tire research

TIRE RESEARCH

Why is tire pressure important?

Air is a gas, expanding when heated and contracting when cooled. For most of North America, fall and early winter are especially important times for checking tire pressure on your Chevrolet vehicle — as the ambient temperature falls, tire pressure goes down. A good rule of thumb: with every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature change, tire pressure changes about 1 psi – higher as temperatures rise, lower as they fall.

What happens if your Chevrolet tire is underinflated?

  • Premature or irregular wear
  • Poor handling
  • Reduced fuel economy
  • Overheating, which could lead to a blowout

What happens if your Chevrolet tire is overinflated?

  • Unusual wear
  • Poor handling
  • Rough ride
  • Greater risk of damage from road hazards

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How to check tire pressure

Check your tires at least once a month when the tires are cold, meaning the vehicle has not been driven for at least three hours or no more than one mile. The Tire Information Label located on the inside of your vehicle’s doorframe has the recommended cold tire pressure for your vehicle. Use a quality gauge. Don’t try to eyeball it—radial tires may appear fine even when they’re underinflated. Look for objects that can get wedged in the tread—they’ll work themselves even further into the tire and cause air loss. To make sure you’re covered, every check of your tires should include a check of your spare (if available), as well.

What is a tire pressure monitoring system?

The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) on your Chevrolet vehicle is designed to warn the driver when low-tire-pressure conditions exist. A sensor measures tire pressure, then transmits data to the Tire Pressure Monitor. If the pressure in one or more of your tires is 25 percent or more below the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended cold inflation pressure for tires, a warning indication will alert the driver. Your Original Equipment TPMS sensor battery can last up to 10 years with normal use. When the TPMS battery fails, the sensor will need to be replaced.

Stay ahead of your vehicle’s maintenance needs with available Advanced Diagnostics emails, powered by OnStar, which keeps you in the maintenance loop by sending you and your dealer a monthly vehicle health report.

OnStar keeps you in the know.

The road can be full of surprises for your tires. Stay up to date on your vehicle’s tire pressure with OnStar diagnostics reports. You’ll be notified when your tire pressure is low before it becomes a larger problem. If your eligible 2011 or newer vehicle is equipped with OnStar, but your account is inactive, push the blue OnStar button to reactivate service and we’ll give you 3 years of select OnStar services – no charge, no commitment, no kidding. Complimentary service includes OnStar Advanced Diagnostics and select myChevrolet mobile app features so you can conveniently control your vehicle features from your smartphone. Learn more.

How do you know that tire pressure is low or whether the TPMS has malfunctioned?

If the Tire Pressure Monitor light comes on and stays solid with a Check Tire Pressure, Low Tire Pressure, or Add Air To Tire message, then check and adjust all tire air pressures to the recommended levels. Next, drive the vehicle to turn the light off.

 

If the Tire Pressure Monitor light appears as a blinking yellow lamp for more than one minute and stays solid, then diagnostic service is needed. If your Chevrolet TPMS is not functioning properly, it cannot detect or signal a low-tire condition.

Knowing when to replace your tires

Tread wear indicators appear when the tires only have 2/32 inch or less of tread remaining. Rubber in tires ages over time. This also applies to the spare tire (if available), even if it is never used. Multiple factors including temperatures, loading conditions, and inflation pressure maintenance affect how fast tires age.

Other warning signs that your vehicle will need tire replacement:

  • You can see three or more tread wear indicators around the tire
  • The tire cord or fabric is showing through the rubber
  • The tire tread or sidewall is cracked, cut, or snagged deep enough to show cord or fabric
  • The tire has a bulge or split
  • The tire has a puncture, cut, or other damage that can’t be repaired correctly

What causes tire wear?

There are many factors that can cause tire wear on your Chevrolet vehicle, such as your driving style and tire maintenance habits. Tire replacement is absolutely needed when the tread wear indicators appear. A tire’s built-in tread wear indicators look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread and become visible as the tire surface wears. Also, check for the signs of tire wear listed below.

Toe Tire Wear

Excessive wear on the inner or outer edge of the tire, commonly known as toe wear, suggests a wheel alignment issue. This typically produces a feathered wear pattern across both front tires.

Camber Tire Wear

Uneven wear on one side of a tire tread may occur when the tire is leaning due to camber misalignment.

Center Tire Wear

Center wear occurs when a tire is overinflated, resulting in the center of the tire wearing more quickly than the edges.

Cupping Tire Wear

Cupping wear occurs when a suspension/balance may be worn, bent or somehow compromised. You’ll notice a diagonal scalloping pattern on the tire.

Edge Tire Wear

Edge wear occurs when a tire is underinflated, resulting in the edge of the tire wearing quicker than the center.

Measuring tread depth

DIGITAL AND MECHANICAL TOOLS

A quick and easy way to check your tire wear is with a tread depth gauge. It measures tire tread depth from 0 to 19/32 inch. These tools come in either digital or mechanical versions.

THE PENNY TEST

The easiest way to check wear on your tire is with a penny. Place a penny upside down in between the tire tread as shown on the right. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the treads are worn and tire replacement is needed.

Why is tire rotation important?

It’s a known fact that regular tire rotation extends the life of your tires and improves performance. Tires are rotated to achieve a uniform wear for all tires. Each tire performs different tasks (such as steering in front- versus rear-wheel drive), therefore tires wear at different rates. Your Chevrolet tires should be rotated every 7,500 miles to prevent irregular tire wear.

