Wide White Wall Tires 

Frequently Asked Questions


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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my whitewalls clean?
What is the difference between radial tires and bias-ply tires?
What precautions should I take when I receive my tires from you?
What should I be aware of when my whitewalls are mounted on my wheels?
What size tire should I select for my car?
How wide of a wheel will my tire fit?
Can I mix steel belted radial and bias-ply tires?
What is the difference between the various brands of tires you sell?
Can I run passenger car tires on trucks and trailers?
Do you recommend I have my car aligned after I mount my new tires?
What does UTQG mean?
How many years do collector tires last?
How can I determine when my tires were made?
How much weight does it take to balance whitewall tires?
I have an inner-tube failure. What are the possible causes and repairs?

  • Answers

  • How do I keep my whitewalls clean? For simple clean-up, use soap and water. We have brought to market our own whitewall tire cleaner that can be found by clicking this link. For over-the-counter type products, you may use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or Simple Green Extreme. Avoid products that contain strong cleaning agents such as bleach or lye. Products like Comet Cleanser, Ajax, Brillo or Bar Cleaner have bleach in them and these chemicals will cause yellowing and cracking of the whitewalls. Do not use Armor All on whitewalls. Sadly, some products that are designed specifically for cleaning whitewalls have bleach in them, so, be careful.

  • What is the difference between bias-ply tires and radial tires?

  • Bias-ply tires are: 1) Most authentic, period-correct look for a vintage car. 2) Less expense generally. 3) In most cases, wider whitewalls and more choices of brands and whitewall sizes and appearances. 4) The most notable appearance features are the straight up and down or vertical side walls, the attractive "pie-crust" edges of the tires that resemble scallops and the period-correct looking tread patterns. A good example of a bias-ply tire with a wide four inch tire can be seen on this link: BIAS PLY TIRE. The disadvantages of bias-ply tires are that they do not ride as nice as steel belted radials will or perform as well on cornering or in wet conditions. They tend to follow cracks or seams in the pavement ("tram-lining") and they will "flat-spot" if they sit too long without use, although the tires will smooth out after driving for a given distance. If you are running bias-ply tires presently that are over 6-8 years of age, they are probably in need of replacement and new bias-plys will probably perform much better than outdated rubber will. Bias-ply tires probably will not have as long of an estimated tread life and may not have a high enough speed rating if you have a need for speed.

  • Steel-belted radial tires have: 1)  Superior ride and performance. 2)  Attractive design. 3) Period-correct appearance and whitewall stripes for more modern cars. 4) Longer tread-life and 5) Speed rated for higher speed driving. The disadvantages are: 1) Higher cost.  2) Can cause cracking or harm to antiquated wheels. 3) May detract from a vintage presentation on an older car. 4) In tight quarters, a steel belted radial may be wider than needed and could rub or make contact with a fender skirt or body panel. Please click here to see a fine example of steel belted radials on a collector car: STEEL BELTED RADIALS.

  • What precautions should I take when I receive my tires from you? When your new tires arrive, confirm that you have received the correct size tire you ordered or your car requires before having them mounted. Your new tires should come wrapped in wide plastic strips. Most brands have the whitewalls covered with a thin blue coating to protect the whitewall. This can easily be scrubbed off with soap and water and a scrub brush. Inspect your whitewalls for any blemishes or flaws. Report any problems to us if you should discover them. Under no circumstances should you stack the tires one on top of each other. If this occurs, even for a brief period of time, the black finish on the tire will stain the whitewall, in some cases, permanently. This is called a "carbon transfer". This is not covered by warranty and is totally due to improper handling of the tires. Be careful that your installer does not stack the tires on top of each other out of your presence and then try to tell you the tires came this way! Take note of the recommended tire inflation pressure and follow it. If you run inner-tubes, it is critical that you inspect the inside of the tires for any inspection tags, "mold marks", sharp edges or foreign objects. These things can puncture your inner-tubes.

