While going for a bank deposit Monday, I got a flat tire. I spent yesterday getting quotes for tire replacement and found that a shop we’ve taken our car to before offered a solid deal. I took it in and replaced 2 tires. Included with my receipt and warranty paperwork was a maintenance and safety manual.
Tire Care Basics
The first thing many people want to find out about their tires is learning how to read it. Whenever you call the shop to get quotes on their tires, they’ll ask for your particular tire size.
In the picture included here the tire markings are 175/55 R15. Those numbers break down as follows:
- 175- nominal width of tire in millimeters
- 55 – aspect ratio (ratio of height to width)
- R- radial ply construction
- 15 – rim diameter code
In addition, you may notice another number/letter combination right after that (in this example 77T). Those markings are giving you the load index and speed symbol.
These speed ratings allow you to make an apples to apples comparison with car tires. It also gives you an idea of maximum speed capability for your tires. If your tires speed symbols don;t match, please go by the lowest rating.
According to the manual included with my tires, the ratings are:
- M- 81 mph
- Q- 99 mph
- R – 106 mph
- S – 112 mph
- T – 118 mph
- U – 124 mph
- H – 130 mph
- V – 149 mph
- W – 168 mph
- Y – 186 mph
If you car’s tires that have a speed capability greater than 186 mph, you should see both a Z in the tire markings as well as a “Y” in brackets.
Tips for Take Care of Your Tires
Taking care of your tires isn’t difficult. In fact it comes down to 3 things:
- Inflate: Check your tires’ pressure at least monthly. Tires can lose 1psi each month under normal conditions and with temperature drops.
- Rotate: Review your vehicle’s manual from the car manufacturer to see how often you should get your tires rotated.
- Evaluate: Double check your car before each trip for any changes with wear and tear.
While I do check my tires monthly, I didn’t remember seeing my tire’s condition with this last trip as I was in a bit of rush. I should also note that when you check your tires, please include your spare. You don’t want to be stranded without a usable spare.
Thoughts on Taking care of Your Car
I’ll be keeping an eye out for my car; I want it to last for years and taking care of the tires is a part of that. I’d like to hear from those on top of their car care. How often do you check on your car? What’s your maintenance check-up schedule?
Photo Credits: Leo and Mr T. in DC