Tires 101: Repair & Maintenance FAQ

The only thing keeping you from becoming Fred Flinstone are your tires. Better make sure they’re working as intended, otherwise your feet are toast.

To help your heels out, we’ve compiled and answered some frequently asked questions about tires — tire repairs, tire service, tire rotations, tire sales… you get the gist. Read on.

Why does my tire keep losing air?

The most obvious reason why your tire pressure keeps dropping is simple: There’s a puncture or hole in it. Finding that hole isn’t as simple, however. The puncture could be located just about anywhere on your tire, including on the sidewall or somewhere in the tread. Either way, you’ll need to visit a service technician for an inspection and slow-leak tire repairs. 

What if your tire keeps losing air and there’s no hole? In that instance, there are a few suspects:

  • The seal between the tire and the wheel is broken (check for signs of bent rims)
  • The tire valve is loose or missing (replace it)
  • The PSI is dropping due to abrupt changes in outside temperature (pump the tire up)

In any case, pop a donut on there (or request a tow) and bring it to your local auto service center. They can identify the issue, remedy it, and have you on your way.

Flat Tire Repair Phoenix

Where do I find the right tire PSI?

Most car, SUV and truck tires call for PSI between 27 and 35, though it’s important to fill your tires to the recommended PSI. Overinflated tires can deteriorate quicker and cause poor handling; underinflated tires can really decrease your MPG and even damage your wheels.

When you go to pump air in your tire, don’t rely on the PSI number on the tire itself. That’s the maximum pressure that the tire can handle. If you fill it up to that number, you could be setting yourself up for a catastrophic failure, like a tire blowout.

Instead, find the suggested tire pressure number on the driver’s-side door jamb or within your vehicle’s owner’s manual. 

Can tires be repaired?

Minor tire damage can usually be fixed with a patch at your tire repair shop. This type of damage includes small punctures within the interior portion of the tire tread.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to patch a flat tire. However, the majority of flat tires cannot be repaired due to the location or size of the hole. A tire cannot be patched or repaired if:

  • The puncture is outside of the main tread’s central repair area 
  • The hole is on the sidewall or shoulder of the tire
  • The puncture is larger than ¼ inch (6mm) in diameter
  • There is a noticeable bubble or bulge in the sidewall
  • It’s already been damaged and repaired before

What about patching a “run-flat tire”? Unfortunately, most experts agree that run-flat tires should not be repaired or patched, regardless of the location or size of the puncture. Due to the complexities of these self supporting tires, repairs may actually cause even more damage to their internal structure. It can also invalidate the tire warranty, which may allow you to replace your tire at a reduced cost.

Always speak with your tire repair center for any flat-tire fixes, patches, and info. For tire repairs in Phoenix, visit any of our Valley Honda Dealers locations.

How long can you drive on a spare tire safely?

Spare Donut Tire

If you get a flat, you’ll need to replace it with a spare tire, or donut, until you can buy a new one. But driving on a temporary spare tire can become dangerous if they’re overused or used improperly. 

For the most part, it’s safe to drive on a spare tire, though you should drive more than 50-70 miles on a donut tire, and don’t go over 50 mph. Essentially, you should be using your donut tire to drive to a tire repair shop only.

Why do you need to rotate tires?

Even if you think they’re frivolous, tire rotations are one of the most important auto maintenance tasks to perform regularly. Rotating your tires extends their lifespan, increases your safety, and may even keep your tire warranty from becoming voided. 

How often should I rotate my tires?

The recommended tire rotation schedule for standard vehicle tires is every 6 months, along with a change of the oil, or 8,000-10,000 miles. This, of course, depends on the type of tire, the tire brand, the tire age, and what your owner’s manual states.

The best way to rotate tires will also depend on your vehicle. For FWD tire rotations, your service technician will perform a “forward cross” pattern, in which your front and rear tires are swapped out. For RWD and AWD tire rotations, rotating tires in an “X” pattern is likely the best option.

When should tires be replaced?

Approximately 1 in 10 car crashes are caused in part to old, worn tires. Simply replacing your tires when necessary will help to reduce your risk of getting into a wreck. But how can you tell when you need new tires?

When Should You Replace Your Tires

Go with the tread depth test. Place an upside-down quarter in one of the larger tread grooves. If any part of Washington’s head is covered, you’re good. However, if you can see all of Washington’s coif, you should replace your tires ASAP. See the photo above for an example of good tread wear.

Tires do “expire,” as well. You can check the coded numbers along your tire’s sidewall to find its manufacturing date. If the tires were made over 6 years ago, it’s time to shop for new tires. If your tires are a decade old, you should have bought a new set of tires yesterday. 

What size tires do I need?

To find your tire size, you can check your owner’s manual or the information sticker on your driver’s-side door. You can also look at your tire for specs. 

But how do you read the tire numbers? The Tire Size Guide below should help you figure out what type of tires you should buy.

What Size Tire Do I Need

Which tires are the best?

There is no “best tire brand” or type — it depends on your vehicle, your driving style, your location, and your budget. We recommend buying replacement OEM tires.

Which tires last the longest?

Tire longevity and lifespan will vary by brand and use. Check your tire warranty for this information.

Where’s the best place to buy tires?

Don’t just shop for the cheapest place to buy tires. Cheap new tires aren’t just cheap in price; they’re also usually cheap in quality. You get what you pay for, and you shouldn’t be relying on unreliable tires — your life is on the line. 

When you need to buy new tires, make sure you do so at your dealership or a certified tire shop. They’re the best places to find quality tires for sale. 

For expert tire maintenance and sales in Arizona, trust none other than our auto technicians. Book your service appointment online or request a price quote for new tires from your Valley Honda Dealers today. We sell and service OEM Honda tires as well as tires and wheels for all other vehicle makes.