Tire Care and Wear

Safety of Using Tires with Sidewall Cracking

by Mike


I have a set of Good Year Comfort Tread on my 93 Lincoln TC that was installed back in 2007. They ride very smooth (not cheap though) and handling is acceptable for this kind of a car.


Last week I parked the car on the dark street where I could not see the curb, both front tires went over a pipe (probably 2.5") on the ground right next to the curb but only one of the tires developed a vertical crack on the sidewall so needless to say tire has deflated.

When I came home I inspected all the tires and all of them have about the same amount of what appears to be a vertical cracking dry-rot. I will try going back to the retailer and have the tire replaced under road hazard warranty, but what should I do about the rest of the tires?

It seems to be way too soon to have a dry-rot on the two year old tires and I am also not sure how safe would it be to continue driving on these tires.

Any help you can give, please. Just wanted to consult with someone before I go back to the shop.



Editorial Comment:

The photo you show is obviously of the tire which suffered damages through some kind of impact, that you've described.

It is difficult to respond to your concern over sidewall cracking or "dry rot" as you've called it because we have no way of knowing how serious it is. It would have been better to provide a photo of that condition so that we might assess it.

I'd agree that 2 years seems like a short time to be suffering from sidewall cracking, but it isn't impossible. This kind of deterioration can be accelerated by exposure to certain chemicals and even detergents, along with high temperatures and direct sunlight. I have no way of knowing if your vehicle has been exposed to any kind of corrosive elements, but if it was, that may be the cause of the problem.

As to the safety of continuing to use the tires with sidewall cracking, that could depend on the extent to which the cracking has progressed and how much the structural integrity of the tires have been compromised. Ask the dealer to assess this when you claim for the road hazard. It may be that you only have an aesthetic problem to deal with rather than a safety issue.

TG


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Tire concerns: cracks in tread

by Neil
(Minneapolis)

typical Tread Cracking

typical Tread Cracking

There are small cracks inside of the lowest point on the flat of the tire tread areas, is this a useless tire because of the cracks in between the otherwise good depth of the tire tread?

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Tire Concerns: Static load radius - checked warm or cold?

by Gunter
(Vancouver, Canada)

The weight of my utility trailer fluctuates a lot (depending on the load I am carrying). Thus, I am never sure what tire pressure I should inflate the tires to.

After doing some research, I decided I won't worry about air pressure and will focus on the static load radius.


My question: Normally, one checks tire air pressure when the tires are "cold". However, should I be checking the static load radius when the tire is "cold" or after it has been driven a few miles (and "up to temperature")?


Because the static load radius takes the load and tire pressure into account (and I believe also the tire temperature), then it would make sense to me to check the static load radius after the tire has been driven a few miles and is "up to temperature". Am I correct?



Editorial Comment:

While you might want to check your load radius after your tires are warmed up (for curiosity's sake), you should still make your adjustment to pressure (and therefore, the load radius) when the tire is cold.

Just as your tire pressure will vary as the tire warms and cools, this measurement may also vary, but the industry standard is to make all design and standards based on the same basis ... which is cool tires.

TG


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Tire Concerns: Replacing one tire

by Christine
(Dayton, Oh)

Nail in Tire

Nail in Tire

I found a nail in one tire, I am getting it replaced, but should I replace both back tires, the current tire has 30,000 miles?


Editorial Comment:

To begin, let's start by noting that a simple nail puncture in many tires is not usually a requirement to replace the tire. In the tire pictured above, my first impression would be that the only thing necessary would be to remove the nail and repair the tire.

Unless it has provoked a significant degree of damage, possibly because of being driven for some distance with little or no air, a simple repair can often make the tire as usable as it was before the puncture occurred.

Next, whether or not to replace the other rear tire depends on a couple of things.

If you put on a new tire and the other one is considerably different in wear or in very bad condition, you may also be advised to replace it, too.

Supposing, in the worst case, that the damaged tire was so bad it was not usable, and the other tire was still serviceable but much more worn than the new one, you could still save the other tire and keep it around to use as a spare tire in case you have another tire problem in the future.
TG

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Tire Concerns: uneven reat tire wear on three different vehicles

by Mike
(Commerce, CA)

Tire  Wear:  Cupping

Tire Wear: Cupping

3 Company owned 2008 Tahoes have uneven tire wear on the rears All three trucks were purchased at the same time. All three have same driving patterns. Just regular commute to work of 25-35 miles one way for each truck. Highway driving in traffic in the morning and some traffic in the evening. Always driving empty, nothing loaded.

All 3 have 40k miles, and showing the same uneven ware on rear tires, on the inside only.

Basically, looks like bumps. One section of the thread is higher than the other. So, one higher, next lower.




Editorial Comment:

Uneven tire wear of the kind you describe is usually described as cupping, and the typical cause of this is a bad shock absorber or some other suspension part.

Since all vehicles are the same brand, have the same age, use and mileage, it is somewhat logical to suspect that they are all having their shocks worn out at the same time, since these tend to have a similar life span under similar conditions.

TG

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Tire tread cupping on outside tread in direction of rotation

by Cooper
(USA)

BF Goodrich Longtrail T/A

BF Goodrich Longtrail T/A

I bought 2 new BF GOODRICH LONG TRAIL T/A 245 70 16 M*S tires for my 2006 Toyota truck.

The dealer said they were 60,000 mile tires.

I've got almost 3000 miles on them and the outside tread is cupping. I thought that problem was solved 20 years ago. What can I do ?

The tire dealer says there is nothing they will do.

As much as they are worn they won't last 20,000 miles. The same dealer did a front end alignment when the tires were purchased.

This looks like a BF goodrich design problem?


Editorial Comment:

Quite frankly, it seems to me that you may have a problem with your dealer, combined with some mechanical defects.

BFGoodrich Long Trail T/A tires have been generally well received by most people who have used them, so what you're experiencing does not seem to be a generalized design problem as you suggest.

Typically, the kind of wear you describe is produced by some mechanical problem and the first place to look is alignment. This is not to accuse the dealer of not performing a proper alignment, because something might have happened after their work was done to provoke this problem.

The cupping is a symptom --a clue-- now you need to discover the cause, and it seems strange to me that your dealer isn't trying to help you determine what is causing this problem.

It may be out of their hands to fix it ... it could be a problem in another mechanical area, but it is something that you do need to find and correct or else these tires -- any any replacements you might install are going to be wearing down at a much more accelerated rate than they should.

I might be wrong -- and forgive me if I am -- but is is possible you might have had them on the defensive by accusing them of selling you a defective product or doing shoddy work? If so, you may have to try again, or approach another dealer asking them to help you solve this problem rather than trying to have them accept the blame.


TG




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Tire Concerns: Too Much weight for Balancing a Tire

by Bill
(Mt. Vernon oh USA)

Tire blaancing equipment

Tire blaancing equipment

How much weight is too much to balance a 245/70 R19.5 tire?


Editorial Comment:
In theory there really isn't too much or too little weight to correctly balance a tire. The idea is to simply add sufficient weight to compensate for the irregularities between the tire and the wheel combination.

In practice, however, this could become ridiculous and a technician will start to wonder if there are some defects in either the tire or the wheel if you go beyond a certain "normal" weight range.

I haven't heard of any standards that are established, and it sometimes is affected by the size of the wheel -- larger tires use larger amounts of weight than smaller ones.

In my experience for a passenger car anything over 3 or 4 ounces seems to be excessive, but for a 19.5 inch tire, I would be concerned if the balancing required more than 5 or 6 ounces.

TG

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Tire concerns: Tire cracking

by chuck
(ulysses kansas)

I bought a new Toyota Camry on the 1st of Jan. 2008.

Now, at the start of 2010 these tires are cracking. They are Michelin MXV4 - P215/60r16. Manufacturing date is 16th wk. of 07.

I keep my car under a car port & wash it often. Why would these tires crack & split in such a short time? The car only has 20,000 miles on it also. Seems like this condition is a consering problem.



Editorial Comment:

A photo and some additional information might have been useful to more accurately assess the situation but I will attempt to give you some ideas.

Tire cracking is usually associated with the effects of heat and sunlight, to a large degree.

For this reason I'd wonder if these tires are cracked only on the outside sidewalls and perhaps only those wheels which are habitually receiving direct sunlight if the car is parked in the same position all the time.

If all the tires are cracked and, also on both the inside and outside sidewalls, then the cause might not be sunlight and heat.

Strong detergents and certain chemicals can also adversely affect tires. You mention you wash the car. Is it washed frequently, and do you use some detergent or other chemical that might be affecting these tires?

Some people put something on their tires to make them look better. If this is not a product which is designed for use on rubber compounds, it could have a deteriorating effect.

You might try approaching a Michelin dealer and have them look at the situation, too, if these ideas don't give you any clue as to what's happened with these tires.

Tires these days are not usually experiencing this kind of deterioration under normal operating conditions, and when I see them there is most often some cause which stems from they way they are used or the conditions to which they are exposed which lies at the root of the problem.

I hope this helps you solve your problem.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Tire Wear

by Rick
(Minneapolis, Mn.)

Tire Wear Bars

Tire Wear Bars

I leased a Saab for 3 years and turned the car in with 3/32 left on each tire. The normal wear calls for 2/16 when returning the vehicle.
Considering the car was driven for 5000 prior to my leasing the vehicle, I don't suspect I can on the hook for replacement costs of the tires.
I don't think any tire expert can tell me that the 5000 miles driven wouldn't have affected the 1/32 the tires are short.
Any thoughts?


Editorial Comment:
According to the information you've provided, you returned the vehicle with 1/32" of extra tread, providing your lease contract required you to return the vehicle with at least 2/32" of tread.

Apart from the lease contract, many places consider a tire to be legally worn out when they have only 2/32" of tread, and most tires today have wear bars in the tread which show this level of tread. As long as the tread is higher than these wear bars, then the tire should be legally useful, except in the state of Texas, which has a minimum legal tread of 3/32".

I don't see, from what you've described that you are short 1/32", but in any case the distance which the car had traveled before you received shouldn't affect your obligation to deliver the vehicle in a certain condition, unless you had included a clause in your contract to cover this. If you didn't I think you are left with luck and the good will of the dealer receiving the car.

TG

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Learn How to change a tire

by Allison
(Pittsburgh, PA USA)

Even Superman had problems changing a tire

Even Superman had problems changing a tire

I'd like to know where can you learn how to change a tire.

