MAINTENANCE

YOUR TIRE CAN LIVE LONGER IF YOU CAN MAINTAIN A PROPER CARE

MAINTENANCE

TIRE TREAD & TIRE BALANCE

Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch in order to prevent skidding and hydroplaning. An easy test: place a penny into a tread groove. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the proper amount of tread. If you can see all of his head, you should buy a new tire. Built-in treadwear indicators, or "wear bars," which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread will appear on the tire when the tread is worn down to one-sixteenth of an inch. When you see these "wear bars," the tire is worn out and should be replaced. Visually check your tires for signs of uneven wear. You may have irregular tread wear if there are high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Consult your tire dealer as soon as possible.

If your car develops a shimmy (a back-and-forth vibration, usually felt through the steering wheel) at a certain speed, it's possible that one of your tires has lost its balance weight. Having your tires re-balanced is a fairly inexpensive job.

MAINTENANCE

TIRE REPAIR

Knowing the difference between a proper tire repair and an improper tire repair could be critical to vehicle safety. A tire industry study showed that nearly 88 percent of the tire repairs are performed improperly. An improper tire repair could pose a safety hazard to you and your family and could also affect a tire manufacturer's warranty. One key process in a proper tire repair is removing a tire from the wheel to inspect any damage that may occur to the inner liner of the tire.

RMA offers tire dealers and automotive repair outlets a detailed wall-chart for proper tire repairs. Among the criteria to perform a proper repair are:

  • Repairs are limited to the tread area only
  • Puncture injury cannot be greater than 1/4 inch (6mm) in depth
  • Repairs must be performed by removing the tire from the rim/wheel assembly to perform a complete inspection to assess all damage that may be present
  • Repairs cannot overlap
  • A rubber stem, or plug, must be applied to fill the puncture injury and a patch must be applied to seal the inner liner. A common repair unit is a one-piece unit with a stem and patch portion. A plug by itself is an unacceptable repair

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TIRE INFLATION PRESSURE

Regardless of its size, every tire's load capacity, durability, traction and handling is dependent on using the right inflation pressure for the application. Since both too little and too much inflation pressure sacrifices some of the tires' performance, maintaining the "right" inflation pressure is very important.

While a wide variety of tire sizes are available to fit the many different vehicles in use today, almost every tire size can be used on more than one vehicle. Therefore it is the vehicle manufacturers that ultimately determine the tire inflation pressures they believe best fine-tune the tires' capabilities to their specific vehicle makes and models.

The pounds per square inch (psi) pressure number branded on the tire's sidewall identifies the maximum cold inflation pressure that specific tire is rated to hold. However, the tire's maximum pressure is not necessarily the correct pressure for every vehicle upon which the tire can be used (almost all vehicle manufacturers' recommended tire inflation pressures are less than the tires' maximum pressure).

MAINTENANCE

  • TIRE ROTATION

    Tire rotation can be beneficial in several ways. When done at the recommended times, it can preserve balanced handling and traction and even out tire wear. Tire rotation can even provide performance advantages.

    Many tire mileage warranties require tire rotation to keep the warranty valid. When should tires be rotated? We recommend that tires be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles even if they don't show signs of wear. Tire rotation can often be done with oil change intervals while the vehicle is off the ground. This can also be a good time to have your tires rebalanced. It's also a good time to inspect the tires for any damage, remove stones or debris from the tire treads, check for uneven wear by checking the tire tread depth and of course, checking your tire pressure.

    Tire rotation helps even out tire wear by allowing each tire to serve in as many of the vehicle’s wheel positions as possible. Remember, tire rotation can’t correct wear problems due to worn mechanical parts or incorrect inflation pressures.

    While vehicles are typically equipped with four tires, usually the tires on the front axle need to accomplish very different tasks than the tires on the rear axle. The tasks encountered on a front-wheel drive vehicle are considerably different than those of a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Tire wear experienced on a performance vehicle will usually be more severe than that of a family sedan. Each wheel position can cause different wear rates and different types of tire wear.

