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Selecting New Tires Wheels


Some of us just love tires. All those little rubber hairs on new tires and the smell is wonderful. We live in a great time for tires. No matter how you drive, where you want to go or the look you’re after; there is a tire for you.

The same is true about wheels. The hardest part is choosing from the thousands of wheels available.

We may not be able to help with that, but we can help you get some things in mind before you consult with your Smyrna tire professional. Let’s start with function and think about how you drive.

For example, maybe you have a large SUV but you don’t drive off-road, so an off-road tread isn’t important. Also, because you are not out bouncing over rocks in the GA backcountry, you don’t need a high profile tire to protect your rims. So that means you can probably go with the low-wide look.

If you have a winter season with rain and snow or if you find you need better ice and snow performance, they make great, high-performance snow tires that won’t make it look like you are driving a tractor.

There really are a lot of options for any given vehicle. You will find it very helpful to have a discussion like this with your Atlanta tire pro when you need new tires. You can find the best solutions for your driving needs and to make improvements in ride or handling.

Picking a wheel that is the same size as what you are now running is pretty simple. But, it gets trickier if you want to upsize. Just get some help when you go bigger. All that tire and wheel still needs to fit in the available space. You do not want your tires to rub when you turn or hit a bump. You also need to make sure your brakes and suspension bits will fit with your wheel of choice. It doesn’t matter how great your car looks if it’s not drivable.

Taller, wider wheels and tires probably weigh more than your stock shoes. And it’s “unsprung” weight – that has a big impact on brake performance. The upsized shoes increase rotational inertia – if you go too big you may need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Another possible problem is an inaccurate speedometer. This happens because the number of rotations can change with the new wheels. Fortunately, speedometers and odometers are all controlled by the engine computer; so it is simple to get it reprogrammed and compensate for the bigger tires.

No matter what you are after: low cost, long life, high performance, traction or stunning good looks, your wheel and tire professional at Cooper Lake Automotive in Smyrna, GA can help you identify your needs and give you a custom fit. With all the options available, you don’t have to compromise. There is a tire out there with your name on it!

Custom Wheels and Tires


One of the most popular vehicle modifications in GA is custom wheels and tires. Custom wheels help you stand out from the crowd without spending a lot of money, and custom tires can help you fine tune your performance. Not that long ago, new cars came with just one or two tire and wheel options. Now manufacturers are offering more choices and over a third of new vehicle buyers choose custom wheels. That seems to have fueled public demand for custom wheels in all vehicle categories. The available styles, colors and finishes are endless. You’re sure to get the look you want – from sleek and stylish to tough and aggressive.

While custom wheels are largely a matter of taste, custom tires are a matter of function. That is not to say that there are not a lot of cool looking tires out there, it’s just that tires are vital to your safety, so there are some important practical considerations. Let’s look at it in terms of extremes. Think about the environment on a dry race track. High heat, high speed, high cornering forces, hard braking. Then think about a snowy, icy winter that is very cold and slippery. The rubber compound that could withstand the high temperatures and cornering forces on the race track would be very stiff and inflexible in winter conditions. And the rubber compound that provides cold weather flexibility and good bite into ice and snow would rapidly wear out on the race track and wouldn’t be stable at high speeds. Of course the tread design would be greatly different for maintaining traction on a dry race track than it would be for cutting through deep snow.

No one expects any one tire to handle these extremes. So, what we need to do is think about how we drive in GA and talk to a tire professional about options. There is a tire out there that will meet your driving needs. When you boil it down to the basics, a tire provides traction. The traction is for accelerating, cornering, and for stopping. Once you can identify the conditions you expect to drive in, you can find the tire that will deliver the traction you need.

Tire design and formulation has become very sophisticated. There are fewer compromises in wear, comfort, and performance. You can definitely find a tire that will deliver satisfaction over a range of driving conditions. Now if you live where a tire meeting the severe snow standard is advised, you’ll want to have a set of winter tires during those snowy, icy months.

Let’s go over tire and wheel size. Installing wheels and tires that are the same size as standard is easy. However, many people want to upsize these days and that can get a bit tricky. With the help of your Atlanta tire professional, you will be able to pick the right tire and wheel combination for the way you drive. For example, if you drive in GA off-road areas a lot, a low profile tire might not work because there is just not enough cushion for the bumps and rocks.

You’ll want some help to make sure your new tires and wheels fit without rubbing. Your Smyrna tire pro can also help you know if your engine management computer needs to be reprogrammed so that your speedometer is properly calibrated. A lot of people are tempted to order tires and wheels online but do not realize that some safety systems may be affected. For example, your rolling diameter needs to be within 3% of factory specifications in order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly. Traction and stability control systems can also be adversely affected.

It pays to get professional help when deciding on a wheel size. There has never been a better time to get custom wheels for the look you want. And your tire options are phenomenal. Whether you want a single purpose winter or summer performance tire – or something that can handle a wider range of conditions, you have a tire option for every price range.

Custom Wheels and Tires


It seems like everywhere you go around Atlanta you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans – it doesn’t matter, people are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some people want smaller tires and wheels – some want larger – and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? We suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you’re after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let’s start with something easy – you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your factory wheels.

First, what is offset? The wheel bolts onto the hub on the car’s axel. The distance from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on, is the offset. If the new wheel has a different offset from the factory, the tires may rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. That could lead to catastrophic tire failure.

Your Smyrna tire and wheel professional can help you find the right size wheel – or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

So, what if you want to upsize? Well, if it is just bigger wheels you want, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that’s pretty easy. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and could rub when you make sharp turns. A tire professional at Cooper Lake Automotive can help you avoid this.

