Check out below for great tyre tips or visit your local store today and speak to one of our knowledgeable sales associates to enhance the look and protection of your car.

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Wheel alignment is an important part of maintaining your car that consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are set to the car maker's specification. It is an important suspension-tuning tool that greatly influences the operation of the vehicle's tyres, and how the car performs on the road.

A car is out of alignment when the angles of a car’s steering system are not within the desired manufacturer’s specification. In the Caribbean, this problem is usually caused as a result of impact damage caused by potholes or sidewalks. However, it can also be created by defective springs or suspension wear on older vehicles. The condition can also be created when cars are raised or lowered....[click button to learn more]


The result of a misaligned car is more rapid tyre wear, and degradation in fuel efficiency. Alignment should therefore be checked when new tyres or suspension parts are being installed, or when tyres appear to be wearing unevenly. If the vehicle has suffered a major impact, the odds are its alignment has been thrown out and needs checking.

When sending your car to get aligned, you should ensure the vehicle is carrying a load that is typical under its everyday use.  This is very important in order to ensure the service technician calibrates the angles of the wheels accurately.


Front End - only the front axle's angles are measured and adjusted, and are used primarily for solid rear axle vehicles.  However, it is also important that the service technician confirms that the front tyres are positioned directly in front of the rear tyres.

Thrust Angle – used on rear axle vehicles, this form of alignment allows the service technician to confirm that all four wheels are aligned with each other, and that rear wheels are square with the front.

Four Wheel Alignment – is used on all vehicles with four-wheel independent suspensions or front wheel drive vehicles with adjustable rear suspensions.  The procedure is similar to the thrust angle alignment, but also includes measuring and adjusting the rear axle angles as well as the front.


How Do I Read a Tyre?+

Your tyre contains very useful information moulded into the sidewall.  It shows the name of the tyre, its size, whether it is tubeless or tube type, the maximum load and maximum inflation, the important safety warning and much other information.

P215/65R15 89H

Shown here is the sidewall of a popular "P-metric," speed-rated auto tyre.

  • "P" stands for passenger;

  • "215" represents the width of the tyre in millimeters;

  • "65" is the ratio of height to width;

  • "H" is the speed rating;

  • "R" means radial; and

  • "15" is the diameter of the wheel in inches.

Some speed-rated tyres carry a Service Description, instead of showing the speed symbol in the size designation.  The Service Description, 89H in this example, consists of the load index (89) and speed symbol (H).  The H in this case indicates the tyre's maximum speed is 130 mph.  See the chart below for other speed ratings:

A "B" in place of the "R" would mean the tyre is of belted bias construction.  A "D" in place of the "R" means diagonal bias construction.

The maximum load is shown in lbs (pounds) and in kg (kilograms), and maximum pressure in psi (pounds per square inch) and in kPa (kilopascals).  Kilograms and kilopascals are metric units of measurement.

The letters "DOT" certify compliance with all applicable safety standards established by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Adjacent to this is a tyre identification or serial number.  This serial number is a code with up to 11 digits that are a combination of numbers and letters.

The sidewall also shows the type of cord and number of plies in the sidewall and under the tread.  The DOT requires tyre manufacturers to grade passenger car tyres based on three performance factors: treadwear, traction and temperature resistance.


Calculating Tyre Dimensions+

Width x Aspect Ratio = Section Height
Section Height x 2 = Combined Section Height
Combined Section Height + Wheel Diameter = Tyre Diameter

Example: 175/60R13 85H or 175/60HR13

175mm x .60=105mm
105mm x 2=210mm
210mm + 330.2mm(13")= 540.2mm or 21.27"

The first number is the width of the tyre in millimeters, measured from sidewall to sidewall.  To convert to inches, divide by 25.4.  In the example above, the width is 175mm or 6.89".

The second number is the aspect ratio.  This is a ratio of sidewall height to width.  In the example above, the tyre is 6.89" wide, multiply that by the aspect ratio to find the height of one sidewall.  In this case, 175x0.60=105mm or 6.89"x0.60=4.08".

The last number is the diameter of the wheel in inches.

To figure the outside diameter of a tyre, take the sidewall height and multiply by 2, (remember that the diameter is made up of 2 sidewalls, the one above the wheel, and the one below the wheel), and add the diameter of the wheel to get your answer.


