Before making a tire change it is always advisable to know more about them to avoid problems and gain safety. The investment is not minor and there are many errors that are repeated: one of them is to buy the wrong size. Therefore, before renewing the wheels of your car, it is advisable to verify the appropriate cover measures for your vehicle and to know what options are available in the market.
It is not difficult to learn how a deck is measured . The recommended thing is, first of all, take a look at one of its sides. There are two codes that indicate the type of tire used by the vehicle. This set of numbers is what will allow us to buy properly without making mistakes.
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If you do not find it or you have trouble reading it, in case of doubt you can always check the user manual, where you can see if the measurements of the tires we are evaluating are compatible with our car.
How to read a tire
The wheels have an expiration date. Sooner or later we will find the need to renew them (I know how many kilometers a cover in a car lasts ). When that time comes, normally, the manufacturers recommend that we use the tire measurements of the series that the original car brings. But the truth is that this is an option, but it is not the only one: we can also choose to change the tires of the car for others that we like more or are cheaper. In this last case, we have to look carefully at those codes that appear on the side of the wheels.
The first is about the mandatory part that consists of three numbers and one letter. To understand how a cover is measured, if the code were “255/55 R 17”, the meaning would be the following:
255: this measure indicates the width of the tire, which is indicated in millimeters. The width of the wheel is 205 mm, that is, 20.5 cm. For standard tires, this number varies between 125 and 335 millimeters.
55: this measurement indicates the profile of the tire, its height. It is a percentage that takes as reference the width of the wheel. In this example, the tire profile equals 55% of its width.
A: This letter indicates “Radial” by the type of tire construction. All tires are radial, so it is an optional indication.
17: This figure refers to the inner edge of the rim. The rim is the metal sphere on which the tire is mounted. It is always expressed in inches. The number varies between 10 and 20 inches. It is an important factor to consider before making the change of tires.
Pneumatic speed index
The last letter indicates the maximum speed at which the tire can move with full load. In general, this symbol is greater than the maximum speed of the vehicle. However, there are exceptions for winter tires in some countries. Be careful not to buy tires with a speed symbol or load index lower than indicated. In the manual and the technical sheet of each vehicle is all the information to make a correct tire change.
Types of tires depending on the weather
Finally, a code that says M + S (Mud + Snow, initials in English for mud and snow) may appear. This refers to the fact that these tires can be driven in all seasons of the year and under various ground conditions.
Additionally we can find a pictograph of a “mountain of 3 peaks and a snowflake”, to indicate that they are winter tires (also called contact). If the M + S mark is not followed by the pictograph, it is an “all-weather” or mixed tire, which can be used all year round. Although it does not have the grip of a winter tire, it presents better behavior in low temperatures and rain compared to summer.
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How often the decks are changed
Many drivers do not know when to change the tires of the car. Sometimes it can be obvious at first sight – with punctures or visible wear – but signs of wear are not always clear.
When we talk about the useful life of a tire, we have to look at two issues: the depth of the tread pattern of the center treads and the health of the rubber itself. Some information to consider:
Check the sides of the wheel: this part is usually rounder than the rest of the tire, so it tends to wear out earlier. Verify that it stays that way.
Check the depth of the drawing of the wheels: if you do not have a depth gauge, a tool specially designed for this, you can use a coin. A cover must have a depth equal to or greater than 1.6 millimeters in the rubber drawings. Of course: reach that point of depth will depend on certain factors, which in turn change depending on the type of vehicle. For example, in a compact car with a naphtha engine, it is estimated that, to reach this measure, an average of between 25,000 and 30,000 km will have been traveled (this is for the front tires, which bear the greatest load; get to roughly double that mileage).
In order to achieve a half-life of the four wheels that runs around 60,000 km, it is necessary to go to a specialist who rotates the tires, that is, who passes both front and back.
Tips for choosing a good tire
Depending on certain factors, one type of wheel or another for our car will be safer. The right choice of a tire depends on the type of vehicle, the style of driving, the place where we usually drive and the weather.