 

It’s important to rotate your tires according to the correct tire-rotation pattern. Doing so will prolong the life of your Chevrolet tires and will reduce the risk of sudden tire failure. Front tires encounter different tasks than the rear tires. And a front-wheel-drive car’s tires perform different tasks than those on a rear-wheel-drive car. See the Maintenance Schedule section in your Owner’s Manual for additional information about your specific vehicle.

Tire rotation patterns

FRONT WHEEL

Pattern for front-wheel drive with same size front and rear nondirectional tires.

ALL-WHEEL/4-WHEEL/REAR-WHEEL

Pattern for all-wheel/4-wheel/rear-wheel drive vehicles with same size front and rear nondirectional tires.

DIFFERENT TIRE SIZES

Pattern for different size tires on the front and rear and nondirectional tires.

If your Chevrolet vehicle has a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, it will need to be reset after each tire rotation. See your Owner’s Manual for details. Or, read more about tire pressure.

Why is wheel alignment important?

Proper wheel alignment is key to prolonging the life of your Chevrolet tires. If your vehicle is misaligned, it can cause your tires to wear unevenly, and you may experience handling problems such as pulling or abnormal vibration.

 

Tires and wheels are aligned and balanced at the factory to provide the longest life and best overall performance. Adjustments to wheel alignment and tire balancing are not necessary on a regular basis. Consider a wheel alignment check if there is unusual tire wear or the vehicle is significantly pulling to one side or the other.

 

A tire that is out of balance often affects ride quality and can shorten the life of tires, bearings, shocks, and other suspension components. If the vehicle is vibrating when driving on a smooth road, the tires and wheels may need to be rebalanced.

Parts of a tire

Understanding proper tire maintenance, selection, and safety for your Chevrolet vehicle starts with knowing the basics: Why are tires important? How do I choose the right set for my Chevrolet vehicle?

 

Tires are a driver's first and only contact with the road, transferring actions such as steering, braking, accelerating, and turning. They are specifically chosen for each vehicle, making tires one of the most important safety features on a car, truck, or crossover.

Tire parts glossary

Tires are made up of many different parts, and it’s important to understand how they work.

Belts

Rubber-coated layers of steel, fiberglass, rayon, and other materials located between the tread and piles, crisscrossing at angles, hold the piles in place. Belts provide resistance to punctures and help treads stay flat and in contact with the road.

Sipes

Sipes are special treads within the tread that improve traction on wet, dirty, sandy, or snowy road surfaces.

Tread

The portion of the tire that comes in contact with the road.

Grooves

The spaces between two adjacent tread ribs are also called tread grooves. These allow water to escape effectively. 

Shoulder

The outer edge of the tread that wraps into the sidewall area.

Sidewall

The sidewall of the tire protects cord piles and features tire markings and information such as tire size and type.

Inner Liner

This is the innermost layer of a tubeless tire that prevents air from penetrating through the tire.

Reading a tire sidewall

Tire Size

The tire size is a combination of letters and numbers used to define a particular tire's width, height, aspect ratio, construction type, and service description.

Department of Transportation (DOT)

The DOT code indicates that the tire is in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Tire Identification Number (TIN)

The letters and numbers following the DOT code make up the TIN. The TIN shows the manufacturer and plant code, tire size, and date the tire was manufactured. The TIN is molded onto both sides of the tire, although only one side may have the date of manufacture.

Tire Ply Material

The type of cord and number of plies in the sidewall and under the tread.

 

Since tires play a major role in establishing the personality of a vehicle, many manufacturers require their tire suppliers to identify their Original Equipment (OE) tires with symbols or codes branded on the sidewalls.

 

The goal is to make it easier for owners to identify and select exact replacements when the OE tires wear out. Matching the original tires exactly helps maintain the vehicle's integrity.

Uniform Tire Quality Grading (UTQG)

A tire information system that provides consumers with ratings for a tire's traction (from AA to C) and for temperature (from A to C). Tread wear is normally rated from 60 to 620. Ratings are determined by tire manufacturers using government-prescribed test procedures and are molded into the sidewall of the tire.

Maximum Cold Inflation Load Limit

This information tells the maximum load that can be carried and the maximum pressure needed to support that load. Find more information on tire pressure and inflation.

Tire Performance Criteria Specification (TPC SPEC)

Most OE tires designed to GM's specific tire performance criteria have a TPC spec code molded onto the sidewall. GM's TPC specs meet or exceed all federal safety guidelines. 

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*The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

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*The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price excludes destination freight charge, tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment. Click here to see all Chevrolet vehicles' destination freight charges.

  • Ad, written estimate, or Internet quote for identical tire(s) from a competing tire retailer/installer located within 100 miles of the dealer required during guarantee period for price match. Offer valid at participating U.S. dealers.

  • Visit onstar.com for vehicle availability, details and system limitations. Services and connectivity vary by model and conditions. Inactive, OnStar-equipped, eligible 2011 or newer vehicles are eligible for three years of the Basic Plan upon reactivation. Basic Plan includes select Advanced Diagnostics and select mobile app features that require factory-installed remote start, power locks, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and active OnStar service. Basic Plan does not include Emergency, Security or Navigation services; these and other services require a paid plan. See OnStar User Terms and Privacy Statement for details. Offer valid through 12/1/17.

  • Requires a compatible mobile device.