Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I take care of my new tires?
Q. How many miles will I get on my tires?
Q. Can I mix tire types on my car?
Q. Can I replace the tires on my car with a lower speed-rated tire?
Q. Do I have to replace my present tires with the same size tires?
Q. Where do I install new tires if I only buy two?
Q. How important is tire inflation to the performance of my tires?
Q. How often should I check my tire air pressure?
Q. How much air should I put in my tires?
Q. When is the best time to inflate my tires?
Q. Should I replace cracked valves or missing valve caps?
Q. How frequently should I rotate my tires?
Q. Why is alignment important?
Q. When should I check my vehicle's alignment?
Q. How are wheels aligned?
Q. Why is tire balancing important?
Q. When should I balance my tires?
Q. How are wheels balanced?


Q. How do I take care of my new tires? - top

A. Properly maintained tires will give you a more comfortable ride and a longer tread life. You should check the air pressure in your tires monthly. Tires should be checked for any cuts, snags, punctures, or any other injury that could cause the tire to come out of service prematurely. Make sure the tires are properly balanced when they are mounted on the wheels. You should also rotate your tires following the schedule in your vehicle owner's manual or as required by the tire manufacturer's warranty. At the first sign of irregular treadwear, you should have your alignment checked.


Q. How many miles will I get on my tires? - top

A. There are many factors that affect the tread life of your tires, e.g. tread compounds, construction features, vehicle application, tire maintenance, geographic conditions, atmospheric conditions, driving habits, etc., making exact mileage impossible to predict. Take special care when braking, accelerating, cornering, etc. to increase the life of the tire. Can I mix speed-rated tires on my car? If tires of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, it is recommended that the lower speed-rated tires be placed on the front axle regardless of which axle is driven. This is to prevent a potential oversteer condition. Vehicle handling may be affected and the vehicle's speed capacity is now limited to the lowest speed-rated tire.


Q. Can I mix tire types on my car? - top

A. Tires of different size designations, constructions, and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability. For best all-around performance, the same type tire should be used on all four-wheel positions. It is also recommended that you NOT mix radial and non-radial tires on a vehicle. However, if mixing tires is for some reason unavoidable, NEVER mix radial and non-radial tires on the same axle. If two radial and two non-radial tires are to be installed on a vehicle, the two radials MUST be installed on the rear axle and the two non-radials on the front axle.

For four-wheel drive vehicles, if no instructions for tire mixing appear in the vehicle owner's manual, adhere to the following guidelines:

Do not mix sizes. All four tires must be branded with the same tire size.

Do not mix radial and bias-ply tires. All four must be either radial or bias-ply.

Be sure that the outside circumference of all four tires is within 1-1/2-inch of each other. Do not mix tread patterns such as all-terrain and all-season.


Q. Can I replace the tires on my car with a lower speed-rated tire? - top

A. When replacing speed-rated tires, you must use replacement tires with ratings equal to or greater than those of the original equipment tires, if the speed capability of the vehicle is to be maintained. The handling of a performance vehicle may be different when the replacement tires are not the same speed rating. Refer to the vehicle owner's manual to identify any tire speed rating restriction that could affect the operation of the vehicle.


Q. Do I have to replace my present tires with the same size tires? - top

A. Never choose a tire that is smaller in size or has less load-carrying capacity than the tire that came with the car. Tires should always be replaced with the same size designation—or approved options—as recommended by the vehicle or tire manufacturer. The correct tire size can be found on the door placard of the vehicle or by consulting your local authorized Michelin® dealer. Your current tires' size can be found by reading the markings on the sidewall. Learn how to read a sidewall.


Q. Where do I install new tires if I only buy two? - top

A. If you're replacing only two tires, be sure to have them installed on your vehicle's rear axle. New tires will provide better grip than your half-worn tires and when they are installed on the rear that helps reduce the potential for your vehicle to fishtail or hydroplane in wet conditions.


Q. How important is tire inflation to the performance of my tires? - top

A. Keeping your tires properly inflated is essential for the proper performance and longevity of the tire. Not to mention, the ride quality and safety of your vehicle. Your tires carry the entire weight of your vehicle. When underinflated or overinflated, they cannot do their job properly. Operating your tires underinflated can also result in sudden tire failure.


Q. How often should I check my tire air pressure? - top

A. We recommend checking air pressure once a month, and before a long trip. Whether you have a full-sized or mini-spare, make sure that it is properly inflated as well.


Q. How much air should I put in my tires? - top

A. Always inflate your tires to the recommended pressure listed by your vehicle's manufacturer. This information can be found in the owner's manual and often on a placard located in the vehicle's door jamb, inside the fuel hatch, or on the glove compartment door.


Q. When is the best time to inflate my tires? - top

A. Air expands when it's hot and contracts when it's cold. For accurate pressure, always check the pressure when the tires are "cold"—at least three hours after the vehicle has been stopped and before it has been driven one mile. It's best to inflate your tires in the morning before the day's heat.


