Archive for August, 2011
Watch Out For Low Tire Pressure.
Driving on a under-inflated tire causes the tire to overheat, leading to tire failure. Under-inflation also reduces fuel efficiency and tire tread life, and will affect the vehicle’s handling and stopping ability.
If a vehicle’s tires are under-inflated by only 6 psi it could lead to tire failure. In addition, the tire’s tread life will be reduced by as much as 25%.
In most cases it is impossible to observe an under-inflated tire unless off-course you are Superman with x-ray vision. When the tire looks flat, then it’s probably too late. The damage to the tire has already been done.
The tire will fail because of the constant flexing in the tire’s sidewalls, especially when heat starts to build up in the tire due to high speeds. This can be made worse during the hot summer months when ultra violet rays further weaken your tires. So, you might want to check your tire pressure before going on a road trip.
Whenever I take long road trips on I-95, like I will do for this up coming labor day holiday next weekend. I always observe that the highway is litered with tires, blown to bits and pieces, most likely from 18 wheelers, trucks hauling heavy cargo. I am pretty sure that some of those tires blew up due to under-inflation and high load pressures.
Your Volvo is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that illuminates a low tire pressure symbol or indicator light, warning you that one or more of your tires is significantly under-inflated.
When the low tire pressure symbol — tire pressure low or tire pressure system requires service – illuminates, check your tires as soon as possible, and inflate them to the recommended tire pressure.
Unit of tire pressure = Pressure per square inch (Psi)
Get yourself a quality tire pressure gauge and check your tire pressure on a regular basis, at least once a month if you can. This is because air will leak out naturally due to seasonal changes in temperature
If you are not sure what the correct tire pressure for your Volvo is, you can find it on the driver’s side Bpillar (the structural member at the side of the vehicle, at the rear of the driver’s door opening) for U.S models, Canadian models have the placard behind the fuel door.
The metal plate or placard indicates the recommended tire pressure of the factory-mounted tires (OEM — original manufacture equipment) on your Volvo, as well as the load limit.
Example #1, below is the placard for a 2008 VOLVO XC70
The recommended tire pressure in this case is 35 psi(cold tire pressure) for the four tires, and 61 psi for the small spare tire or donut.
Example #2, Volvo XC90 Tire pressure placard
The tires are considered to be cold when they have the same temperature as the surrounding (ambient) air.
Ambient temperature is the the normal temperature of the tire after the car has been sitting, parked for at least 3 hours.
Your Tires are considered HOT after driving a distance of one mile (1.6 kilometers).
When you check your tire pressure for Hot tires, make sure you do not reduce or bleed out the air, because you will observe that the tire pressure goes up in hot tires due to expansion of air (oxygen, nitrogen and a mix of rare gases). But a hot tire at or below recommended cold inflation pressure is considered under-inflated.
Load Index (load ratings on the tire’s sidewall)
This is the maximum load a tire can take. So, the higher the tire’s load index number, the greater its load carrying capacity.
102 = 1874 lbs (850 kg)
104 = 1984 lbs (900 kg)
107 = 2150 lbs (975 kg)
Maximum allowed speed for the tire. So, don’t drive faster than the lowest speed rated tire on the vehicle.
But at all times observe posted speed limits on the highway, unless off-course you are in Germany cruising on the Autobahn — where speed limits don’t exist.
Speed ratings are established in kilometers per hour and subsequently converted to miles per hour.
Examples of speed ratings
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7 Tips for Checking your Volvo Tire Pressure (cold tire pressure)
- Remove the cap from the valve stem
- Take out your pressure gauge and press it firmly onto the valve and take a reading.
- If under-inflated, add more air to reach the recommended tire pressure.
- Put the cap back on.
- Repeat the process for all four tires and also check the spare or donut.
- Visually inspect all the tires for nails and also check for damage to the sidewalls, such as: bulges, cuts and gouges.
- Do not over inflate your tires because the tread will start to thin out at the center of the tire. This means that the tire is only making contact with the surface of the road at the center of the tire. Your Volvo ride will feel really hard or harsh if the tires are over inflated and tires can easily be damaged by potholes and road debris.
If you replace your worn tires with new ones, make sure that the new tires are the same size designation, type (radial) and preferably from the same manufacturer, on all four wheels. Do not mix and match.
You will notice that some brands of tires are noisy or loud and your Volvo’s road-holding and handling characteristics will change.
If a fault occurs in the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system), the tire pressure warning light will flash for approximately 1 minute and TIRE PRESSURE SYSTEM SERVICE REQUIRED will be displayed.
Federal regulations require TPMS to warn drivers when tires are 25% under-inflated. Often this is too late, the damage to the tire has already been done.
If you are driving on the spare tire (donut), the Tire Pressure System Service Required light will come on. This is because a donut does not have a sensor. Likewise, if there is damage to one of the sensors, then the warning light will also come on.
