SMART SAVER BLOG / blog / Tire Care 101: BJ’s Tire Center’s Frequently Asked Questions

Tire Care 101: BJ’s Tire Center’s Frequently Asked Questions

You’re driving down the road when suddenly, you hear an awful noise, smell burning rubber and feel the vibration of the no-longer-inflated tire hitting the pavement. You have a flat. It happens to the best of us. Tires are the first contact between you and your passengers, and the road, making them one of the most important safety features on your vehicle. Responsible motorists avoid costly repair bills and increase the safety of their passengers by taking care of their road tires between regular maintenance. However, taking care of your tires doesn’t have to be hard work. BJ’s Tire Center is here to help answer your tire care questions.


1. Do my driving habits affect the life of my tires?

Yes! Here are several tips to help increase the life of your tires:

  • Don’t speed. High speeds generate excessive heat, which increases the rate of tire wear and reduces the tire’s durability. Drive the safe, legal speed limit.
  • Avoid fast turns on curves and around corners.
  • Avoid fast starts and panic stops.
  • Don’t ride on the edge of the pavement or drive over curbs, potholes, or other obstructions.

2. How do I know how old my tires are?

Each tire has a required Department of Transportation (DOT) number imprinted on at least one of its sidewalls. That number begins with the letters "DOT" and may contain up to 12 additional numbers and letters. 

The first and last digits are the most important: 

  • The first two letters or numbers identify the manufacturer of the tires.
  • Prior to the year 2000, the last 3 digits of a DOT number represented the week (2 digits) and the year (1 digit) of production. So if the last three digits are 439, the tire was produced in the 43rd week of 1999.
  • Tires produced after January 1, 2000, have a 4-digit date code at the end of the DOT number. The first 2 digits represent the week of production, and the last 2 digits represent the last 2 digits of the year of production. So, 3500 indicates the tire was produced in the 35th week of the year 2000.

3. How do I take care of my new tires?

Properly maintained tires will help give you a more comfortable ride and a longer tread life. So:

  • Properly (e.g., cold) check your tire pressure monthly.
  • Check your tires frequently for any cuts, snags, punctures, any other injury, or irregular tire wear.
  • At the first sign of irregular tread wear, have your alignment checked.
  • Make sure the tires are balanced when they are mounted on the wheels.
  • Rotate your tires following the schedule in your vehicle owner’s manual or as required by the tire manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Clean your tires with soap and water and a soft-bristle brush or a shop cloth. For stronger cleaning and protection, Michelin recommends using its Wheel & Tire Care product line. The Michelin™ Wheel & Tire Care Program is available at leading retailers throughout North America.

4. How many miles will I get out of my tires?

Many factors affect the tread life of your tires, such as:

  • Tread compounds
  • Construction features
  • Vehicle application
  • Tire maintenance
  • Geographic conditions
  • Atmospheric conditions
  • Driving habits
  • And more

That’s why exact mileage is impossible to predict. Take special care when braking, accelerating, cornering, etc., to help increase the life of the tire. If you have concerns about the rate of wear on your tires, consult your local authorized Michelin retailer.

5. Can I mix different speed-rated tires on my car?

If tires of different speed ratings are mounted on a vehicle, the lower speed-rated tires should be placed on the front axle regardless of which axle is driven. This is to prevent a potential oversteer condition. Vehicle handling may be affected, and the vehicle’s speed capacity is now limited to the lowest speed-rated tire.

6. Can I mix tire types on my car?

For best all-around performance, the same type tire should be used on all four-wheel positions.

Tires of different size designations, constructions, and stages of wear may affect vehicle handling and stability. NOTE: Some vehicles are intentionally fitted with different size tires on front and rear.

Also, DO NOT mix radial and non-radial tires on a vehicle. If mixing tires is unavoidable, NEVER mix radial and non-radial tires on the same axle. If two radial and two non-radial tires are installed on a vehicle, the two radials MUST be installed on the rear axle and the two non-radials on the front axle.

