Plus Sizing Explained

If you’re new to cars, or it’s your first time buying wheels and tires – you may have heard the term “plus sizing.”  Keep scrolling to find out the details on why we do it, and how it’s done.

WHY PLUS SIZE?

Getting bigger and more stylish wheels with low profile tires can be a great way to dramatically change the character of your ride and achieve that upgraded, unique look.

getTREAD-blog-plus-sizingAs an added benefit, by decreasing the sidewall height (by lowering the aspect ratio) the wheel and tire assembly becomes less compliant (less squishy) – resulting in sharper handling/quicker response in most cases. *If you’re not quite sure what aspect ratio means, pop over to our quick blog post on How to Read A Tire – Part 1 of 2 for a refresher.

HOW DO I PLUS SIZE?

Plus sizing basically means buying wheels that have a larger diameter (measured in inches) than factory specification – but then decreasing the tire side wall height by lowering the tire aspect ratio. Take a look at the diagram below, and notice that the overall outer diameter of each scenario stays almost the same. For accuracy of the vehicle’s speedometer reading, you want the new outer diameter to stay within 3% of factory spec.getTREAD-blog-plus-sizing-scenarios

  • Plus One (1″) – Provides better handling and cornering at the cost of ride quality
  • Plus Two (2″) – Provides style and responsiveness, but reduces ride quality even further
  • Plus Three (3″) and above – Provides maximum style while significantly reducing suspension and ride quality. Potholes, curbs, snow and ice, and other hazards pose extra risk to vehicles rolling on these substantially larger wheels
THINGS TO CONSIDER

There is a risk associated with plus sizing, namely – accidental encounters with potholes, curbs and debris on the road. So, once you’ve got plus sized wheels and tires, you’ll need to take extra care.  And surprisingly, wide tires tend to float on loose surfaces and cannot process water as quickly as narrow tires. From a physics perspective, it’s about Force over Area (or pressure). The same force over a larger area = less pressure (pounds per square inch). Less downward pressure onto a surfaces like snow and water soaked highways may lead to reduced traction and hydroplaning.

Lastly, the maximum wheel and tire plus sizing applications for trucks and SUVs may result in wheel/tire combos that are significantly heavier than the vehicle’s original equipment. Slower acceleration, longer stopping distances, increased suspension and brake wear may result.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Plus sizing is a great way to make your ride more unique. Need help finding the right plus-size wheel and tires for your needs? Contact Us by email or use the Live Chat feature on the bottom right of your screen. Already know what tires you need? Jump over to our tire shopping link. You’ll enjoy less shopping hassle – with our innovative “Driving Style” filter, you can zone in on the best tire for your needs – and of course – we COME to YOU! Happy shopping!

Tire DOT Number Decoded

Ever wondered how old your tires are? Looking to buy a used tire? Keep scrolling and you’ll find out what reading the tire DOT number can tell you. * By the way, D.O.T. stands for Department of Transportation.

Here’s an example of a tire DOT number:

getTREAD blog tire DOT number

1) PLANT AND SIZE CODE:

The first 4 characters of the tire DOT number are the plant code, followed by the size code. This comes in handy if there is ever a tire recall. Manufacturers can read the DOT code on a faulty product, using it to narrow down which plant may have made faulty products – and send that associated tire code information out to alert anyone who may have purchased a tire containing that DOT code.  This is all made possible by registering your contact information and your tire DOT numbers with the specific manufacturers (tire dealers are now required to do this for all their customers – to keep everyone safe).

2) BRAND CODE:

This is a code used internally so that manufacturers know the model/spec of the tire if it needs to be retraced. It obviously varies from brand to brand, but suffice it to say it differentiates a Michelin Pilot A/S 3+ from a Michelin Pilot Super Sport (for example)

3) DATE OF MANUFACTURE:

The last 4 digits of the tire DOT number are the Week and Year of manufacture. It’s important to know the date of manufacture of your tires, especially if you are buying used tires. As tires pass the 24 month lifespan, they tend to lose essential oils through exposure to heat and sun. This loss of oil content leads to a decrease in the tire’s flexibility and elasticity. This can lead poor traction, crackling, or tearing in the side wall if not removed from service appropriately. So if you’re in the market for used tires, be sure to ask for the DOT number of each tire and check the last 4 digits to confirm if they are more than 24 months old. Used tires are definitely cheaper than the comparable new tire, but just keep in mind there may be an element of safety to consider before making your decision.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Well, now you know a little bit more about tire DOT number decoding. Rest assured if there ever is a recall on a set of tires bought from getTREAD, you will be notified immediately and the appropriate steps and credits will be applied to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

For more info on tire safety, hop over to our 3 Things To Know About Tire Puncture. And of course, if you’re in the market for new tires, check out the top brands and shop for tires based on your needs. Search by vehicle or license plate, filter by driving style. Book appointment online, and of course – WE COME TO INSTALL.

getTREAD – Mobile Tire Service that fits YOUR lifestyle.