TIRE GUY from Tire-Information-World.com

Hi Allison,

There are several possibilities.

You could watch the video we have available on this site How to Change a Tire.
For a well presented written instructional look at Americredit's Learn to Change a Flat tire.(This will open a new window.)

If you want hands-on instruction, perhaps you might consult at the AAA or a regional Automobile Club, try some of the mechanical classes or teachers at a local high school or college, or even a friendly mechanic or tire shop.

Tireguy






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Tire Bubble

by Steve
(West Covina, CA)

Tire Bubble or Bulge exposed

Tire Bubble or Bulge exposed

I have a big bubble on the tread of a tire, not the sidewall. I noticed it when my car started pulling sharply to the right. At first I thought it was an alignment problem but someone told me the tire was separated and could blow out. Can this be fixed or will it even out if I switch it to a rear wheel?


Editorial Comment: 
Take a look at the photo, and this will give you an idea of what your tire might look like if you were to cut it open where the bubble is.

The tread has separated from the cords and the reason you have a bludge is because air is leaking from the inside of the tire into the space (which shouldn't exist) between the tread and the cords.

This definitely is a dangerous situation and will only get worse if it is left in use. There is no practical way to repair this.

It is possible, but not certain, that this might be a manufacturing defect, and it could be covered my the tire warranty, if it wasn't prduced by some damage to the tire in use.

Check with the dealer who sold you the tire, but in any case, do not continue to use the tire.

TG

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Car shakes between 55-75 mph

by Perry
(Fairfax, Virginia)

Pontiac Bonneville

Pontiac Bonneville

I purchased four Goodyear tires with additional warranty for my Pontiac Bonneville from National Tire and Battery - NTB two years ago.

There has been an on-going shaking problem for 9-12 months; I have visited various NTB locations off-and-on and they have not been able to fix it, despite multiple rotation, balance and alignment.

The tire thread is very good and so is the appearance, although when my Pontiac dealer looked at them, they called them "dry-rotted". Moreover, my Pontiac dealer performed a Road-force test (for which they charged me $100) and they claim all four tires are severly out-of-spec/bad.

The dealer suggested wholesale replacement. NTB subsequently checked out the tires again and now claims it is not the tires causing the shake, but my wheels. According to NTB I have 1 severely bent wheel and two other mildly "bent" wheels.

I have 85,000 miles on my car but I take good care of my car and have never heard of bent wheels with no apparent cause. I can account for one when I went over a curb, but not three "bent" wheels.

NTB has refused to stand behind their warranty to fix my problem/replace the tires, until/unless I replace all "bent" wheels.


I had expected NTB to at least replace the two front tires--the most bent one they placed in the rear, but it has made no difference.

What is my recourse?


Editorial Comment:  What a puzzle Perry presents.

If the wheels are suspect, but not confirmed as the cause, my inclination would be to try to confirm or reject them as being the problem.

Somehow, perhaps from an auto wrecker, or a car dealer, it might be possible to get 4 wheels, with tires from a car which has no problem. Borrow these and install on the car and do a test drive.

If there is a noticeable difference, then you know the problem is some combination of the wheels and the tires. If there is no difference there is some mechanical defect with the car.

Next, try mounting the old tires on the loaner wheels, ideally one at a time. If there is any difficulty in getting these tires balanced, you'd know the tires are defective, but if they are balanced without problem, and then result in a test drive without vibration you have proven that the problem lies in the wheels.

Of course all this experimenting will be time consuming and may cost enough that your simplest solution might be to simply buy replacement wheels to start, and you may have to replace at least some of the tires in the process.

Tires can be damaged because of mechanical defects in a vehicle (including faulty wheels).

Most manufacturers will guarantee their tires to be free of defects, but they can hardly be expected to replace a tire which becomes damaged because there is a defect in the vehicle.

TG



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Tire Concerns: What is causing pitting in tire?

by Rich
( Boston)

what are the holes

what are the holes

In the image provided the tires are less than 2 years old.



Editorial Comment:

The image provided appears to be a motorcycle tire which apparently has irregular pitting in the central part of the tread.

Unfortunately there is no other detail provided which might help to diagnose the cause of this.

It might prove useful to know the tire brand and modle and how many miles it has been used and under what conditions ... especially anything extreme or unusual. Also, I'd want to know if this only appeared on one tire, or if there are signs of a similar condition on the other tire of the cycle.

If it is appearing on both the tires it would raise the likelihood that this has happened because of some driving/riding conditions that the bike has been exposed to. If it is only on one tire, it would make it more possible that there could be a failure in the tire itself which might be because of materials or manufacturing.

In any case you might wish to show the tire to an experienced tire technician, especially one who has been trained in warranty inspection, since a diagnosis using just a photo and no other information is highly speculative.

TG

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Wheel vibration between 50mph and 55mph

by Sam
(St. Petersburg, FL)

Tire balancing

Tire balancing

I had installed a set of Michelin Primacy tires on a 97 Mercedes S420. They were excellent tires and I was very happy with the ride.

I had them rotated about 6000 mi. I have had them rebalanced 3 times and I still have a vibration problem coming through the sterring wheel, but only when I reach 52mph and it goes away at about 57mph.

The last time they were balanced the tire shop put weights on the outside of the rim (ugly) and it still has not made a difference. I have no idea what could be causing this or what to do. It is obvious to me that the tire store has no clue either. Any information would help.


Editorial Comment:
Sometimes problems like the one you describe are difficult to diagnose.


You did the right thing in checking the balance on the tires, since this is the most common cause of a vibration problem that you feel through the steering wheel, and also the fastest and least expensive solution, if tire balance is the cause.


Now that you've eliminated tire balance as the cause you have to suspect something which is more serious and difficult to repair. It is likely some mechanical defect, such as wheel bearings but you're going to need to have a mechanic look at it now.


I agree with you about the uglyness of the weights on the outside of your wheel, it may have been a sloppy job, but without having seen the wheels in question and the balance problem that was corrected, I can't really say that the tire technician was at fault.



TG



By the way, do you make a habit of checking your tires, at least monthly? If not,Tire Chek will remind you.



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Tire Concerns: Tire Bubbles cause by improper installation.

by Kent
(Chicago, IL USA)

Went to an NTB shop to have my valve stems replaced. Tires had no prior bubbles because there was no indication of steering wheel shaking and so on. Was called in to the work area only to be shown a pair of bubbles right under the valve stem.

It may have been caused by running my BMW 750Li into a pot hole(it was insinuated)! Not possible because BMWs are not driven like that! We, BIMMERS, cheerish our cars, and respect them.

I instructed the mechanic to replace the bubbled up one with the one in the trunk. I was called again to be shown another bubble on a new Turanza by Bridgestone.

I have lost a total of three tires at this particular NTB shop in Matteson, Illinois.

I noticed that when the tires were being installed on the wheel,no friction reducing agent was applied to tire's edges, and on the rim of the wheel to make it "pop" easily in the cause of inflating the tire to make it sit properly in the wheel. The 'mechanic' worked against the frictional force between tire and wheel to make it "pop" by over-inflation.

Since every tire has the capacity to contain a maximum pressure specified by the manufacturer, when you exceed that pressure, damage to the tire would occur in different ways.

Damage to my three Turanza tires were manifested as described above. I am seeking replacement tires from that NTB shop. It is not only pot-holes that can cause bubbles on the side of tires, inexperienced mechanics can do that too by over-inflation.



Editorial Comment:

It is unfortunate that no photo was provided to show the location and the exact nature of the bubbles which have been described.

It would seem that these are portions of the sidewall that are appearing above the rest of the surface.

There are two "normal" causes of this kind of problem, one of them is produced by an impact of an external object against the sidewall which causes the cords that are embedded in the tire wall to break.

The other--much less frequent--cause is a separation of the cords that usually is associated with some problem in the manufacturing process. This kind of problem generally produces a bubble that has a very distinct form compared to the previous one.

The use of high pressure to seat a tire on the rim is a common practice and the momentary high pressure is not something I've ever seen damage a tire in many years in the business. I wouldn't be pleased to see a tire being mounted without using a lubricant to help in the mounting, but I doubt if it would cause damage to a tire of this nature. All this would do would be make the job of the tire technician much more laborious.

If you are certain that there is no way that some external damage has provoked this problem, you might wish to have the tire inspected for a warranty defect and if you're suspecting that the dealer's staff might be mishandling the tires, I'd suggest you take the damaged tires to another authorized Bridgestone dealer to have them submit them to a warranty inspector.

Keep in mind, however, that a warranty inspection of this nature might involve cutting the tire open to determine the extent and nature of internal damages and this will make the tire completely useless to you and without any satisfaction if there is no manufacturer's defects discovered.

If they discover negligence in installing the tires, this would be a different issue and you might have some backup to get some satisfaction from your original dealer.

Apart from having the tires inspected in a way that might render them useless, if the bubbling is small, you still may be able to get some use from these tires by keeping them as spare tires to be used in temporary short periods when you suffer a flat and need to get to a nearby repair facility.



TG

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about? Intermittant (uneven) tire wear

by Alliemaw
(San Antonio Texas)

Cupping or Scalloping

Cupping or Scalloping

2008 Chevy Malibu, had it since last Thursday.

Heard some noise in the back end ... repetitive, vibrating increased/decrease as we increased/ decreased speed. I looked at the tires ... all new, except that the rear passenger tire has intermittent uneven wear on the OUTSIDE edge only. I haven't seen anything like that, so I thought I'd get some ideas ... thinking it might be called scalloping?

Other than have the tire re-balanced, what else should we look out for ... if we replace the tire and this happens on the replacement tire, we'll know it's something else, but what other things could be causing this?



Editorial Comment:

Some people call this condition "cupping" and the most typical cause of this is a deficiency in balancing. It can also be caused by a problem with the suspension system, so when you're in the shop you might want to have them check out the shock absorber for leaks.

Before balancing, if you want to save the cost of possibly doing that where is isn't necessary, try putting on the spare tire and see if the vibration goes away. If it does, you know for sure that it's the tire, not a more general mechanical cause.

TG


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Tire Concerns: Balancing tires without expensive equipment

by Thomas Payne
(Columbus, Ohio, USA)

modern tire balancing

modern tire balancing

Is there a way one can balance a tire without the use of an expensive balancing machine? My father said that 'back in the day' they used a method quite different than the modern method using a computerized machine. How was it done then?



Editorial Comment:

Your father is probably remembering what is called the "bubble balancers" which was commonly used in those "olden-days".