  • What should I be aware of when my whitewalls are mounted on my wheels? We recommend finding an installer that is familiar with whitewall tires and has some measure of experience. It is not unusual for whitewall tires to call for weights that amount to 1% of the combined weight of the wheel and tire. For example, a wheel and tire weighing 60 pounds may take six ounces of wheel weights. Some technicians will tell you this is way too much weight but they fail to realize that the whitewall is on one side of the tire only and is a thick, heavy piece of rubber that simply requires more weight to balance in some cases. If high amounts of weight are necessary, a thorough installer will dismount and rotate your tire 180 degrees and re-balance. Matching the high and low spots of the wheel and tire can also result in less weight being necessary. Clip-on type weights are not recommended. Clip-on type weights can also damage your inner-tubes if you run them and can harm the finish on your chrome or painted/powder-coated wheels creating a gateway for rust. Also, these type of weights often will fall off with whitewall tires. Stick-on weights are preferable. A precision balance can best be achieved by using a "finger-attachment" and balancing by the stud holes which is called, "lug-centric". Using a cone in the center hole of the wheel is called "hub centric" and generally will result in a less precision balance with whitewall tires. Take careful note if your installer harms or stains your new whitewalls. Our wheels and tires MUST BE balanced using a STATIC setting, never dynamic.  Do not allow your installer to inflate your tires beyond 40 pounds of pressure to seat the beads.

  • What size tire should I select for my car? If you are still using your original wheels or have wheels in the original sizes, we can research the size for you and make recommendations. If your car came with bias-ply tires and now you wish to change over to modern steel belted radial tires, you may find our Tire Cross Reference Size Chart useful. Please click here to view it. If your car no longer has the original size wheels on it, you should be careful to select an appropriate size tire for your wheel and also a tire that will fit in your wheel wells without rubbing on the body, frame or anything else. Please allow us to help you select the correct size for your car.

  • How wide of a wheel will my tire fit?
    Each tire has a specific rim width range on which the tire can be mounted. Failure to follow rim width recommendations may result in poor tire performance or possible wheel and/or tire failure. Choosing a wheel near the middle of the range will give a balance between ride quality and handling. A wider wheel will improve handling at the expense of ride quality, while a narrower wheel will improve ride quality at the expense of handling. Consider these compromises when selecting wheels. Please click here to view a list of approved rim widths. If you use Bias-Ply Tires, simply refer to our Tire Cross Reference Chart to convert your bias-ply size to a radial size. Most of the tires we sell display a recommended rim width or you can simply email or call us.

  • Can I mix steel belted radial and bias-ply tires? It is recommended that all tires be of the same size, construction, (radial or non-radial) and speed rating. If tires of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, the tires with the lower speed rating will limit permissible tire-related vehicle speed and handling. The construction and handling characteristics of the two differing tires can lead to performance and safety issues. It is our belief that they should not be mixed.

  • What is the difference between the various brands of tires you sell? There are obvious price differences between the brands. Notwithstanding price, in the same tire size for example, the whitewall sizes may be different. Some are wider and some are smaller. The tread patterns may also look quite different as well. Some tread patterns may look like they are more from the '70's as an example while others may look even older. There are also differences in estimated tread life and in the warranties that are offered. Even though the tires may have the same size description, you may note that diameters and widths can differ between brands. We would be happy to point out all these differences and help you select the most appropriate tire for your application.

  • Can I run passenger car tires on trucks and trailers?  It is not a good idea. There are significant differences between passenger car tires and “Special Trailer” (ST) tires. A passenger car tire is not designed to carry heavy loads for extended periods of time while an ST tire is built for such purposes as well as low rolling resistance, long-life and stability while towing. It should be noted that an LT or light truck type tire will work as an alternative to an ST tire. An ST tire is engineered to carry ten percent more load than a similar sized passenger car tire. As a result, the tire may have different steel belts, plies, beads, thickness and diameter as compared to a passenger car tire. The treads are also created to minimize the tires squirming around. The tires also contain different materials that allow the tires to stand-up better to the elements while in storage. One big concern when running a passenger car on a trailer is that the side walls are not as strong as an ST tire and can aggravate trailer swaying. The flexible side walls of a passenger tire could cause the trailer to sway badly enough that the driver could lose control. We wouldn’t want to risk injury to life or limb or to your special vintage trailer by using the wrong type of tire.

  • Do you recommend I have my car aligned after I mount my new tires? Yes we do. In most cases, our customers indicate that they have not had an alignment in some time to begin with. An accurate wheel alignment is critical to balance the tread-wear and performance a vehicle's tires deliver. Regular wheel alignments will usually save you as much in tire wear as they cost, and should be considered routine, preventative maintenance. Since there are "acceptable" ranges provided in the manufacturer's recommendations, the technician should be encouraged to align the vehicle to the preferred settings and not just within the range. Ask for a print-out or record of the post-alignment settings for future reference.