UTQG Ratings Explained

Tire manufacturers publish UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) ratings  to help consumers understand the potential performance of a tire, based on 3 things. Treadwear, Traction, and Temperature.  The one thing to note hear is, the individual tire manufacturers (like Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli) grade their own tires, based on comparison with a their own standardized control tire. All tires are tested on a 400 mile test road in West Texas for 7,200 miles.  The wheel alignment, air pressures, and tire rotations are done as consistently as possible. They then measure the treadwear and come up with a calculation on how long the tread will last.

However, it’s currently not 100% appropriate to compare two tires from two different manufacturers directly, because they are essentially rated according to slightly different scales (like we mentioned earlier, each manufacturer sets up their own standard control tire to measure against). Nevertheless, all manufacturers are required to displays their tire’s ratings on the tire sidewall, and it’s something they can use to advertise their tires.

Here’s an example:

getTREAD-blog-treadwear-ratingIt shows a UTQG of 680 A B. Now, to find out what those numbers mean, let’s dig a little deeper.

1) TREADWEAR RATINGS

Treadwear rating is designed to let the consumer know roughly how long the tire tread with last (in miles) before needing replacement. The tire is measured against a control tire which has a grade of 100. This means that a tire of treadwear rating of 200 should go twice as far before wearing out than a tire with treadwear rating 100.  A tire with rating of 80 will have a shorter life than the control tire. The higher the number, the more mileage, the lower the number, the less mileage.

2) TRACTION RATING

This is a measure of a tires straight line wet coefficient of traction, while the tire skids across a test surface. It’s done on a fixtured trailer that skids the tires across wet asphault and concrete test surfaces while measuring the coefficient of friction. The way the test is done, it cancels out any affect of tire tread design, and rather tests the tire’s rubber compound. Traction ratings, from highest to lowest, are AA, A, B and C. AA has the most traction, while C has the least.

3) TEMPERATURE RATING

The last UTQG rating is related to temperature. It denotes how much heat is generated or dissipated by the tire. The test is run by rolling an inflated tire against a giant test drum. The tire is run at high speeds and the temperature is measured. Temperature ratings are A, B, and C. A being the highest (highest speed to manage heat), C being the lowest (lower speed to maintain heat). C is the minimum legal rating for a tire sold in the U.S.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Well, now you know a little bit more about UTQG ratings. Tire testing is quite a complex science. And it’s for that reason why we mentioned that these ratings are difficult to compare (apples to apples) against different manufacturers. But as a rough reference, it’s a place to start if you want to get a basic idea about a tire’s performance potential.

For more info on specific tire recommendations for your application, hop over to our tire shopping link. You’ll enjoy less shopping hassle – with our innovative “Driving Style” filter, you can zone in on the best tire for your needs – and of course – we COME to INSTALL! Happy shopping!

Choose The Right Tires With 3 Quick Tips

The quest to choose the right tires can seem like a maze to a lot of people – so we’ve laid out three things to know when starting your search for tires:

1) CONSIDER YOUR DRIVING CONDITIONS

Choosing tires is kind of like choosing shoes (just go with me – it’ll make sense). You wouldn’t wear flip flops to trudge through snow in Minnesota, and you shouldn’t drive through it in summer tires either. Neither would you wear hiking boots to go out dancing – that’s like driving on studded snow tires in the summer! The point is – dress for the occasion & know your driving conditions. – and yes, if you’re thinking it – the little black dress would be considered the “all season tire” – works well in most occasions.

Ok, back to being serious. Here are some more factors to keep in mind:

  • Temperature: below freezing, mild, scorching hot
  • Rain: dry as a t-rex bone, moist-ish like a good turkey sandwich, or as soaked as a German Shepard after playing outside with the sprinklers
  • Terrain: sand, dirt, rocks, gravel, brick pavers, concrete, asphalt, inclines/declines, sharp turns
  • Speed conditions: low speed stop & go, mid speed around town , cruising on the open highway

getTREAD choose the right tires - driving conditions

 2) CONSIDER YOUR DRIVING STYLE

Step two on how to choose the right tires, is knowing how you drive.  Are you easy going, normal paced, or spirited & lively?

getTREAD choose the right tires - driving style

If you brake, accelerate, and corner harder than average( like with sport oriented vehicles), you should keep that in mind when browsing the tire categories (briefly explained below)

How many miles do you put on your vehicle per year? This will help you clarify if you need a treadwear warrantied tire (some brands offer 60,000+ mile treadwear warranties).

Will you be keeping the vehicle for a while, or will you be selling the vehicle soon? Buy tires appropriate to your situation.

