Tires and wheels: hotline
Almost every car owner periodically has various questions about tires: how to choose, store, work; what to do with the different symbols on the label… today we will answer most of them
Shoes true to size!
Sometimes they write that specifically for the car, new tires. Does this mean that for all other cars, this tire is not suitable? And vice versa, will the handling be worse on other tires of the car?
Most often, we are talking about the so-called homologated tires, which are developed primarily for the original equipment of cars, taking into account the requirements of the automaker. They are usually based on standard models and look almost the same, but carcass design, rubber compound, etc. to make small changes that will exactly match the behavior of the tires with the power, dynamics, weight, weight distribution of the selected vehicle.
The wishes of the target audience are also taken into account – for example, in order to make the tire more comfortable and smooth, or, conversely, harder and more precise in reaction to the steering wheel. A homologated model can be distinguished by an additional index letter, for example, MO – Mercedes-Benz, AO – Audi, H1 – Porsche, volume – Volvo. As a rule, standard tires of the same model, type, size, speed index and load are quite suitable for a particular car, but the difference is that an experienced driver, except for some exclusive tires for sports cars, luxury cars and executive cars. Theoretically, homologated tires can be fitted to a "foreign" car, but with a wealth of choice on the market it’s not worth it.
What are the pros and cons of low-profile rubber, in what cases does it make sense to install it?
The lower the profile, the higher the handling, accuracy, stability of the tire. In other words, we want the wheel rim to "walk" as little as possible in relation to the contact patch, which means we make less and less damping pads in the tires. It will be paid primarily for comfort, since we have voluntarily reduced the shock-absorbing capacity. The increased load with all the consequences (sometimes in the literal sense) will be in the suspension and other components of the car. All of its low-profile tire pros can show up on flat, smooth pavement, allowing you to carefully sneak around railroad crossings, tram tracks and speed bumps, not to mention rough dirt roads.
In short, for daily city trips, not the best option. But if driving for you is primarily pleasure and joy, and not a banal movement, a low profile may be your solution.
If a front-wheel drive car that is driven in the city is technically considered a crossover, does it need regular passenger tires or an SUV index?
It requires tires recommended by the car or tire manufacturer, size and load index, and for a specific crossover modification, due to its weight, it can vary significantly depending on the engine and equipment. The off-road index in the title is optional, it does not use all tire brands (and even four-wheel drive vehicles with off-road capability). And according to the characteristics of the tires, you can choose a model with a typical "asphalt" pattern or rubber "toothy" on a country road.
How to make colored inscriptions on the sidewall and stripes on the tread?
Usually a yellow dot indicates the easiest spot on the tire, and red was the hardest. This allows the tire to correctly place the tire relative to a similar area on the rim and balance the wheels better. The same colored stripes on the tread only mean a certain batch of products, which helps to sort out the logistics operations in the tires.
What material and manufacturing method is better for a wheel?
To date, the most versatile discs in terms of purpose, price and quality, variety of design can be considered a cast alloy model (of course, from a decent manufacturer). They withstand year-round operation well, successfully resist corrosion and are quite durable. More expensive forged aluminum wheels from purchased directional metal structures are stronger, so they can be made thinner and lighter. It attracts owners of cars with sporty handling, which is very important for reducing unsprung masses. Pressed steel wheels are heavier and protected from corrosion only by a surface protective layer of powder, enamel, with a cataphoretic coating. Often they are bought as a budget option for an additional set of wheels.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of runflat tires?
The benefits are perhaps only a few, but very important. With a sudden loss of tire pressure, the car is unable to maintain stability and control, and this is a huge contribution to the overall safety system. Plus, you don’t have to mess around on the side of the road to change a wheel, and you can comfortably drive to the nearest garage (80 km at 80 km/h or more for certain models). The thick reinforced sidewalls take all the load, but until you reach the tire, the tire carcass will be “chewed" and no manufacturer can guarantee safe operation after repair. You will have to change the tire and if you step on other wheels that are noticeably worn, then it is better to replace the entire set. Therefore, the direct independent replacement of such a wheel on the road can significantly save the wallet.