    It is an advantage when all four tires wear together because as wear reduces a tire’s tread depth, it allows all four tires to respond to the driver’s input more quickly, maintains the handling and helps increase the tire’s cornering traction.

    When your tires wear out together, you can get a new set of tires without being forced to buy pairs. If you replace tires in sets of four, you will maintain the original handling balance. In addition, our suppliers constantly introduce new tires, each of which improves upon their past product’s performance. If you replace your tires in sets of four, it allows you to experience today’s technology, instead of being forced to match yesterday’s.

  • 4 (FOUR) TIRE ROTATION

    What tire rotation pattern should be followed? The Tire & Rim Association has identified three traditional rotation patterns covering most vehicles (equipped with non-directional tires and wheels which are the same size and offset).

    The first being the “Rearward Cross” (Figure A); the second being the “Forward Cross” (Figure C); and the third is the “X Pattern” (Figure B). The X-Pattern can be used as an alternative to A or C. Today's performance tire and wheel trends have provided the need for two additional tire rotation patterns.

    The “Front-to-Rear” (Figure D) pattern may be used for vehicles equipped with the same size directional wheels and/or directional tires. A “Side-to-Side” (Figure E) pattern may be used for vehicles equipped with different sized non-directional tires and wheels on the front axle compared to the rear axle.

    If the last two rotation patterns do not provide even wear, dismounting, mounting and rebalancing will be necessary to rotate the tires.

    Vehicles that use different sized directional wheels and tires, and/or wheels with different front and rear offsets with directional tires will require dismounting, mounting and rebalancing to rotate the tires.

  • 5 (FIVE) TIRE ROTATION

    While many vehicles are equipped with temporary spares that cannot be included in a tire rotation program, if the vehicle’s four wheels and tires on the ground match the spare wheel and tire (if non-directional and not branded “for temporary use”), they should be included in the tire rotation pattern. Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire rotation procedures, or if not available, insert the spare in the right rear position at every rotation. Place the tire that would have gone to the right rear in the trunk as the spare until the next tire rotation.

    On front-wheel drive cars with full-size matching spare, rotate the tires in a “forward cross pattern” (Figure F)

    On rear-wheel or four-wheel drive cars with full-size matching spare, rotate the tires in a “rearward cross pattern” (Figure G)

    Five tire rotation results in equally distributed use that will help maintain equivalent tread depths on all five tires throughout their life. When applied to many four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles, this is required to prevent driveline damage if a flat tire forces a new spare to be put into service with partially worn tires on the other three wheel positions.

DRIVING TIPS

WINTER DRIVING

Driving in snowy conditions requires knowledge. Please keep tips below in your mind for your safety.

Winter Driving
  • Proper tire selection is crucial. Consult your dealer for proper tire selection.
  • Slow down gradually in straight line before turning.
  • Maintain constant speed and avoid sudden steering movements at turn, these can cause your tires to lose grip.
  • Increase and keep your distance with other vehicles. Breaking lengths increase dramatically at snowy conditions.
  • If your tires locks and start to slide during braking, release the breaks, recover grip than brake slower.
  • Check tire pressure and if necessary restore it to levels recommended by the tire manufacturer. The pressure drops about 1 psi for every 5°C (9°F) drop in temperature.

RAIN DRIVING

Driving in rain can be dangerous. The most important thing for drivers to remember is to SLOW DOWN! In rainy conditions pedestrians, livestock, and wildlife are extremely hard to spot and even harder to avoid. It takes longer to stop or adjust speed in wet weather. The following are tips for safe driving in the rain.

