Basic Tire Terms
Basic Tire Terms
Learn How to Speak Tire Like a Dealer
When all wheels on the vehicle are adjusted so that they are pointed in the optimum direction relative to the road and each other.
The state in which a tire and wheel spin with all their weight distributed equally. To correct an imbalance, a trained mechanic will add weights on the interior or exterior of the wheel.
The section of the tire that sits on the wheel. Inside, there is a round hoop of steel wires, wrapped or reinforced by body ply cords, that clamps the tire firmly against the wheel rim.
The area in which the tire is in contact with the road surface. Also called footprint.
The tread and sidewall flexing where the tread comes into contact with the road.
The space between two adjacent tread ribs; also called tread grooves.
This is the act of putting a tire on a wheel and ensuring that the assembly is balanced. When you purchase new tires, they need to be professionally mounted. It is also standard for the tire dealer to charge a nominal fee for a valve stem.
The tendency for a vehicle, when negotiating a corner, to turn more sharply than the driver intends. The rear end of the vehicle wants to swing toward the outside of a turn. A handling condition in which the slip angles of the rear tires are greater than the slip angles of the front tires. An oversteering car is sometimes said to be "loose," because its tail tends to swing wide.
A condition in which a vehicle swerves to one side without being steered in that direction, as a result of irregular tire wear, improper front and/or rear wheel alignment, or worn or improperly adjusted brakes.
That portion of a wheel to which a tire is mounted.
The diameter of the rim bead seats supporting the tire.
The force required to keep a tire moving at a uniform speed. The lower the rolling resistance, the less energy needed to keep a tire moving.
The changing of tires from front to rear or from side to side on a vehicle according to a set pattern; provides even treadwear. Rotating your tires on a regular basis (every 6,000-8,000 miles) is a simple way to add miles to their life. See your tire warranty for more information on recommended rotation.
RUN FLAT TECHNOLOGY
Tires that are designed to resist the effects of deflation when punctured, and to enable the vehicle to continue to be driven at reduced speeds and for limited distances.
The area of a tire where the tread and sidewall meet.
Special slits within a tread block that open as the tire rolls into the contact patch then close, breaking the water tension on the road surface and putting rubber in contact with the road to maintain adhesion, increasing wet and snow traction.
The various springs, shock absorbers and linkages used to suspend a vehicle's frame, body, engine, and drivetrain above its wheels.
SYMMETRICAL TREAD DESIGN
Uniform tread pattern on both sides of the tread for better performance in specific conditions and on specific roads.
A metal or paper tag permanently affixed to a vehicle, which indicates the appropriate tire size and inflation pressures for the vehicle. The placard can ordinarily be found on either the driver's doorpost, the glove box lid, or the fuel-filler door.
The friction between the tires and the road surface; the amount of grip provided.
That portion of a tire that comes into contact with the road. It is distinguished by the design of its ribs and grooves. Provides traction in a variety of conditions, withstands high forces, and resists wear, abrasion, and heat.
The depth of usable tread rubber measured in 32nds of an inch. If a tire comes new with 10/32nds of rubber, you have 8/32nds of usable rubber. Tires must be replaced when the wear bars are visible at 2/32nds.
The life of a tire before it is pulled from service; mileage.
The handling characteristic in which the front tires break loose because they are running a larger slip angle than the rear tires. Also known as plowing.
A device that lets air in or out of a tire. It is fitted with a valve cap to keep out dirt and moisture, plus a valve core to prevent air from escaping.