In fact some of these machines I believe are still available for purchase, and may be used but for today's cars and driving conditions they are not of much value.

The limitation of the bubble balancer is that it only measures the relative weight of a wheel in a resting position while it is laying on its side.

Remember that wheels are operated in a vertical position and the vibration which is produced by them happens when the wheel is spinning, not when it is at rest.

Today's sophisticated equipment not only can detect an imbalance of as little as 1/4 ounce (or less) but it will pinpoint the exact place on the wheel where that weight is missing so that it can be compensated for at a high speed.

If you'd like to read more about this see
tire-balancing
TG

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Sidewall cracks in Bridgestone Turanza Tire

by Jose Caesar
(Butuan City, Philippines)

Cracks on Bridgestone Turanza Tire

Cracks on Bridgestone Turanza Tire

I live in the Philippines and in March 2008, I installed a new pair of Bridgestone Turanza ER60 185/70 R13 tires (Made in Thailand) on my Hyundai Elantra sedan.

In August 2008, I discovered numerous cirumferential cracks on the tire wall of one of the tires. Though the cracks did not go trough to the interior, I decided to have it replaced at the tire dealer where I bought the tires thinking I would get a free warranty replacement.

To my surprise, the store owner did not replace the tires saying it was not a factory defect and that was the first time for them to see that kind of tire failure.

They said it must have been caused by a sharp object hitting the tire wall.

My concern now is seeking the truth as to what caused the cracks. I hope you can help me. Am attaching pictures of the tires.


Editorial Comment: 

It is difficult to make an absolutely accurate diagnosis from seeing a photo, but I will try to make some sense of this.

To start, the lines which are marked in the photo appear to be too smooth and continuous, to be simple cracks. The top one almost seems to me to be like a cut, while the others are less pronounced.

If this were a separation of different layers of the tire's construction caused by a poor bonding between the layers, I'd expect to see one single line where you could actually distinguish one layer from the other

The way in which tires are made makes it unlikely that a number of lines of this nature would appear in this area of the tire, especially if they appeared after the tire had been put into use. If you ever have a chance to visit a tire factory, you could see this yourself.

At this point I'd tend to agree with the dealer's assessment that this was damage cause by some kind of mechanical action of something external rubbing or pressing on the tire as it rotated.

I know it's not a pleasant surprize to have an almost new tire damaged but if the damage was entirely superficial, and non of the tire's cords were damaged I'd suggest that you still might be able to use this tire with caution -- for example keep it to be used as a spare for short-term temporary use.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Correct tire pressure

by Tom
(USA)

I have a Ford 350 Cargo van dually that's been converted to a camper (fridge, stove, etc.--heavy).

I have Load Range "E" tires (max psi 80 lbs). I've tried to get an answer to what pressure to run. I've been told everything from 55 font/65 rear ... to 65 front/80 lbs in rear. And all from tire specialists at tire stores. Does anyone know what pressure I should use?



Editorial Comment:

From the information you've provided here, I doubt that anyone could give you the correct tire pressure, but I can give you some information that will help you discover the answer.

First, to tell you the correct tire pressure, we would need to know the size of the tires and the weight which is being carried on each axle. This would involve taking the vehicle to a weigh station or finding the weight in some other way.

Another way to get the correct tire pressure is to visit a friendly dealer who specializes in the tires you're now using and asking them to provide you with the technical specifications of that tire. In them, you want to find the working diameter or working radius of those tires. The working radius is always 1/2 of the diameter.

The working diameter or radius is the measurement that the tire should have when it is working under load. So now you need to load up your vehicle the way you will be using it.

When you know the working radius you then measure the distance from the ground to the center of each wheel. If the distance is less than the working radius, you need to add air. If it is more, then you remove air until you reach exactly that same measurement.

Then you measure the air pressure in the tire and that is the air pressure which you need to run on your vehicle. It is possible that the front and rear tires will have different pressure, and if your load isn't evenly balanced you might even have different pressure on either side. (You might want to re-balance your load if this is a great difference) As long as these pressures don't exceed the maximum pressure which is stamped on your tire sidewall, you're OK.

(And next time you ask a question, enter it as a new topic and not as a comment to someone else's question ... this might have gone for a long time without an answer if I hadn't found it by accident.)

TG



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Where to measure tire tread depth

by Brendan
(Glenside, PA)

Using a penny to check tire tread depth

Using a penny to check tire tread depth

My mechanic told me my 2 back tires would barely pass inspection and I need to replace them soon.

I did the penny trick in the center most tread and it went well below the top of Abe Lincoln's head. Now if I did in in the treads closer to the outside of the tire, it didn't reach the top of his head, but I don't ever remember those treads being that deep to begin with. The tires I use are Goodyear Infinity.


Editorial Comment: 

Your mechanic is likely giving you good advice.

From your description the shoulders of your tires are worn more than the center of the tread, which is a sign of having been run with under-pressure, otherwise the tread depth would be the same across the tire. See Wear Problems.

All tires have the same tread depth across the entire width of the tire when they're new.

When you are checking the tire tread depth, it's a good practice to check each shoulder and the center of the tread, as well as two or three points around the circumference of the tire. If the depth of the tread is not consistent, it's a sign that there's something not working correctly that needs to be corrected.

If you check your tires regularly, you can often detect this irregular wear early enough that you don't ruin a good set of tires before their time. We offer a monthly email to remind you to check your tires, if you'd like. See Tire Chek, if you're interested.



TG

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Tire tread worn in center

by Donna
(Owasso, OK 74055)

Tire tread worn in center due to overinflation

Tire tread worn in center due to overinflation

My back tires have gone bald in the middle but my outside tread is good. The tires are only 1 year old. My vehicle is rear wheel driven.

I was told this is due to overinflation. I have only had tire shops put air in my tires. I have never put air in them myself. I have 12,400 miles on the vehicle. The tires have been rotated 4 times.


Editorial Comment:  As far as I can tell from your description, you have been informed correctly. Excessive wear in the center of the tread is almost always due to overinflation.

You state that tire shops have always checked your tire pressure. Partly, I'm wondering if it has always been the same shop and the same person ... if so, I'd keep that person away from my car.

Also 4 rotations in only 12,500 miles is bordering on the excessive, but if this has been done in a tire shop, and examining your tires for unusual wear each time they were rotated, this might have been detected before it became a critical situation.

You didn't mention what kind of vehicle this is. If it was a vehicle which might have been carrying a heavy load when the pressure was checked, and then you drove most of the time without that load, that is a possible explanation as to why your tires were being overinflated.

Still, a regular inspection of the tires, at least every time they are rotated, will help you make adjustments in pressure so that tires wear more evenly and last longer.



TG


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Tire Sidewall Buldges

by Ben
(Eagle Pass, TX)

Vertical Sidewall Budge

Vertical Sidewall Budge

I am driving a '04 Impala and I had someone point out that I have a bubble in the driver side rear tire.

I looked but couldn't see anything and he had me run my hand along the wall between the tred and the rim and you can feel a gap or indentation in there. Someone then told me that that is where the tire is bound together.

Is this something to be concerned with or to watch out for or is it nothing at all?

I did go to another car and feel the same thing only a little bit smaller.


Editorial Comment:  What you've described is not what tire experts consider to be a problem, such as what you see in the photo.

You were farily correctly informed about the indentation. Tires are made up out of a long strip which is formed into a circular shape and the two ends of the strip stuck together. It is often possible to feel the place where this join takes place, but it is seldom considered to be a defect in the tire.

If you feel, or see, a protrusion, such as the one in the photo, this could be the result of a separation of the the cords which are imbedded in the tire's sidewall. That is to say, at the point where the buldge occurs, the cords are farther apart than they should be.

Most of the time, especially if this is noticed in a new tire, it is a defect in the manufacturing process and the tire should be replaced.

If the buldge is egg-shaped or runs across the face of the tire rather than between the tread and the rim the cause is likely to be cords which have been damaged in the use of the tire. This is definitely a defect that can be dangerous and is a reason to change the tire (don't try to repair it) as soon as you notice it.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Effect of Installing Tires Backwards

by Marco
(Arnold, MD)

My Good Year Eagle RS-A tires were installed with the arrows facing backwards instead of frontwards. They were installed 12,000 miles ago.

I am getting the runaround, some dealers say the tires should be replaced that they have been compromised, others say they 'think' they might be okay if I turned them around. They are mounted on my Lexus RX330.

The tires were purchased and installed at a Good Year dealer, not Lexus.

I need to know if the tires should be replaced at this point, or will be operate efficiently if they are just reversed. Also, have the tires been affected by being installed backwards?

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Tire Concerns: Puncture and Abrasion Resistance.

by PJ Frazier
(Silver Creek, GA, USA)

2005 Dodge Ram 2500

2005 Dodge Ram 2500

No matter what I drive or what tires are on it, I always seem to have the worst luck with tires!

From nails, screws, even had a Ford Trunk key plunged to the head into an 8-ply D range radial! Torn lugs in the tread, gashes all over, currently have plugs in 2 of them and what's with the crazy sidewall dips/bulges?

Anyway, my situation is this. I drive a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 QuadCab 4x4 Diesel, weighs roughly 9,000lbs. and does get put to use towing and hauling massive amounts of firewood, however it is my daily driver and only leaves the pavement about 2,500 out of 12-15,000 miles per year. It was rolled off the assembly line with 265/70R17 E Michelin LTX A/S's.

It is currently rolling on a set of 315/70R17 D Cooper Discoverer ATR's. Probably got about 5,000-7,000 miles left on em. The D's are definitely not strong enough to support this truck so I will be going back to E's.

My question is this. The E's are 10-ply, but is there anyone who makes an F or even a G, in standard light-duty truck sizes? I have found 19.5" - 24.5" conversion kits, but I'm not into lifting the truck up just to get a stronger, yet unfortunately, taller tire on it. Causes way more problems than it will ever solve. I have always gotten really good longevity from my tires as far as treadwear is concerned, it's just that they seem to 'fail' me on remaining truly....how do I say this....'virgin rubber'? LOL!

They always get penetrated with foreign objects, and though I have them professionally repaired, it always lays heavy on my mind knowing that there is an even greater chance that I could have one blow out on me with my family in the truck now that it has been repaired!

I don't drive crazy and I don't abuse them, but I have never had a set that didn't have to be plugged atleast once! Is there anything I can do to deter this in the future, or is it simply 'Bad Luck'?


