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     Tire Service & Maintenance

Proper Tire Inflation

The tire inflation pressure for your vehicle is very important in providing you with safe driving and a fuel efficient vehicle. The key to correct tire pressure is to know the correct pressure for your vehicle. The best place to find this inflation pressure is on the vehicle placard. In most vehicles, the owner’s manual will direct you to the vehicle information placard’s location. Please keep in mind that the air pressure in your tires is affected by temperature, road conditions and driving speed. Tires are permeable and can lose up to 2 psi per month. More air is lost in hot weather as the pores in the tire material expand. To maintain proper inflation levels, measure the air pressure in your vehicle’s tires at least once a month.


Safety: Your vehicle’s tires are engineered to perform safely, day in and day out. But to do their job right, tires need regular maintenance. Under or over-inflated tires will cause handling problems. Your tires may not accelerate, brake or steer properly. Other safety devices such as Antilock Braking Systems (ABS), Traction Control Systems (TCS) and stability control systems may not function correctly with tires that are not properly inflated.

Fuel Consumption: Properly inflated tires will help your vehicle run more efficiently. With properly maintained tires, the average Canadian driver could save the equivalent of two weeks worth of gas every year.

Environment: Every litre of fuel consumed by a vehicle results in 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, being released into the environment. Proper tire inflation helps increase fuel efficiency thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Every year in Canada, 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are unnecessarily released into the environment because of poor tire maintenance practices. Disposing of old tires also has an impact on the environment. Canadians discard 28 million used tires every year, many of which end up in landfills or recycling centres. Every effort made to reduce the number of used tires would mean a reduction in the amount of gasoline and other types of energy required to transport, dispose of or recycle them. By better maintaining our tires, we could prevent emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants from entering the atmosphere.

Cost Savings: Properly maintained tires help a vehicle run efficiently and prolong the life of your vehicle’s tires. With proper tire maintenance, the average Canadian driver could save the equivalent of two weeks worth of free gas every year. As well, because tires will last longer, you could save the cost of one or two sets of tires over the life of a vehicle.

Tread Wear

A proper tire inflation and the type of road surface that you drive on most will affect
the tire’s life.

Proper tire pressure is critical for safe driving and fuel efficiency, but many passenger and light truck vehicles operate with under or over-inflated tires. Ninety-five per cent (95%) of a vehicle’s weight is supported by the tire air pressure, with the tire supporting just 5%, making inflation a critical part of a tire’s ability to perform. Tire inflation also has a strong impact on tread life. Relying on a sight inspection alone is not an accurate way to measure tire pressure. Tires may be significantly under or over-inflated, yet you may not be able to tell just by looking at them. The only accurate way to know if your tires need to be inflated is by measuring their pressure with a reliable tire gauge. Tire gauges are available at most automotive supply and hardware stores.

Driving on rough, unpaved roads can cut your tire’s life in half. Tread life also declines rapidly with increasing speed, wearing about 35 percent faster at 110 km/h than at 80 km/h. Premature tire wear can also be caused by numerous mechanical conditions in your car. Worn or loose steering or suspension parts, misalignment and improper mounting and balancing can all contribute to premature tire wear.

Tire Repair

During its service life, a tire undergoes a variety of different usage conditions and can be damaged in many different ways. This damage can result from punctures, impacts, cuts, etc.. Tire damage can reduce a tire’s structural integrity by, for example:

• Air loss resulting in under inflated service conditions which lead to internal structural damage.
• Direct damage to tire components such as rubber and plies.
• Exposure of internal materials to the outside environment and resulting degradation.
• Exposure of internal materials to pressurized air (Intra-carcass pressurization).

For these reasons, tires should be regularly inspected by the consumer. An inspection of the tires should also be incorporated during routine vehicle maintenance procedures. If tire damage is suspected or found, it should be carefully assessed by a trained tire specialist immediately.

A consumer should never repair a damaged tire. Only a trained tire specialist who can base his/her assessment on a thorough and comprehensive inspection of the specific tire can determine whether an individual tire is suitable for repair or should be removed from service. This assessment should also take into account the complete service life history of the tire including inflation, load, operating conditions, etc. If the tire specialist decides to repair the tire, then he should strictly follow all appropriate national tire industry repair standards regarding the inspection process and repair procedures. General Tire is not responsible for the specialist’s decisions or the repaired tire. General Tire advises that a repair to one of its tires invalidates the manufacturer’s warranty.