For four-wheel-drive vehicles, if no instructions for tire mixing appear in the vehicle owner’s manual, adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Do not mix sizes. All four tires must be branded with the same tire size.
  • Do not mix radial and bias-ply tires. All four must be either radial or bias-ply.
  • Be sure that the outside circumference of all four tires is within 1.5" of each other.
  • Do not mix tread patterns, such as all-terrain and all-season.

7. Can I replace the tires on my car with a lower-speed rated tire?

When replacing speed-rated tires, you must use replacement tires with ratings equal to or greater than those of the original equipment tires, if the speed capability of the vehicle is to be maintained. The handling of a performance vehicle may be different when the replacement tires are not the same speed rating. Refer to the vehicle owner's manual to identify any tire speed rating restriction that could affect the operation of the vehicle. 

8. Do I have to replace my present tires with the same size tires?

Never choose a tire that is smaller in size or has less load-carrying capacity than the tire that came with the vehicle. Tires should always be replaced with the same size designation – or approved options – as recommended by the vehicle or tire manufacturer. The correct tire size can be found on the door placard of the vehicle or by consulting your local authorized Michelin retailer.

Your current tires’ size can be found by reading the markings on the sidewall. 

9. Where do I install new tires if I only buy two?

If you’re replacing only two tires, be sure to have the new tires installed on your vehicle’s rear axle. Here’s why:

  • New tires will provide better wet grip than your half-worn tires.
  • When new tires are installed on the rear, it helps reduce the potential for your vehicle to fishtail or hydroplane in wet conditions. 

10. Will BJ’s wholesale club install tires that are purchased elsewhere?

Only tires purchased from BJ’s Wholesale Club will be installed by a BJ’s Certified Tire Center Associate. Tires purchased elsewhere will not be installed. 

11. How can I identify the size and specs of my tires?

On the tire’s sidewall there is a series of letters and numbers that describes the fundamental characteristics of your tire. Size, construction, speed rating and more. Hover over the animation below for more details. 

12. How do I know the right tire size for my car?

Your correct tire size and tire pressure can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual or on the OEM sticker on your driver’s side door. Of course, your BJ’s tire technician can also take care of making the right recommendation for tire type, size and features based on your vehicle and driving needs.

For more information on the OEM sticker, read below.

  • Tire Size

    • OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. Quite simply, these are the tire specs that originally came with your vehicle, according to the manufacturer (Honda, Ford, etc). It includes the tire size, rim size, the aspect ratio, etc.
  • Tire Pressure

    • The correct tire pressure to inflate your tires can be located on the vehicle or tire placard or Vehicle Owners Manual and is the proper tire pressure to maintain, so your tires can give you maximum performance, including gas mileage and tread life. For proper results, make sure your tires haven't been driven for three hours before you check for air pressure. (Friction creates heat, which increases tire pressure and gives improper readings.) Be aware that the air pressure displayed on the tire sidewall is the maximum pressure, not the recommended tire pressure.

13. How should I inspect a tire for wear?

One easy way to check for wear is by using the penny test. About once per month, or before a long trip, grab your spare change and follow 3 easy steps.   

  1. Take a penny and hold Abe's body between your thumb and forefinger.
  2. Select a point on your tire where tread appears the lowest and place Lincoln's head into one of the grooves.
  3. If any part of Abe Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, you're driving with the legal and safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that (approximately 2/32 of an inch), your car's ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.


Tire orders can be placed online or in club. Sorry, no phone orders. Availability of auto items & accessories may vary by club location. Purchase tires from BJ’s Wholesale Club and a BJ’s Certified Tire Center Associate will install your tires while you shop (tires purchased elsewhere will not be installed). Our Team Members will make sure the tire and installation meet all your vehicle manufacturer’s safety standards and specifications. Each $20 installation fee includes free lifetime maintenance of your tire with. This 3-point tire promise features tire rotation, wheel rebalancing, flat repairs and inflation check. Shop BJ’s Tire Center online and explore a wide variety of top brand tires in stock and ready to install today.