Wednesday, May 9, 2012


How To Read a Tire Sidewall

There's probably a lot more information on a tire's sidewall than you're aware of, such as where the tire was made and when, and sometimes, even whether your tire complies with pass-by noise regulations in Europe.

Here's how to decode it all:

1.) 245: The numbers preceding the slash indicate the distance, in millimeters, across the widest point of the tire called section width (245mm, or 9.65 inches, in this case) when mounted on a wheel of specified width. Often listed before this number are letters that loosely signify the kind of duty for which the tire was designed: P stands for p-metric and is generally used on passenger cars, LT indicates light-truck duty, and T is for a temporary spare.

2.) 40: This two-digit number is the aspect ratio, or profile, of the sidewall. This tire's sidewall height is 40 percent of the tire's width, which equates to 98mm, or 3.86 inches. The lower the number, the shorter the sidewall. An exception is Michelin PAX tires, where this number signifies the overall diameter of the tire in millimeters.

3.) R: This letter indicates radial tire construction; nearly all tires sold today are of this variety. Other constructions are D for bias-ply tires and B for belted. A preceding Z is simply a reference to an outdated and vague speed rating of more than 240 km/h, or 149 mph (the specific rating can be found in the service description).

4.) 18: This number indicates the diameter of the wheel on which the tire should be mounted, generally in inches. These are usually whole numbers but can also be half-inch increments, such as 16.5, or in millimeters, as in 390.

5.) SERVICE DESCRIPTION: These numbers and letter together are called the service description. The numbers indicate the tire's maximum load rating, or the amount of weight the tire can bear (93 stands for 650 kilograms, or 1433 pounds), and the letter denotes the speed rating, or how fast the tires can safely rotate (W means 270 km/h, or 168 mph). The lowest rating typically found on passenger-car tires is Q, which means 99 mph. The highest, Y, is good for 186 mph, and when enclosed in parenthesis, as in (93Y), it means in excess of 186 mph. These values are determined by tire-testing machines in a lab, and the decoded load rating is also listed elsewhere on the tire.

6.) RED DOT: Here's a long-held myth that can be put to rest: It doesn't help in the balancing process to align the heavy spot of a tire often indicated with a red dot with a wheel's valve stem when mounting. Aluminum wheels are now the norm, and the valve stem is no longer the de facto lightest point.

7.) 200: The tread-wear grade is a relative figure based on the rate of wear of a tire during a 7200-mile on-vehicle test compared with that of a reference tire. The higher the number, the longer it will likely last. 300 indicates that the tire should last three times longer than the Uniroyal reference tire, which scores 100.

8.) A: A tire gets a seemingly uninformative traction grade (AA, A, B, or C) based on how much grip it generates in a straight-line test in which the tire is dragged at 40 mph across a wet surface without being allowed to rotate at all.

9.) A: This letter indicates a tire's ability to dissipate heat. As heat increases dramatically at high speed, this is, in effect, a second, less precise speed rating. A means the tire can withstand speeds over 115 mph, B is for between 100 and 115 mph, and C means between 85 to 100 mph.

10.) M+S: This stands for mud and snow and simply means that the tire has more space between the treads, which should help to facilitate traction on soft surfaces.

11.) MOUNTAIN SNOWFLAKE: Unlike the M+S rating, this icon indicates that a tire has met a minimum performance requirement in snow testing.

12.) ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT (OE) MARKING: These letters or a symbol indicate that this is the automaker-specified version of a tire that came as a car's original equipment. These tires can often be a very different blend of rubber compound compared with the off-the-shelf variety of the same tire, even though the tread pattern is identical. Examples of OE markings: General Motors' all have a TPC SPEC number; BMWs have a five-pointed-star symbol; Mercedes' some are emblazoned with M0; Porsche-all have the letter N followed by a number, i.e., N1, N2, etc.

13.) TIRE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS: This is a required and self-explanatory list of the reinforcing materials and number of layers (in both the tread and the sidewall) that are molded into a tire's rubber for reinforcement.

