Proper Lug Nuts or Lug Bolts
Many aftermarket alloy wheels are designed to use your car’s original lug nuts or bolts. Others may require new hardware. It could be something critical, such as differences in the wheel’s lug seat design as shown below, or something more simple, such as shorter lug heads to allow the wheel’s center caps to fit. If your new wheels require new hardware, your invoice will list the appropriate quantity identified by our part description, beginning with an “N” for lug nuts or a “B” for lug bolts followed by the size, pitch, seat design, length and the appropriate lug wrench socket size.
NOTE: Keep a set of your vehicle’s original lug nuts or bolts in the trunk just in case you ever need to use your spare tyre.
Tyre and Wheel Package Installation
It usually takes only a few minutes to install tyres and wheels on your vehicle. They’ll probably be on for at least 5,000 miles and will roll over a million times before it’s time to rotate them. To make those miles as pleasant as possible, you will need to install your new tyre and wheel package correctly.
If you selected directional tyres and/or asymmetric tyres, the first step before installing them is to match each tyre and wheel to its final position on your vehicle. To prevent mistakes, actually set each wheel and tyre around your vehicle just as race teams do for pit stops.
- DIRECTIONAL TYRES ONLY
Refer to the “rotation arrow” branding on the tyre’s sidewall. The arrow indicates the direction in which the tyre should turn.
- ASYMMETRIC TYRES ONLY
All tyres should show sidewall branding indicating side facing outward.
- DIRECTIONAL AND ASYMMETRIC TYRES
Look for “Side Facing Outwards” branding.
Look for “rotation arrow” to determine side of vehicle
NOTE: If your vehicle uses two different tyre sizes, make certain to tell your tyre installer to mount the larger size on the wheels used on the rear axle.
Checking Tire Inflation Pressure
When vehicle manufacturers select a tyre size for a vehicle, they evaluate the vehicle’s gross axle weights, the anticipated use of the tyre, and the tyre diameter and width. Adjustments to these factors give the manufacturer a way to improve handling and appearance. This is especially true for performance tyre sizes. The size selected is rarely limited to only one capability (i.e. carrying the vehicle’s weight).
The tyre usually needs to have additional load capacity as well. This extra capacity is important because without it all of the tyre’s performance would be used up just carrying the weight of the vehicle and little would be left for durability at high speeds or responsive handling. For all vehicles produced since 1968, the original tyres sizes and inflation pressures (including the spare) are listed on a vehicle placard. This placard can be located on:
- The driver-side door or door jamb (Ford vehicles on the rear passenger door jamb)
- Glove box console door
- Fuel filler door
- The engine compartment
If your vehicle’s tyres are underinflated by only 6 psi it could lead to tyre failure. Additionally, the tyre’s tread life could be reduced by as much as 25%. Lower inflation pressure will allow the tyre to deflect (bend) more as it rolls. This will build up internal heat, increase rolling resistance and cause a reduction in fuel economy of up to 5%. You would also find a ignificant loss of steering precision and cornering stability. While 6 psi doesn’t seem excessively low, remember, it usually represents about 20% of the tire’s recommended pressure.
If your tyres are overinflated by 6 psi, they could be damaged more easily when running over potholes or debris in the road. Higher inflated tyres cannot isolate road irregularities well causing them to ride harsher. However, higher inflation pressures usually provide an improvement in steering response and cornering stability – up to a point. This is why participants who use street tyres in autocrosses, track events and road races, run higher than normal inflation pressures.
The pressure must be checked with a quality air gauge as the inflation pressure can not be accurately estimated through visual inspection.
Effects of Time and Temperature
Tyre inflation pressures change over time and are affected by temperature. Tyres lose about 1 psi per month due to air escaping through the rubber as it stretches. If you were to check your tyres only every six months, it would not be uncommon to find them underinflated by as much as 6 psi. Tyre inflation pressures also fluctuate with changes in the outside air temperature. This occurs at a rate of about 1 psi for every 10°F (plus or minus). So the tyres you set correctly with an 80°F ambient temperature, will be underinflated by 6 psi at 20°F.
If you add the variations of time and temperature together, it is easy to understand why a tyre’s inflation pressure should be checked frequently. Improper inflation can cause tyres to wear irregularly and can void manufacturer’s warranty.
Another advantage of checking tyre pressure frequently is that it allows a slow leak to be found and repaired before it permanently damages a tyre. Tyre pressures should be checked once a week, preferably before the vehicle has been driven. Spending about two minutes a week will help you get the optimum performance your tyres can offer!
Tyre rotation can be beneficial in several ways. When done at the recommended times, it can preserve balanced handling and traction and even out tyre wear. It can even provide performance advantages. Many tyre mileage warranties require tyre rotation to keep warranty valid.
When should tyres be rotated? We recommend that tyres be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, even if they don’t show signs of wear. Tyre rotation can often be done with oil change intervals while the vehicle is off the ground. (This is also a good time to have your tyres rebalanced.) Tyre rotation helps even out tyre wear by allowing each tyre to serve in as many of the vehicle’s wheel positions as possible. Remember, tyre rotation can’t correct wear problems due to worn mechanical parts or incorrect inflation pressures.
While every car is equipped with four tyres, usually the tyres on the front axle need to accomplish very different tasks than the tyres on the rear axle. The tasks encountered on a front wheel drive car are considerably different than those of a rear-wheel drive car. Tyre wear experienced on a performance vehicle will usually be more severe than those on a family sedan. Each wheel position can cause different wear rates and different types of tyre wear.
What tyre rotation pattern should be followed? The Tyre & Rim Association has identified three traditional rotation patterns covering most vehicles (equipped with non-directional tyres and wheels which are the same size and offset). The first being the “Rearward Cross” (Figure A); the second being the “Forward Cross” (Figure C); and the third is the “X-Pattern” (Figure B). The X-Pattern can be used as an alternative to A or C.
Today’s performance tyre and wheel trends have provided the need for two additional tyre rotation patterns.
A “Front-to-Rear” pattern may be used for vehicles equipped with the same size directional wheel and/or directional tyres. This pattern is shown in Figure D. A “Side-to-Side” pattern may be used for vehicles equipped with different sized non-directional tyres and wheels on the front axle compared to the rear axle. This pattern is shown in Figure E.
If the last two rotation patterns do not provide even wear, dismounting, mounting and rebalancing will be necessary to rotate the tyres.
Vehicles which use different sized wheels and tyres and/or wheels with different front and rear offsets with directional tyres will require dismounting, mounting, and rebalancing to rotate tyres.
It is an advantage when all four tyres wear together because as wear reduces a tyre’s tread depth, it allows tyres to respond to the driver’s input more quickly, maintains the handling and helps increase a tyre’s cornering traction.
When your tyres wear out together you can get a new set of tyres, without being forced to buy pairs. If you replace tyres in sets of four you will maintain the original handling balance. In addition, our suppliers constantly introduce new tyres, each of which improves upon their past product’s performance. If you replace your tyres in sets of four, it allows you to experience today’s technology, instead of being forced to match yesterday’s.