Airdrie Honda - Tire FAQ
- I haven't had a flat in years. Tire technology has come a long way, hasn't it? Do I really need to pay close attention to my tires? Yes, technology has moved forward along with the rest of the automotive industry. However, tires are subjected an incredible range of conditions and over or under inflation and the degree of wear can significantly impact your tires' ability to perform well under these conditions.
- Can't I tell if my tires are properly inflated just by looking at them? Not necessarily. If a visual inspection suggests your tires are over or under inflated, they are almost certainly very far out of the safe inflation range.
- How do I measure my tire pressure? How do I fill my tires? Tire pressure gauges are available just about everywhere in a wide range of styles and prices and are available with digital or analog dial readouts. Some gas station air compressors are equipped with gauges, but since you can't always count on them being there. You can buy a gauge for as little as a few dollars. Here?s how you measure pressure and fill your tire:
a. There's a little stem (valve stem) that pokes out through your wheel with a small screw cap on it. Undo the cap and press the business end gauge firmly against the stem. This releases a valve that lets some of the air out of the tire. You should hear a short burst of air and you should get some kind of reading. If it sounds like the air is continuing to come out or the dial/digital display/gauge stick hardly registers anything then you probably haven't pressed firmly and directly enough and are just letting air out of the tires. You'll have to reset the gauge to zero before each measurement.
b. You must take the reading when your tires are "cold", that is when they haven't been driven very far, generally under a couple of kilometers. Check in your Honda manual.
c. Use the same technique when filling up your tires; if you don't press firmly enough, you'll simply just release air from the tires. If you have a good connection, you will probably hear the air compressor working. If you don't have a good connection, you'll hear air hissing and escaping around the valve stem. Remember: use a firm direct touch to fill the tire and measure and a light touch to release air.
- How much air should I put in my tires? Your tires, for example, may say that the max pressure is 35 psi. That is only the maximum pressure that the tire can safely accommodate; it isn't necessarily the ideal pressure for the best balance of safety, handling, ride and fuel economy. Use the manufacturer's recommended pressure. You'll usually find that on the driver's side inside door post when you open the door. Check your owner's manual as well.
- What is more dangerous? Over inflation or under inflation? Under inflation is a greater concern, especially on the highway. The increased flex results in a heat build up inside the tire which could potentially cause a blowout.
- What about my spare? Don't forget the spare - it can lose air slowly over time. Again, check your manual and/or doorpost to determine the correct pressure. Most temporary spares require a higher pressure than your regular tires. Also, safe vehicle speed and distance traveled can be limited with the spare. These limitations may be on the tire/rim itself or listed in your driver's manual.
- How often should I rotate my tires? This will depend on your vehicle and your driving style and the resulting type and degree of wear and tear. Some rear wheel drive sports cars even come equipped with tires of different sizes front and rear. Check with your Airdrie Honda service adviser for his/her recommendations. The Maintenance Minder in your Honda (if so equipped) also provides some guidelines for rotation under normal driving conditions.
- How do I know when it is time to replace my tires? There are a couple of ways to determine replacement time. The information package that you received with you new car and/or tires specifies a minimum safe tread depth in millimeters. Most tires also come with a wear indicator. This is a small raised area within one of the groves of the tires. Once the height of this projection matches the height of the tread, it's time to change your tire. Uneven wear might also necessitate a tire change. Uneven wear can also indicate over or under inflation or significant suspension problems, so a regular visual inspection of your tires is recommended.
- How often should I check my tires? A good rule of thumb is once a month. However, if your car is behaving differently or you are subjecting it to unusual conditions, you may want to pay a bit closer attention.
- What do all those numbers on the tires mean? You may have seen something like this: P215/65R16 95H M+S. The P means that this is a passenger car tire. The 215 refers to the width of the tire in millimeters. The 65 is the aspect ratio - that is, how tall your tire is in relation to its width. (In this example the tire sidewall is 65% of the width.) So, this number will be lower on low profile tires. The R stands for radial. Virtually all modern tires are radial. The 16 refers to rim diameter, in inches. The tire width, aspect ratio and rim size are the key numbers to keep in mind when ordering replacement tires. The 95 indicates the tire's load index, i.e. how much weight each tire can support. The H is the speed rating. It tells you the maximum speed the tire was designed to be driven on over an extended period. Of course, posted speed limits and traffic and road conditions should also help you determine the safe and legal speeds that you can travel at. M+S means that the tire has at least some mud and snow capability. You may also see a mountain/snowflake symbol; this tells you that the tire is dedicated snow tire. Snow tires use different compounds and unique tread patterns. You can also purchase summer/performance tires, but remember: these tires are not designed or recommended for use in cold or icy conditions.
- Do I really need winter tires or will my all-seasons do the job? Think of all-seasons as three-season tires. All season tires begin to harden up at about 7° Celsius. A snow tire remains flexible at much colder temperatures. If temperatures drop to around freezing and lower each winter and you regularly encounter some snow or ice, dedicated snow tires are highly recommended. You'll stop significantly shorter on snow tires in cold slippery conditions. We also recommend that you purchase winter rims. They'll cost you a bit more upfront, but they'll pay for themselves in a few years, as you'll avoid the cost of repeatedly removing and remounting and balancing the tires on your originals. You'll also avoid subjecting your alloy wheels to the hazards of winter driving.
- Can I just put snows on the drive wheels? This is not recommended. You may have the initial grip to take off from a stop but uneven traction between the front and rear can create serious instability under slippery conditions.
- Do you have any more questions? Please call 1-877-696-9480 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions. Our parts experts are here to help.