
      3. Don’t ride on the edge of the pavement or drive over curbs, potholes, or other obstructions.
  2. Do my new tires require any special treatment?
    1. Your new tires will probably feel different from the tires that were replaced. Drive carefully as you become familiar with their performance and handling. Take special care when braking, accelerating, cornering, or when driving in the rain, because these are the times when the differences will be most noticeable.
  3. How can I check my tires for wear problems?
    1. Tires often give their owners signs of problems in plenty of time to have them corrected. Learn to “read” these early warning signs and you can prevent many wear problems that shorten tire life by thousands of miles.
  4. How do I know when I need new tires?
    1. Many tires have tread wear indicator bars molded into the tread. When the tread is worn down to where you can see a solid bar of rubber across the width of the tread, it is time to replace the tire. Here’s another simple test you can perform to measure tread depth on your tires. Place a penny into a tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to get a new tire.
  5. How long should my original equipment (O.E.) tires last?
    1. Due to the variety of styles, construction features, treat compounds, vehicle applications, geographical conditions and driving habits, it is difficult to provide specific mileage expectancy. Many of our tires feature specific mileage warranties, including some tires that are used as original equipment.
  6. How much air should I put in my tires?
    1. Proper inflation is the single most important part of tire care. The inflation pressure on the side of the tire is the MAXIMUM operating pressure. It is not necessarily the right inflation for your vehicle. Always use the inflation recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. You can find it in your owner’s manual, posted on the edge of the driver’s door, on a door post, in the center console, or on the inside of the glovebox door. Always check inflation when tires are COLD: when the vehicle has been driven less than a mile or one hour or more after driving. Use a good quality tire gauge. Note: It’s natural for radial tires to have a slight bulge in the sidewall at their proper inflation pressure. Check or adjust inflation every few weeks, before any long trip or if traveling with a heavy load. And don’t forget to check the spare
  7. Is it safe to repair a flat tire?
    1. If a tire loses all or most of its air pressure, it must be removed from the wheel for a complete internal inspection to be sure it’s not damaged. Tires that are run even short distances while flat are often damaged beyond repair. Most punctures, nail holes, or cuts up to 1/4 inch — confined to the tread — may be satisfactorily repaired by trained personnel using industry-approved methods. Don’t repair tires with tread punctures larger than 1/4 inch, or with any sidewall puncture. Also, never repair tires that are worn below 1/16 inch tread depth. Your best bet is to make sure your spare tire is always ready to do the job. Check it regularly for proper air pressure and be sure that it is in good shape. If your car is equipped with one of the several types of temporary spares, be sure to check the spare tire’s sidewall for the correct inflation pressure, speed, and mileage limitations.
  8. Isn’t it easy to mount a tire on a wheel? Can’t I do it myself?
    1. Never try to mount your own tires. Tire mounting is a job for the people who have the proper equipment and experience. If you try to do it yourself, you run the risk of serious injury to yourself as well as possible damage to the tire and rim.
  9. Must I replace my present tires with the same size tires?
    1. Never choose a smaller size than those that came with the car. Tires should always be replaced with the same size designation — or approved options — as recommended by the vehicle.
  10. My tire has gone flat. What could cause this?
    1. Some common causes of sudden or slow air loss:

      1. Road hazard injuries (punctures, cuts, impact damage to the liner, ply material or sidewall rubber).
      2. Valve stem or valve core leakage (damaged or aged rubber stem or a loose or damaged valve core).
      3. Leaking from the bead seating area (corrosive buildup on the wheels which prevents a proper seal between the wheel flange and the tire beads, bead seating area damage from accidental mounting or dismounting injury, foreign material between the rim flange area and the tire bead seating area, bent rim flange).
  11. Should I “mix” tire types on my car?
    1. Tires of different size designations, constructions, and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability. For best all-around performance, it is recommended that all tires be of the same size, construction (radial,non-radial) and speed rating. If tires of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, the same size, type and speed ratings need to be placed on the same axle, the tires with the lower speed rating will be the determining factor for permissible tire related vehicle speed. Never mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle.
  12. Should I rotate my tires?
    1. Regular and proper tire rotation promotes more uniform wear for all of the tires on a vehicle. We recommend tire rotation at least every 6,000 miles. Four-wheel drive vehicles may require rotation even sooner – such as every 4,000 miles. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. The first rotation is the most important. When tires are rotated, inflation pressures must be adjusted to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Uneven tire wear may also be due to misalignment or mechanical problems.
  13. What is an alignment?
    1. A vehicle is said to be properly aligned when all suspension and steering components are sound and when the tire and wheel assemblies are running straight and true. Proper alignment is necessary for even tread wear and precise steering.
  14. How important is wheel alignment?
    1. Think of it this way. Research indicates that the average car is driven about 12,000 miles per year. A car with toe alignment just 0.34 degrees (Just 0.17 inches) out of specification has dragged its tires sideways for more than 68 miles by the end of the year!
  15. What are the “symptoms” of a car that’s out of alignment?
    1. Have your car checked if you notice:

