Frequently Asked Questions

When you service at any Birchwood dealership we inspect your tires to ensure their safety but in between servicing it is important that you check your tires every month or before long road trips for wear or damage problems.

Here are several warning signs that indicate you need new tires:

  1. Tire tread depth is less than 1/16 of an inch, or 1.6 millimeters.
  2. Tire tread indicator is showing. Tire manufacturers build wear indicator bars into the tire tread itself that appear as flat rubber bars running perpendicular to the direction of the tread itself. If these indicators start to show the tread is low.
  3. Cracks in the sidewall or tread surface.
  4. Tire sidewall bulges or blisters. Bulges lead to blow outs, so get to your nearest Birchwood dealership right away.
  5. Excessive or abnormal vibration, especially on smooth roads. While it may not always be an issue with the tire, too much vibration is almost always a sign that something is wrong. Schedule an appointment right away.
Sometimes called snow tires, winter tires feature technology that other tires don’t. Winter tires are deeper, edgier, and more flexible than all-season tires by ejecting snow more efficiently to give you a firmer grip on the road, breaking water tension to put more rubber in contact with the road, and conforming to irregularities on the road for traction. Even when roads are dry, these features enhance traction, handling and stopping in temperatures below 7°C. Click here to learn more about winter tires.
Seven degrees Celsius is the tipping point to swap seasonal tires. Use winter tires when temperatures drop below 7°C and all-season or summer tires when temperatures rise above 7°C.

Winter tires have softer tread compounds so they can remain pliable in freezing temperatures to perform well, but that same property can cause them to wear faster when temperatures rise. All-season and summer tires are made of a harder rubber compound designed for heat and low rolling resistance, but when temperatures start to dip these properties can cause poor response in vehicle maneuvers, such as stopping.

Tired of finding somewhere to store your tires? Free up space in your home or business and enjoy hassle-free seasonal tire swaps at any Birchwood dealership when we take care of storing your off-season tires. Learn more about tire storage.

The best place to store your tires is in a cool, clean, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat. The surface on which the tires are stored should be free from grease, gasoline or other substances that could deteriorate the rubber. A good place may be the basement or even the garage. In order to minimize any disfiguration, tires can be laid flat and neatly stacked no more than four tires high.

Alternatively, a convenient and reliable way to store your tires is with any Birchwood dealership. Read more about tire storage with Birchwood Tires.

The life expectancy of tires is determined by many factors including driving habits and vehicle usage, road surface material and quality, type of vehicle, type of tire, and quality of tire maintenance performed.

While all vehicles are equipped with four tires, not all tires wear the same. Usually the tires on the front axle need to accomplish very different tasks than the tires on the rear axle, and similarly, the tasks encountered on a front-wheel drive vehicle are considerably different than those of a rear-wheel drive vehicle. Tire wear experienced on a performance vehicle will usually be more severe than that of a family sedan. As a result, each wheel position can cause different wear rates and different types of tire wear.

In the event of some abnormal tire wear or damage, the Birchwood Wheel Deal protects you against the expenses incurred when a tire or wheel is damaged by a road hazard.*

*The Birchwood Wheel Deal includes tire and rim road hazard coverage for three years with the purchase of four tires.

Replacing all four tires together provides the best performance, but there are occasions when only two tires need to be replaced. If so, be sure the new tires are mounted on the rear axle. The deeper treads of newer tires channel water away and grip the road better than worn tires. Worn tires are more likely to hydroplane on wet surfaces. If new tires are up front, the rear ones will hydroplane first. This could cause your vehicle to fishtail. With new tires at the back, the front tires will hydroplane first. You’re more likely to feel this loss of traction, giving you more time to make adjustments to help regain control of your vehicle.

If you aren’t replacing all four tires at once, just remember: Best at the Back.

If you replace tires in sets of four (yay!), you will maintain the original handling balance. In addition, we are constantly introducing and stocking new tires, each of which improves upon past product’s performance. If you replace your tires in sets of four, it allows you to experience today’s technology, instead of being forced to match yesterday’s.

Regular and correct tire rotation promotes even tread wear, longer tire tread life, and increased gas mileage, saving you money. Tire rotations are considered good tire maintenance and should be performed approximately every 10,000kms. Thanks to the Birchwood Wheel Deal, your tire rotations and inspections are FREE with the purchase of a set of four tires. It’s just another the Birchwood Automotive Group has you covered.

Tire inspections give your factory-trained technicians a chance to check the tire pressure of your tires and take an involved and detailed look at your tires’ condition. Screws, nails, and other debris can easily get stuck in the tread of a tire without notice. Having your tires regularly rotated and inspected will allow our factory-trained technicians to find and remove any hazards that may be stuck in your tire. Regular inspection will also detect the early stages of bulges or uneven wear on the tire tread. And although tire rotation will not correct wear problems due to worn mechanical parts or incorrect inflation pressures, tire inspections will help identify these problems in the early stages.

Original equipment tires and sizes will vary between vehicle models and trims. Since there are so many variations, always verify the size you are purchasing matches the recommend tire size for your vehicle which can be found on the door jamb, glove box lid, gas cap lid, and of course, the Owner’s Manual. If you want to know what size tire is currently on your vehicle you can always check your tire sidewalls.
Overinflated tires can cause premature wear and an uncomfortable ride, so be sure to keep your tires inflated at a recommended pressure. Properly inflated tires can also improve your fuel economy. Every vehicle will have different tire inflation recommendations so check your owner’s manual or your vehicle’s placard found on the side of your door, glove box, or fuel filler door.

