Tire Safety Myths
Myth 1: The recommended tire pressure is displayed on the tire sidewall.
Reality: Recommended tire pressure for a vehicle is provided by the vehicle manufacturer and not by the tire manufacturer. The tire pressure displayed on the sidewall of the tire is the max pressure that the tire can hold. Most of the vehicles have the recommended tire pressure displayed on the placard located at the driver door side panel. If you have the Cerebrum Intelligent Tire Sensors mobile application set up already, then you can check the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle by going to the ‘Vehicles’ and then selecting the ‘Set of tires’. Choose your current set of tires and it will display all of the tire information.
Myth 2: Tires with the same size designation have the exact same dimensions.
Tires from two different brands may have the same tire size listed but often they don’t have the same dimensions. Even the same tire make, model, and size can show variations! This is because every brand uses its own tire technology that slightly changes the tire construction. Continuous improvement in tire designing might create some differences in the tires of the same size within the same brand. It is important to check for tire dimensions especially while tire mixing in a four-wheel-drive or All-wheel-drive vehicle.
Myth 3: All-season tires can be used as a replacement for snow tires.
All-season tires are made to provide enough traction to withstand summer and winter weather. But there are some compromises made, the all-season tire doesn’t work as well as a winter tire in wet or winter conditions. Winter tires have a wider groove and flexible rubber to make better contact in wet conditions. Although all-season tires perform better than summer tires in wet conditions it doesn’t mean they can be used as a replacement for snow tires.
Myth 4: I don’t have to check my air pressure unless the TPMS warning light comes ON.
TPMS stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. It is designed to provide a warning for low tire pressure to avoid tire failure. It does not assist in monitoring or maintaining the recommended tire pressure. TPMS lights come ON when the tire pressure falls below 25% of the recommended tire pressure. This means the tire pressure could go low enough to harm fuel efficiency and CO2 emission long before a TPMS light comes ON. It is therefore advised to check tire pressure at least once a month to avoid such losses. To be completely worry-free you can install a Cerebrum Intelligent Tire Sensor that tracks all the important tire metrics and displays them on a user-friendly mobile application. Including real-time tire pressure, tread depth, and a lot more.
Myth 5: AWD vehicles don’t need all 4 tire replacements at once.
It is recommended to replace all 4 tires no matter what kind of drive system a vehicle has. Things become more complicated when it comes to AWD and 4WD vehicles. Replacing only 2 tires or less than 4 tires with such a system can damage them. This is because AWD and 4WD systems work on the principle of slippage. Large tread depth differences in the tires would result in different spinning rates. This could damage the system over an extended period of time and cause premature tire wear if changed at different times.
Myth 6: As long as tires have enough tread, it is safe to put them into use.
Tire tread depth is an important factor to measure tire condition but that's not the only thing to consider to get optimal performance from the tires. The other main factor is the age of the tire. It is recommended to replace the tire after 6 years regardless of the tread depth left. Old tires could develop cracks due to ozone depletion from exposure to heat and UV rays over a long period of time. Tire’s rubber molecules change with time and old tires could even lose structural integrity.
Myth 7: The life of a spare tire is the same as that of a regular tire.
Spare tires are designed to be used during an emergency situation only. These tires have restrictions over speed and psi, the information for which could be found in the vehicle’s user manual. Spare tires have less contact patch and are composed of a low-grade rubber compound that does not provide enough traction. It is advised to only use the spare tire when there is no other option left and there is a need to drive your car to a tire technician.
Myth 8: Bold defined tread patterns give a car better traction
Tread grooves in the tires are meant to channel water and other semi-solids out of the contact patch area. In dry conditions, tread patterns actually reduce the traction. Ideally, a plane contact patch area without any groves provides maximum traction in dry conditions, hence the use of race slicks. This allows maximum contact area with the road.
Myth 9: When replacing only two tires in the car, the new ones go on the front.
It is much safer to install the new tires at the rear because it will give more resistance to the rear tires towards hydroplaning in wet conditions. Front tires in this case would experience less resistance towards hydroplaning and would create a condition of understeer.
Installing new tires at the front will create a condition of oversteer in wet conditions. Oversteer is much riskier than understeer. It is easier to control understeer by simply taking the foot off the gas pedal, the vehicle will slow down and tires will regain traction.
Myth 10: You can tell if the tire is low by looking at it or by kicking it.
It is not possible to predict the underinflation of the tire by kicking it. The pressure of the tire even in the condition of underinflation is enough to keep it rigid. Visual inspection may lead you to believe the tires are properly inflated even when they are underinflated. The recommended means to check the pressure of the tires is via an air pressure gauge. Another smart way is to get your tires equipped with Cerebrum Tire Sensor and get the real-time pressure display in the mobile application.