Subtitles

Red and Yellow Dots on My Tire: What Do They Mean?

When looking at a tire that is brand new or recently installed, you may notice a pair of yellow and red dots on the sidewall. These dots are placed on the tire by the manufacturer to help guide the proper placement when mounting on the wheel. Most tires are mounted by a skilled technician who can use specialized processes and machinery to ensure that they are as balanced as possible. Nevertheless, the dots will give you the ability to check to see that the tires have been mounted properly. Some tires do not have the dots and they tend to get worn off after use, in any case. Thus, you will need to check your tires shortly after they have been installed.

Two methods exist to ensure that the tires are mounted correctly, the weight method and the uniformity method.

The Weight Method

Find the valve stem on the side of the tire. If it is lined up with the yellow dot, the valve stem is located at the heaviest part of the tire. If it is lined up with the red dot, then it is located at the lightest part of the tire.  These dots guide the technician to make sure that the tire is properly balanced during installation.

The Uniformity Method

Radial force variation is a property of the tire that determines such things as traction, steering, load support, and braking. In a hypothetical perfectly round tire, there would be no radial force variation. Since production tires are not perfectly round, a variation of the radial force occurs as the tire rotates during driving. The red dot, in this case, would be aligned with either the lowest or the highest points of the tire's radial force. If both the red and yellow dots are present, then the red dot takes priority in checking to make sure that the tire is properly balanced.

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