Towing Service Bakersfield CA
Tire Repair Bakersfield CA | Tire Maintenance
Your vehicles tires are one of the most vital parts of your car. It is important that we are informed and educated on the basics of how to choose the right ones, their maintenance, how to diagnose issues and what to do if they need replacement or repair. Check out the excerpt below from the book Dare to Repair Your Car, A Do-It-Herself Guide to Maintenance, Safety, Minor Fix-its, and Talking Shop (1st ed, copyright 2005) by Julie Sussman & Stephanie Glakas-Tenet and let us know what you think!
The tread wear grades are an indication of a tire's relative wear rate. There is a "control tire" that is given a tread wear grade of 100. All tires are compared to that control tire and are given a grade. For example, if a tire has a tread wear grade of 200, that means the tire should wear twice as long as the control tire. Therefore, the higher the number, the better the tire wear rate.
The traction grades are an indication of a tire's ability to stop on wet pavement. A higher-graded tire should allow a car to stop in a shorter distance on wet roads than a tire with a lower grade. The highest grade is AA and the lowest is C.
Temperature grades are an indication of a tire's resistance to heat. The highest grade is A and the lowest is C.
Look for the letters DOT and the numbers next to it. The numbers will tell you the week and the year the tires were made. Here's some examples: DOT 169 means that the tire was manufactured during the 16th week of 1999, DOT705 means that the tire was manufactured during the 7th week of 2005. This information is particularly important if you are purchasing tires from a used-tire store.
Maximum Inflation Pressure
This is probably the number one mistake people make with their tires. They assume that the pounds per square inch (psi) number listed on the sidewall is the correct psi for their vehicle’s tires, and so they keep their tires at that level. The maximum inflation pressure imprinted on the sidewall is the correct psi for their vehicle's tires, and so they keep their tires at that level. The maximum inflation pressure imprinted on the sidewall is the maximum pressure at which the tire will run safely at normal operating temperature, not its optimal tire pressure. For normal operation, follow the inflation pressure recommendations found either on the vehicle tire information placard or in the car owner's manual.
Okay, so now you know the specs of the tires you need, and you know that they only come in one color (hee-hee), so the last decision to make is the manufacturer. Some of the top-selling brands are Firestone, Goodyear, Dunlop, Bridgestone, BFGoodrich, Michelin, Uniroyal, Pirelli, Yokohoma, Kumho, and tires sold under the Sears name. There are also generic brands, which can cost as little as $11 per tire. We recommend that you only purchase a well-known brand because of quality control, warranties, and recall alerts.
Before buying a tire, refer to (and follow) the car manufacturer's replacement tire restrictions, recommendations, and warranty compliance. Don't rely on a friend's or family member's suggestion for a particular brand of tire because everyone has a different style of driving – quick-start-and-stop driver, likes-to-feel-the-road vs. quiet-ride driver. Also, a tire may perform well on one vehicle but not on another. Therefore, it's better to stick with your own experience, as well as rely on any research you've done.
Tires for a Used Car
If you're not the original owner of the car, and you need to buy new tires, don't assume that the ones on the car are the correct type. The previous owner may have put on tires that were wrong for the car and/or may have put on cheaper tires and kept the original ones for herself.
So if you're driving a previously owned vehicle, and therefore can't rely on the sidewall information, where do you turn? You know that we’d normally say “the car owner’s manual,” but unfortunately not all manuals will give you the specifics. The best place to look is on the vehicle information placard, located either on the doorjamb, the glove box door, or the fuel tank filler door the placard lists the recommended cold inflation pressures for the tires (including the spare) and tire size. (Some placards even state the vehicle's seating capacity and its combined weight with occupants and cargo.)
If you have any questions, contact your local dealership with the VIN of your car and ask for the correct specs for new tires. Or go to a tire center and ask to see a reference book in which customers can find the manufacturer's suggested tires. Write down the information in the car owner's manual so you'll always have it handy."
We hope you find this information helpful. We will continue our discussion on road safety tips and in particular about your vehicle's tire in the next blog post! Check out some tips on where to purchase tires here.