2 Nov

Upsizing your truck? Check the load range and service description!

Load Ranges, Service Descriptions, and Upsizing.

I have addressed service descriptions before, but I want to combine this with load ranges today to dispel some of the misconceptions about these items.

First, what is a load range?  Simply put the Load Range is synonymous with ply rating.  Long ago, tires would have several plies of belting material, for example 6 belting plies gave us a 6 ply tire or C load range.  Simple.  Not so much anymore.  You will see six plies in a tire, but what about a load range E or 10 ply tire?  This tire might have actually had 10 plies back in the day of bias construction, but not anymore.  Tires are made with less material these days and don’t require the additional belting material.  Thus, a load range E 10 ply rated tire is just that rated at 10 plies.  See what Toyo has to say in the following info-graphic.

Ply rating and load range definitions.
Source: Toyo Tires Medium Truck Tires 2015 Product Data Book

 

Second, What is the service description?  The service description is made of two components, the speed rating and the load index.  The speed rating tells us how fast we can go on the tire and the load index tells us how much weight the tire carries.  The service description looks like this – 123R.  A tire with this description will have a max load per tire of 3417 lbs and a top speed of 106 MPH.  When replacing tires, you can increase both*, but it’s recommended not to downgrade the speed rating or the load index.  Otherwise, you lower the top speed the vehicle with a lower speed rating, and when you downgrade the load index, you take capacity away from the vehicle.

Service description and speed rating
Source: 2007 Tire Guide

A rule of thumb in the industry has always been, if its bigger and has the same load range it will carry more weight and will work.  Let’s take a look at how easy it is to unwittingly downgrade the load capacity of the truck based on this outdated thinking.

Example Vehicle:  2012 Ford F-250 Super Duty with 20 inch wheels
Original Tire:  LT275/65R20  E 126S
Height: 34 inches tall
Replacement Tire:  35X12.50R20 E 121Q Open Country M/T
Height: 35 inches tall

So, why would I say this is tricky?  Because when a person like myself sees the two sizes and load ranges, we would automatically think the 35 will work because it’s bigger.  However, we see from examining the Load Ranges and Service Descriptions that this not the case.

Think it’s not a big deal and its close enough?  Toyo, in an example like this, would not cover the tire for warranty since it has been miss-applied.   So make sure you’re looking at not just the Load Range but also the Service Description when upsizing your vehicle and choose the right tire.

 

*Increasing the load index or ply rating of a tire does not increase the load capacity of the vehicle.  It only increases the load capacity of the tire.

10 Aug

Be Prepared. Keep an Emergency Kit

On the road again, then….UGH! Calamity strikes. Or, just a minor hiccup.

Make sure not to doom your road trip and be prepared in case of emergency.  This seems like such a no brainer when so far from home, but does your vehicle have an Emergency Roadside Kit?  And really, who says you have to be far from home?  You really just need to have an issue that doesn’t fit into one’s normal routine.  Although these tips come from NHTSA’s Summer Driving Tips 2016, they apply to every day and every season in your vehicle.

They suggest keeping an Emergency Roadside Kit.  The first item is something you probably carry every day anyway and that is a cell phone.  But do you have the second in your vehicle?  The charger for your cell?

Here is their complete list:

  • Cell phone and car charger.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Flashlight
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper Cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack(and ground mat) for changing a tire.
  • Work Gloves and a change of clothes
  • Basic Repair tools and some duct tape (for temporarily repairing a hose leak!)
  • Water and paper towels for cleaning up. (Being a new dad, I’d put wipes in there too.)
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Maps – what if your Mobile Phone ran out of power or no service, no more Google maps.
  • Emergency blankets, towels, and coats

Source: NTHSA Summer Driving Tips 2016

3 Aug

California Child Car Seat Laws Changing for 2017

Hello Everyone,

Tirecrawler wants your family to be safe.  When putting kids in car seats, you should keep them rear facing as long as possible.  The State of California is making this mandatory for children under the age of 2 as of January 1, 2017.  Please read this informative flyer from the state outlining important child seat issues.

Denny
Tirecrawler.com
TIA Certified Instructor

2017-california-child-seat-changes

 

25 Jul

Give your tires the Presidential Treatment

Give your tire the Presidential Treatment.

