Wheel and Tire Information | Sterling Tire - Serving Keswick since 1978
These are some of the more commonly asked questions we receive. Click on a question to be taken directly to the answer.  if you cannot find an answer to your question, call us at (905) 476-3507 and we will be more than happy to help you out.

Q: Are all-season tires good enough, or do I need snow tires?

A: Although all season tires can prove to be adequate on front wheel, or all wheel drive vehicle, nothing gives better control in winter than winter tires; whether it is emergency braking, wet braking or just avoiding someone who doesn't have snows on.

Q: Are all snow tires the same?

A: There are three types of snow tires to choose from.

1. Studdable snow tires
2. Ice compound winter tires
3. Performance speed rated winter tires

Each product has its specific niche. Ask one of our sales staff which tire best suits you and your vehicle's needs.

Q: Do I need winter wheels with my winter tires?

A: With the rapid advancement of today's vehicles in not only performance and horse power, it is often wise to remove the expensive original alloys and replace them with either steel wheels or aftermarket alloys. This can often be done at a cheaper price by doing a "down size" in wheels and tires. For example a 2005 Jetta that comes with P205/55R16 can be downsized to a P195/65R15 winter tire package. By reducing from 16" to 15" the package price will be more reasonable, even when factoring in the 15" steel wheel. (Note: this does not affect ABS, speedometer or odometer readings, because outside rolling diameter has not been affected.)

Another plus for wheels is reducing maintenance of the alloys over the years. Wheels that remain mounted and kept clean and dry over the winter months will require far less maintenance such as "grind and reseals", or refinishing the face due to wear caused salt and corrosion.

Q: How often should I check my tire pressures?

A: Tire pressure should be checked monthly at cold temperatures. This cold temperature reading is taken first thing in the morning when the tires have not been driven on. Use manufactures specs to set your pressures from the owners manual or door jam.

Q: How often should I rotate my tires?

A: Rotation schedules vary from manufacture to manufacturer, so check your owner's manual for exact numbers. If you need a guideline, usually every 8-10,000kms is sufficient for a front wheel drive vehicle with a typical mix of city and highway driving.

Q: How do I know if my tires need changing?

A: Tire manufactures provide tread wear indicators on the tires tread face. These indicators are used as guidelines for indicating when replacement is necessary. Please check with a specially trained tire technician to inspect your tires for unusual wear patterns or alignment wear. This is a service that Sterling Tire provides at no extra cost to our customers.

Q: When should I put on or take off my snow tires?

A: Snow tires can be put on early to beat the rush. A reasonable time frame is usually 2nd to 3rd week of October. You will not wear out a winter tire by putting them on two weeks early. Save yourself an extensive wait time that occurs in November and December.

Taking off the snow tires in late March to mid April is once again going to help you avoid long line ups. 12-15 degree Celsius are the temperatures that will cause your winter tires to wear excessively if driven on for an extended period of time.

Q: What are run flat tires?

A: Run-flat, extended mobility, continuous mobility or zero-pressure tires can be driven at normal speeds, for some distance, without any air pressure in the event of a puncture, a deep cut or the ravages of just about any other road hazard.

A common design for these tires involves stiffer side-walls (sometimes 50% thicker) that can bear the weight of the vehicle even when the pressure within the tire is greatly reduced. The side-walls are typically constructed of layers of rubber and a heat-resistant cord that prevent the side-walls from folding or creasing. The bead around the edge of the tire is also specialized to grip the wheel rim such as to avoid becoming detached from the rim.

Self-supporting run flat tires are fairly common on light trucks and passenger cars and typically allow the vehicle to drive for up to 100 km at around 80 km per hour. However, they may still suffer irreparable damage in the process. In addition, if the tire is punctured in the sidewall or at the edge of the tread, repair may be impossible or unsafe.

Q: What is a tire pressure monitoring system?

A: Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) warn the driver when a tire is significantly underinflated and is standard equipment on every 2008 vehicle and newer.

There are two types of TPMS, direct and indirect.

Direct uses pressure sensors located in each wheel to directly measure the pressure in each tire and warns drivers when the air pressure in any of their tires drops at least 25% below the recommended cold tire inflation pressure identified on the vehicle placard.

Indirect uses the vehicle's antilock braking system's wheel speed sensors to compare the rotational speed of one tire vs. the others. If one tire is low on pressure, it will roll at a different number of revolutions per km than the other three tires, and alert the vehicle's onboard computer.