It is also important to keep the same overall tire diameter because changing the rolling diameter can mess with your anti-lock brakes and stability control systems. Are you starting to see why you want to consult with a tire and wheel expert? Is “super-size me” your motto? If it is, you are going to have to lift your vehicle to make room for those huge tires. A mild lift doesn’t require extensive modifications. An extreme lift means a lot of new hardware under the vehicle. It also means a lot of stock electronic systems need to be recalibrated to the new tire size. For example, your speedometer and odometer will give false readings if they aren’t recalibrated.

You should also be aware of possible performance issues. Bigger tires and wheels weigh more. Experts refer to this as unsprung weight because it isn’t held up by your suspension system. Increased unsprung weight affects performance in different ways than an equivalent amount of groceries or little soccer players in the passenger compartment. Acceleration is negatively affected. Stopping distances may also be increased – sometimes dramatically. If you want really big tires and wheels, you might need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Heading the other direction, some folks like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don’t think that suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your vehicle to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV look fantastic, but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot. There just isn’t enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some people stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren’t rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride. Again, talk with your Smyrna wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive, what look you are going for, your budget and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you’re going to be rollin’ out of there with one sweet ride.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System


We all know that under inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A new federal law requires manufacturers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles by the 2008 model year.

Some 2006 and 2007 models already have TPMS. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the manufacturer’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used by race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they’ll use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety has always been a concern of your service center. They want you on the road and accident free. They’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. They’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and they pass the low cost on to you as an expression of their good will. That’s why they’re concerned about how you’ll perceive the changes that this new law will force.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the service technician is now going to have to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors will have to be re-activated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire will damage some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries will need to be changed and failed parts replaced.

And the service centers themselves will need to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

Service technicians will have to be trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you. So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. The effects of the new law will take some time to sort out, but it will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

Tire Replacement


You know you need new tires, but you’re not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.

Tire size can be confusing. There’s so much on the side of the tire, and it’s hard to keep straight.

Even though there’s a lot on a tire – if you know what it all means, it’s actually more helpful than confusing. Let’s start with the size number.

For example, let’s say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters – the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio – the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it’s a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index – it’s the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty vehicle can be safe with a lower number, but you’ll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating – with the exception of H – it comes between U and V (don’t ask why).

There’s a lot of fine print that you probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there’re the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line – a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within a manufacturer’s product line – you can’t compare with other manufacturers. And it’s important to note that a lower rating might be just what you want – a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won’t wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A – the best, B – intermediate, C – acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire’s resistance to heat build up in government tests. A, B and C – from best to acceptable.

It’s safe to go with the original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you’ll now be better equipped to communicate with your tire professional.

Upsizing Wheels and Tires


At AutoNetTV we love doughnuts. So let’s pretend you have three doughnuts right in front of your for our discussion of upsizing wheels and tires. Hey, don’t eat them now – your going to need them later.

Many people want to accessorize their car – you know, make it theirs. One of the easiest ways to get a custom look is to get some new wheels. There are thousands of wheel designs out there to get you the look you want. And for many, that look includes bigger wheels. It used to be that cars came from the factory with 15 or 16 inch wheels. Now 16, 17 and even 18 inchers are standard. And the factories are offering optional wheel packages up to 20 inches or more.

So let’s talk about what to consider when you want to upsize your wheels. It’s not exactly a do it yourself project, so you need to know a thing or two before you get started. The most important term to know is rolling diameter. The rolling diameter is simply the overall height of your tire. Unless you want to modify your suspension, you’ll want to keep your rolling diameter the same when you upsize your wheels.

Let’s think about those three golden doughnuts in front of you. They’re all about the same size. So if we pretend they’re tires, they would have the same rolling diameter. The doughnut hole is the size of the wheel. Now pretend we’ve made the hole bigger on some. That’s like having a bigger wheel – but the rolling diameter is the same.

It’s important to keep the rolling diameter the same for several reasons. First of all, if the tire is bigger, it might not fit in the wheel well. Next the speedometer, odometer and anti-lock brake system are all calibrated for the factory rolling diameter. In order for your anti-lock brakes to work properly, the rolling diameter must stay within 3% of the factory recommendation. If you ignore that, you run the risk that your anti-lock brakes won’t work properly.

Some cars today have electronically controlled suspension that will be negatively affected by changing the rolling diameter. Let’s think about the doughnuts again. You see, as the size of the wheel gets bigger, the sidewall gets shorter. The tire holds less air, so the sidewalls are made stiffer to compensate.

Low profile tires from top manufacturers use special compounds that give the sidewall the strength it needs without compromising ride quality. As you increase your wheel size, you’ll typically get a slightly wider tire. This means that you have a larger contact patch. The contact patch is part of the tire that contacts the road. Because there’s more rubber on the road, the vehicle will handle better. And braking distances will be shorter. A lot of people with trucks or SUV’s love the extra control.

You do have to watch out that the contact patch isn’t so big that the tires rub in turns or over bumps. What we’re talking about here is fitment. Your tire professional can help you get this right. He’ll install your new wheels, add spacers if needed to make sure your brakes fit inside your new wheels, and get you rolling.

Also, if you drive off-road a lot, you may need a higher profile tire to protect your new rims. And make sure your new tires have the load rating you need if you tow a trailer or haul heavy loads. Again, your tire professional knows how to help.

And don’t forget about tire pressure. If you have larger rims, your new tires will hold less air and they’ll need to run a slightly higher pressure. Forget that and you’ll wear your tires out fast. Finally, get an alignment after you get your new shoes. AutoNetTV wants you to safely have the look you want.