2454 Route 206 Belle Mead, NJ 08502 908-359-8131

Tires Form:

We stock over 100 tires, and have hourly access to 1000’s of brands/styles/sizes.

Feel confident with our ‘one price’ strategy, where all mounting and balancing is included-no guesswork, or added fees (other than tax and state fees). We have all the up to date mounting and balancing equipment, as well as a state of the art alignment machine with capable technicians. Call us with questions or for quotes, and we can make educated recommendations based on what you drive, where you drive, and how you drive.

Tire Rotation:

Rotating your tires periodically is an essential part of tire maintenance. The main purpose of regularly rotating tires is to achieve more uniform wear for all tires on the vehicle. If no rotation period or pattern is to be found in your owner's documentation, rotate your tires at least every 6,000 miles and follow one of the patterns suggested below.

However, rotate your tires earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops, and check with a qualified tire dealer or alignment shop to determine the cause of the wear problem. Remember that a hard impact such as hitting a pothole can cause misalignment, which then causes uneven tire wear.

Don't include your temporary spare in any tire rotation; it's for emergency use only. But do take the opportunity at this time to check the air in the spare (remember this unit typically requires a much higher air pressure than the other tires and may fail to serve its purpose if it isn't up to pressure). If you do have a full size spare and wish to include it in the rotation, use one of the patterns shown and insert the spare in the right rear position. Place the tire that would have gone on the right rear in the trunk as the new spare.

Remember that certain tires cannot be rotated in the patterns described. These include tires with asymmetric or uni-directional tread designs. Also, some vehicles are equipped with different size tires on the front and rear axles. Check the owner's manual for the proper rotation in these cases.

Finally, check the inflation pressures and have them adjusted for the tire's new positions. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires may result in poor handling, uneven treadwear or poor fuel consumption. Also check that the lugnuts have been properly installed and torqued.



Size (Metrics)

tire size image

Tire Class - "P":
The first character(s) in a tire size designate the tire's class. In this example, "P" indicates that the tire is a passenger car tire. An "LT" before the tire size designates a light truck tire, and no letter before the size indicates that it is a European metric tire.

Section Width - "205":
A metric tire's section width is measured in millimeters. This measurement is taken from sidewall to sidewall. In this example, the section width of the tire is 205mm.

Aspect Ratio - "65":
This number refers to the height of the sidewall. It is a percentage of the section width. In this example, 65 percent of the section width of 205mm equals 133.25.

Tire Construction - "R":
The "R" in this example indicates radial tire construction.

Wheel Diameter - "16":
This indicates the wheel diameter in inches.



Size (High Flotation)

tire size image

Diameter - "35":
The first number indicates the tire's diameter in inches. In this example, the tire manufacturer has determined that this is a 35" tire. However, actual measured overall diameters vary from one manufacturer to the next.

Tire Width - "1250":
Standard tire width is indicated in inches with the decimal point removed. Therefore, in this example, the number 1250 indicates that this tire is 12.5" wide.

Tire Construction - "R":
The "R" in this example indicates radial tire construction.

Wheel Diameter - "17":
This indicates the wheel diameter in inches.

Plies - "E":
This letter indicates the load carrying capacity of the tire in terms of its construction. A "C" indicates the tire has a 6-ply load carrying capacity. The tire is not actually built with 6 plies, but contains one or two plies of equivalent strength. A "D" is an 8-ply rating, and an "E" is a 10-ply rating. If there is no letter, the tire has a standard 4-ply rating.



Load Index & Speed Rating

Load Index - "92":
The load index indicates the maximum amount of weight a tire can safely carry. Load index ranges from 0 to 279 and corresponds with the load-carrying capacity of a tire. Passenger car tire load indices typically range from 75 to 105. It is very important to maintain the proper load index for your vehicle when replacing your tires. See our load index chart for more information.

Speed Rating - "H":
A tire receives its speed rating from the U.S. Government by meeting minimum standards for reaching and sustaining a specified speed. In general, a higher speed rating will result in better vehicle handling. See our speed rating page for more information and a list of the various speed ratings.