The maximum inflation pressure for your tire can be found on the sidewall. The most accurate way to check is to use a tire pressure gauge.

Once you have set your tire pressures, continue to check monthly and be sure to pay special attention during seasonal changes. Tire pressures fluctuate one psi for every 5° Celsius temperature change.

Tires are typically filled with the air we breathe: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other elements. Tires filled with this natural air are more susceptible to slow leaks and pressure changes with temperature. Where oxygen is described as a ‘fast’ active gas that reacts to materials and changes in temperature and moisture, nitrogen is described as a ‘slow’ inactive gas that tends not to react to such properties. As a result, pure nitrogen-filled tires often require less tire pressure maintenance. Pure nitrogen is available for your tires at several Birchwood dealerships, including Jaguar Land Rover Volvo Winnipeg, Birchwood Chevrolet Buick GMC, Birchwood Lexus Toyota, and Birchwood BMW.
While some claim their spare tire is around their waist, your vehicle’s spare tire can usually be found in the trunk or mounted outside on the rear door. The spare tire was once standard equipment in any new vehicle but with advanced technologies and vehicle manufacturer efforts to save on space and weight for gas mileage, spare tires are starting to become a thing of the past. With any new or pre-owned vehicle purchase it is important that you get familiarized with the vehicle’s features, including trunk contents, so you are not surprised in an emergency situation. Vehicles equipped with run flat tires will not have spare tires. Run flat tires automatically seal small punctures and have stiff sidewalls. These features keep the tire functional for a limited period of time with little to no air pressure while you find your nearest Birchwood dealership for repair or replacement.
Size Code: P195/60R15

Vehicles are engineered for a specific tire size.

P The first letter indicates intended for passenger vehicles. You’ll see LT on light truck tires. If there’s no letter, it’s a passenger tire.
195 This is the tire’s width, from sidewall to sidewall, measured in millimeters.
60 The number after the slash tells how tall the sidewall is from rim to tread compared to the tire’s width as a percentage. So 60% of 195 equals a sidewall height of 117 mm.
R The next letter represents how the tire is constructed, and almost all modern automobile tires are radial tires.
15 At the end is the wheel diameter, or rim size, that the tire is designed to fit, measured in inches.

Service Description: 87Q

Right after the size code, the service description indicates how the tire should be used.

87 Called the load index, this represents the maximum weight the individual tire can support. A typical passenger or light truck tire has a load index between 70 (335 kg) and 110 (1060 kg).
Q This is the tire’s speed rating, or maximum operating speed. Typical passenger tires range from S (180 km/h) to V (240 km/s), but not all tires have a speed rating.

Some tires may have other symbols. Tires designed for severe snow conditions have a mountain/snowflake icon.

A tire with “M + S” by the tire code is designed for mud or light snow. If you have any questions about your tires, ask your service advisor.

What are run flat tires and their benefits?

Run flat tires feature special construction engineered to support the vehicle after the loss of tire pressure. Run flat tires have reinforced sidewalls that keep the tire functional for a limited period of time with little to no air pressure after a puncture.

Run-flat tire benefits include:

  • Safe vehicle handling in emergencies – Vehicles maintain directional stability in the event of sudden pressure loss due to road debris or a pothole. In addition, important safety features such as Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS), remain fully functional.
  • Protect you and your passengers – Changing a tire under hazardous conditions is avoided since OEM-Approved run flat tires do not require changing at the side of a busy road.
  • Save time – Even with complete pressure loss, it is still possible to drive without changing tires. At a maximum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), you can conveniently travel up to 80 km to the nearest dealer service center depending on vehicle load and extent of tire damage.
  • Save money – By eliminating the weight of a spare wheel and jack, the vehicle design offers improved fuel economy and saves money.
Some of the brands we carry identify their run flats with the following symbols on the sidewall:

Bridgestone: RFT
Continental: SSR
Dunlop: DSST
Firestone: RFT
Goodyear: EMT or RunOnFlat
Kumho: XRP
Michelin: ZP
Pirelli: RFT
Yokohama: ZPS

With every manufacturer using a different brand symbol to identify a run flat tire it can be confusing. You can always contact a parts advisor at Birchwood to help determine.

Tire manufacturer specifications may vary, but run flat tires are typically marked on the sidewall with run flat or low tire pressure operating maximum speed of 80 km/h. If the sidewall indicates a distance limitation, the vehicle driving distance should not exceed that number.

If the sidewall does not specify a distance limitation, the driver should consult the vehicle owner’s manual as run flat or low tire pressure operating limitations vary by tire design and vehicle applications. Maximum distance values are determined under controlled conditions, which may vary in actual use. The driver’s distance capability may be less, or more, depending on your specific operating conditions. If in doubt, do not exceed a 80 km limitation and seek tire service from your preferred Birchwood service centre as soon as possible to minimize tire and/or wheel damage.

Run flat tires may be considered unusable in the event of a puncture, other road hazards, or improper tire pressure maintenance. Consult the tire manufacturer warranty booklet and the vehicle owner’s manual regarding run flat tire approved maintenance. Recommendations will vary between manufacturers, but your tire warranty booklet will provide clear direction if a repair must be attempted or not with your tire specifically.
Yes, a functioning Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) must be used with run flat tires. Because run flat tires perform temporarily well with low pressure, the TPMS may be necessary to alert you of an inflation pressure loss condition. When alerted, follow the instructions in the vehicle owner’s manual.