The Anatomy of a Tire: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask

April 8th, 2022 by

A close up of the tire treads of a vehicle are shown at a tire shop in Cincinnati.

We tend to take our tires for granted, not realizing just how much they deal with on a daily basis. From debris to inclement weather, rough roads, and everyday wear and tear, your tires take a beating, which means keeping up with maintenance should be of the utmost importance. If you’re looking for a tire shop in Cincinnati, we recommend partnering with a dealership that has a dedicated service center, ready to assist you with all of your vehicle needs…tires included. That’s why McCluskey Chevrolet is the area’s most trusted dealership when it comes to keeping your car in tip-top shape, and if you have a few questions, don’t worry—you’re not alone. From what holds the tire on a car to how often you need to replace your tires, let our team answer a few of the most commonly asked questions about tires.

Q. What Holds the Tire on a Car?

A. If you’ve ever wondered how the various parts of your car work together to provide a seamless experience, you’re well aware that the tires are a major component of your faithful traveler. It may seem like a complicated system, but your vehicle is actually pretty simplistic in nature. The tires are held onto the car by beads, which attach to the wheel, and the wheel is attached to the hub by lug nuts. The beads are actually loops of high-tensile steel wires, made from either copper, bronze, or brass-plated material, coated in rubber. These beads have a big job to do, as they essentially hold the tire to the rim.

Q. What Are the Parts of a Tire?

A. In addition to the beads, which hold the tire onto the wheel, tires are made up of a few main components. The radial cord body is responsible for the strength and performance of the tire and is typically made of polyester, coated in rubber. The inner liner is a rubber compound inside of the cord body that is responsible for retaining pressure within the tire, while the sidewall acts as a protective shield on the sides of the tire and is more resistant to the elements and damage than other parts of the tire. Belt plies are layers of cord that lie underneath the tire’s tread and work to reinforce the tire’s strength, while the actual tread is what we end up noticing as the outermost part of the tire. This is what makes contact with the road, and is responsible for handling, control, traction, fuel economy, and more.

Q. What Is the Importance of Tire Maintenance Service?

A. It’s important to keep up with your vehicle’s maintenance needs, especially your tires. Bringing your car into a tire shop for routine maintenance is key, where technicians will check the integrity of your tires and suggest any next steps. It’s crucial to schedule regular tire rotations and alignment checks to ensure that your tires are wearing properly and delivering a solid ride. Failure to keep up with these regular services can result in damage to your tires, a flat tire, or even an accident occurring.

A stack of new tires is shown at a tire shop in Cincinnati.

Q. What Is the Most Common Issue With Tires?

A. There are actually a few problems that plague tires. The first two are wear and age, as many drivers overestimate how long they can travel on a set of tires without replacing them. Everyday wear and tear can impact your tires, with frequent travelers needing to replace their tires more often. Common factors that tend to affect tires the most are punctures and cuts due to various debris encountered while traveling. That’s why it’s important to perform regular checks of your tires and stay alert if you notice changes in how your car is handling.

Q. How Long Do Tires Last?

A. What if you manage to avoid a lot of wear and tear, as well as punctures and other damage? How long do your tires actually last before they need to be replaced? In everyday driving situations, tires will need to be replaced about every three to five years. Keep in mind, however, that this will vary, based on your driving habits. Frequent travelers may need to address their tires more than those who don’t travel as much. It’s also important to note that even if you hardly ever drive, your tires are still prone to wear, so if you have the same set of tires on for a few years, you’ll want to look into getting them replaced.

Q. How Do I Know When I Need New Tires?

A. In addition to the age of the tires, there are also factors to be aware of that serve as warnings that your tires will need to be replaced soon. Looking at your tread is a good indicator, as more wear will mean that there’s less traction. A simple way to measure tread depth is by inserting a penny into the grooves, with the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head facing down. The more of his head you can see, the less tread you have on your tires. You’ll also want to take notice of vibrations, as this could mean your tires are ready to be replaced.

A mechanic is shown looking at the tire specifications of a vehicle.

Q. What Do the Numbers Mean on a Tire?

A. You may have noticed a series of numbers on your tires, but did you know that each number means something different? The first element you’ll notice is a letter, which will tell you the tire size, then the three digits after will tell you the tire width in millimeters. The aspect ratio will be the next two numbers, which simply means how big the tire is, so larger numbers mean larger sidewalls. After the aspect ratio, you’ll typically find the letter R, which stands for radial, as in the layers across the tire run in a radial fashion. After that, the next two numbers are the diameter of the tire. Other numbers you may notice on your tire coincide with speed ratings, maximum load, ID numbers, and more.

Q. What Is the Recommended Tire Pressure?

A. Just like every vehicle is unique, every type of tire is too, which means that there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to this. You’ll want to look at your owner’s manual for this number, and if you don’t have that, you can locate the recommended tire pressure on the sidewall of the tire or the sticker located inside the driver’s door. It’s important to adhere to your tires’ proper pressure to ensure enhanced longevity and performance. In addition to regularly checking the tires on your car, it’s also advised to check your spare because you never know when you’re going to need it.

Q. Where Should I Buy My Tires?

A. It’s always recommended to pair up with a reputable tire shop so that you have the assurance that you’re getting a quality product and one that’s right for your vehicle. That’s why McCluskey Chevrolet is the area’s top tire shop due to our cutting-edge facility and top-notch team. You want to be confident that your car delivers the safest, most reliable ride, and your tires play a big role in this. By partnering with a dealership like ours, you’ll get to take advantage of a fully stocked parts department, and a well-versed team in servicing all makes and models of vehicles. Now that you know how essential your tires are, be sure to stay on top of maintenance and always turn to the pros when you need assistance.