Acura Coupes and Sedans 1986-1993 Repair Guide

Tires and Wheels



Tire inflation is the most ignored item of auto maintenance. Gasoline mileage can drop as much as 0.8% for every 1 psi of under inflation.

Two items should be a permanent fixture in every glove compartment: a tire pressure gauge and a tread depth gauge. Check the tire pressure (including the spare) regularly with a pocket type gauge. Kicking the tires won't tell you a thing, and the gauge on the service station air hose is notoriously inaccurate.

A plate located on the left door will tell the proper pressure for the tires. Ideally, inflation pressure should be checked when the tires are cool. When the air becomes heated it expands and the pressure increases. Every 10°F rise (or drop) in temperature means a difference of 1 psi, which also explains why the tire appears to lose air on a very cold night. When it is impossible to check the tires COLD , allow for pressure build-up due to heat. If the HOT pressure exceeds the COLD pressure by more than 15 psi, reduce vehicle speed, load or both. Otherwise internal heat is created in the tire. When the heat approaches the temperature at which the tire was cured, during manufacture, the tread can separate from the body.

Never counteract excessive pressure build-up by bleeding off air pressure (letting some air out). This will only further raise the tire operating temperature.

Before starting a long trip with lots of luggage, you can add about 2-4 psi to the tires to make them run cooler but never exceed the maximum inflation pressure on the side of the tire.


All Acura vehicles covered in this guide came equipped from the factory with steel belted radial tires. No other type of tire should be used. All of these vehicles use a temporary type spare tire, which is designed for limited emergency use. Some models may have an optional full size spare tire.

For maximum satisfaction, tires should be used in sets of 4. Mixing of different types should be avoided.

Bias-belted tires are similar in construction to conventional bias ply tires. Belts run at an angle and also at a 90° angle to the bead, as in the radial tire. Tread life is improved considerably over the conventional bias tire. The radial tire differs in construction but instead of the carcass plies running at an angle of 90° to each other, they run at an angle of 90° to the bead. This gives the tread a great deal of flexibility and accounts for the characteristic bulge associated with radial tires.

If radial tires are used, tire sizes and wheel diameters should be selected to maintain ground clearance and tire load capacity equivalent to the minimum specified tire. Radial tires should always be used in sets of 4.

Snow tires should not be operated at sustained speeds over 70 mph. If used on your Acura they should be used on all 4 wheels to maintain vehicle handling.


See Figures 1, 2 and 3

All tires made since 1968, have 8 built-in tread wear indicator bars that show up as 1 / 2 in. wide smooth bands across the tire when 1/16 in. of tread remains. The appearance of tread wear indicators means that the tires should be replaced. In fact, many states have laws prohibiting the use of tires with less than 1/16 in. tread.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Wear indicator are built into the tire. When these bands become visible on the tire surface, replace the tire

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Fig. Fig. 2: Using a depth gauge to determine tread depth

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Fig. Fig. 3: Using a penny to determine tread depth

You can check your own tread depth with an inexpensive gauge or by using a Lincoln head penny. Slip the Lincoln penny into several tread grooves. If you can see the top of Lincoln's head in 2 adjacent grooves, the tires have less than 1/16 in. tread left and should be replaced. You can measure snow tires in the same manner by using the "tails" side of the Lincoln penny.


See Figure 4

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Tire rotation pattern, keep the tires on the same side of the car when rotating them

Tires must be rotated periodically to equalize wear patterns that vary with a tire's position on the vehicle. Tires will also wear in an uneven way as the front steering/suspension system wears to the point where the alignment should be reset. Rotating the tires will ensure maximum life for the tires as a set, as you will not have to discard a tire early due to wear on only part of the tread.

The cardinal rule to follow with radials is to make sure that they always roll in the same direction. This means that a tire used on the left side of the vehicle must not be switched to the right side and vice-versa. If a tire or tires is removed from a running position on the vehicle for a time for use as a spare or because of seasonal use of snow tires, make sure to clearly mark the wheel as to the side of the vehicle it was used on and to observe the mark when reinstalling the tire(s).

Recently the cardinal rule has been re-written and tire manufacturers have begun recommending cross rotating radials. The best recommendation I can make, if you're not sure, is to check with the tire manufacturer of the tires currently on your Acura.


Store the tires at proper inflation pressure if they are mounted on wheels. All tires should be kept in a cool, dry place. If they are stored in the garage or basement, do not let them stand on a concrete floor, set them on strips of wood.


Some Acura vehicles are equipped with alloy wheels. These wheels are coated with a clear-coat protectant when they are manufactured. This clear-coat prevents the aluminum alloy wheel from tarnishing or discoloring. When these wheels are handled, care should be taken not to scratch the coating. Also, when cleaning these wheels, use only non-acid based cleaners. Cleaners containing harsh acids will etch the wheel surface and cause the coating to peel off. There are many good quality cleaners available specifically designed for these types of wheels (soap and water will work, but the brake dust that sticks to the wheels is hard to remove).