Have you ever heard someone say you can check your tires with a penny?  Well, it may not be 6 sigma accuracy (99.99966% accurate), but it’s a close enough approximation for every day driving.  Let’s see how it works.
penny black bckThe depth gauge is an important tool for us in the automotive profession.  The tool is useful to tell us the amount of tread remaining on a tire.   When a tire is down to the wear indicators it is at 2/32nd inch tread and should be removed from the vehicle.

“That’s great”, you say.  “I’ll Just look out to see when the tread intersects the wear indicators then I’ll know when my tire’s life is over.”  Not really, and that’s where you need the gauge.  There are several wear indicators spread over a tire’s surface, but they’re not everywhere.  If a tire is worn unevenly or choppy the area where there’s an indicator may have a lot of tread and the tire could be down to 2/32nd inches elsewhere.

This is where President Lincoln come in.  I’m blabbing on about gauges you don’t own, but you do. In fact, there are probably a few gauges under the driver’s seat.

The depth gauge to the right is measuring the gap to Mr. Lincoln’s head, about 2/32nd, a little closer to 3, but that’s splitting hairs.  The image below shows President Lincoln in action showing us a tire in need of replacement.  I used this tire on purpose to demonstrate a point.  It doesn’t matter where the tire is below 2/32nd inch tread, just that it is.  So, When you perform this test, make sure to do it in a few spots.

This tire shows some classic under-inflation wear.  It has lots of tread in the middle and none on the shoulders.

So get out there and check your vehicle out and give your tires the Presidential Treatment.

 

Denny
TireCrawler.com
TIA Certified instructor

14 Jul

Buckle Up Baby

Precious Cargo

Fun, Fun, Fun… before
you hit the road to enjoy the summer weather, make sure to buckle up to get there safely.

According to NTHSA:

Buckle up. Every trip. Every time.

Be a role model as a driver and buckle up.  Insist your passengers do the same.

Keep your precious cargo safe.

Kids 13 years and younger should ride in the back seat.  Ensure the child seats in your car are properly installed.  In addition, make sure they are in a seat designed for their size and weight.

NHTSA has Child Passenger Safety recommendations on their website to show one how to choose the right car seat for your child.  Also, you can find places to check your child’s seat to see if it is properly installed there too.  For more info visit www.nhtsa.gov/cps/cpsfitting/index.cfm.

Other child safety tips from NTHSA are:

“Never leave you child unattended in or around your vehicle.” &
“Always remember to lock you vehicle when exiting so children do not play or get trapped inside.”

Denny
TIA Certified Instructor

13 Jul

Keep your Cool

Woman standing over open hoodReady for summer fun, make sure your vehicle is!  No one wants to be broken down on the way to ….(fill in fun place here).  In our series of quick tips this summer, today’s is your cooling system.

Coolant expansion chamber

SAFETY FIRST – NEVER OPEN THE RADIATOR OR COOLANT RESERVOIR WHEN THEY ARE HOT!  THEY CAN ERUPT LIKE GEYSERS.  THIS IS A VERY EASY WAY TO BURN YOURSELF.  ONLY OPEN WHEN YOUR VEHICLE HAS NOT BEEN RUNNING AND IS COMPLETELY COOL.

 

Your vehicle uses a mix of Antifreeze (coolant) and water to cycle through your engine to exchange heat away from it then cooling it again in the radiator to send it back through to repeat the process.  You can check the levels most of the time on the coolant reservoir.  If the coolant reservoir is empty, the radiator itself may be low.  In addition, if the coolant has particles floating in it, it’s clear, or rusty looking, have the cooling system flushed and refilled.  Lastly, if the coolant looks milky or oily take it in right away, this could be the sign of coolant and motor oil mixing, which they shouldn’t.

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend flushing and exchanging the fluid every 24 months.  If you drive in a very hot climate like the Southwestern US, you should probably have it flushed yearly.

Another thing to remember is this is a system.  There are hoses, thermostats, the water pump, and fan that also interact to keep your car running cool.  When you have your system flushed, these items should be inspected too if possible.

Remember, good maintenance goes a long way.

Denny Allen
TIA Certified Instructor

7 Jul

Don’t Forget to Check the Lights

Streaking highway LightsBefore you head out on the big, fun trip of the summer, make sure to have your vehicle inspected prior to the big trip.   The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA), recommends inspecting several components for summer driving.  One of them is the lights on the vehicle.  It’s easy to see when a headlight is out, but can you see when one of your tail lights are out?

