Providing you with the important information you need to know about your tires
The Importance of Air Pressure
Proper inflation pressure in your tires is very important for both safety reasons and to get the maximum life from them. An under inflated tire allows the sidewalls of the tire to flex excessively as it rolls down the road. This flexing causes the tire to heat up beyond the range of temperatures it was designed to operate within. At best the excessive heat will cause the tire to wear out up to 25% quicker and at worst will cause the sidewall of the tire to fail. Over inflated tires are more susceptible to impact damage as the tire cannot properly flex to absorb impacts with road hazards. You vehicle owners manual will provide you with proper inflation information.
Plus sizing is a quick and easy way to improve not only the handling characteristics of your vehicle but also the appearance.
Example: Your vehicle comes stock with a 195/60R15. This tire has a 24.2 inch diameter and has a sidewall that is 4.6 inches tall. The correct plus 1 size would be 205/50R16. This tire has a 24.1 inch diameter and has a 4.0 inch sidewall. The correct plus 2 size would be 205/45R17. This tire would have a 24.3 inch diameter with a 3.6 inch sidewall. As you can see the outside of the tire has remained within 1/10 of an inch but the wheel has increased in diameter by 2 inches. The new tire also has a tread footprint that is approximately .75" wider. This has a couple of benefits. One is that with the increased footprint your vehicle will have better grip in cornering. Two is that the shorter side wall of the plus sized tire will be more rigid allowing your vehicle to respond more quickly to your steering input. The new lower profile tire will also give your vehicle a sporty more aggressive appearance. Your local Tire Factory location will have all the specific plus sizing information for your vehicle.
Speed rating is a government regulated measurement which is given to a tire for meeting minimum standards for reaching and sustaining certain speeds. Generally a higher speed rated tire will have better handling. Tire Factory does not recommend downgrading the speed rating on your vehicle. Doing so may result in undesired handling qualities. Your vehicle was designed to use a minimum speed rated tire to handle properly. Installing a higher speed rated tire will help the handling of your vehicle especially in corning. Make sure however, that you do not mix different speed rated tires on the same vehicle, as this will cause handling problems. Below is a list of the speed rating letters and the speeds which corresponds to the letters. These speeds are the speeds at which the tire was tested and not recommended for real world driving.
- Q - up to 100mph
- S - up to 112mph
- T - up to 118mph
- U - up to 124mph
- H - up to 130mph
- V - up to 149mph
- W - up to 168mph
- Y - up to 186mph
- Z - 149mph and above
The Importance of Tire Rotation
Regular tire rotations are extremely important in maintaining the useful life of the tires on your vehicle by providing more uniform wear. Regular interval tire rotations will help you get the most life out of a set of tires. The interval of rotation can vary from every 3,000 miles to every 8,000 miles depending on the vehicle and the type of driving that you do. Your local Tire Factory location will help you to determine the interval that will give you optimal results. Some vehicles are equipped with different sized tires on the front and rear or with special unidirectional tires and will require special rotation patterns for the tires. Once again your local Tire Factory will be able to provide you with the proper rotation regardless of the vehicle.
The UTQG Rating System
The Federal Government established the UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grading) system to attempt to better inform consumers about the tires they are purchasing. It can be a useful tool in comparing tires from the same manufacturer. The UTQG is not a warranty or guarantee that a tire will last for a certain number of miles. It is simply a way to compare tires in three ways: Treadwear, traction, and temperature. The reason the UTQG is not good for comparing tires from different manufacturers is that the numbers and letters that make up the grading system are all relative to other tires by that manufacturer. Example: The first number represents the tread wear of the tire. If a certain manufacturer ranks their lowest mileage tire at 150 they would rank a tire that lasts twice as long at 300. If another manufacturer ranked their lowest tire at 250 they would rank a tire that lasted twice as long at 500. This does not mean that the 500 tire is going to last any longer than the 300 tire. The next letter(s) in the UTQG are for measuring the tires ability to stop in a straight line on wet pavement. This is not a measurement of the cornering ability of a tire. The rankings for traction from best to worst are AA,A,B,C. The last letter in the UTQG is used to measure the tires ability to dissipate heat. A tire that quickly dissipates heat will generally last longer than a tire that dissipates heat more slowly. The rankings for temperature from best to worst are A,B,C.
Calculating Tire Dimensions
Calculating the dimensions of a tire is actually not that complicated.
The section width of the tire is 215 millimeters which can be converted to inches by dividing by 25.4. The height of each sidewall of the tire is 65% or the 215mm width so calculations would look like:
215*.65 = 139.75mm (sidewall height)
139.75*2=279.5mm(Height of top and bottom sidewall of the tire)
279.5/25.4 = 11 (Convert sidewall height to inches)
11+15(rim height of tire) = 26 inches (overall diameter of tire)