What Do Those Numbers On My Tire Mean?

2019-03-27 08:20:10

tire repair Falconer

Way back in 1971, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated a standard tire identification number (TIN). The purpose of the standard identification was to more easily notify owners when a tire was recalled.

The NHTSA requires tire manufacturers to mold the unique TIN on at least one sidewall of each tire. This applies to both newly manufactured and retreaded tires. The TIN furnishes a wealth of information. Provided, of course, that you know what those numbers and letters mean.

Let's break it down. Keep in mind that not all of these codes are required by law, so not every tire will have every item described here. Here is a sample TIN with all the numbers and letters explained below.

P235/65R15 94H M+S DOT 2M 1812

Metric or Tire Type [P]

The first letter signifies what kind of vehicle the tire is designed for: P for passenger vehicle and LT for light truck.

Tire Width [235]

Next is the three-digit number which represents (in millimeters) the width of the tire as measured from sidewall edge to sidewall edge.

Aspect Ratio [65]

This is the ratio of the height of the tire's cross-section to its width. A 65 aspect ratio the height equals 65% of the width.

Construction [R]

This code represents the type of tire construction. R means radial, B is for bias construction.

Rim Diameter [15]

This measurement is in inches and signifies the diameter of the rim.

Load Index [94]

The load (in pounds) that the tire is able to support when inflated to the recommended pressure. This information is not required by the NHTSA, so it is not always included.

Speed Rating [H]

This tells you the maximum speed for which it was designed. Motorists should know that they shouldn't exceed the speed limit even if their tires are rated for a higher speed.

Capabilities [M+S or M/S]

Mud and snow rating.

DOT Tire Identification Number [DOT]

DOT means the tire meets all US tire manufacturing standards.

Plant Code [2M]

This could be a two or three character code. This tells you the tire manufacturer and location. For this example, 2M is the code for Bridgestone/Firestone in Bloomington Illinois. Fun fact: in 2014, the NHTSA tire coding regulation was amended to expand the tire plant code from two to three characters. The NHTSA had used almost all two-digit plant codes and needed additional combinations to identify the multitude of tire manufacturers.

Date of Manufacture [1812]

These letters and numbers indicate the week and year the tire was produced. "1812" would be the 18th week of 2012.

Now you are prepared to shop for tires with confidence. If you don't want to commit any of this to memory, that's okay. Just consult a service technician at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair. We provide professional tire service and consultation. Let us take care of your tire needs and you won't need to remember any of this.



ArticleID 7591

Lesser-known Things That Affect How Much You Pay For Insurance

2019-03-20 08:15:53

auto insurance repairs Falconer

Most people know the factors that impact auto insurance rates: driver's age, model year, and accident history. There are some lesser-known scenarios that influence how much you pay. Here are some surprising things we found when we looked into it.

Whether You Have A Farm

When you apply for your auto insurance policy, you are asked how you use your vehicle. This affects how much you pay. Those who use their auto for business are charged more. If you are planning to use your vehicle on your farm, you will pay the lowest rates. If you're contemplating the purchase of a 100,000-acre dairy farm (aren't we all?), this may sway your decision.

Whether You Are Widowed or Divorced

It's common knowledge that when a driver gets married, his or her rate drops. (Especially his.) If you become single again, the reason for the marriage ending also affects rates. A divorce increases auto insurance rates more than the death of a spouse.


When you are trying to decide between the 6-cylinder engine and the 8-cylinder, you may be thinking about speed and performance. But there are also insurance rate implications. Higher horsepower can mean higher rates.

Daytime Running Lights

Some automobile insurers give discounts if your car has Daytime Running Lights. We assume it's because better visibility lowers the risk of an accident. 

If You Finished College

The amount you pay for car insurance drops as your education level increases. The discount varies per state but in some places it's significant. "In Delaware, a person with a Ph.D. will pay $131 less than someone without a high school diploma, all else being equal." 

Your Credit History

If you have never been cancelled due to non-payment, you may think credit history doesn't matter. Not so. Consumer Reports found that in some instances, bad credit could raise rates higher than a DUI conviction. 

Your Gender?

Car insurance used to be one of the few places that women had the economic advantage. Despite the "bad woman driver" stereotype, car insurers determined that females got into fewer accidents. That may be changing in some places. The Consumer Federation of America found that in some cities, men were given lower rate quotes than women of the same age.

Based on these facts, we determined that a married farmer with three PhDs who drives a 1995 4-cylinder would get a killer rate.

At I-86 Truck & Auto Repair, we serve all of your auto repair and service needs. (We don't care about your marital status or whether or not you have a farm.) Call us at 716-665-2501 to schedule an appointment.

