The following glossary includes terms common to local auto tires and auto wheels centers, and wheel alignment shops.
The amount of air inside a tire that presses outward on each square inch of tire surface. Air pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).
Also known as: tire air pressure
Tire alignment is when all wheels on a vehicle are correctly adjusted (in alignment) so that they are pointed in the right direction for correct contact with the road and in reference to the other wheels.
Also known as: wheel alignment, tire alignment, align tires, wheel breaking, wheel tracking
All season tires provide proper traction on snow, ice, wet roads, hot roads and dry pavement with correct and safe driving capabilities. They are also known for providing a quiet ride regardless of road conditions.
Also known as: four season tires, all-weather tires, year-round tires
Carrying capacity is how much weight tires are designed to carry when inflated to the correct pressure. This is an important factor for heavy vehicles, towing vehicles and overloaded vehicles.
Also known as: tire carrying capacity, tire weight capacity, proper tire capacity
The centerline of a vehicle is the imaginary line drawn down the center of the vehicle that helps wheel alignment centers measure correct alignment tracking.
Also known as: vehicle center line, car centerline, alignment centerline, center line alignment
cold inflation pressure
The amount of air pressure in a tire as measured before the tire has built up heat from driving. Cold inflation pressure is important to know, since all PSI numbers are generated using cold tires that have not been driven, have rested more than an hour after driving a long distance, or have been driven less than a mile.
Also known as: cold tire inflation pressure
extra load tires
Tires that are rated to carry heavier loads have a higher maximum inflation pressure higher than standard tires.
Also known as: heavy load tires, double load tires, extra load PSI
High performance tires offer better handling, grip, and cornering ability than standard tires. High-performance tires are also rated for operation at higher speeds than non-high-performance tires.
Also known as: maximum performance tires, ultra-high performance tires, super performance tires, performance tires.
Highway tires are safe for driving in heat, rain, and on dry pavement, but they are not recommended for winter driving. Highway tires may be considered year-round tires for customers living in the Greater Bay Area and other temperate climates.
Also known as: summer tires, long distance tires, good weather tires
light truck tires
Light trucks are smaller passenger pickups, light duty trucks and passenger trucks. They may also include passenger vans, SUVs and other non-car passenger vehicles. Light truck tires are those that are correctly sized for vehicles of this size.
Also known as: passenger truck tires, light-duty truck tires, SUV tires, passenger van tires
luxury performance tires
Luxury performance tires are those designed for and installed on luxury sedans, and other luxury touring vehicles. Touring tires for luxury cars provide performance handling and smooth rides.
Also known as: touring tires, luxury tires, luxury touring tires, sedan tires
maximum inflation pressure
The maximum air pressure to which it’s safe to inflate a cold tire is known as that tire’s maximum inflation pressure. The maximum inflation pressure number can be found molded onto the sidewall.
Also known as: maximum tire inflation, maximum tire pressure
Tire misalignment happens when a vehicle’s front and/or rear tires are not properly aligned. This can be as a result of suspension problems, frame misalignment or other structural problems. Having a wheel alignment service can remedy this problem.
Also known as: tire misalignment, unaligned tires, misaligned tires
MSRP stands for Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and refers to the price of new tires as suggested by car tire manufacturers. The MSRP is usually the price you will see new tires listed for; however, you may find tire sales that offer tires for less than what the manufacturers suggest.
Also known as: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, tire price, cost of new tires
Too much air in a car tire is known as overinflation and causes premature wear in the center of the tire treads. It can also cause a car to be less stable on the road. Avoid tire overinflation by referring to the suggested PSI or tire pressure for your tires and vehicle. This can be found on the sidewall of the tire and in your car’s user manual.
Also known as: tire overinflation, tire over inflation, overinflated tires
The penny test is a simple test that allows anyone to check the proper tire tread depth with an ordinary penny. To perform the penny test, take a penny and insert it into the treads of your tire with Lincoln’s head down and facing you. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head above the treads, you are in need of new tires.
Also known as: tread depth test, tire tread test, Lincoln’s head tire test
PSI stands for ‘pounds per square inch’. This is the standard measurement for the desired and maximum pressure in auto tire as measured by the pressure per square inch being exerted on the inner walls of the tire.
Also known as: pounds per square inch, tire pressure
A type of auto tire with the tire plies (the cords embedded in the rubber of the tire) run at 90-degree angles to the center line of the tread. This gives the tire better structure and strength, so it wears longer and better.
Also known as: radial ply tire
run flat tires
Run flat tires are designed to resist deflation when punctured or damaged. This enables the driver to continue driving (at a reduced speed and for a short distance) long enough to get the car or truck to a tire shop where the tire can be repaired or replaced.
Also known as: flat tire running, run flat tire technology
Snow tires are manufactured with a deeper and wider tread pattern that gives the tires better traction in snow, ice and other winter conditions. Snow tires have inscriptions such as M+S, M&S, or M/S on the tire sidewall.
Also known as: winter tires, ice tires, winter weather tires, snow-safe tires
Tires for vehicles (technically pneumatic tires, or tires inflated by air) are made of rubber, chemicals, fabric, and metal. Auto tires are designed to provide traction, dampen road shock and carry a load under varying road and weather conditions.
Also known as: new tires, auto tires, car tires, truck tires, vehicle tires, buying new tires, tire purchases, new car tire buying, pneumatic tires
tire mounting services
Putting a new tire on a car wheel and balancing the assembly is known as tire mounting. New tires need to be professionally mounted so you can trust they have been installed properly. Tire mounting should not be done by an amateur or person without professional tire mounting experience and the tools to do it safely and correctly.
Also known as: mounting, wheel mounting, mounting new tires, tire mounting services, professional tire mounting, tire installation
Changing auto tires from front to rear and side to side is known as tire rotation. Tire rotation should occur according to a set pattern to help create even treadwear, which gives tires a longer life and safer ride. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles or as recommended by the tire manufacturer.
Also known as: rotating tires, tire rotation services
The part of a tire that contacts the road. Tire treads come in a variety of thicknesses, patterns and wear durability that is unique to the type of tire and its rating.
Also known as: tire treads, tire tread depth
tire treadwear indicators
Tire treadwear indicators are narrow bands that appear across the tread of a tire when it is time to replace the tire.
Also known as: tread wear indicators, wear bars
The distance from the center of the front wheels to the center of the rear wheels on the same side of the vehicle is known as a vehicle’s wheelbase.
Also known as: car wheel base, auto wheelbase, wheel base distance
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