U.S. DOT & Safety Standard Markings

DOT:
The "DOT" marking indicates that the tire meets or exceeds the U.S. Department of Transportation's safety standard for tires.

Manufacturer Plant Code - "CC":
The first two letters following the DOT marking are codes to identify the manufacturer of the tire and the manufacturing plant.

Tire Size - "9L":
The third and fourth characters following the DOT marking are codes representing the tire size.

Brand Characteristics - "YYY":
The final three or four letters are codes representing other significant characteristics of the tire as determined by the manufacturer.

Manufacture Week - "11":
The first pair of digits identifies the week the tire was manufactured. In this case, the tire was manufactured in the 11th week. The number 01 would indicate the first week of January, whereas the number 52 would indicate the last week of December.

Manufacture Year - "05":
The second pair of digits identifies the year that the tire was manufactured, in this case 2005.



Treadwear, Traction & Temperature

Treadwear - "520":
The treadwear rating is a measurement of the tire's durability, but not the projected tread life. It is important to remember that road surfaces, driving habits, and other factors determine actual tread life. Each tire manufacturer independently determines treadwear through their own tests. Treadwear is not based on any one industry or government standard.

Traction - "A":
The traction rating is a measurement of a tire's ability to stop on a straight, wet surface under controlled conditions. It does not indicate the tire's cornering ability on a wet surface or its traction on ice or snow. Traction grades include AA, A, B, and C, with AA being the highest grade available.

Temperature - "A":
The temperature rating is a measurement of a tire's resistance to heat generation under normal operating conditions at recommended inflation pressures. Temperature grades range from A to C, with A being highest rated and therefore most resistant to heat generation.



Maximum Load Limit & Air Pressure

Maximum Load Limit - "635 kg [1400 lbs]":
This indicates the tire's maximum load-carrying capabilities when the tire is inflated to its maximum inflation pressure, as indicated on the sidewall. Max load is based on standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Maximum Air Pressure - "300 kPa [44 psi]":
This indicates the maximum operating inflation pressure of the tire. It does not indicate the manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure, nor does it indicate the proper air pressure based on the vehicle the tire is mounted on. This category is also based on NHTSA standards.

Note -
Some tires are marked 'Extra Load', 'XL', or 'RF' (for reinforced). This simply denotes that the tire's indicated maximum load and air pressure are higher than a standard load tire.



Ply Construction

This indicates what materials are used in the tire's plies, and the quantity of each type included.



Rotation Direction

Some tires indicate the direction of rotation on the sidewall, while others indicate a specific side of the tire that is intended to face outward from the vehicle. Another type of tire combines both indications. It is important that these tires be mounted according to the indicated instructions.

Directional Tires:
Directional tires feature arrows on the sidewall that indicate what direction the tire should rotate when the vehicle is moving forward.

Asymmetrical Tires:
Asymmetrical tires have the word "outside" labeled on the side of the tire that should face outward from the vehicle.

Directional & Asymmetrical Tires:
Tires that are both directional and asymmetrical will indicate what direction the tire must rotate, as well as what side must face outward from the vehicle.



Tire Pressure monitoring system-TPMS

As part of the effort to increase awareness of the need to maintain proper tire pressure, the U.S. government has taken steps to make it easier for drivers to be aware of potentially unsafe low pressure in their tires. As of the 2008 model year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) now requires that all passenger cars and light trucks feature the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). In conjunction with the new requirements, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM) has initiated a consumer safety campaign focusing on the importance of maintaining proper tire pressure. As part of this campaign, the Alliance has launched the website www.checkmytires.com, which features resources to increase understanding of TPMS and the need to maintain proper tire pressure.

"Visit us in person, or shop online, and we’ll show you all the TPMS options for your vehicle."

TPMS is an automated system that monitors the air pressure in a vehicle’s tires. When air pressure in one or more tires drops 25 percent or more below the correct pressure, a warning indicator alerts the driver. TPMS typically delivers these alerts to the driver through one of two types of warning lights on the dashboard.

tire alert image
  1. The first uses the official TPMS symbol, which is a cross-section of a tire with an exclamation mark in the center.
  2. The second is a top-view graphic image of a car that indicates which tires are low.