Tyre Rotation+

Tyre rotation, when completed at the recommended times, can provide several advantages, including preserving balanced handling and traction, and evening out tyre wear.  In so doing, it can provide performance advantages that improve the handling of your car.

Even if your tyres do not show signs of wear, they should be rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, and for easy reference is recommended every time you take your car for an oil change.

The concept of tyre rotation is that by allowing each tyre to be mounted in as many of the vehicle’s wheel positions as possible, the wear on the tyre is evened out, promoting even wear across the tread pattern.

They are several advantages to all four tyres wearing down together including:

  • As tread depth wear uniformly, this allows all four tyres to respond to steering action more quickly, and improves performance handling.

  • If all four tyres wear evenly, then tyres can be purchased in full sets instead of pairs, which again improves the overall handling of the car.

  • By purchasing tyres in sets of four, your can put the “latest and greatest” on your car, instead of trying to match older tyres.

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).  These are as follows:

Four Tyre Rotation

  • On front-wheel drive cars, rotate the tyres in a forward cross pattern (Figure A) or the alternative X pattern (Figure B).

  • On rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles, rotate the tyres in a rearward cross pattern (Figure C) or the alternative X pattern (Figure B).


With the advent of performance tyres and wheels, two addition patterns are not necessary.

  • The "Front-to-Rear" (Figure D) pattern may be used for vehicles equipped with the same size directional wheels and/or directional tyres.

  • A "Side-to-Side" (Figure E) pattern may be used for vehicles equipped with different sized non-directional tyres and wheels on the front axle compared to the rear axle.


If the last two rotation patterns do not provide even wear, dismounting, mounting and rebalancing will be necessary to rotate the tyres.

Vehicles that use different sized directional wheels and tyres, and/or wheels with different front and rear offsets with directional tyres, will require dismounting, mounting and rebalancing to rotate tyres.

Five Tyre Rotation

Many vehicles do carry a spare wheel, and once the spare is not marked as “for temporary use” it should form part of the rotation pattern on the vehicle.  If vehicle rotation instructions are not available from the manufacturer, then insert the spare in the right rear position at every rotation.  Place the tyre that would have gone to the right rear in the trunk as the spare until the next tyre rotation.

  • On front-wheel drive cars with full-size matching spare, rotate the tyres in a forward cross pattern (Figure F).

  • On rear-wheel or four-wheel drive cars with full-size matching spare, rotate the tyres in a rearward cross pattern (Figure G).


By following the above rotation patterns, you will help maintain equivalent tread depths on all five tyres throughout their life.


Tyre & Wheel Care+

To maintain your tyres and keep them looking sharp with a deep, dark black color, Surf City Garage offers TWO unique tyre dressings - Beyond Black Tire Pro and Black Edge Tire Gloss . These products treat the rubber with Surf City Garage's own special conditioning agents as well as patented antioxidants that replenish your tyres' original antioxidants and keep your tires looking blacker longer than generic tire dressings and protectants.

Wheel Cleaners & Metal Polishes

Wheel Cleaner

In an effort to help you keep your wheels sparkling clean we recommend one on the following Surf City Garage products: Code Red and Killer Chrome wheel polish. They use tough, penetrating and neutralising agents to loosen and dissolve brake dust, road grime, and stubborn dirt build up.

Metal Polishes

To clean, polish and protect all metal, including brass, silver, copper, pewter and gold we recommend Surf City Garage's Killer Chrome wheel polish. 

Trim & Accent Care

To instantly restore colour and richness to faded and discoloured trim and moulding we recommend Surf City Garage's Black Max.


When Should I Replace My Tyres?+

The easy answer is when the driver starts to experience slippage on wet roads, then the car should be immediately inspected by an Automotive Art service professional to establish whether in fact changing your tyres makes good sense.


The more scientific answer we recommend is; tyres be changed when they reach approximately 4/32” of remaining tread depth. Since water can't be compressed, you need enough tread depth to allow the rain to escape through the tyre’s grooves.  If the water can't escape fast enough, your vehicle's tyres will be forced to hydroplane on top of the water, thereby losing traction and increasing stopping distances.

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