      1. Excessive or uneven tire wear.
      2. Steering wheel pulls to the left or right.
      3. Feeling of looseness or wandering.
      4. Steering wheel vibration or shimmy.
      5. Steering wheel is not centered when car is moving straight ahead.
  16. How often should I have my car aligned?
    1. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation noted in your owner’s manual. But, as a general rule, have your vehicle’s tires checked every 10,000 miles or at least once a year.
  17. What should I do if I notice a vibration?
    1. Vibration is an indication that your car has a problem that needs attention. The tires, steering system and suspension system should be checked to help determine the possible cause and correction of the vibration. If left unattended, the vibration could cause excessive tire and suspension wear. It could even be dangerous. Pete’s Tire Barn offers expert diagnosis and repair.
  18. When buying just two new tires, should they be put on the front or rear?
    1. When radial tires are used with bias or bias belted tires on the same car, the radials must always be placed on the rear axle. Never mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle. When you select a pair of replacement tires in the same size and construction as those on the car, we recommend you put them on the rear axle. A single new tire should be paired on the rear axle with the tire having the most tread depth of the other three.
  19. Why do my tires need to be balanced?
    1. Properly balanced tires are important for driving comfort and long tire life. Unbalanced tires can cause vibration, resulting in driver fatigue, premature tire wear and unnecessary wear to your vehicle’s suspension. Tires should be balanced when they are mounted on wheels for the first time or when they are remounted after repair. Tires should be re-balanced at the first sign of vibration or “shimmy.” Vibration may also be due to misalignment or mechanical problems. Pete’s Tire Barns can provide expert diagnosis and repair.
  20. Can I drive normally on my spare tire (donut)?
    1. Many newer vehicles come equipped with a temporary spare. These tires are usually much smaller than the other tires on your car. It is important to realize that these spares have far more limitations than a typical tire, including speed and recommended driving distance. Some spare tires even require the use of a special canister to inflate the tire. You should familiarize yourself with the spare by reading the owner’s manual and the sidewall of the spare. And remember, check the air pressure of the spare frequently.
  21. What is an all-season tire?
    1. All-season tires are designed to provide higher levels of snow traction than non-all-season tires. These letters mean “Mud and Snow.” Even the best all-season tires will not provide acceptable levels of traction if you drive too fast in snow/ice conditions, and if you do not allow at least 12 times more stopping distance on wintry roads.For Safe Winter Driving:Reduce your speed. Even good road conditions can deteriorate quickly.
      Increase your stopping distance – at least 12 times more than on dry roads. You may not always need that much distance, but when you do, you’ll be glad you were playing it safe.
      Check the condition of your tires. Worn tires provide less grip.
  22. What is plus sizing?
    1. Plus sizing wheels and tires has become the hottest trend among enthusiasts. Adding inches to the wheel diameter for wider, low aspect ratio tires can increase your car’s handling capabilities. The increased wheel widths in plus sizing also contribute to greater tire stability and improved cornering and maneuverability.
      1. Plus Zero. Plus zero sizing increases the section width and lowers the aspect ratio of the tire while retaining the wheel diameter. This replacement tire increases the contact area and lowers the tread profile for improved traction and quicker response. (Ex., OE = 185/65R14, Plus 0 = 195/60R14)
      2. Plus One. This sizing mounts tires with an increased section width and a lower aspect ratio on wheels of a wider diameter. For example, a plus one fitment for a car with 14-inch original equipment wheels would use 15-inch wheels (OE = 185/65R14, Plus 1 = 195/55R15.) As a general rule of thumb, plus one sizing increases section width by 10 mm, decreases aspect ratio by 10 points, and increases rim diameter by 1 inch.
      3. Plus Two. A plus two fitment for a car with 14-inch original equipment wheels would use 16-inch wheels (OE = 185/65R14, Plus 2 = 205/45R16.) As a general rule of thumb, plus two sizing increases section width by 20 mm, decreases aspect ratio by 20 points, and increases rim diameter by 2 inches.

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