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Tires and Wheels

Tires are simply the wearable and therefore replaceable part of the tire/wheel assembly. Although many different types of tire designs have been used since the dawn of the automobile, the radial tire has virtually replaced all other varieties. Radial tires, by far, deliver better safety and handling, fuel economy, steering, traction and cornering. Radial tires also last much longer than any previous tire design. Although driving habits and tire care play a key role in tire life, radial tires may last as long as 100,000 miles. Today's tires must provide good traction under a wide range of driving and road conditions while providing long tread wear. Buy a decent tire gage and keep it in the car.

Radial Tire
Radial Tire

Improper tire pressure can affect tire wear as well as ride and handling. Check tire pressure frequently and also inspect the tires for abnormal tread wear and cuts and bruises along the sidewall. You should always check your tires when they are cold. Use the manufacturers recommended tire pressures. Tire pressure tends to rise as you drive due to heat build-up. Manufacturers have this in mind when they set the recommended cold pressures so do not let air out when the tire gets hot. Check the tire again when it cools off and you will find that the pressure is back to its original level. Tire pressure will change with the seasons, so in winter months make sure the tires are not under-inflated. Remember, always check the tires when they are cold. Check the air pressure in your spare tire whenever you check tire pressure.

If your car has a flat, have the tire professionally repaired. Since most flats are caused by damage to the tire, such as a puncture, anything less than quality repairs can affect the integrity of the tire. The best way to repair a tire is to have it removed from the rim, the inside inspected and corrective measures taken. The quick plug, done from the outside, is no longer recommended by the tire industry. According to experts, the repair could fail, inviting a blowout. When replacing tires, install only tires of the size recommended for your vehicle. Installing the wrong tires can result in contact with body panels or steering and suspension parts. The wrong tires can also affect speedometer readings and engine/transmission control.

Problems With Tires

Tire Problems
Tire Problems

Underinflation can cause tires to wear more on the outside than the inside. It also causes reduced fuel efficiency and increased heat buildup in the tires. It is important to check the tire pressure with a gauge at least once a month.

Overinflation causes tires to wear more in the center of the tread. The tire pressure should never exceed the maximum that is listed on the side of the tire. Car manufacturers often suggest a lower pressure than the maximum because the tires will give a softer ride. But running the tires at a higher pressure will improve mileage.

Misalignment of the wheels causes either the inside or the outside to wear unevenly, or to have a rough, slightly torn appearance.

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