Q. Should I replace cracked valves or missing valve caps? - top

A. The tire's valve is a very important maintenance item in terms of keeping the inflation air in your tires. These valves are ordinarily rubber, can deteriorate over time, and should be replaced when you buy new tires. At high speeds, a cracked, deteriorated rubber valve stem can bend from centrifugal force and allow air loss. The valve cap is likewise an important item. Buy some good quality valve caps that can contain the inflation air should the core of the valve fail for any reason. Valve caps also keep out moisture, which could freeze and in turn depress the valve core, causing loss of air. The cap also keeps out dust and dirt particles, which could also interfere with the proper operation of the valve core and cause loss of air.


Q. How frequently should I rotate my tires? - top

A. Tire rotation is extremely important to maximizing the treadlife of your tires. Failure to properly rotate tires as specified in the manufacturers warranty may void the warranty. We suggest tires be rotated every 6,000 miles for best tread wear and tire performance.


Q. Why is alignment important? - top

A. Alignment generally refers to the adjustment of a vehicle's front and rear suspension parts. Proper alignment ensures that your vehicle handles correctly and will help increase the life and performance of your tires.


Q. When should I check my vehicle's alignment? - top

A. The alignment of your vehicle can be knocked out of adjustment from daily impacts such as potholes and railroad crossings or by more severe accidents. You should have the alignment checked if:

You know you have hit something.

You see a wear pattern developing on the shoulders of the tires.

You notice a difference in your vehicle's handling.


Q. How are wheels aligned? - top

A. Alignment involves adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. The three main adjustments made in alignment are Camber, Caster, and Toe.

Camber

Camber is the angle of the wheel, in degrees, when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Positive camber is when the top of the wheel is leaning out from the center of the car. Negative camber is when the top of the wheel is leaning into the car. If the wheel leans too far from the center, uneven wear will occur. The camber angle is designed and adjusted per vehicle to keep the tires on the outside of a curve flat on the ground during a turn. If you have too much positive camber, your tires will wear on the outside. Too much negative camber will wear them on the inside. If there is too much of a difference between the camber settings on the front wheels, the vehicle will tend to pull sharply to one side.

Caster

Caster is the forward or rearward tilt of the steering axis, measured from the top of the tire as viewed from the side. The axis is formed by extending an imaginary line through the upper and lower steering knuckles. The line extends through the upper and lower ball joints on vehicles with front control arms, and through the lower ball joint to the center of the strut mount on cars with struts.

If the angle is toward the rear of the vehicle, the wheel has positive caster. If the angle is too far to the front of the vehicle, the wheel has negative caster.

Caster is set so that your car will tend to go straight ahead. Positive caster has the effect of making your front wheels act as if your car was being pulled from the front so that they will line up behind the point of pull, like a child's pull toy.

Another example is the caster wheel found on furniture or on some shopping carts. When you push a shopping cart equipped with caster wheels, it tends to roll in a straight line because the wheels line up or trail behind the point of pull. The greater the trail distance, the greater the tendency to roll straight ahead. The caster setting on a vehicle is adjustable in order to increase or decrease the effective trail distance.

Caster affects your vehicle's low-speed steering, high-speed stability as well as how well your vehicle drives in a straight line (on-center feel). Too little caster will cause your car to "wander" and make it feel unstable at high speeds. Too much caster causes hard steering and can also result in excessive road shock and shimmy. Caster does not affect tire wear.

Toe

Toe is the difference in the distance between the front of the tires and the back of the tires. Usually, tires are set so that they are parallel with each other. If the fronts of the tires are closer, the wheels are toe-in. If the rears of the tires are closer, the wheels are toe-out.

Toe settings affect the handling characteristics of a vehicle in turns. Toe-in introduces Understeer going into a curve and may make the vehicle feel like the back end is trying to come around to the front end. Toe-out introduces Oversteer in a curve and makes the vehicle feel like it is "diving" into the turn too sharply.

If the tires are toed-in too much, the tread will be "worn" off, starting from the outside edges. If they are toed-out, the wear will start from the inside. This type of wear is called "feathering" and can be felt by running your hands across the tread of the tire.


Q. Why is tire balancing important? - top

A. Balancing means compensating for both the weight of the tire and wheel after the tire is mounted. A wheel is out of balance when one area is heavier or lighter than the rest. This can cause eccentric treadwear, vibration, and increase the stress on the front-end parts and may cause them to wear prematurely.


Q. When should I balance my tires? - top

A. You should have your wheels balanced whenever a tire is replaced, when a balance weight is moved or removed, and whenever you purchase new tires. Of course, at the first sign of vibration or irregular treadwear, your car should be thoroughly checked for wheel balance and alignment, and for worn or broken mechanical parts.


Q. How are wheels balanced? - top

A. To balance the wheel, your mechanic will use a balancing machine to determine where the heavy spots are. Weights are then attached to the exterior or interior of the wheel to counteract centrifugal forces acting on the heavy areas when the wheel is turning. This will eliminate vertical bouncing (static balance) and side-to-side wobble (dynamic balance).