Tire pressure is monitored through one of two methods: direct or indirect. Direct TPMS monitors the actual air pressure inside each tire via a sensor mounted within the tire. Indirect TPMS measures tire pressure by monitoring the speed and rotation of each individual wheel. When a significant variation in speed and rotation is detected in one or more wheels when compared with the others, it is often an indication of underinflation. This information is then transmitted to the vehicle’s on-board computer, and the driver is alerted.

car diagram

However, while TPMS systems offer increased safety to drivers through low pressure warnings, they are not meant to be a substitute for proper tire pressure maintenance. Both the NHTSA and the AAM urge drivers to check their tire pressure at least once a month and always prior to a long trip. In addition to making drivers aware of the new standard for TPMS, the “Check My Tires” website also offers a “how to” list for proper tire inflation, explanations of the various reasons why correct tire pressure is important, and links to a number of safety-related resources. Be sure to read our article on the importance of correct air pressure as well for even more in-depth information.

Even though TPMS has only recently become standard for all vehicles, a number of older models already have them installed. Approximately 20 percent of 2006 vehicle models came pre-equipped with TPMS, and that number increased to 70 percent in the 2007 model year. If you are unaware if your vehicle has TPMS installed, check your vehicle owner’s manual. If you don’t presently have TPMS on your vehicle, we can help. Discount Tire/America’s Tire offers TPMS sensor kits for virtually all vehicles on the road, TPMS rebuild kits, and retrofit kits for vehicles not factory equipped with a TPMS system. We will be happy to install them for you as well. Be sure to visit your local Discount Tire/America’s Tire location and inquire about our TPMS kits for vehicles not factory equipped with a TPMS system. We will be happy to install them for you as well. Be sure to visit your local Discount Tire/America’s Tire location and inquire about our TPMS kits.



Plus Tire Sizing

Plus sizing is one of the easiest ways to achieve enhanced performance and improve the appearance of your vehicle. In the example below, a 15x7 wheel with a 205/65R-15 tire is considered the O.E. (original equipment) size. Converting to a plus one size would mean increasing the wheel diameter by one inch (16x7.5) and selecting an appropriate tire to fit (225/55R-16). Likewise, moving to a plus two fitment would result in a 17x8 wheel and a 245/45R-17 tire. It is important to note that although the wheel diameter is increasing, the overall diameter of the tire remains consistent.

tire images

Two things happen to the tire to increase performance when moving into plus sizes. First, the tire becomes wider due to an increase in section width. This provides a larger footprint and more contact with the driving surface. Second, the aspect ratio is lower, resulting in a shorter sidewall. The combination of these changes offers better lateral stability and increased steering response.

The Benefits of Correct Air Pressure:
Experts agree that keeping the correct air pressure in your tires is as important as giving your engine a tune-up. In fact, the economic benefits may be even greater. With the right amount of air pressure, your tires wear longer, save fuel, enhance handling, and prevent accidents. Failure to maintain the correct air pressure can result in poor gas mileage, reduce tire life, affect vehicle handling, and cause vehicle overloading. If you consider these factors, then the need to routinely check your tire pressure is even clearer.

Check Air Pressure Routinely:
Because tires do so much without appearing to need attention, it's easy to forget about them. However, tires do lose pressure each day, through the process of permeation. In cool weather, a tire will typically lose one or two pounds of air per month. In warm weather, it's common for tires to lose air at an even higher rate. Tires are also often subjected to flexing and impacts that can diminish air pressure as well. So it's important to realize that refilling your tires is as important as refilling your gas tank. In fact, associating the need to refill your tires with the need for refilling your fuel supply can also be a useful reminder. Check the air pressure in your tires every other time you stop to fill up at the gas station. That interval will allow you to check your tire pressure consistently enough to maintain recommended air pressure. Another good time to check air pressure is when the tires are rotated. Many vehicles have different tire pressures on the front and rear axle, so remember to have this adjustment made. Also remember to have the pressure in your spare tire checked. The space-saver type spare requires a much higher air pressure level than other tires, and is virtually useless (due to overloading) at lower air pressure levels.