Editorial Comment:  It would seem that you're afflicted with some kind of tire-puncture karma, PJ, and just off the top of my head I can't really offer you any sure fire solution.


Possibly if you anlalyze your driving habits ... that is where you drive ... you may find that you are frequenting areas that have a lot higher amount of debris than the ordinary persons normally encounters.


If you discover this, maybe you might find some different routes that you could travel -- you know that we are often slaves to our own habits and by discovering these we might be able to change the results.


About your issue of higher load ratings for tires, you might want to try this link to Tire Rack and do a search for your vehicle's tires.



I played with the search results a bit but was unable to discover anything that came with a load rating greater than "E," but maybe you'll be able to do better.



TG



By the way, do you make a habit of checking your tires, at least monthly? If not, Tire Chek will remind you.



Stressed Out in Georgia

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Tire Concerns: rear tires wear in the middle

by HB
(Phx, Az)

wear vs pressure

wear vs pressure

I own a 2005 Chevy Silverado 2500HD regular cab. The rear tires wear in the middle.

I have decreased the air pressure to 30psi which helped some but still the middle gets bald. I have rotated the tires every 6,000 miles but all this has accomplished is making all four tires bald in the middle.

I am not comfortable decreasing the pressure any less than 30psi. I rarely have any weight in the bed. This truck has had the same problem with the factory set of tires and two sets of Big O tires.

Am I running low grade tires or is this a typical problem for this truck. I have owned several 3/4 ton trucks and never experienced this before.



Editorial Comment:

What you describe is the classic example of a tire being run with too much air pressure.

You've done the right thing in reducing the pressure to try to compensate, but you haven't done enough.

Why do you hesitate to lower the pressure below 30 psi? Where did you get this "magic number"?

Have you checked either the owner's manual for your vehicle or found the sticker on the door post which tells you the recommended pressure?

This information is a great starting point but may have to be modified a bit if you are not using the same size tires that are indicated on the sticker or the manual.

Many vehicles are designed to have different pressure on front and rear tires, all depending on the load your are carrying and the weight distribution of the vehicle.

The fact that you seldom carry a load is a good reason to have a lower pressure so that your rear tires wear evenly across the tread.

Exactly how much to reduce the pressure will depend on how fast they are wearing down with the excess, but I'd suggest trying a drop to 28psi to start and if that still is not correcting then go down another 2 psi.

There's a trick you can use to determine the ideal pressure if you know what is the right pressure in the front.

If the front tires are wearing correctly, measure the distance from the ground to the center of the axle, then go to the rear and measure again. You'll likely find that the rear axle is higher (because it is over pressure). Now, let out the air in the rear until you reach the same measurement you had in the front.

You are making the adjustment based on the working radius of the tire under pressure. All tires have an ideal working radius for which they were designed.

Remember to make your tests and measurements when the tires are cool, although because both the front and rear tires will be heating up approximately the same you could likely also do this at any time as long as you make both measurements within a few seconds of each other.

This kind of wear has nothing to do with the vehicle per se, nor with the kind of tire you are using.

TG

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Cause of Flat Tire

by craig
(ga)

What causes a Flat Tire?

What causes a Flat Tire?

There are sometimes strange reasons for a tire to go flat that aren't always obvious.

Consider the case of Craig, who says that "after every tire rotation one or two of my tires will go flat. I had the same problem with the original set, this is a new set of tires. I have had the tires checked, but no holes or leaks are evident."

Even new tires can go flat if there is damage to, or problems with the valves. For many professionals, it is standard practice to change the valves when you change tires, because they are so cheap.

Keeping valve covers on is also important, because all it takes is a grain of sand to cause a valve to leak.

A deformed wheel can also cause a problem which is particularly difficult to detect, because if the deformation is slight, or of a particular type, it may break the seal between the tire and the rim only when the tire is carrying the weight of the vehicle, and then only when it is parked in a certain position. For this reason, a tire which is tested in a tank of water for leaks, after it has been removed from the vehicle might not show any air escaping.

If this kind of problem is recurring, as seems to be the case in Craig's situation, I would be most suspicious of a wheel-related problem.

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Tire Concerns:Correct Tire Inflation

by joe

tire markings

tire markings

If the max psi shown on the sidewall of a tire (OEM or replacement) differs from a vehicle's labeling, which is the correct spec to follow and why?



Editorial Comment:

If you think about this for a moment, you could likely answer the question yourself, but here's an "official" answer.

The tire sidewall says "maximum pressure," not "normal" or "operating" pressure, and all it is telling you is that the tire is designed to have NO MORE than a certain pressure.

Now, any particular tire could be used on many different vehicles and for a great variety of different applications. Would it be likely that a tire manufacturer could tell --in advance-- what vehicle and use that tire is going to end up in? Of course not, so, if you want to know what is best for your specific vehicle, you need to be guided by what the manufacturer of the vehicle tells you.

This information is usually found in the users manual and also in a sticker which is placed on the door post of the driver's side door.

What the vehicle maker will specify will likely be LESS than the maximum tire pressure which is stamped on the tire sidewall. If it is not, you may have to change to a different tire, since the tire must be able to resist at least as much pressure as the vehicle is designed to operate with.
TG

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Cause of tyre vibration

by Musaab Al-Subaie
(jubail-KSA)

Tire Balancing

Tire Balancing

I have a 2004 toyota camry and changed my tyres changed two weeks ago. My old tyres had 70,000 km on them and were noisy and vibrated at 80 kph and above. Now the car has a new Pirelli P6000 purchased from the Pirelli dealler.

I balanced the wheels four times and still have a noticeable vibration. It occurs from 110 kph and over. I am in need of your advice. Are the tyres defective or what?



Editorial Comment: 
If your tires have been balanced using a dynamic balancer, and show no vibration in the balancing machine, then you can eliminate the tires as being defective, along with the wheels.

If the balancing was done using a "static" or bubble balancing where the wheel is not being rotated at high speed, then there could be a fault in the wheels because this problem was evident before the tires were changed.

Very rarely tires will arrive from the factory with defects which could cause vibration, but these would be difficult to balance, and from your description this does not sound like the tires are the cause of the problem.

Since this problem was apparent before the tires were changed, it would make more sense to suspect that you have a mechanically caused problem.

The things you would want to examine are wheel alignment, and possibly defects in wheel bearings.



TG


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Balancing tires

by Margaret
(Calgary, Canada)

Wheel Balancing Weight

Wheel Balancing Weight

I recently purchased tires from one shop and had them put on rims and balanced there.

About a month later I was at another shop to get an oil change, where they informed me that the balancing on my tires was done incorrectly, as there were 10 weights on one rim alone, and that the maximum number of weights on a tire shoudl be two!

The second shop said I should go back to the first shop and have the work re-done, properly this time. I'm sure you can predict what happened at the first shop, who told me that the second shop was incorrect, and that becuase of bends in the rim, etc.

Can you tell me who is right?

Internet Web Directory: Human Edited Directory

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Tire Concerns: Bad Vibration At Higher Speeds

by Unknown
(USA)

Ford F150

Ford F150

I have a 2007 F150 with a 6 inch lift. Recently put on new tires 37x12R17. I have a very bad vibration when driving over 55. Rotated the tires and have had them balanced. Seems to be getting worse. What else can I do?



Editorial Comment:

It seems to me that you're having a problem that appears to be happening more and more as vehicles are coming out with larger wheels.

This kind of vibration is still typically related to a balance problem, although there are sometime other causes which are of a mechanical nature. The fact that you have this problem after changing tires is a good reason to suspect that it is tire-related and not mechanical.

It is EXTREMELY rare to have 4 new tires all be defective when they are new, but this is a last resort possibility to consider too.

There is a new kind of balancer which is avalaible that is very costly and not at all shops. This is called a Road Force Balancer and this is what may help detect the cause of the problem you have and balance your tires to deal with it.

Tires CAN slip after they have been mounted, sometimes because of a hard braking or strong acceleration, other times because of a lubricant being used in mounting the tires which remains slippery so that you can have the tire perfectly balanced, go out for a drive, and start feeling vibration after awhile.

There's an extensive discussion in a forum at:

tundrasolutions.com/forums/tires-and-wheels/12447-wheel-tire-vibration

in which one driver had a long drawn out affair trying to solve exactly this problem. You might find it worthwhile reading it.

TG


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Tire Concerns: Wheel vibration between 60 - 70 mph

by sergio
(bethesda md)

typical tire balancer

typical tire balancer

I bought 2 19inch tires and have had them balanced twice but my car still vibrates between 60 & 70 mph.



Editorial Comment:

Several things can cause vibration to appear only at certain speeds, although balancing is the most common cause.

To discover the cause you need to eliminate various possible causes one at a time until you finally have one which persists no matter what you do... then you know what the cause is.

You could start by moving these tires, mounted on the present wheels, to a different location on your vehicle. For example, if you have them on the front, move them to the back. If the problem becomes less, you know the problem is at least connected with the tire/wheel combination. If the problem persists, then you need to suspect something with your suspension, bearings, etc.

If you are certain there seems to be a problem with the wheel/tire combination, try mounting the tires on different wheels. For example put these tires on the other two wheels that you did not change and see if the vibration goes to the other wheels where you put the new tires, or did the vibration stay with the wheels where you mounted the older tires. This would tell you there's a possible defect in the wheels.

There could be some damage in the new tires, such as a deformation caused by an impact, or a separation of cords or other manufacturing defect. This would be most evident in the case that it was absolutely impossible to balance these tires in any way when they're off the vehicle.

TG


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Tire Concerns: tire dry rot

by Don
(Tampa Bay, Florida)

My Michelin LTX M/S (99S) tires were purchased about 4 1/2 years ago for a Toyota RAV4L. This car is driven everyday at least 50 miles. A dealer has commented that they need to be replaced due to dry rot. DRY ROT? They look fine to me. Can tires get dry rot that are used everyday?
I live in Tampa Bay Area of Florida and would like to know if the tire dealer is being truthful or just trying to sell a set of tires.

I did not take any pictures because I could not locate any cracks, etc on the tires to photograph.

Comment:

Dry Rot in tires is usually a result of exposure to heat and UV rays, and not necessarily affected by the amount of use a tire has. Since you are in a hotter, sunnier area of the country you should expect to have to deal with this issue more than other areas.