  • What does UTQG mean? To help consumers compare a passenger car tire's tread wear rate, traction performance, and temperature resistance, the federal government requires tire manufacturers to grade tires in these three areas. This grading system, known as the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System, provides guidelines for making relative comparisons when purchasing new tires. Although this rating system is very helpful when buying new tires, it is not a safety rating or guarantee of how well a tire will perform or how long it will last. Other factors such as personal driving style, type of car, quality of the roads, and tire maintenance habits have a significant influence on your tire's performance and longevity. Tread wear grades are an indication of a tire's relative wear rate. The higher the tread wear number is, the longer it should take for the tread to wear down. For example, a tire grade of 400 should wear twice as long as a tire grade of 200. Traction grades are an indication of a tire's ability to stop on wet pavement. A higher graded tire should allow you to stop your car on wet roads in a shorter distance than a tire with a lower grade. Traction is graded from highest to lowest as "AA", "A", "B", and "C". Temperature grades are an indication of a tire's resistance to heat. Sustained high temperature (for example, driving long distances in hot weather), can cause a tire to deteriorate, leading to blowouts and tread separation. From highest to lowest, a tire's resistance to heat is graded as "A", "B", or "C".

    How many years do collector tires last?  Experience has shown that when properly stored and cared for, most street tires have a useful life in service of between six to eight years. Even when the tires look usable, it is recommended that all tires (including spare tires) that were made more than eight years ago be replaced with new tires. Environmental conditions like exposure to sunlight and coastal climates, as well as poor storage and infrequent use, accelerate the aging process. In ideal conditions, a tire may have a life expectancy that exceeds ten years from its date of manufacture. However, such conditions are rare. Aging may not exhibit any external indications and, since there is no non-destructive test to assess the serviceability of a tire, even an inspection carried out by a tire expert may not reveal the extent of any deterioration. Check with the laws of your state to determine if a shorter period of time is required. Several states forbid tires in service that are over six years old from the build date.

    How can I tell when my tires were made?

    • To the right are two examples of DOT Safety Standard Codes. "DOT" means the tires meet or exceed the Department of Transportation's safety standards. "MA" is the code number assigned by the DOT to the manufacturing plant. "L9" is the tire size code. "ABC: is a group of symbols, optional with the manufacturer to identify the brand or other significant characteristics of the tire. The "0301" means the tire was made during the 3rd week of 2001 (the first two numbers designate the week it was manufactured and the last two numbers indicate the year).

    How much weight does it take to balance whitewall tires? It is not unusual to add up to 1% or more of the total weight of the wheel and tire. Six ounces of weight may be required to balance a wheel and whitewall tire weighing 60 pounds, as an example. Should an extremely high amount of weight be required, a responsible and knowledgeable installer will dismount the tire and rotate it 180 degrees and re-balance in an attempt to lessen the amount of weight required. Installers with modern equipment can also match the high and low spots of the wheels and tires to obtain a precision balance. Try to locate a tire installer who has experience with whitewall tires and understands that the whitewall tire stripe is thick and heavy and only on one side of the tire. It takes more weight to off-set the weight of the whitewall stripe which some technicians fail to realize. Furthermore, if you are running inner-tubes, these can also add to the need for more tire weights. Since our wheels are "lug centric" not "hub centric", we strongly recommend that the technician use a finger attachment when balancing so as to balance the wheel and tire from the stud holes as opposed to using a cone in the center hole which will not produce as precision of a balancing job. Insist on "stick-on" type weights, not clip-on style weights. Clip-on weights will not stay put with some brands of tires and will fall-off. They may also ruin your chrome plating. The tire technician must ALWAYS balance on a static setting, never dynamic setting. For questions, please call us for assistance.

    ●  I have an inner-tube failure. What are the possible causes and repairs?

