Car Tires

Things to Know About Tire & Wheel Assembly, Rotation, and Balance

24 Jun, 19

Your wheels are your car’s connection to the road. They determine your vehicle’s traction, how you take your turns, and even contribute to how much gas you use. Wheels are one of the necessary components of our vehicle that can also keep us safer and more comfortable on our drive.

Any problem that arises with your wheels should be addressed as soon as possible to maintain their safe condition. In this article, we will discuss the wheel assembly and why it is important to have your tires rotated and balanced.

Knowing Your Tires

First and foremost, it’s important to know what kind of tires you have on your car. On the side of each tire, there is a letter followed by some numbers, a slash, and some additional numbers. This information is specific to your exact tires. The code looks something like this: P215/65R1592H.

Let’s break down the code on the tire and explain what each part means:

First Letter: Tire Type

The first letter indicates the type of tire. In this example, the type is a P, which means that this tire is a P-metric tire and is intended for passenger vehicles. If there is no letter at the beginning of the tire size that means the tire is a Euro-metric tire. These two types of tires can handle different load capacities. You might also find an LT at either the beginning or the end of the numbers indicating that the tire was designed for light truck use.

First 3 Digits: Width

In this example, the first 3 digits are 215. The 215 is the number of millimeters of the tire width. The higher the number, the wider the tire. So this tire is 215 mm wide. The width number is the amount of tread that touches the road from the inside of the tire to the outside.

Digits 65: Height

The digits after the slash represent the aspect ratio of the tires. That means that the height of the tire is 65% of the width of the tire. In this example, the tire is 215 mm wide and the height is 65% of that, so the height is 215 x 65% = 139.75 mm.

Next Letter – R: Construction

This letter reflects the type of construction of the tire. R means Radial. If there is no R on the tire, the construction is bias-ply. Bias-ply tires are not typically used on passenger cars. You will likely see them on trailers. They are known to hold up well on harsh road conditions.

2 Digits: Wheel Diameter

In this example, it shows 15, which represents a 15-inch diameter wheel.

Additional Information of Tires: 92H

On the side of the tire, you will also see information letting you know the load capacity of the tire. In this case, 92 is a weight index that is used in conjunction with the letter H. These 2 factors allow you to use a chart to calculate that amount. This is the perfect example of why automobile service professionals are so valuable. Even though it might be possible to figure out all of this information from automotive journals and online resources, you’d never know for certain if you were interpreting all of the data correctly.

Balancing Tires After Changing or Rotating

It seems simple that when your tires start to wear, you might rotate them as a first option. If the tread is too far gone, you would replace the tires. Sometimes there is a question about whether or not you need to balance your tires after you rotate them or after you get new tires. You need to balance your tires anytime you make a change. Tires need to sit properly against the road, dispersing the weight of your car for optimal performance. If the tires are not balanced, the wear will be uneven. Your brakes will also wear unevenly. If you have an all-wheel drive car, you can also damage the drivetrain if your tires are not balanced.

Santa Barbara Autowerks

The professional service technicians at Car Wheel Alignment Santa Barbara Autowerks are expertly trained and certified in the industry. If your vehicle needs tire services, come by Santa Barbara Autowerks. We are located in Santa Barbara, CA and service the surrounding communities. Come by for a consultation or call us to set an appointment today.

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