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Using Nitrogen in Tires

Nitrogen is an inert (non-flammable) gas – basically, nothing more than dry air with oxygen removed. For example, ambient air contains about 78% nitrogen. Because of nitrogen’s inert properties, it is often used in highly specialized tire service applications and/or demanding environments. These tire service applications usually include aircraft, mining, and commercial/heavy use. Also, nitrogen is used in professional motor racing involving extreme vehicle speeds. We understand that dry nitrogen is used in this regard to help reduce tire pressure variations where even small differences in pressure can affect vehicle handling at the extreme limits of performance.

For normal everyday consumer tire service applications, nitrogen tire inflation is not required. However, nitrogen tire inflation does not harm tires and may marginally contribute to reductions in tire inflation loss by permeation. Nevertheless, nitrogen will not prevent any tire inflation loss caused by punctures, tire/rim interface (bead) leaks, valve leaks, valve/rim interface leaks, wheel leaks, and other mechanical leaks. Again, the use of nitrogen alone does not substitute for the importance of regularly checking tire inflation pressure. If the tire inflation pressure is below the pressure specified on the vehicle placard, the tire must be re-inflated – whether with air or nitrogen – to the proper inflation pressure. Do not operate tires under-inflated and/or overloaded.

Whether inflated with air or nitrogen, regular tire inflation pressure maintenance remains critical and necessary. Use of nitrogen alone is not a replacement for regular tire inflation pressure maintenance.

Breaking In New Tires

New tires have to be driven a few hundred kilometres on dry roads to rid the tread of parting agents and antioxidants applied during production. Not until the tread has been slightly roughened will the tire be able to make its true gripping power felt.

What’s more, flooring it and slamming the brakes can cause tire/rim slip in the first few hundred kilometres of tire use. That’s because the lubricant used in mounting the tires has an initial tendency to reduce the adherence of these two parts.

You are thus well advised to exercise care with new tires. And keep in mind that winter tires fresh out of the factory will need a bit of time to attain full winter suitability.

Plus-Sizing Tires

Plus-sizing is an option that allows vehicle owners to customize their vehicle by installing lower aspect ratio tires on wider, and larger diameter rims. The following are important tire related aspects that need to be considered in every plus-sizing application:

1. Load Capacity – must be equal to or greater than Original Equipment tire fitment.
2. Inflation Pressure – never use a tire inflation pressure lower than the Original Equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. Maintain pressure relationship between the front and rear axle tires. See below for more detailed information, for example if replacing Standard Load tires with Extra Load (Reinforced) tires.
3. Speed Rating – must be equal to or greater than Original Equipment tire fitment.
4. Rolling Circumference – the Original Equipment rolling circumference should be maintained as closely as possible.
5. Tire and Rim combination – only use industry approved tire size and rim width combinations.
6. Body and Chassis Clearance – ensure sufficient Body and Chassis clearance under all service conditions.

Potential Tire Troubles

• Curbs can prove to be big trouble to your tires. Approach curbs with care, if you drive over them too fast or at the wrong angle the impact may cause the tire to crack.
• Avoid potholes or debris in the road when possible.
• Avoid fast stops & starts.
• Be sure to check your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s maximum load.
Overloading your vehicle can shorten your tire life.

Use and Resale of Used Tires

There are risks associated with the purchase of used tires for which the service history is uncertain or unknown. This pertains to both used tires purchased as replacement tires or for tires already equipped on a used vehicle. Used tires may have been exposed to improper service and may have damage that could eventually lead to a tire disablement.

Not all tire damage or conditions that can lead to a tire disablement are easily detectable. For instance, improper repairs or damage to a tire’s inner liner can only be observed through an inspection of the inside of the tire, demounted from the wheel. A qualified tire service professional should inspect the internal and external condition of a used tire prior to application. If a used vehicle is purchased and the history of the tires is unknown, it is recommended that the tires be inspected by a tire service professional, including demounting for internal inspection.

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