    1)    The most probable cause we have found are inspection tags or foreign objects/sharp edges in the tire itself. These conditions can puncture and spoil an inner-tube immediately or gradually over time. We recommend that the offending tire be carefully inspected. Inspection tags are glued-in and measure about 1/2" long by 1/4" wide plus or minus. They are often difficult to remove. I have found as many as 8 of them in one tire! They are even located high up on the inside of the tire sidewall. You can use a hair dryer to loosen them or very, very carefully grind them off.
     Additionally, inspect the tire itself for any sharp edges or "mold marks" that may protrude enough to puncture the inner tube. We have found foreign objects inside tires before such as a piece of gravel or metal filing. These objects can kill an inner-tube
     2)    The second major cause of inner-tube failure can be improper installation. Sadly, an installer may simply not have the knowledge or experience in dealing with inner-tubes and the tube gets bunched up, over-inflated or not positioned properly in the wheel and tire. The technician may not use baby powder to ease the installation. We suggest finding an installer who has experience with inner-tubes and wire wheels. Avoid "big-box" type stores that don't have experience, time or patience to properly mount tires on wire wheels.
     3)    Defective tubes can also occur and despite everything going smoothly, the inner tube simply fails and needs replacement. An improperly sized inner tube may not match your application. Make sure you have the right size tube. For radial tires, use only a radial inner-tube. Be careful that the valve stem is not too big for the valve stem hole in the wheel. This could cause a leak due to chaffing as the valve stem tears itself off on the choking effect of the smaller valve stem hole in the wheel. Speaking of valve stems, make certain that the valve stem itself is in proper alignment with the valve stem hole and not at a cock-eyed angle.
     4)    Sharp edge in the wheel causing inner-tube failure. Despite using the utmost care on our end, a sharp edge could be puncturing your inner tube from something within the wheel. This rarely ever occurs but it cannot be ruled out if all of the above listed conditions do not exist. Look carefully at the inside of your wheel for any sharp edges in the rim or protruding through the liner material. You can run your hand over the interior of the wheel and sealer area and see if you can find a sharp edge. If you do locate a "sharp", please call or email us if it is our wheel and under warranty for further instructions. Be careful the edge or "sharp" does not injure you. If you attempt to repair the problem yourself, make certain that your actions do not violate any warranty that may be on your wheel that forbids self-repair. Here are the steps we would take:
    A)    Smooth off the sharp edge you discovered. Smooth it flat as possible. A file or Emery cloth may be sufficient. We are assuming that the sharp edge will be very small.
    B)    Clean the inside of the wheel thoroughly using Acetone. We want the sealer area as clean as possible. Don't pull off all the existing sealer, just clean it.
    C)    After identifying the problem area, apply GE or Dow Corning brand 100% pure silicone. Make certain the material you purchase says it is "Non-corrosive". We like to have clear silicone so you can see if you have covered up the area involved and that you have it thick enough but not too thick. You can purchase this material at Home Depot stores. You will only repair the area involved not the entire sealer area. It is not necessary to lay a coat of silicone over the entire sealer area. Do not remove the entire inner-liner of the wheel to make a repair on a single area.
    C)    Lay down a thin coat of silicone over the involved area and smooth it flat with a putty knife. You can apply the new silicone material directly over the area involved. Be careful that you do not allow the silicone to get close to the lip or bead of the rim. Material stacking up on the bead area may prevent your tire from seating or beading-up properly. If you accidentally get some silicone in this area, clean it off as soon as possible or wait until it drys and then remove it.
    D)    Allow the silicone to dry for 3-5 days before mounting your tire. The silicone takes a few days to set-up and fully dry. With these steps taken, you should not have any further problems. Make certain that the coat you apply is thin and not too high or it will interfere with how the inner-tube will fit inside the wheel.
     Regarding Flaps or Liners. Some owners use flaps or liners to protect against sharp edges in the wheels harming the inner tubes. A properly installed liner with silicone does the job that a flap or liner would do in nearly all cases. Flaps and liners can introduce problems of their own if not properly sized. They can also make the wheel, tire and tube more difficult to balance. If you decide to use a flap or liner, get the right size one for the job or get advice on how to fabricate one from an inner-tube. For our brands of wheels that we sell, we do not recommend tubes or flaps.

     If you have any questions, please call or email us. We are glad to help and we want you back up and running as soon as possible.

    friendly advice is a phone call or email away

    Motorspot, Inc.
    427 Industrial Way, Unit C - Fallbrook, California 92028
    Telephone: 760-731-8301 (Phone calls returned)
    Monday through Friday 9 - 5 PST


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