Rain Driving
  • Before it starts to rain, replace old or brittle wiper blades.
  • Stay toward the middle lanes — water tends to pool in outside lanes.
  • Maintain proper following distance (3 second rule). This needs to be increased in wet weather.
  • Drive in the tracks of a vehicle ahead of you.
  • Don’t follow large trucks or busses too closely, because the spray created by their large tires can reduce vision.
  • Be more alert watching for brake lights in front of you.
  • Avoid using your brakes; if possible, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down.
  • Turn your headlights on in a light rain and in gloomy, foggy, or overcast conditions to help you see the road and help other drivers see you.
  • Avoid off-road driving; it’s hard to judge the actual depth of puddles and standing water where you can easily become stuck.
  • Never drive beyond the limits of visibility. The glare of oncoming lights, amplified by the rain on the windshield, can cause temporary loss of visibility while substantially increasing driver fatigue.
  • Never drive through moving water if you can’t see the ground through it; your vehicle could be swept off the road.
  • Avoid driving through deep water, because it can cause serious damage to a modern vehicle’s electrical system.
  • If possible, stay off the road during heavy thunderstorms. Large flashes of lightning can temporarily blind and disorient drivers, and the accompanying high winds and heavy rain can create deadly driving conditions.
  • When you need to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Watch the contours not only of the road, but also the fences, trees, hedges, and buildings at the side of the road ahead. If they appear to be unnaturally low, slow down at once, because the road is probably flooded.
  • Watch out for places where floodwater collects, particularly low-lying roads adjacent to streams, and dips under rail or highway bridges.

SUMMER DRIVING

Summer Driving
  • Check your tires regularly to be sure there are no visible signs of wear or damage.
  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Check your tire pressure often with a gauge, especially on long trips. Measure when the tires are cold, before you drive on them. You can find the recommended inflation pressure in your owner's manual, on a label frequently found in the glove box, near the door latch on the driver's side, or other locations on your vehicle. The recommended inflation pressure is not to be confused with the maximum inflation pressure shown on the side of the tire. At the recommended inflation pressure, tires will last longer and be less likely to fail, and the car will use less fuel. Serious injury can result from tire failure because of under inflation or overloading.
  • Never overload your vehicle. Your car and tires are designed to operate safely only up to their load limits. These limits are shown in your owner's manual and on the certification plate on the edge of the driver's door.
  • Make sure there is enough tread on the tire to operate safely, and make sure the tires are wearing normally. All grooves should be visible and deep enough to at least touch the top of Lincoln's head on a penny inserted head first in the tread. Low tread or bald tires are unsafe and need to be replaced.
  • If some spots on the tire seem to be wearing faster than others, see your service station or mechanic. You could have misaligned wheels, worn shock absorbers, or other potential problems. Make sure your tires are aligned and balanced properly.
  • Don't drive at a high rate of speed for a long time, particularly in hot weather. Obey posted speed limits. Lower speeds also mean better gas mileage.

FUEL EFFICIENT DRIVING

Fuel Efficient Driving
  • One of the best ways to save gas is to simply reduce your speed. As speed increases, fuel economy decreases exponentially.
  • Under-inflated tires are one of the most commonly ignored causes of high fuel consumption. Tires lose air due to time (about 1 psi per month) and temperature (1 psi for every 10 degree drop); under-inflated tires have more rolling resistance, which means you need to burn more gas to keep your car moving. Buy a reliable tire gauge and check your tires at least once a month. Be sure to check them when they are cold, since driving the car warms up the tires along with the air inside them, which increases pressure and gives a falsely high reading. Use the inflation pressures shown in the owner's manual or on the data plate in the driver's door jamb.
  • A dirty air filter restricts the flow of air into the engine, which harms performance and economy.
  • Jack-rabbit starts are an obvious fuel-waster. If you drive an automatic, accelerate moderately so the transmission can shift up into the higher gears. Stick-shifters should shift early to keep the revs down, but don't lug the engine -- downshift if you need to accelerate. Keep an eye well down the road for potential slowdowns. If you accelerate to speed then have to brake right away, that's wasted fuel.