Due to the construction of the RunFlat tires are heavier than standard models, they are often less comfortable and slightly worse, although not every driver makes a difference. When tire pressure is not always felt immediately, and therefore it is highly recommended to use RunFlat tires with pressure sensors only. But to install such tires on standard wheels.
Is it possible to determine the country of manufacture of a tire by marking, how does this affect quality if we are talking about the same model?
Some tire manufacturers explicitly indicate the country of manufacture, while others indicate that it is an alphanumeric code. Most leading companies are very strict, the same quality standards, and digital technology allows you to control, say, the development of a rubber compound at a plant located thousands of kilometers from the head office. Modern globalization makes it necessary to dynamically redistribute orders between the company’s enterprises in different countries, and any party must meet accepted standards. Another thing is that for some markets (for example, very hot or rainy climates), some tire models can be made with slightly modified tread compound, etc., and if they are in the "gray" schemes, they end up in a "foreign" country, this may be the difference in their behavior on the road.
What is better Caliber – mechanical or electronic, manual or built-in compressor?
The measurement error does not depend on the type of device and its accuracy class. Even in the line of expensive professional models, mechanical and electronic devices are equally combined. For regular independent monitoring, a pressure gauge accurate to hundredths or bar atm is sufficient (this should be indicated in the instructions), the same applies to devices built into the compressor. But many car owners make it easier – to measure pressure using professional equipment in a car service and calculate the difference in readings from their own sensor, later measurements make the necessary corrections.
More precisely – a pressure sensor or tire pressure sensors?
Pressure sensors (they are TPMS – tire pressure monitoring system) are also different. There are systems (indirect) that do not measure the pressure and calculate the uneven movement of the wheels, analyzing the operation of the ABS. Their ability is usually only enough to signal lack of air to one or more wheels, but such information can be decisive. Other devices (direct) are equipped with a separate pressure sensor in each wheel. And here the choice is very wide: standard and non-standard systems, well-known and not very well-known manufacturers, internal and external fixation of sensors. The output can also vary from a simple pressure leak signal to very precise digital readings, sometimes even setting the temperature on the wheels. But it is better to consider TPMS and pressure sensors as alternatives to each other,
Are there any special considerations for using wheels with direct TPMS sensors?
Firstly, tire fitting work is best done at a service with qualified personnel who know how to deal with such systems: there have been cases when incompetent workers have broken sensors. It is also forbidden to use sealant for quick repair of wheels, this may damage the sensor.
It is recommended to measure the pressure on cold tires, but cold winters and hot summers are two big differences. What temperature is considered correct?
In this context, a tire is considered "cold" if the temperature inside is equal to the ambient temperature. As a rule, these values become equal after a trip or a warm garage, it takes at least half an hour.
In motion, the temperature inside the tires increases, so the pressure is different from the measurements at rest. The same thing happens when the ambient temperature fluctuates. So, they need to measure, pump, bleed as often as possible? ..
The tire is designed for small pressure fluctuations relative to the recommended values. In the standard mode of operation of the car, this is hardly noticeable while driving. Another thing is competitions and other extreme tests, where the technical team takes pressure gauges and compressors and selects the best one for specific time parameters. However, if the weather conditions and features of the driving mode made you feel obvious changes in handling, acceleration and braking dynamics, driving, then it will not be superfluous to check the tire pressure and, if necessary, correct it. This is where tire sensors should.
Cosmetics or "make-up"?
How useful are special tire cosmetics?
Usually without them. The rubber compound in today’s tires is designed to run smoothly throughout the expiration date specified by the manufacturer. But, if you want to further protect your rubber from UV radiation and harsh chemicals to extend its shelf life, prepare your car or tires for sale, or maybe you just like highlighted clean, shiny and well-maintained wheels, this beauty will come in handy.
Cleaners, air conditioners, tire retreaders – how to figure it out?
