Tire Myths You Should Know

Your vehicle’s tires have a huge functional impact on its braking, handling and overall ride experience.

83% of drivers aren’t “tire smart” (don’t know how to properly check tire pressure) ~~ Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) 2015 survey.

Since tires are the final extremity of you car that separates you from the road, taking proper care of them is one of the most important safety factors you can master. Here are the top five tire myths that you should be sure you know.

 

A Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) Ensures That Your Tires Are Always Safe – A TPMS electronically tracks and displays tire pressure via a gauge, pictogram display or a warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard. “These have lulled most drivers into believing that if the warning signal is off, everything is fine,” says Pat Goss…a master mechanic and automotive radio show host. Since a signal is only triggered when tires lose 25 percent of their inflation pressure (aka “dangerously low” tire pressure), you could be driving on tires that are underinflated enough to cause unnecessary wear, waste fuel and in some cases, decrease cornering ability while increasing stopping distances. Goss advises that you should check tire pressure every 30 days the old-fashioned way: manually, with a tire pressure gauge. (Watch the quick how-to video below)

The Correct Tire Pressure Is Listed On The Tire Sidewall – 50% of all drivers believe this is true. But these numbers actually tell you the maximum cold inflation PSI the tire is rated for—not the recommended pressure for your vehicle. The CORRECT information is actually listed on a label inside the vehicle’s driver-side door or in the owner’s manual.

All Cars Come With Spare Tires – approximately one third of all new cars DON’T come with a spare tire in the trunk. Instead, you’ll get a “temporary mobility kit” with a tire sealant and a tire inflator or run-flat tires, says Goss. If your tire is punctured, apply the sealant through the valve stem then use the inflator to re-inflate it, he explains. The downside? If the damage is more severe than a tiny hole (think nail size), the mobility kit probably isn’t going to cut it and you’ll have to be towed. Go check your trunk now, so you’re not surprised in an emergency.

Tire Rotation Should be Done About Once A Year – The correct answer…Tire rotation should be performed every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, which also coincides with the typical oil change recommendation.

Flat Tire While Driving?…Never Continue Driving – “Run-flat tires” — which let you keep driving after a puncture so you can make it to an auto shop—are becoming more popular. “Many manufacturers are using them because the additional cost of four run-flats is less than the cost of a spare tire, wheel and jack,” says Goss. Run-flats vary as to how far they can be driven and at what speed, but generally speaking they can be driven for up to 50 miles at a reduced speed (usually about 50 miles per hour), he explains. You can tell if your car has run-flats by looking inside the driver’s door, in your owner’s manual or checking the tire sidewall for one of the following codes: RFT, DSST, ROF, RFT, EMT, XRP, ZP or ZPS.

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