Ford Taurus Owners Manual: Using summer tires

Safe operation of your vehicle requires that your tires are properly inflated. Remember that a tire can lose up to half of its air pressure without appearing flat.

Every day before you drive, check your tires. If one looks lower than the others, use a tire gauge to check pressure of all tires and adjust if required.

At least once a month and before long trips, inspect each tire and check the tire pressure with a tire gauge (including spare, if equipped). Inflate all tires to the inflation pressure recommended by Ford Motor Company.

WARNING:

Under-inflation is the most common cause of tire failures and may result in severe tire cracking, tread separation or blowout, with unexpected loss of vehicle control and increased risk of injury. Under-inflation increases sidewall flexing and rolling resistance, resulting in heat build-up and internal damage to the tire.

It also may result in unnecessary tire stress, irregular wear, loss of vehicle control and accidents. A tire can lose up to half of its air pressure and not appear to be flat!

You are strongly urged to buy a reliable tire pressure gauge, as automatic service station gauges may be inaccurate. Ford recommends the use of a digital or dial-type tire pressure gauge rather than a stick-type tire pressure gauge.

Use the recommended cold inflation pressure for optimum tire performance and wear. Under-inflation or over-inflation may cause uneven treadwear patterns.

Always inflate your tires to the Ford recommended inflation pressure even if it is less than the maximum inflation pressure information found on the tire. The Ford recommended tire inflation pressure is found on the Safety Compliance Certification Label (affixed to either the door hinge pillar, door-latch post, or the door edge that meets the door-latch post, next to the drivers seating position), or Tire Label which is located on the B-Pillar or the edge of the drivers door. Failure to follow the tire pressure recommendations can cause uneven treadwear patterns and adversely affect the way your vehicle handles.

Maximum Inflation Pressure is the tire manufacturers maximum permissible pressure or the pressure at which the maximum load can be carried by the tire. This pressure is normally higher than the manufacturers recommended cold inflation pressure, which can be found on the Safety Compliance Certification Label (affixed to either the door hinge pillar, door-latch post, or the door edge that meets the door-latch post, next to the drivers seating position), or Tire Label which is located on the B-Pillar or the edge of the drivers door. The cold inflation pressure should never be set lower than the recommended pressure on the Safety Compliance Certification Label or Tire Label.

When weather temperature changes occur, tire inflation pressures also change. A 10F (6C) temperature drop can cause a corresponding drop of 1 psi (7 kPa) in inflation pressure. Check your tire pressures frequently and adjust them to the proper pressure which can be found on the Safety Compliance Certification Label or Tire Label.

To check the pressure in your tire(s): 1. Make sure the tires are cool, meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.

Note: If you are checking tire pressure when the tire is hot (for example, driven more than 1 mile [1.6 kilometers]), never bleed or reduce air pressure. The tires are hot from driving and it is normal for pressures to increase above recommended cold pressures. A hot tire at or below recommended cold inflation pressure could be significantly under-inflated.

Note: If you have to drive a distance to get air for your tire(s), check and record the tire pressure first and add the appropriate air pressure when you get to the pump. It is normal for tires to heat up and the air pressure inside to go up as you drive.

2. Remove the cap from the valve on one tire, then firmly press the tire gauge onto the valve and measure the pressure.

3. Add enough air to reach the recommended air pressure.

Note: If you overfill the tire, release air by pressing on the metal stem in the center of the valve. Then recheck the pressure with your tire gauge.

4. Replace the valve cap.

5. Repeat this procedure for each tire, including the spare.

Note: Some spare tires operate at a higher inflation pressure than the other tires. For T-type mini-spare tires, see the Dissimilar Spare Tire and Wheel Assembly Information section. Store and maintain at 60 psi (4.15 bar). For full-size and dissimilar spare tires, see Dissimilar Spare Tire and Wheel Assembly Information under Changing a Road Wheel in this chapter. Store and maintain at the higher of the front and rear inflation pressure as shown on the Tire Label.

