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March 23, 2012

Do You Have the Correct Tires on Your Vehicle?

DriveInstrucI recently had the opportunity to attend and participate in a Nitto brand Tire “Ride and Drive” event in Phoenix, Arizona. I was able to test drive several types of Nitto passenger car tires under both wet and dry conditions on specially designed tracks where I was accompanied by professional drivers who were in the passenger seat to help navigate thru the course safely.

As a point of information, Nitto Tire has a US headquarter location in California and a manufacturing facility in Georgia with 600 employees and with a current production capacity of 2 million tires per year.

Nitto Tire provided us with the opportunity to test 3 of their tires; namely,

Motivo™- an ultra high performance radial which was developed to provide all-season performance, extended treadlife and reduced road noise.  The Motivo comes with a 60,000 mile limited treadwear warranty, the industry’s highest mileage warranty for W and Y speed rated UHP tires

NT05™ -a max performance tire that was developed through extensive computer simulation modeling and on-track testing. These rigorous development procedures helped produce a street tire that provides precise and responsive handling and performance 

Invo® -an ultra high performance street tire that provides a blend of performance, ride comfort and quality. It delivers increased traction in both dry and wet conditions.

GroupIn all cases we drove on a figure 8 wet track, a figure 8 dry track, and a wet track set up to simulate a hard brake and swerve accident avoidance conditions. These tires all performed differently based on their intended design. It was clear at the end of these test drives that having right tire was essential for safety.

To begin with, the role of tires is to provide vehicle acceleration and braking at the tire-to-road contact area, to steer the vehicle predictability with control and precision, to support the vehicle load and allow the vehicle to roll smoothly. Seems like a big job for those 4 round black rubber things we all have on our vehicles doesn’t it!! Tires are the only touch points between us as the drivers of our vehicles and the highways. They provide the traction and control to navigate the highways, soften those pesky bumps and potholes, and keep us safe as we corner and pass others on the roads. And yet it seems as if we are the least educated about purchasing replacement tires and for maintaining them.

Tires are specifically designed for the vehicles we own and drive. The coding for all tires is located on the outside wall and indicates the following:

EXAMPLE: P195/60R16 63H M+S

P - Type of tire (P=passenger)

195 - Width of the tire across the tread in millimeters

60 - Aspect ratio of the sidewall compared to the width

R - Radial construction

16 - Diameter of the rim in inches

63 - Tire's load rating

H - Tire's speed rating

M+S - Tire is suitable for all-season driving (M=mud and S=snow)

We need to determine how we drive, where we drive, and under what conditions we drive. Then we need to make sure that we have the right tires for our vehicle. The local tire dealer will be able to help you find the right tires for your vehicle.

And after the purchase is made, you need to do our P.A.R.T. to care for them:

-PRESSURE-Under inflation is a tires #1 enemy. It results in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, possible loss of control and accidents. A tire can lose up to half of its air pressure and not appear to be flat! Make sure your tires are properly inflated.

-ALIGNMENT- Is your vehicle pulling to one side, or shaking?
A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can throw your front end out of alignment and damage your tires. Have a tire dealer check the alignment periodically to ensure that your car is properly aligned.

-ROTATION-Promotes uniform tire wear. Regularly rotating your vehicle's tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. Unless your vehicle owner's manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is approximately every 5,000 miles. Schedule your appointments for tire rotation and keep them.

-TREAD-Measure it and inspect it. Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. Visually check your tires for uneven wear, looking for high and low areas or unusually smooth areas. Also check for signs of damage. Visit your tire dealer regularly.

Inasmuch as 65% of all vehicle maintenance is handled by women, it is imperative that we all understand tire selection and tire maintenance and its role in creating a safe environment for our families. Having the correct tires and maintaining them also impacts fuel economy performance of your vehicle.

For more information please visit their web site


This article is my review and is based on an opportunity I had to experience the Nitto Tire Phoenix, AZ “Ride and Drive” event. I trust that you have found it educational and informative to help keep your families safe.

Patricia Roberts
Director of Business Development




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