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Learn About Tires

Updated: Sep. 04, 2017

There's more to tires than meets the eye

FH12OCT_LRNTIR_01-2Family Handyman
Ever heard of tire pressure sensors? Or directional tires? Learn what they are and why they're important, along with other facts, tips and curiosities relating to tires.

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Why the tire pressure sensor matters

Rebuild kit components

Tire pressure sensor gaskets must be replaced when you install new tires.

Some tire stores charge a small fee to rebuild the tire pressure sensor when they replace a tire. It may sound like a scam, but it’s completely legitimate. No shop wants to risk damaging four $100 tire pressure sensors while changing your tires. So the technician unscrews each one from the wheel and lets it drop inside the wheel before dismounting the old tire. Once the sensor’s gasket is disturbed, it can’t be reused. To guarantee a leak-free seal on the reinstall, the shop uses a new gasket, washer and retaining nut. Then a special torque wrench is used to tighten the nut. So you’re paying for the parts and labor.

Video: How to Check Tire Pressure with a Digital Tire Gauge

Watch and learn the correct way to check tire pressure with a digital gauge. You’ll find out how often you should be checking your car tire pressure and when is the best time to check it. Digital gauges are inexpensive and easy to use. Once you learn how to check you car tire pressure, keep the tires properly inflated and you’ll get better gas mileage and your tires will last longer.

Directional tires: What they are and what they do

Identifying directional tires

The tread on a directional tire is designed to provide maximum traction and hydroplane resistance when rotated in a certain direction. Some directional tires have a V-shaped tread pattern, but not all. A directional tire will have an arrow embossed in the sidewall showing the direction of rotation. You can rotate a directional tire front to back and vice versa, but you cannot swap them from side to side.

Required Tools for this Project

Special torque wrench

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Tire pressure sensor rebuild kit