Some dry rot may start to form inside of the tire, and not be visible on the exterior, so I'd be wondering how the dealer determined that there was dry rot beginning. On the other hand, he may be noticing fine cracks that you would not pay any attention to as showing the beginning. If I were you, I would at least ask the dealer to show you how they came to that conclusion.

Another question is how much tread do you have left on your tires … at around 4 1/2 years with normal use, I'd guess that your tires should be getting near to their useful tread life, so trying to squeeze a few more miles out of the tire might be less important than being sure that your tires are going to serve you faithfully and not end up with a blowout at an inconvenient time.

Also, take into account the kind of driving you are doing. If you are driving long distances at highway speeds you certainly need to be more cautious than if you are making short trips in urban areas at slow speeds. In the latter case, you are not likely to suffer a blowout and even if you did the consequences wouldn't be nearly as difficult to contend with.

TG

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Tire pressures on E rated/10ply on 2010 Toyota Tundra

by John
(Central New Hampshire)

Hi, I have a 2010 toyota tundra, dbl cab ,4x4, 4.6l V-8, I need to know what the correct inflation pressure would be if I switched the Factory Michelin 255/70x18 tires(well worn) to the Toyo Open Country A/T E-rated, 10 ply tire. I will be upsizing to 275/70 x18. The Door plate recommends 30 frt and 33psi rr for the Michelins, although those aren't 10 ply. I want to be safe, and couldn't find the correct info on Toyo Tire's site. Can You Help?

Comment:

There's a very complicated way of doing this and a simple way.

I'm not going to give you the details of the complicated way, because I'm not sure that I could do it myself, but basically it is based on measuring how much air will fit into your recommended tire when compressed to the recommended pressure and then calculate how many psi you need to put the same amount of air into the replacement tire.

A simpler way is to recognize that all tires are engineered to have what is called a "working diameter." This means, what the diameter of the tire is when it is carrying the load it is designed to carry and inflated.

Ask your dealer what is the working diameter of the new tire you want to use and when you mount it on your vehicle, measure the distance from the ground to the centre of your axle. If you find the distance is less than half the working diameter (you've measured the radius), then you need to add air, if it is greater, then let some air out. When the distance you measure is the same as half the working diameter, that is the air pressure you need to use. Get a permanent marker, and write this on the door post beside the driver and you will have it there to refer to at any time you need it.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Is there such a thing as interior tire damage?

Can tires cause the car to shimmy? If so can the cause be shredding tires which is not visible from the outside of the tire? And if this is the case (shredding tires from the inside) should the tires always be replaced, or can they still be repaired?

Comments:

There certainly is such a thing as interior tire damage.

The most common cause of interior damage is running the tires with too little air pressure. This lowered pressure causes the tire to flex much more which increases the tire's temperature far beyond the level which it is designed to resist. The combination of big temperature and flexing, causes the inside of the tire to deteriorate much like an eraser shreds when you use it and these shreds of rubber will be seen when the tire is unmounted. This CANNOT be repaired and the tire is unsafe to use when this occurs.

The lowered air pressure likely made the car feel unstable … most typically swaying too much from side to side when you moved the steering wheel slightly from side to side. This is likely what you described as shimmying.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Tubes in my tubeless tires

Swimrings modled after tire tubes.

Swimrings modled after tire tubes.

Can I use tubes in my tubeless tires, size 195/65R15.



Editorial Comment:

It is possible to use inner tubes in tubeless tires, but it is not recommended.

The reason why it is not a good idea to use tube in tubeless tires is a safety issue. If you ever get even a minor perforation which reaches the tube, you will lose all the pressure immediately and your tire will be destroyed, possibly with disastrous consequences if you are traveling at any speed.

Tubeless tires, have an inner layer that acts like a tube but which can temporarily seal a tire if it is punctured and either the object stays in the tire, or if the hole is fairly small. This can allow the tire to deflate slowly without any sudden change which could affect your handling.

Besides, if the tire has some other damage which is too large to fix using an acceptable patch, then using a tube in that tire is still going to allow that damage to continue to admit dirt, oil and other contaminants which will work away at further deteriorating the strength and integrity of that tire.

If you have some reason that you feel it is imperative to use a tube in a tubeless tire, my recommendation is to use that tire only as a spare tire which you would use to get yourself out of a tough situation and get to a repair shop as soon as possible so that a regular tire may be put back into service. Do not rely on a tubeless tire with an inner tube for regular, continuous use.


TG

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Tire Concerns: how much air do I put in a 215/65 15 tire

Im not sure how much air I should put in a tire that is 215/65 15. The dealer tag on car door says 34 back and 32 front. is this correct?

Comment: Your are concerned about the correct air pressure for a 215/65 R 15 tire.

The correct air pressure is not directly dependent on the size of the tire, but the weight which it is expected to carry and this is usually determined by the car maker.

Many manufacturer's will place a sticker on the driver's door post or inside the glove compartment which carries the correct pressure for the vehicle when it is used in the way it was designed to be used. The reason why front and back tires might have different pressures is that those wheels may have different loads, perhaps because of the weight of the engine, or for other reasons.

This is also why some vehicles may carry different pressures for loaded and unloaded conditions. This is particularly true in some light truck or other vehicles which are designed to carry certain amounts of weight at one time and may be empty at other times. Ideally, you would adjust your air pressure each time you load and unload the vehicle. This, of course, doesn't happen all the time, and this explains why cargo vehicles have more frequent tire failure than others.

So the dealer is correct … follow the pressures which are on the sticker. Do not put in the Maximum pressure which is stamped on the side of a tire. This is there to warn users that they must not operate that tire with more pressure. Most of the time the sticker pressure will be considerably lower than the maximum for a tire.

I hope this answers your question about air pressure.

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Tire Concerns: Excessive wear to outside tread on front tires after towing

by David
(Spring Hill, FL)


I have a 2006 Ford F-150 Lariat, frequently I tow a 30 "travel trailer (RV) and have noticed after returning home (on the F-150) that the outside tread of my front tires have excessive wear; what is the cause of this problem?

Comment:

You might find it helpful to read our article on Tire Wear Problems.

Usually a problem with excessive wear on only one shoulder of the tread is caused by alignment issues. In your case, you may have an alignment issue which is possibly not as noticeable when you are traveling without any load, or you may have only noticed it now after your trip.

It may be difficult to adjust your alignment under load to be the same as it is without, in which case you'd have to resort to other ways of making the wear more even such as taking your tires off the rims and flipping them over every few hundred miles so that the other shoulder will wear in the same way.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Does parking on dirt deteriorate tires?

by Sheila Stark
(Virginia Beach, VA)

If I park my trailer on dirt (or grass) will this cause my tires to deteriorate more quickly than parking on concrete?



Editorial Comment:

An interesting question.

I'm not aware of any investigation that has been done which would answer your question absolutely, but it has long been established that the best storage conditions for tires is a cool, dark location. (At least not receiving direct sunlight.)

Common sense tells us that a grassy area might be cooler and less subject to direct sunlight than plain concrete, but it might be wetter, or have more moisture.

We should be clear about whether you are thinking of long-term parking or just a short stop. It's the long-term thing that will cause the most opportunity for deterioration. In that case you'd be best to put the vehicle on blocks and cover the tires to protect them from sunlight, but for short term parking I wouldn't worry much about it.

TG


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Tire Concerns: tire wear pattern

i have an 1994 ford econoline 150, alot of miles on it. both of my front tires are worn on the inside down to the point of steel belts showing. the outside of both, the tread is like new. what causes the type of wear pattern?

Comments:

See our article on Tire Wear Problems.

It sounds like you have a classic case of mis alignment. Since the belts are showing, you need to replace these tires ASAP. If you had noticed it somewhat sooner but inspecting your tires regularly you might have been able to squeeze extra life out of these tires by remounting them the other way round on the same wheels so that the other shoulders would be worn down in an similar fashion.


A quick visual inspection of your tires every week or two can go a long way in detecting abnormal wear, and getting problems fixed before they end up in a major expense.

TG

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Tire Concerns:UNEVEN TIRE WEAR

by Wes
(SOCAL)

tHE TIRES HAVE UNEVEN WEAR. Why? (97 Carolla) Alignment issue? 88k on the ODO.


Comment:

The most common reason for uneven wear is a problem with alignment, although there can be other issues, some just as simple as too much or too little air pressure. It depends on how the wear is uneven.

Take a look at Tire Wear Problems to get a better idea.

Alignment is something that isn't necessarily affected by mileage. Just one good blow with a pothole or a curb, for example, can ruin the alignment on even a brand new vehicle where as one which is driven slowly on perfect roads can go many thousands of miles with no change in alignment.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Should a partial puncture be repaired or ignored?

by Freddy Harks
(Atlanta GA USA)

My tires are Toyo Proxes A20 P225/45 R18 91W
They are original equipment on my Lexus HS250h
Current mileage is 20K miles. Tread wear is moderate.

I picked up a small screw (approx 1/2 inch long) in RF tire. The damage occurred in the tire tread area about one inch from the outside wall.

I drove to a tire sales/repair shop (national brand store). The man there tested with soap spray and found no bubbles. He then removed the screw and tested again, and there were still no bubbles. So he said there was no need to do anything, since the puncture had not been deep enough to cause a leak.

Is this good advice?

Comment:

Thank you for providing such a clear and complete description of your situation.

I would tend to agree with the person who tested your tire, both in the way the testing was done and with his conclusion.

All tires received all kinds of abuse as a normal part of the wear and tear which they are subjected to and designed to withstand, and if you were to examine most tires with a magnifying glass after they had been in use for awhile (and sometimes without magnification, too) you would see all kinds of cuts and holes in the tread blocks.

It is only when a cut or hole penetrates beyond the inner liner of the tire and punctures it that there is a likelihood that you could suffer a loss of air pressure. That is the time that you need to apply a patch or a plug (or both) to be able to continue using the tire without risk.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Lightning damage to tires

by John
(Warkworth, Ontario, Canada)

My son's truck was struck by lightning recently, frying the electrics and causing slight melting on all 4 tires where it went to ground. The tires didn't deflate, but I'm concerned that the tires are compromised and tread could separate etc. at high speed. His insurance company is giving him a hard time about replacement. Tires are Goodyear SR-A 265-60-18 with about 35% tread left.



Editorial Comment:

You do have an unusual situation ... one that I have frankly never had to deal with. That being said, I will try to give you some thoughts that might be useful.

First, is that heat is the number one enemy of tires and the fact that there was some melting suggests to me that there may have been something that would -- at least potentially -- have damaged these tires and possibly make them unsafe for use.