P - Pressure loss due to underinflation will result in tire stress, irregular wear, loss of control and accidents. Tell tale signs for under-inflation are thin tread wear along the tire edges.
A – Alignment problem caused by potholes will result in thin inner or outer edge tread wear(camber wear). Often, you will notice your car pulling to the left or to the right.
R – Rotate your tires to distribute the tread wear evenly on all tires. Volvo does not recommend it, but we provide the service to our clients, so as to extend the life of your tires. All wheel drive Volvo’s like the XC70 require even tread wear on all four tires, which helps in traction control.
T – Tread wear reduces the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions. Slipping and sliding during winter and hydroplaning in wet weather conditions. A tire depth gauge is used to measure tread depth. Worn tires should be replaced when they get to 2/32″ of tread depth.
The pattern of tread wear will give you a clue to potential problems, such as poor wheel alignment, out of balance, bent or wornout suspension components, under-inflation, and over-inflation.
Volvo recommended tires:
These tires are custom-designed to meet the stresses and performance needs of Volvo Models: XC90, XC60, XC70, V70, V50, S80, S60, S40, C30, C70 among others.
Basic Design of a tire
Through a complex blend of of chemistry, physics and engineering, these tires provide Volvo drivers with highest degree of comfort, performance, efficiency, reliability and safety that Volvo desires.
After countless months of testing, inspection and quality checks by the tire makers and Volvo, then comes a commitment from Volvo to install these tires as OEM – original equipment — so, you will normally see these tires on new Volvo’s in the showrooms.
The base material for constructing a tire begins with the selection of several types of rubber along with special oils, carbon black, pigments, antioxidants, silica, and other additives that will combine to provide the exact characteristics wanted.
Specialized machines mix these compounds together to generate tire parts such as treads, sidewalls and other parts, which are then assembled into one unit, the tire.
- The inner-liner, a special rubber that is resistant to air and moisture penetration and takes the place of an inner tube, comes first.
- Next, comes the body plies and belts, which are often made from polyester and steel, which gives added strength and flexibility to the tire.
- The tire engineer then cuts the belts to a precise angle and size, which determines the desired ride and handling characteristics of the tire.
- To form the two beads along the sidewalls, two hoops of bronze-coated strands of steel wire are fashioned to ensures a tight fit around the rim.
- The tread and sidewalls are put into position over the belt and body plies, and then all the parts are pressed firmly together.
- The result is known as a ‘green’ or uncured tire.
- Finally — the green tire – is placed inside a mold and inflated to press it against the mold, forming the tread and the tire identification information on the sidewall. Heated at more than 300 degrees Fahrenheit for twelve to fifteen minutes, the tire is vulcanizied and components bonded, thus curing the rubber.
All tires are inspected for quality control. And sample tires are randomly taken from the line and tested. Some are x-rayed, some are cut apart to look for flaws, others are run on test wheels, or road-tested to evaluate handling, mileage and traction performance.
With proper care, your tires can last from 40,000 to 80,000 miles, depending on how you drive.
We get tons of calls from folks asking for their Volvo Radio Code and most of the time the caller talks real nice and friendly, like a salesperson trying to butter you up before a sales pitch.
The reason being that not too many dealerships will give your Volvo Radio Code over the phone, unless off-course you are a regular customer, and they know you.
However nice you are, we will not give the Volvo Radio Code over the phone if we don’t know you. In that case, just drive over to us, the dealership that is, and bring your vehicle registration with you. So we can be sure the radio was not stolen. Not that Volvo radios are a hot commodity.
The Radio Security Code exist for the sole purpose of safeguarding your radio from thieves. The Radio Security Code is also known as; theft-lock, unlock code, security code, anti-thief code, or decoding.
In most cases you will need your radio code after the battery is disconnected or if the battery dies.
The Volvo Radio Codes can be pulled from VIDA or Volvo diagnostic computer database by keying in your vehicles Serial Number or Vin # — starts with a YV######. Your Volvo service advisor will be glad to be of assistance.
If your radio was replaced in the past, then before you call us, you may simply pull out the radio and find the Radio Code INSCRIBED on the radio casing. Usually when a technician replaces a radio he writes the code somewhere on the radio, so that he remembers what the code is.
I believe this is also the case if you have an aftermarket radio and not the original Volvo Radio, because if we use your Vin# to get your Radio Code it will not work if you don’t have the original Volvo Radio.
When you key in the Volvo Radio Code into your car radio make sure it reads CODE and not OFF.
If it reads OFF then reset as follows:
- Turn the ingnition key to postion 1.
- Let the car sit in position 1 for 2.5 to 3 hrs.
- The radio code should reset back to code.
- Now, enter the Radio Code.
Any Volvo dealer can give you your Volvo Radio Code — For free.