Where To Find Air Pressure Information:
The correct air pressure may be found in the vehicle owner's manual or on the tire placard (attached to the vehicle door edge, doorpost, glove box door or fuel door). The placard tells you the maximum vehicle load, the cold tire pressures and the tire size recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. If you have trouble, visit your local Discount Tire or America's Tire location for assistance.

Another valuable resource is tire load/inflation tables. Your local Discount Tire/America's Tire should have a copy. Not only will this document tell you the correct tire pressure for stock sizes, but it will provide the information on optional plus sizes as well. A good example would be the findings on a Honda Civic with the stock size 185/65R-14. The recommended air pressure is 28 psi. Plus one size is 195/55R-15 with a recommended air pressure of 32 psi. Plus two size is 205/45R-16 with a recommended air pressure of 36 psi. Note how the air pressure increases with plus sizing to meet the load carrying capacity for the car.

Other Factors Change Air Pressure:
In addition to routine air checks, other circumstances necessitate a visit to the air pump. Seasonal changes or altitude changes create a rise or drop in air pressure (for every 10 degrees change in temperature, tire air pressure changes 1 psi). Perhaps the most overlooked factor is vehicle loading for trucks and RVs. Since these vehicles can be configured and loaded in many ways, actual tire loads should be used to determine the proper inflation pressure. This is best determined by weighing the vehicle. Keep in mind that vehicle loading can change from trip to trip.

Sometimes a small nail, screw or other object will puncture a tire and then act as an inefficient plug. Air pressure drops slowly over a matter of hours or days, undetected by the driver. Your best defense in this circumstance is to be alert to the symptoms of this. Be aware of any pulling or vibration that seems unnatural. Listen for any ticking sounds, which will be especially audible at slow, parking lot speeds. If you detect this, get off the road and inspect the tires on the side of your vehicle where the pull, vibration or unusual sound is occurring. A bulging sidewall and/or excessively hot tire indicates a slow leak. Put on your spare tire and have your tire dealer repair the punctured unit. Ask the repair technician if any sidewall damage has occurred (a powdery residue inside the tire indicates this condition). If sidewall damage has occurred, you will need to have the tire replaced.

How To Check Air Pressure:
Properly checking tire pressure requires an accurate air gauge. Many people believe that they can check air pressure just by looking at the tire and judging the sidewall appearance. Also, many people use air meters at service stations, which can be grossly inaccurate due to exposure or abuse. Invest in a quality air gauge. For trucks and RVs, use a dual-head inflation gauge that is calibrated up to 120 psi at 2 psi increments.

When checking your vehicle's tire pressure, make sure the tires are "cold". Cold air pressure means that the vehicle has not yet been driven one mile. Remember that driving on a tire increases its temperature and air pressure. If you must drive more than one mile for air, check and record the air pressure in all your tires before you leave. Once at the tire dealer, measure each tire's inflation again and then note the difference. Inflate the tires with low pressure to a level that is equal to the recommended cold pressure plus the difference at the higher temperature.

tires

In this example, add 3 psi in the right rear tire to match the other rear tire's warm reading. When the tire returns to cold pressure, it should end up at the recommended pressure.

Finally, after completing the pressure check, make sure that the valves and extensions are equipped with valve caps to keep out dirt and moisture. Remember to replace the valve assembly when you replace the tire. It's your best assurance against a sudden or consistent loss of air pressure.

Environmental Impact:
How can routine air pressure maintenance impact our environment? Consider that fewer tires per year would end up in the landfills and scrap heaps that trouble our ecology. How many tires are we talking about? We estimate that most drivers lose from 10% to as much as 50% of tire tread life due to underinflation. That's a significant statistic. Now consider the extra fuel we burn to push cars along on soft, underinflated tires. Tires do require extra energy to roll if they are underinflated. While the statistics vary widely and can be somewhat inconclusive, the implications are staggering. Maintaining tire pressure may seem like a low priority in our busy daily routines, but it adds up to big environmental consequences. We must all take action to do the right thing.


Belle Mead Garage Inc., 2454 Route 206 , Belle Mead, NJ 08502 908-359-8131