6. Visually inspect the tires to make sure there are no nails or other objects embedded that could poke a hole in the tire and cause an air leak.

7. Check the sidewalls to make sure there are no gouges, cuts or bulges.

Inspecting Your Tires and Wheel Valve Stems

Periodically inspect the tire treads for uneven or excessive wear and remove objects such as stones, nails or glass that may be wedged in the tread grooves. Check the tire and valve stems for holes, cracks, or cuts that may permit air leakage and repair or replace the tire and replace the valve stem. Inspect the tire sidewalls for cracking, cuts, bruises and other signs of damage or excessive wear. If internal damage to the tire is suspected, have the tire demounted and inspected in case it needs to be repaired or replaced. For your safety, tires that are damaged or show signs of excessive wear should not be used because they are more likely to blow out or fail.

Improper or inadequate vehicle maintenance can cause tires to wear abnormally. Inspect all your tires, including the spare, frequently, and replace them if one or more of the following conditions exist:

Tire Wear

When the tread is worn down to


When the tread is worn down to 1/16th of an inch (2 millimeters), tires must be replaced to help prevent your vehicle from skidding and hydroplaning. Built-in treadwear indicators, or wear bars, which look like narrow strips of smooth rubber across the tread will appear on the tire when the tread is worn down to 1/16th of an inch (2 millimeters).

When the tire tread wears down to the same height as these wear bars, the tire is worn out and must be replaced.

Damage

Periodically inspect the tire treads and sidewalls for damage (such as bulges in the tread or sidewalls, cracks in the tread groove and separation in the tread or sidewall). If damage is observed or suspected, have the tire inspected by a tire professional. Tires can be damaged during off-road use, so inspection after off-road use is also recommended.

WARNING: Age

Tires degrade over time depending on many factors such as weather, storage conditions, and conditions of use (such as load, speed, inflation pressure) the tires experience throughout their lives.

In general, tires should be replaced after six years regardless of tread wear. However, heat caused by hot climates or frequent high loading conditions can accelerate the aging process and may require tires to be replaced more frequently.

You should replace your spare tire when you replace the road tires or after six years due to aging even if it has not been used.

U.S. DOT Tire Identification Number

Both U.S. and Canada Federal regulations require tire manufacturers to place standardized information on the sidewall of all tires. This information identifies and describes the fundamental characteristics of the tire and also provides a U.S. DOT Tire Identification Number for safety standard certification and in case of a recall.

This begins with the letters DOT and indicates that the tire meets all federal standards. The next two numbers or letters are the plant code designating where it was manufactured, the next two are the tire size code and the last four numbers represent the week and year the tire was built. For example, the numbers 317 mean the 31st week of 1997. After 2000 the numbers go to four digits. For example, 2501 means the 25th week of 2001. The numbers in between are identification codes used for traceability. This information is used to contact customers if a tire defect requires a recall.

Tire Replacement Requirements

WARNING:

Only use replacement tires and wheels that are the same size, load index, speed rating and type (such as P-metric versus LT-metric or all-season versus all-terrain) as those originally provided by Ford. The recommended tire and wheel size may be found on either the Safety Compliance Certification Label (affixed to either the door hinge pillar, door-latch post, or the door edge that meets the door-latch post, next to the drivers seating position), or the Tire Label which is located on the B-Pillar or edge of the drivers door. If this information is not found on these labels, then you should contact your authorized dealer as soon as possible. Use of any tire or wheel not recommended by Ford can affect the safety and performance of your vehicle, which could result in an increased risk of loss of vehicle control, vehicle rollover, personal injury and death. Additionally the use of non-recommended tires and wheels could cause steering, suspension, axle, transfer case or power transfer unit failure. If you have questions regarding tire replacement, contact your authorized dealer as soon as possible.

WARNING:

To reduce the risk of serious injury, when mounting replacement tires and wheels, you should not exceed the maximum pressure indicated on the sidewall of the tire to set the beads without additional precautions listed below. If the beads do not seat at the maximum pressure indicated, re-lubricate and try again.