3) KNOW THE TIRE CATEGORIES

getTREAD choose the right tires - tire categories

Step three of your quest on how to choose the right tires, is knowing the tire categories. Check out the quick break-down below to get your head around all the different types of tires you may see

All Season / Touring: The default go-to. Very versatile, they go pretty much anywhere and perform well in most conditions. Good traction in wet or dry, and longer tread life than performance tires

Performance: Better acceleration, handling, and braking during sporty driving on dry roads. Not as good as All-Season in the rain. Shorter tread life than All-Season, and not recommended for snow.

Ultra High Performance (UHP): Best handing, acceleration, and braking on dry roads to unleash the maximum potential from your sports oriented vehicle during “spirited” driving. Wet traction is worse than All-Season, and the tread life will be the shortest of all the categories.

Winter/Snow/Mud: Great at their intended conditions, but tire noise is noticeably louder than Performance or All Season

CLOSING THOUGHTS

So that’s 3 Quick Tips To Choose The Right Tires. For more info on specific tire recommendations for your application, hop over to our tire shopping link. You’ll enjoy less shopping hassle – with our innovative “Driving Style” filter, you can zone in on the best tire for your needs – and of course – we COME to YOU! Happy shopping!

How To Read A Tire – Part 2 of 2

If you’re joining us from  “How To Read A Tire – Part 1 of 2” , you’re in the right place. Now lets dig deeper into those other numbers and symbols:

SPEED RATING

The speed rating is coded as a letter. In the image below it shows ‘H’. It relates to the max speed the tire is safely rated for, as shown in the chart below

getTREADucated How To Read A Tire Speed Rating Load Rating
LOAD RATING:

Tires have load rating that specify whats the max weight the tire can handle safely. It’s a little tricky since the number on the tire doesn’t directly correlate to a weight. But lucky for you, we’ve put the conversion table right here:

how to read a tire load ratings

The key takeaway when shopping for new replacement tires is to make sure the new tire load rating is at least equal to your factory specification tire. This ensures the tires are able to handle the load of your vehicle safely and consistently.

For trucks that may or may not have a dually rear axle (4 rear tires), there is a special case.  These tires are branded with two load indexes. The first number indicates the load carrying capacity if the tire is installed on a truck with a single-wheel rear axle, and the second number applies when the tire is used in a dual rear application.

how to read a tire LT tire load rating

It might seem counter-intuitive that a tire is rated to carry less weight when working together in a dual pair – but the purpose is to build in additional reserve capacity in case one of the two tires fails. This allows for a safety factor in the event only one tire carries the load normally handled by two tires (dually rear axle)

SPECIAL SYMBOLS:

M+S: Mud & Snow. These tires will provide traction in light snow, but you wouldn’t want to be caught in a blizzard with a set of M+S tires.

Mountain/Snowflake or ‘Alpine‘:  These tires are approved for “severe snow service”

getTREAD how to read a tire special symbols

CLOSING REMARKS

Knowing what those numbers and symbols on your tires mean, keeps you informed and safe! Plus you can be that person that drops random tire knowledge at dinner parties and earn some wisdom points 🙂

If you’re still hungry for more tire knowledge, check our posts about Treadwear rating (UTQG), and then if you’re ready to buy tires – guess what – we’ve put together 3 Quick Tips to Choose The Right Tires

How To Read A Tire – Part 1 of 2

All those numbers molded onto the side of your tire actually mean something! Here are some tips on how to read a tire:

getTREADucated_how-to-read-tires-1@4x
TIRE WIDTH:

-The width of the tire tread in millimeters. This is important to know, since if your replacement tire doesn’t match factory specification, your replacement tire may not fit on your wheel/rim, or if it fits, you may have interference between the tires and the chassis or body. Be sure and take notes or pictures of your current tire width if you’re looking to replace it with the same specifications.

ASPECT RATIO:

-The height of the tire sidewall as a percentage of the tire width. The higher this number, the taller the tire is (assuming the tire width remains constant).  For example, a 225/35/R17 tire has aspect ratio of 35. If compared with a 225/65/R17 tire, the 65 aspect ratio tire will be taller. Higher aspect ratio tires generally are designed to provide more air cushioning or ‘compliance’ to provide a more supple and comfortable ride. But as the aspect ratio increases (and ride comfort increases), it reduces it’s sporty or responsive character compared to a lower aspect ratio tire.

WHEEL/RIM DIAMETER:

-R stands for “radial” tire construction. The number is the diameter of the wheel rim, in inches. Be sure the replacement tire diameter matches the wheel you are planning to have it installed on. It makes for a bad day when you try to mount a 17″ tire onto a 18″ wheel 🙁

CLOSING REMARKS

It’s important to have the correct tire sizes that will fit your wheels correctly (some vehicles have different front and rear tire/wheel sizes). Buying tires that are not the correct factory specification may lead to interference with chassis/suspension/body components.

If you’re interested in changing the size of your wheel/tire package (Plus Sizing or Down Sizing) – check out this link for Plus Sizing Explained.

Still looking for more info on other tire markings you’re curious about? Jump over to our “How to Read a Tire, Part 2” to find out what those other numbers and symbols mean