14.) DOT LABEL: Every tire sold in the U.S. must have U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) labeling. The first two characters indicate the factory of manufacture, and the next five or six are manufacturer-specific jargon (for tracking purposes, as in the case of a recall). The last four numbers give the date of production (the first two indicate which of 52 weeks, and the second two, the year). The European equivalent of the DOT code may also be present (it starts with an e), although fewer manufacturers are printing both on a tire?s sidewall (to prevent gray-market shipments when currency exchange rates fluctuate). If this string of numbers ends with -S, it means the tire complies with European noise regulations.

Here at Superior Lexus, we supply the correct tires for your Lexus at competitive prices. We continuously shop our competition in the KC market and post it here for you.


Car and Driver, November 2009

Original article is here at

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Small problems are easier to fix than big problems. However, most big problems start out as small problems that didn’t get the right attention and repair. Sometimes the small problems are intentionally (and unwisely) overlooked, but other times they simply go unnoticed until they reach “big problem” status.

To catch such problems while they are still minor and easy to fix, here are some warning signs that your Lexus should be brought in for service:

1.Low fluids. Your luxury vehicle runs on fluids; without them, nothing would work. The engine, transmission, brakes, steering, air conditioner, heater and even the battery become useless without the correct amount of the right fluids. If any of the levels are low, that means the fluids are leaking or being burned up somewhere. Once the levels get too low, major damage can result.

2.Unusual noises. If your Lexus has started playing a new tune—especially one that includes squeaks, squeals, rattles or roars—you should bring it in for a tune-up.

3.Changes in the gauges. It’s a good habit to occasionally glance at the gauges on the dashboard. Though they usually have a fairly wide “safe” operating range, you’ll notice that they tend to stay within a very narrow range under normal operating conditions. If they suddenly start to drift from that narrow band, a problem may be developing, even if they are still in the range considered “safe”.

4.Decreased performance. Luxury vehicles are built to high performance standards, whether that means acceleration, braking, handling or a smooth ride. As the regular driver, you are the person best suited to notice any decrease in performance and suspect that something must be wrong.

5.The vehicle is asking for it. Modern vehicles monitor themselves for any problems and ask for service when needed via warning lights, such as the “service engine soon” light. Too many people ignore such obvious warnings or put off doing anything about them.

So, if your Lexus is displaying any of these warning signs, please don't hesitate to bring it in to Superior Lexus Service Department - we will make sure to get you back on the road in no time:)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lexus College Graduate Finance Program Can Turn Recent Graduates’ Lexus Dreams Into Reality

If you’re a recent college graduate and luxury vehicle-lover, you may already be dreaming about buying your first Lexus. Those dreams may seem distant, even if you already have a good job and are on the road to a successful career. But there is a solution: with the Lexus College Graduate Finance Program, recent graduates can purchase their first Lexus with financial peace of mind.

The College Graduate Finance Program is built to help recent college graduates purchase their first new or Certified Pre-Owned Lexus vehicle. In order to qualify, graduates must present the dealership with documentation of graduation and proof that they are currently employed. Applicants must also pass income and credit checks. But once they do, they’ll be that much closer to driving home their first Lexus.

By buying or leasing a Lexus with the College Graduate Finance Program, you’ll gain many advantages. This includes a waived security deposit, competitive financing terms, and even a $1000 rebate on select vehicles, including the new Lexus CT200h and IS250 Sedan.

This means that owning a new or Certified Pre-Owned Lexus is more viable than you might think. If you are a recent graduate with a good job and a solid credit history, there’s no reason why you can’t get your own.

If you’d like to learn more information about the Lexus College Graduate Finance Program, visit Lexus’ website. If you’re ready to take the next step, come visit us today at Superior Lexus. We’ll help you through the application process and, as soon as you’re approved, we’ll help you into your very own Lexus.

Congratulations, you've earned it!