Choose universal preparations, on the label of which both cleansing and protective and rejuvenating properties are indicated. Moreover, these qualities are interrelated: the composition dissolves the film Dirt (not to be confused with simple dirt, it must first be washed off with water), flows inside microcracks, displacing clogged deposits, makes the outer layer of rubber elastic and homogeneous and forms a protective film against dirt and ultraviolet radiation.
Easier to work with foam spray formulations – Foam is more effective than regular sprays at picking up dirt particles and simply dripping off leaving a clean, shiny surface. Well, if the condition of the tires are forced to carefully work with a napkin, you should pay attention to liquids and gels.
Is there a need to recycle tires, take precautions?
Tire cosmetics are generally flammable, so keep away from heaters and smokers will have to wait. Avoid inhaling chemical fumes, work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area, and avoid contact of chemicals with skin and eyes. In addition, these preparations are quite slippery, so cover your ardor, and if you cut the tread, the first kilometers be careful with hard acceleration and deceleration until you have erased the composition of the Microregister.
Saved and installed
How to store tires in the off season?
During storage, two factors should be avoided: external influence and deformation. So, you will need a closed room without direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Corrosive chemicals, fuels and oils are best kept away. Special treatment is usually not required, but still cleaning conditioning compounds can improve the resistance of rubber to aging and drying out, additional plastic linings will also help tires to maintain their "microclimate".
Tires without rims cannot be stacked (it will be difficult at the bottom), they must not be hung on a hook (this is fraught with deformation), the tires must be placed vertically and rotated a little every month.
Recommendations for wheel assemblies to the opposite: since the drives take up the load, you can suspend the wheel drive or store them in a stack, the air should flow out by about a third.
What tires expiration date, How to find out the date of manufacture?
Officially, most manufacturers give an expiration date (often coinciding with the warranty) of 5 years, but with proper storage and gentle use, it can be twice as long. The release date is indicated in a four-digit code on the sidewall of the tire, where the first two digits indicate the week of release, and before the end of the year. For example, the number 2615 says that the tire was released in June 2015. Until 2000, there was a different coding system, but the “old” tires are unlikely to be of interest to anyone.
How to check the degree of wear and the possibility of further operation of the tire?
You can use a regular ruler, but better a special retractable probe with millimeter markings, which is sold in accessory stores. Some manufacturers equip the tread with washable wear signs in the form of numbers, drops, snowflakes, etc. Recall that the recommended (but not the minimum allowable) safe tread depth limit for summer tires, most manufacturers call 3 mm, and for winter models – 4 mm. In case of uneven wear of the measuring torque, the most worn section is considered.
Is it possible to replace one wheel with a new one of the same model and size if the other three are at least half or a third worn?
When tread wear is 30% or more, the difference in tire behavior during sharp maneuvers, acceleration and braking becomes very noticeable, especially on wet and slippery surfaces. And then there is no guarantee that the car will not lose control and grip at the most inopportune moment. So it’s at your own risk and the last word is the key.
Do I need to periodically rearrange the wheels for even wear and what is the scheme?
Highly recommended. However, such a replacement by default is performed by qualified seasonal tire fitting personnel when changing tires, when, for example, front-wheel drive vehicles on a steering axle put wheels with better safety tread. There are many permutation schemes themselves, they largely depend on the type of rubber. Most tire swap options with symmetrical non-directional tread: you can change not only the axle and the car, but inside the tire with the outside. To choose an asymmetric directional pattern is small – you can change the front wheels with the rear, and only one – right or left. It is important not to apply any mechanical scheme, and the degree and nature of wear of each wheel must be taken into account.
Typically, the design of the car allows you to install different tire sizes. Which is better for comfortable and safe daily driving?
The automaker has already taken care of this: for each change, it has its own basic recommended size, which depends not only on the physical dimensions of the car, but also on engine power. For example, big "rollers" on massive discs can be likened to flywheels – a modest base motor makes them harder to turn and you will notice a deterioration in dynamics.
It is known that if you throw away old tires, you can run into a serious fine. Where to put them?
Nowadays, almost every tire shop offers tire recycling, and at low prices.