Next, although tires are normally considered to be an insulator, the high amount of electricity involved and the fact that tires contain steel wires, suggest to me there is another possibility that there could be internal damage to the tires.

My suggestion is that you contact GoodYear, or an authorized dealer and ask them to refer your situation to someone in their laboratory for assistance.

I'd also be interested in learning the outcome if you are able to get assistance from the lab.

TG

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Tire Concerns: What exactly is a ruined tire?

by Manuel
(Oxnard, CA, USA)

A screw flattened my sister's tire. How long she drove on it flat we do not really know, but it did leave a ring mark on the sidewall. I took it home, removed the screw, plugged the hole, filled it and re-installed. She's been driving it in town for a week now. Is it still safe to drive, say on the freeway, or even as she has been, around town? Tire pressure seems to be holding.




Editorial Comment:

It is hard to comment on the safety of your tire without actually inspecting it, although the fact that it retains pressure may seem like a positive.

If you did not dismount the tire and inspect its interior, this would be my first recommendation. Usually, if a tire has become unsuitable for driving because it has been run too long without enough air, you will find a considerable amount of residue (actually ground-up rubber) inside the tire.

If there is very little, or no residue inside the tire, it may be that the tire is still suitable for continued use, but until you can check this out, my recommendation would be to switch this for your spare tire and use that to get you to the nearest tire shop where you can have it inspected.

I would not recommend driving at highway speeds on this tire until you have made sure it is safe for continued use. At slow speeds the hazard of losing control of the vehicle due to a sudden blow out is much less, and if your trips are very short the tire may never heat up enough to suffer a blow out.

TG

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Do tires have a wear-in period?

by Andy
(Bolton, MA)

pirelli tire

pirelli tire

I have an LR3 and just replaced the stock tires with Pirelli ATRs. I have heard that you are supposed to drive carefully for the first 500 miles on new tires to ensure normal wear/performance. Is this true/ will driving the tire hard on pavement during the first 500 miles damage it?


Editorial Comment:

In my opinion, you should drive carefully ALL the time, regardless of your tire's age or anything else!

In all the years I've been associated with the tire business, I've never heard of any recommendation to break-in a tire by driving differently for a period after you have had them installed.

Perhaps the source of this idea comes from the advice that new vehicles used to advise their owners to take special precautions when they first acquire it, but for tires, this is a concept I'm not aware of, nor can I think of any logical reason why this would make sense.


TG

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Tire Concerns: Hankook and DunlopTires develop bubble and tread separation at 30,000 miles

by Dee Lampson
(Fontana, Ca)

Bought a 2007 FORD E350 Diesel XLT Cargo Van new with Factory Hankook Dyna Pro LT245/75R16 tires.

Between 30,000 and 45,000 every tire including my spare developed a bubble and tire separation down the center. Very little tread wear, no uneven wear.

I bought new tires Dunlop E Rover A/T Lt245/75R16 and now have burned out 3 out of those new tires as well. My load is about 1500-2000 lbs and is even. My concern is that even though the factory and the replacements are E 10 ply rated, they are not heavy duty enough to handle the weight and distance driving.

Ford has not been much help. Now the Van has developed a "body roll" driving condition and they are looking at the tires. I have had the bushings replaced and a alignment. Helpful but not the solution to the tire issue or the handling issue.

Any thoughts? Any one have the same problems with their tires. Recommendations on a good beefier tire?



Editorial Comment:

It seems to me that the tires show the symptoms of the problem, but they are not THE PROBLEM.

Exactly what is causing this unusual tire problem is hard to determine from what we know so far. It could be some mechanical effect, a problem with the vehicle design, something to do with the environment in which it is used or the road conditions, perhaps even the way the vehicle is being driven. Possibly even a combination of all of these.

One thing to look at, however, would be your shock absorbers. These may be worn and the mileage you indicate would be the range in which many shocks start to fail.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Sidewall indentations and protrusions

by Grant
(Florida)

I bought a set of Goodyear Assurance 265/70R16 tires for my daughter's xTerra. My wife noticed that there are indentations in the sidewall and small bulges. I don't see any recall and we took them back to Sears (they are only 2 months old) and they said that this is an acceptable appearance for radials. I have never noticed this before so I started looking at other tires in the parking lot. Couldn't find it anywhere else. Is this a problem? Should I replace these tires? Who do you complain to if this IS a problem?


Editorial Comment:

I was trained to be a Warranty Inspector by Goodyear and "small bulges" that you describe do not sound "normal" to me but I would need to physically inspect the tire to go further than that or to diagnose this as a defective tire.

Most tire defects, which are a result of poor materials or workmanship in the factory are likely to show up in the first while the tires are used … which is your case, however there could be other explanations, too, which apply to your tire. If your tires were older, the cause would more likely be something which happened after it was put into use. Some manufacturing defects actually need the tire to be cut open to confirm but the symptoms are normally quite clear.

If Sears doesn't give you a reasonable response, I'd suggest you take your vehicle to a Goodyear distributor, or contact Goodyear's customer service yourself for further instructions on how to have an inspection for a warranty claim. It may be helpful to get a written report of each inspection to establish that you have identified and acted on the condition at an early stage.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Tire Dressings

by Al
(Virginia)

Meguilar All Season Dressing

Meguilar All Season Dressing

I hear pros and cons about tire dressings on the internet. What is the scoop about water-based vs. solvent-based tire dressings. Some folks say that solvent based dressings are destructive to tires. For example, I've seen specific mention of Polydimethylsiloxane, which is the primary ingredient in, say, Meguiar's All Season Dressing. Meguiar's insists that ASD is perfectly safe for tires.

So what's the scientific scoop?

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Tire Concerns: Un-even front tire wear

by Donald J. Hosier
(Fort Atkinson Wi.)

The inside of the passenger side front tire is wareing down to the cords while the outside has ample tread. The outside of the driver side front tire is wareing down to the cords while the inside has ample tread. How do I fix this problem?

Comment:

You have a severe and typical problem with your alignment. See Tire Wear Problems. If you are regularly inspecting your tires you should be able to notice this kind of wear difference before it becomes critical and still get more use out of your tires by doing a rotations. Now you have two problems you need to fix. 1) You need to align your car and 2) you have to replace 2 tires.

After this experience you may understand why we are constantly reminding people to inspect their tires and do regular rotations.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Estimating Tire Life

by Brittany
(davenport, fl)

typical wearbars

typical wearbars

I drive 120 miles a day and I am buying rims with tires already on them and I want to know how long they will last. They have 50% tread left.


Editorial Comment:

It would be impossible to precisely estimate tire life from the information given, or probably in any event because there are a number of things that will affect the time a tire will last.

A few of the things that will affect your tire's life will be the speed and driving habits you have like the way you corner, accelerate and stop. Road and weather conditions too will affect the tire life. Gravel roads will normally wear down a tire faster than paved roads and extremely hot weather will do likewise, especially if there's high speed driving involves.

The quality of the tire, and the treadwear number are also factors to consider. A tire with a grade of 640 will likely last twice as long as one rated at 320 ... but 2 times what?

One way to get an approximate life expectancy of your tire is to consider the tire guarantee which the manufacturer has. If they guarantee a new tire for 60,000 miles and you have 50% of the tread left, it would be reasonable to expect to get another 30,000 miles from it. Divide that by your average daily drive, and you'll have an idea of when you're most likely to need new tires.

A note of caution, however. You don't know how these tires have been cared for before you bought them. If any of them have been driven without sufficient air pressure, they could have suffered internal damages that you cannot see from looking at the mounted tire. This could seriously lessen your expected tire life.


TG

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Nitrogen filled tires.

by James
(Apple Valley, CA, USA)

I recently purchased new tires for my vehicle. They are the same size as the original tires. The company I purchased them at also installed them. They filled each tire with nitrogen. They were filled to 35 psi. The vehicle's recommendation is 29 psi. Why the difference?

Comment:

This is really a question you should be asking the person who did the installation to learn if there was some special reason for making the change.

Normally, when tires are mounted they are over-inflated o force the bead to seat firmly against the rims, then the pressure is reduced to the desired operating level.

In your case, it may be that the operator may not have reduced the pressure sufficiently to reach the recommended pressure level, or he may have had some reason to use a higher level. Under normal circumstances nitrogen pressure and normal air pressure should be the same.

TG

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I Drive on Tire Plugs, Not Tires

by Mary
(Holbrook, New York)

Tire Plug Kit

Tire Plug Kit

This is the truth -- even I can't believe how unlucky I am with tires.

To me, tires are the thing that holds my plugs together. I must get a flat at least twice a year. Sometimes twice a week!!! My mechanic recently asked me, "Do you, like, drive on the shoulder or something?"

Two years ago, my mother was dying of cancer and I went to have routine maintenance done on my car. While I was there, the mechanic told me I needed four tires. Because I was doing so much driving, I decided to just get it over with, so I had him change all four while I was there.

Four days later, I was driving to the hospice and I heard the all-too-familiar tick, tick, tick coming from my tire. I just rolled up the window thinking, "I can't deal with this." After visiting my mom, I looked at my brand new tire. Yup, a screw was sticking out of it. I ran to the first tire place I could locate on a Saturday afternoon, and the guy took advantage of me, telling me it wasn't their policy to plug tires ever. Bingo, five brand new tires in one week.

About a month later, you guessed it, tick-tick-tick. Same tire, only this time it was a nail. My mom had passed already, so I wasn't doing so much running. I was able to take this tire to my mechanic, who plugged it. That's tire plug one.

Later that same week, I come home, get out of my car in the driveway and I hear hissssssssssssssssssss. Another nail, another tire, only this time it was completely flat and I had to call roadside assistance. Yup, another brand new tire gets plugged.

Well, finally I had a year or so of peace. Then, my Dad died. I am emptying his house and I see my car in the driveway with a flat. I have about a 40 mile drive home and it is late on a Friday, so I decide I have enough air to make it -- maybe, maybe not, but whatever. So I get on the Long Island Expressway. There are gas stations at every exit, but suddenly I am a little worried. The LIE is a scary road to drive even under the best circumstances. Late Friday afternoon traffic heading out east just defies description. It's like being on the Autobahn, only with no room to slow down if you need to.

Around here we have DOT service trucks that patrol the highways for stranded motorists. Fortunately for me, there was a truck on the side of the road helping another driver. He pumped me up with air and I drove as fast as possible to my mechanic, who I now have on speed dial.