See and be Seen!  So, before you head out, check the headlights, tail lights, turn signals, hazard lights, interior lights, and, if towing, trailer lights.

Denny, TIA Certified Instructor

Source, NHTSA http://www.safercar.gov/summerdrivingtips

 

5 Jul

Safety First

Family heading out for a road trip.

Summer time and family road trips go hand & hand. NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends several safety tips before you go. One of those tips is to have your vehicle serviced before you set out. Perform regular maintenance like checking oil and fluid levels, check tire inflation and if needed perform a tire rotation, check your battery, etc. If your vehicle hasn’t been serviced regularly, schedule a preventative maintenance checkup with your vehicle’s technician today before you get on the road.
Source, NHTSA http://www.safercar.gov/summerdrivingtips

18 Jun

I want to buy your tires, but where do I install them?

I want to buy your tires, but where do I install them?

Good question.

If you reside in Southern California, Tirecrawler has 17 installers for you to choose from.  However, if you are one of the 300 million Americans who don’t live in SoCal, it may be a problem getting to Los Angeles to fit your vehicle.
Tire Mounting Machine
You’re part of the majority, the other 300 million people who don’t live in the southwestern corner of the country and are unwilling to drive overnight for an install.  You are going to have to find a shop to mount and balance your new set of tires.  Obviously, it may rankle the shop you’ve been doing business with for years to just show up with a set of tires you bought on the web.  So, if you plan on using your favorite reliable old tire shop, I suggest calling them to find out the cost and see if it’s okay to bring in your own tires to install.  Since most shops want to sell you the tires, they will probably charge a little more to mount and balance when you bring your own as opposed to when they are selling them to you.  However, they still want to sell you the installation labor in addition to a wheel alignment and any other services they offer, so it shouldn’t really be an issue.  Ask them if you can have us ship the tires directly to their facility and save you the steps of receiving and transporting the products.  We have many clients who do exactly that.  By shipping to commercial address, you also have a less expensive shipping cost because FedEx doesn’t charge as much to ship to a business with a commercial address.

Don’t have a place you normally go?    Yelp is a wonderful tool.  I’ve used Yelp to find many services with reasonable success. Especially when I have no experience with the situation.  You can always ask a trusted friend or relative to refer you to a shop they trust and do business with.  Once again, ask them if you can ship to them directly to save you time and facilitate your install.

The real key here is having a place you can go where you are comfortable enough to let them do the work.

The funny thing is, I’ve had a lot of folk ask me if I have installers all over the country.  I’ve seen a few online sellers who use large retailers for their installer network, and it always makes me wonder, “Where are you sending this person, do you have any real knowledge of the shop other than they are part of a chain of stores?”  It’s probably safe to assume the answer is no.

 

5 easy steps to save money with Tire Crawler

  1. Find a reputable place to install your shiny new tires.
  2. Buy your tires and save money at Tire Crawler.
  3. Tell us to ship your shiny new tires to your installer.
  4. Install your new tires.
  5. Drive away happy with the extra money you save secure in your wallet.

Denny

 

19 Apr

What’s a service description?

Service description and speed rating

Hi Blog World,

I promised you an explanation of Speed Ratings.

The key is that the tire has the capability to do the speed it is associated to.  As I put in another post, generally speaking, a tire with a higher speed rating handles better delivering better grip in cornering, accelerating, and braking.  A common thought is that someone doesn’t need this.  Do you really want to stop slower rate?

I grabbed this chart from our website since it is so complete.  Click the chart to see it enlarged.

The most basic way you can think of how these work and how they will mix into different vehicles is nothing more than a equals to or greater than approach =>.

Let’s say we have a vehicle and it has 91S service description.

This means that a tire that has a like speed rating S, in this case, will be perfectly fine for the vehicle.  In addition, from the above chart, you can also use speed ratings T, U, H, V, W, Y, (Y), or Z.   All these will work with this vehicle.  Now, don’t let Z speed rating confuse you with W and Y.  W and Y rated tires are Z rated and will often times say ZR along with the W and Z rating.

Likewise for the Load Index part of the Service Description, any value higher than or equal to 91 will suffice.

In short, you can always go to higher load or speed rating, but you shouldn’t go lower.