When inflating the tire for mounting pressures up to 20 psi (1.38 bar) greater than the maximum pressure on the tire sidewall, the following precautions must be taken to protect the person mounting the tire: 1. Make sure that you have the correct tire and wheel size.

2. Lubricate the tire bead and wheel bead seat area again.

3. Stand at a minimum of 12 feet (3.66 meters) away from the tire wheel assembly.

4. Use both eye and ear protection.

For a mounting pressure more than 20 psi (1.38 bar) greater than the maximum pressure, a Ford dealer or other tire service professional should do the mounting.

Always inflate steel carcass tires with a remote air fill with the person inflating standing at a minimum of 12 feet (3.66 meters) away from the tire wheel assembly.

Your vehicle is equipped with tires designed to provide a safe ride and handling capability.

Important: Remember to replace the wheel valve stems when the road tires are replaced on your vehicle.

The two front tires or two rear tires should generally be replaced as a pair.

The tire pressure sensors mounted in the wheels (originally installed on your vehicle) are not designed to be used in aftermarket wheels.

The use of wheels or tires not recommended by Ford Motor Company may affect the operation of your tire pressure monitoring system.

If the tire pressure monitoring system indicator is flashing, the system is malfunctioning. Your replacement tire might be incompatible with your tire pressure monitoring system, or some component of the system may be damaged.

Safety Practices

WARNING:

If your vehicle is stuck in snow, mud, or sand, do not rapidly spin the tires. Spinning the tires can tear the tire and cause an explosion. A tire can explode in as little as three to five seconds.

WARNING:

Do not spin the wheels at over 35 mph (56 km/h).

The tires may fail and injure a passenger or bystander.

Driving habits have a great deal to do with your tire mileage and safety.

Observe posted speed limits.

Avoid fast starts, stops and turns.

Avoid potholes and objects on the road.

Do not run over curbs or hit the tire against a curb when parking.

Highway Hazards

No matter how carefully you drive, there is always the possibility that you may eventually have a flat tire on the highway. Drive slowly to the closest safe area out of traffic. This may further damage the flat tire, but your safety is more important.

If you feel a sudden vibration or ride disturbance while driving, or you suspect your tire or vehicle has been damaged, immediately reduce your speed. Drive with caution until you can safely pull off the road. Stop and inspect the tires for damage. If a tire is under-inflated or damaged, deflate it, remove the wheel and replace it with your spare tire and wheel. If you cannot detect a cause, have the vehicle towed to the nearest repair facility or tire dealer to have the vehicle inspected.

Tire and Wheel Alignment

A bad jolt from hitting a curb or pothole can cause the front end of your vehicle to become misaligned or cause damage to your tires. If your vehicle seems to pull to one side when you are driving, the wheels may be out of alignment. Have an authorized dealer check the wheel alignment periodically.

Wheel misalignment in the front or the rear can cause uneven and rapid treadwear of your tires and should be corrected by an authorized dealer.

Front-wheel drive vehicles and those with an independent rear suspension may require alignment of all four wheels.

The tires should also be balanced periodically. An unbalanced tire and wheel assembly may result in irregular tire wear.

Tire Rotation

Note

: If your tires show uneven wear ask an authorized dealer to check for and correct any wheel misalignment, tire imbalance or mechanical problem involved before tire rotation.

Note:

Your vehicle may be equipped with a dissimilar spare tire and wheel assembly. A dissimilar spare tire and wheel assembly is defined as a spare tire or wheel that is different in brand, size or appearance from the road tires and wheels. If you have a dissimilar spare tire and wheel assembly, it is intended for temporary use only and should not be used in a tire rotation.

Note:

After having your tires rotated, inflation pressure must be checked and adjusted to the vehicle requirements.

Rotating your tires at the recommended interval (as indicated in the scheduled maintenance information) will help your tires wear more evenly, providing better tire performance and longer tire life.

 Front-wheel drive/All-wheel drive


Front-wheel drive/All-wheel drive vehicles (front tires at left of diagram)

Sometimes irregular tire wear can be corrected by rotating the tires.

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