Another tire plug.

A month later, Easter, I am driving to my brother's house. I meet the pothole from hell. Hearing that lovely hiss coming from my front left tire, I pull over in front of a car that also apparently encountered the same pothole. The guy is changing his own tire and offers to change mine when he is done. My tire is mangled.

So here it is Easter Sunday and cars are whizzing by. No one stops or offers to help. Some people are actually honking and giving up the finger.

The guy changes my tire for me and I drive another 40 miles on a donut. At 50 MPH, people on the Expressway have no patience for me and are cursing me out. I love religious holidays!

After dinner, I leave my brother's house to find out what a donut looks like without any air. My brother fills it with air and I drive like hell to get home.

The donut held up overnight, and I brought my tire to my mechanic, who simply cannot stop laughing at me.

The tire, believe it or not, was fine. My rim was bent. My mechanic was able to repair it, but had to rotate all my tires to get the repaired rim onto the back.

So folks, ride with me at your own risk. I think I have some kind of magnetic pull that sends nails and screws screaming onto my tires.

I do have to say, I am lucky. Although I have had tire trauma pretty much since I started driving 30 years ago, I am always lucky enough to get a flat at home or somewhere near where a good samaritan was able to help me.

Maybe I should buy a tire plug kit or even better buy some shares in a tire plug company.

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Tire Concerns: how important is alignment

by Jan
(Bella Vista,Arkansas)

I have to get 4 new tires for my Malibu 2005 - and it needs alignment - I only have 29,000 miles on the car and it's always been taken care of and sheltered -- is there a number on the outside of tires that lists the year they were manufactured? Any information would be helpful to me - I am a widow living alone -- thank you - Jan uschkrat@cox.net


Editorial Comment:

You need to check out a couple of articles on our site to discover the importance of Click here to post comments

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Plug, patch, or replace?

by Ben
(Philadelphia)

Sidewall Tire Puncture.

Sidewall Tire Puncture.

I returned my rental car to a small, regional agency this morning and received a call from them several hours later. They found a nail one of the tires, and they want me to replace the tire--they're asking for $165.69! To the agency's credit, they did provide a photo of the punctured tire (see attached). Does this wound justify replacing the tire altogether?

Editorial Comment:

Unfortunately I think I would tend to agree with the agency that this puncture is not repairable and as such would require replacement.

The problem is that this puncture is in a zone that is right on the border between the tread and the sidewall and most tire repairs in these zones are not reliable or even impossible. Another are is very close to the tire's beads.

Without physically inspecting the tire and looking at it from the inside, I can't say for 100% certainty that it would be impossible to fix, but it sure is close to that area and this is not a typical scam that we sometimes hear about. I'm inclined to think that this is legit.

As for valuation of the repair, that may seem like a high cost to you, but if they are paying for the tire, mounting and balancing and possibly some compensation for the extra time the car is out of service due to this, maybe the value is pretty much on track, too. What you might do, however, is try to negotiate on this point a little, perhaps even asking if they would give you some credit toward a future rental as a last resort if they won't budge on that.

TG

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Constantly deflating tires

by Marc Thivierge
(Montreal, Qc)

On my Ford Fusion Sport 2010 with Goodyear 225 45ZR18 95W, I have changed 4 wheels because the tires keep deflating.

I just had summer tires put on and 3 wheels cannot keep the pressure. This has been on going since we own this car.

Editorial Comment:
This indeed is an unusual problem. Apart from a defective tire, the other common causes of a tire not holding pressure could be a defective wheel, improper sealing of the tire when it is mounted, a defective, dirty or damaged tire valve and possibly an impact on the sidewall of the tire causing the bead seal to break.

Any of the above can cause a tire to deflate but it seems highly unlikely that they would do this on more than one tire at the same time.

Have you considered vandals or some kind of practical joker? Do you park in an area where this might happen? When do the tires lose pressure ... that is do they all deflate at the same time?

Do you add air when the tires are cool? If you top up or adjust the pressure when the tires are hot, they will tend to lose pressure after the tires cool.

I'm not sure what else to suggest, especially since you imply that you have changed both tires and wheels so the cause needs to be something apart from those things.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Tire noise

by John
(Windsor, Ct. USA)

The Michelin tires, 235/55R17 98V MXV4 on my car are VERY noisey. They have 23,000miles on them. I would like to know if there is any problem with changing the rear tires ( the worst noise) with another brand. Same size and spec's.

Editorial Comment:

There is absolutely nothing wrong, from a technical or safety point of view in mixing different brands of tires on a vehicle.

Some people object to mixing them because of appearances sake, especially when the tires have very prominent letters and markings on the sidewall.

If you vehicle is a 4X4 you have to be cautious over mixing tires with different amounts of wear because there is very little tolerance in these kinds of vehicles and mixing a fairly worn tire with a new one could produce mechanical problems.

If you noise issue is something that you've had from the very beginning of using these tires, then you may very well solve the problem doing what you propose, however, if this is a problem which has only started to occur, you might want to have a mechanic check your vehicle to make sure that you don't have some other problem (i.e. gear or bearings) which are the cause.

TG

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Tire Presssure For Fuel Economy

Tire Pressure adjustment

Tire Pressure adjustment

You say not to use max pressure on the sidewall, but what about using it for better fuel economy.

Also, will uneven wear caused by overinflation be offset by fuel savings?

Editorial Comment:

There has been a lot of attention given to the idea of adjusting tire pressure for the reasons of economy. If you do a web search on the topic you will find a variety of opinions and facts.

Most people who have experimented with using higher pressures were careful to inflate their tires LESS than the maximum pressure stamped on the tire sidewall. Many tried a variety of different pressures.

One thing is clear: there is little agreement among car users, even those who have tried experiments over whether or not this is a viable tactic.

Some of the things people have reported include:
1) Differences in handling depending on the amount of pressure exceeding the manufacturer's recommendation.
2) Different results depending on the vehicle tested. Some vehicles report increased mileage, while others reported virtually none.

My position after reviewing many articles is that unless fuel prices increase astronomically the savings on tires from using higher pressure is likely to be very little when you consider first that you will have to buy tires more frequently. Remember, too, that tires contain a large amount of petroleum products in them. So increasing costs of petroleum will also increase the cost of tires even more.

Next you also need to take into account the effect of wearing out the tread more rapidly and the lesser amount of tread you will have which affects the safety of the vehicle when being driven on wet or snowy roads.

A final consideration is that the differences in handling and control of the vehicle should be considered, which will depend on the vehicle being used. Is the safety risk worth the amount of dollars you might be saving, if your vehicle is one which has a negative effect from using higher pressures?

TG

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Tire Concerns: Do you think these are safe.

by popa
(BATON ROUGE LA USA)

I recently purchased a set of tires online from tires-easy.com for my 1972 Corvette. I noticed after the tires were installed that date codes were 0304 ,0304 ,3706 and 1706. I never knew you needed to check. Anyway, I believe this decodes to a manufacture date of 2004 and 2006. 5 and 7 year old tires? Do you think these are safe. I attached a link:


http://ssl.delti.com/cgi-bin/rshop.pl?details=Ordern&cart_id=26047722.135.26162&typ=R-110557&ranzahl=4&Breite=225&Herst=Firestone&Quer=70&Felge=15&weiter=0&kategorie=6&Ang_pro_Seite=15&sort_by=speed&Transport=P&dsco=135



Editorial Comment:

My first question is: Have you asked the dealer from which you bought these tires?

Normally speaking, most tire manufacturers will guarantee that their tires have no manufacturing or material defects for a period of 5 or 6 years.

The fact that a tire is older than this, does not necessarily mean that it is bad, or is suddently defective. All the age means is that the manufacturer's time limit on their warranty has expired.

It is impossible to express an opinion about your tires without physically inspecting them, but I believe that if a tire has been stored in proper conditions, they are not likely to fall apart the day after the warranty expires.

Another question I have is whether or not you purchased the road hazard insurance which is offered by the seller. If you have, you might wish to ask them if the policy covers the tires because of their age. Obviously, if the insurance has a problem, then you need to either get tires which are insurable, or at the very least have the insurance premium refunded.

In all cases, I believe you should be comunicating with the seller to see what they say about your concern ... possibly they may be able to satisfy your needs just for asking and drawing the matter to their attention.
TG

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correct tire pressure

I have a 2002 Ford Mustang V6. It supposed to have 225/55/16 all the way around. Instead the rear axle has 225/65/16. What is correct tire pressure for that tire on my car?

Editorial Comment:

I don't have the exact answer for you but I will explain a bit about the theory of tire pressure so you can determine for yourself.

The purpose of air in a tire is to maintain the car a certain distance above the ground. The amount of air necessary to do that depends on the weight of the vehicle at that point. If you have a larger tire, you will need less pressure because you have more air inside the tire. Since a series 65 tire is larger in volume than a 55 tire, this means the pressure required to put any given amount of air into it will be slightly less.

Your challenge is to discover what that pressure is. Here is one way: First inflate your front tires (the 55 series tires) to the correct recommended pressure while the tires are cool. Next measure the distance from the ground up to the center of the axle on one of those wheels.

Now transfer that measurement to the back wheels and adjust the air pressure so that the center of that wheel is the same distance PLUS 22.5mm. Why? because the sidewall of the 65 series tires are 10% (65-55) higher than the front tires and multiplying the width of 225mm gives you that result.

When you have this distance, check the pressure in the tire and that is the pressure you should be using. It will be close to the pressure in the front tires, but will be slightly less because of the larger volume of air inside the tire.

TG

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Blow out with high temperature

by Zulfy Alam
(London, UK)

Hi,

I am traveling to the USA in a week or so. I am renting a car in LA but will be driving extensively to places such as Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, and Death Vally.

I know in Europe a tyre has different temperature ratings for e.g. A means its the most heat resistant.

Are these the same in US?
Is there anything else I should look out for?
Is there any recommendations for driving in very hot arid conditions, like dropping the tyre pressure slightly.

Yours thoughts would be appreciated.

Editorial Comment

I believe the temperature rating you refer to is fairly universal just as the tire sizing system is used in all areas without variation.

Follow the pressure recommendations for the vehicle you are driving which you will find either on the sticker on the vehicle's door post or in the vehicle's manual.

Whatever you do DON'T lower the pressure. Lowering the pressure will actually have the opposite effect because you will increase the amount of flexing the tire will have. Increased flexing will, in turn, raise the temperature of the tire which softens the rubber compound even more, leading to higher pressure and eventually could cause a blow out.