ArticleID 7625

The Race to Mass-Market an All-Electric Car

2019-03-13 07:57:50

auto repair Falconer

Automakers have always found different ways to incorporate new technology into their cars or advance technology themselves. One of the hot innovations right now, and one that is poised to revolutionize auto transportation forever, is the electric motor. We’ve seen vehicles that have used hybrid technology that combines gas and electric motors, but now we’re seeing autos that are going fully electric. Plus, the mileage range of these new EVs is getting long enough for car buyers to seriously consider purchasing an all-electric vehicle.

Auto manufacturers are now in a race to design the "Volkswagen Beetle" of electric cars, in other words, a competitively-priced daily driver for the masses. Let's look at the main players.

The Trailblazer

You can't highlight electric cars and not give prominence to the undisputed pioneer. Tesla Motors has been the leader in all-electric since their first highly-anticipated beauty appeared on the market, but their two main models, the Model S and Model X, are far from affordable for most people. But they’ve recently brought the price tag down with their Model 3 electric sedan. The Model 3 starts at $35,000 before tax incentives and has tons of signature Tesla features. The Model 3’s base electric motor has a range of 220 miles and the long range Model 3 has an electric motor capable of 310 miles!

Don't Count General Motors Out

Tesla has an advantage because they only focus on electric vehicles unlike other auto manufacturers. But one car maker that is trying to compete in the mass-market category is Chevrolet. Chevrolet has recently introduced the all-electric Bolt EV. They previously had the Volt which was part electric but the Bolt EV is taking it to the next level. Its hatchback styling and modern interior is tempting for motorists considering an electric car. The Bolt EV has a range of 238 miles and starts at $37,495 before tax incentives. Arguably, the Bolt does not have the "cool factor" of a Tesla, but the market is wide open and both models will probably be top sellers. Chevy also has the existing infrastructure to manufacture on a large scale which will help them keep the price down.

Will Another Leader Emerge?

There are many other vehicle manufacturers that have recently put electric vehicles at the center of their attention although (as of this writing) they don’t have any in production yet. Hyundai disclosed that they’re working on an all-electric vehicle called the Ioniq to compete with the Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt. The Hyundai Ioniq comes in a hybrid model right now, but if you’re a California resident, you can get your hands on an all-electric Hyundai Ioniq. One drawback, however, is that it only has a range of 124 miles which is fairly limited compared to the Model 3 and Bolt.

Along with publicizing a shocking $84 billion investment in electric vehicle development, Volkswagen has announced an all-electric VW Bus. Ford, Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are also planning to introduce all-electric autos in the next few years.

ArticleID 7530

All About Spark Plugs

2019-03-06 08:16:58

spark plug service Falconer

When you fire up your motor day after day, year after year, you might never give a thought to these small marvels of precision engineering. Until, of course, they start to fail and you notice issues. It's pretty impressive, however, that spark plugs can fire flawlessly for thousands of miles in such a harsh and volatile environment.

What It Does

The spark plug emits precisely-timed arcs of electrical energy (voltage) to ignite the atomized air/fuel mixture in the combustion chamber, literally, "firing up" your engine. After your motor is running, it continues to fire through each combustion cycle. The spark plug also pulls excess heat from the combustion chamber and transfers it to the cooling system.

What is the "Heat Range?"

You may have heard the descriptions "cold" and "hot" spark plugs. Though these terms sound like descriptions of temperature, this is incorrect. These terms refer to the time the plug takes to pull heat from the firing tip to the cylinder head and into the cooling system. The length and thickness of the insulator nose controls how fast the spark plug can transfer the heat.

Spark plug manufacturers assign numbers to indicate the heat range of the spark plug. A plug with a shorter insulator nose (draws heat faster) is described as a "cold plug" and, conversely, those with a longer insulator nose (draws heat slower) is referred to as a "hot plug."

What Type of Spark Plug Do I Need?

The central electrode of a spark plug is constructed with copper, nickel, chromium, platinum, or iridium. The type of metal determines conductivity, lifespan, and cost.

Talk to a service advisor at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair or consult your owner's manual for guidance when choosing replacement plugs. A key decision is whether to replace with the kind recommended by your manufacturer, or step up to a rare-metal variety.

Signs That Spark Plugs May Need to be Replaced

  • Trouble starting engine
  • Pinging or knocking noises
  • Misfiring
  • Rough idling
  • Decrease in fuel economy
  • Difficulty accelerating

What Is Spark Plug Fouling?

When the firing tip (insulator nose) of the plug becomes covered with oil, carbon, or fuel residue, the voltage can fail to bridge the gap and ground out. Under ordinary conditions, spark plugs can burn off residue and keep firing properly for thousands of miles.

Possible Causes of Spark Plug Fouling

  • Air-fuel ratio that is too rich
  • Malfunctioning fuel injection
  • Worn piston rings
  • Worn valve seals

What is Gapping?

The "gap" on a spark plug is the space between the conducting electrode and the plug tip. If the gap is too short, the spark may not be strong enough to fire. A gap that is too long can cause misfiring. When replacing plugs, set the gap to your auto's specs with a feeler gauge.

ArticleID 7577
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