While I don't recommend experiment with pressures, I always have believed that a minor increase in air pressure (measured when cold) is preferable than a decrease.

And, as I suggested above, always check your air pressure when the tire is cold -- that is before it has been driven more than about 1 or 2 blocks at a low speed.

TG

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Tire sidewall deterioration

by Roger Marble
(Akron, OH)

In your post on the cause & prevention of sidewall deterioration you say carbon black is used to protect tires. I note however that you have an advertisement showing a white tire cover. Does this mean the white cover does not really protect the tire or is there some other information not covered in your post?

Editorial Comment:

Good pickup. The advertisement is automatically served from a merchant who has tire covers for sale which may, or may not conform to the facts presented in the article. I cannot determine whether or not white covers contain a UV suppressant which protects the tires or not. But notice that we state that Carbon Black is used in tires because it is the cheapest UV stabilizer, not the only one. It is entirely possible that a separate cover which blocks the UV may provide sufficient protection. You might want to ask the manufacturer of these covers what degree of protection they provide.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Excessive side splash

by John
(Emmaus, Pa., USA)

I have a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 4x4 Extended Cab with Bridgestone Dueler A/T RH-S tires, size P265/65R18. I experience what I consider to be excessive side splash on my truck. I installed GM molded splash guards, but I still get the excessive side splash. Any suggestions?

Editorial Comment:

This is an unusual request, but not completely off-the-wall either because tire designers have frequently developed different tire designs to deal with the effects of water discharged by tires when driving over wet surfaces.

Without knowing much more about the kind of roads, speeds, weather conditions and even the specific reasons why you might be concerned with this issue, it might be difficult to make any specific recommendations.

It is certain that some tire designs handle the discharge of water in different ways, and this not only affects traction in wet weather driving, things like aqua planning and the area where water which falls under the tread is discharged.

What I'd suggest is that you discuss your needs with one or two different tire dealers who have long experience with conditions where you want to use the vehicle and use their experience as a stating point to try a different tread design from the one that you are now using.

Also, I'd be most interested in hearing your specific experiences and the results once you've made a change and tried it out under your own driving conditions.

TG

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Sidewall crack, tread cracks

by Krout
(South Carolina)

Sidewall cracking

Sidewall cracking

Sidewall cracking
Tread cracking

there is a crack going around my BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A's. There are also cracks along the base of my treads, and on the treads themselves. The crack goes circumferential around the tire, at the same position along the sidewall. The same thing occurs both on the shoulder tread, as well as at the base of the shoulders. This is on all four tires. I use Tirewet on my tires occasionally, but that is designed for tires right? I am wondering if I should be call BF Goodrich and telling them I want replacements. These tires came on the car when I bought it, it is a used car, but was in excellent condition. I don't drive much more than 7500 miles a year. I don't think my tires should be wearing out. The tread is still pretty decent >4/16 at a guess.

Editorial Comment:

The photos are a bit difficult to see the defects clearly and possibly if I were able to personally inspect the tires I might have a different impression, but I'll give you a couple of my thoughts which may be helpful.

First, it looks like these tires were made sometime in 2011 which makes them less than 3 years old at this time in mid 2013. This would make the tires still eligible for a claim if this tire has a manufacturer's warranty against material or manufacturing defects for 5 years.

If you had a claim processed under this kind of warranty you could expect to have a pro-rated credit, if you claim is accepted. Pro rated means that the company will calculate the amount of tread you have used and deduct that from whatever the total amount of tread the tire had before issuing you a credit.

Sometimes a warranty only applies to the original purchaser of a tire so this might make you ineligible since you said you bought the car used and these tires were on them.

I also do not think that you would likely succeed in a materials/workmanship defect claim because this kind of damage to tires is not usually the result of defects from the factory, but rather some combination of conditions which affected the tire after they have been bought. Chemicals, either applied or from where you have driven or parked can affect tires, and also heat and particularly ultraviolet light from the sun and also have a deteriorating effect on tires. You didn't mention how long ago you bought the car, but possibly part of the damage you are now seeing might have already been made by the previous owner.

On the positive side, I would encourage you to visit a Goodrich dealer and have them inspect your tires. It is possible that the damage you are seeing may only be a superficial, cosmetic, issue and there may not be any major structural damage to the tires that you need to be immediately concerned with, if you are willing to overlook the blemishes you see. Also, if you approach the dealer in a civilized and respectful manner, they might be willing to make a concession and give you some kind of a discount on replacement tires, just to keep you as a customer.

TG

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abnormal tire wear

by David
(Rockville Md)

The rear duals on this vehicle wear the inboard and outboard sides off and the center sections look new. the wear is the same on both sides of the vehicle.the side of the tire that dosent wear out is the side next to the wheel center on both the inner and outer wheel on both sides of the vehicle. I am at a loss as to what could cause that. a bent axle should wear both sides evenly either both outer or both inner.

Editorial Comment:

If I understand what you've written, both edges of the tires are being worn and the centre seem almost unused. That is a typical case of a tire this is under-inflated … not using enough pressure.

Tires, due to their construction tend to "lift" up in the centre of the tread area when there is not enough pressure, and will balloon outward, pushing the centre down when there is too much pressure which, of course, would cause them to wear the centre of the tread first -- opposite to your case.

Since you have dual wheels it may be that the pressure you are using would be correct if you had a greater load than you normally carry.

TG

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Tire Concerns: Vibration

by Rambo
(florida)

My 315/35/17 Nitto drag radials are bald. I will be getting new tires soon the Nitto nt 555 for better tread life. I fixed my harmonis balancer which took away a lot of the vibration. Although when I start to drive I can feel a real vibration and a sound which I can't explain. Sounds a lot like a bald spot in my tire. Car is 2001 bullitt mustang.

Editorial Comment:

If your tires are completely bald your problem can hardly be a bald spot. If the sound is something you hear just when you're starting out it would be different than if it is a sound that gets louder and more noticeable as you increase speed. In any case, I'd be starting to look at mechanical causes for the noise and vibration rather than a cause related to tires.

Since my specialty is tires, I hesitate to go much further in respect to possible mechanical causes, but I feel that that is where you will find the solution.

TG


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Tire concerns: Mileage versus tread wear

by Coletta
(Chile)

tire tread gauge

tire tread gauge

If a tire shows 2 mm of use, approx how many km has it gone?
I´m buying a used car that they say only has 12,000 km on the odometer. We checked the tires to confirm that. Is it a true evaluation or did they turn back the odometer?


Editorial Comment: It would be impossible to precisely compute the distance a car has traveled by measuring the tread which it has used, but you may get some idea from the following.

If you know how deep the tread on a new tire is, and have an estimated life which the manufacturer expects from the tire (possibly 60,000 km) you could calculate how many kilometers the tire might need to travel to wear the tread down to the minimum 2.5mm.

For example if there were 10.5 mm of tread on a new tire, you'd have 8mm of usable tread, so each mm of tread would represent about 7,500 km of driving.

These figures would, of course, vary depending on the road and driving conditions and many other factors that you might not be able to determine.

In the case you have cited if the tread is only 2 mm less than a new tire, and the odometer reads 20,000 km, chances are good that this reading is correct.

If, however, there are only 2mm of tread left, the situation is not so clear because we do not know the quality of the tire, the kind of roads, they way it was driven and other factors.



TG



By the way, do you make a habit of checking your tires, at least monthly? If not, Tire Chek will remind you.


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Tire Concerns: Vibration after tire size change

by Heather
(NH)

my 2003 bmw 325ci came stock with 205-55-r16s....I had a flat on the right rear that was not fixable and someone had stolen my full size spare so someone at work gave me one 215/55/r16 to replace it...then I had to get a new left rear because it wouldnt pass inspection...so I got another 215-55-r16 on the back....now the car feels like theres a vibration after 70 mph and up..what is the issue.. is this ok? Should I really have all 4 tires match?

Comment:

It is highly unlikely that simply changing the tire size is going to produce vibration.

The first thing I would suspect is that one of the tires may be defective. It could be the one which was given to you, or the other one that you got later (you didn't say whether it was new or not), but if you never noticed this vibration until after these changes, that would be my first suspicion.

I both tires pass a careful visual inspection (also check the front ones to be sure), then you might have the balance on these tires checked especially if you didn't have the gift tire balanced when you received it.

If both these fail to produce a cause, you then might be faced with some mechanical defect which has only started recently or which you never noticed until now.

And, yes, it would be best if you have all 4 tires the same size. You certainly don't want to mix two different tires on the same axle, and it sounds like you need to get a new spare too. I don't know what it is like where you live, but in some areas it is an offence to drive without a spare tire in good condition.

TG

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How to measure tire wear.

by Robert

I would like to buy 4 used tire for my 1998 Tercel but cannot evaluate the tire usage. Can you help me.


Editorial Comment:

You can get an idea of how worn tires are by inspecting their wear bars. You can find out more about this in the article at
Tire Tread.

While all tires have a different depth of tread when they are new, perhaps the photo in the article will give you some idea of how much higher the tread would be on a new tire so you can judge the remaining life in the tire. As another guide, take a look at some new tires of the same brand which you are considering buying to be prepared to judge the used ones.

Also you need to look for evenness of tread wear. If the wear isn't even in all places it could be because of a tire defect, or simply because the vehicle was misaligned or had some other defect. In any case you need to be guided by the lowest tread as being how much life left in the tire.

Buying used tires isn't an activity I'd like to recommend for a person who doesn't have much experience with tires … it is easy to be misled by someone who wants to pawn off some junk.

TG

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small cut on sidewall

by eric
(louisiana)

Small cut on tire sidewall, cannot see any cords. Is it safe to drive on?


Editorial Comment:

A sidewall cut is always potentially serious and I hesitate in giving you a green light without personally inspecting the tire.

I don't know what you mean by a "small" cut. Does it penetrate completely to the inside of the tire so that air might escape? Or is it a very shallow cut which is affecting only the outside surface of the tire? These are things I can't judge from your description.

Minor sidewall damage can be fixed with patches. The most dangerous areas for repairs are in the shoulder area where the sidewall and tread come together because these two areas flex differently and any patches applied in these areas will usually work theme selves free.

Your best bet it to have the tire inspected by an experienced tire technician. At best you may not even need a repair, the worst is you may have to replace the tire but that is better than an accident on the highway.

TG

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