Chrysler Colt/Vista 1990-1993 Repair Information

Tires and Wheels



Tire wear can be equalized by switching the position of the tires about every 6000 miles. Including a conventional spare in the rotation pattern can give up to 20% more tire life.

Do not include the new "Spacesaver" or mini-spare tire in the rotation pattern.

There are certain exceptions to tire rotation, however. Studded snow tires should not be rotated, and radials should be kept on the same side of the vehicle (maintain the same direction of rotation). The belts on radial tires get set in a pattern. If the direction of rotation is reversed, it can cause rough ride and vibration.

When radials or studded snows are taken off the vehicle, mark them, so you can maintain the same direction of rotation.


See Figures 1 through 5

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Fig. Fig. 1: Tire rotation diagram

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Fig. Fig. 2: Tread wear indicators will appear when the tire becomes worn to the point of replacement

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Fig. Fig. 3: Tread depth can be checked with an inexpensive tread depth gauge

The tires on your car or truck were selected to provide the best all around performance for normal operation when inflated as specified. On trucks, oversize tires (Load Range D) will not increase the maximum carrying capacity of the vehicle, although they will provide an extra margin of tread life. Be sure to check overall height before using larger size tires which may cause interference with suspension components or wheel wells. When replacing conventional tire sizes with other tire size designations, be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations. Interchangeability is not always possible because of differences in load ratings, tire dimensions, wheel well clearances, and rim size. Also due to differences in handling characteristics, 70 Series and 60 Series tires should be used only in pairs on the same axle. Radial tires should be used only in sets of four.

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Fig. Fig. 4: A penny can be used to check tread depth. Hold the penny upside-down and insert it in the tread. If the top of Lincoln's head can be seen, the tire should be replaced

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Fig. Fig. 5: Tire size comparison chart

The wheels must be the correct width for the tire. Tire dealers have charts of tire and rim compatibility. A mismatch can cause sloppy handling and rapid tread wear. The old rule of thumb is that the tread width should match the rim width (inside bead to inside bead) within 1 in. (25.4mm). For radial tires, the rim width should be 80% or less of the tire (not tread) width.

The height (mounted diameter) of the new tires can greatly change speedometer accuracy, engine speed at a given road speed, fuel mileage, acceleration, and ground clearance. Tire manufacturers furnish full measurement specifications. Speedometer drive gears are available for correction.

Dimensions of tires marked the same size may vary significantly, even among tires from the same manufacturer.

The spare tire should be usable, at least for low speed operation, with the new tires.


For maximum satisfaction, tires should be used in sets of five. Mixing or different types (radial, bias/belted, fiberglass belted) should be avoided. Conventional bias tires are constructed so that the cords run bead-to-bead at an angle. Alternate plies run at an opposite angle. This type of construction gives rigidity to both tread and sidewall. 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 rigidity and the sidewall a great deal of flexibility and accounts for the characteristic bulge associated with radial tires.

All Mitsubishi vehicles are capable of using radial tires and they are the recommended type for all years. If they 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 five, but in an emergency radial tires can be used with caution on the rear axle only. If this is done, both tires on the rear should be of radial design.

Radial tires should never be used on only the front axle.


Tire inflation is the most ignored item of auto maintenance. Gasoline mileage can drop as much as 0.8% for every 1 pound per square inch (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.

The tire pressures recommended for your vehicle are found on the door post. Ideally, inflation pressure should be checked when the tires are cool. When the air becomes heated it expands and the pressure increases. Every 10° 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 your speed, load or both. Otherwise internal heat is crated 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 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 3 / 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 3 / 16 in. tread.

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 3 / 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. If you can see the top of the Lincoln memorial, it's time to replace the snow tires.


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.


If your vehicle is equipped with aluminum wheels special attention should be paid to their care and maintenance. Aluminum is very susceptible to the action of alkalies often found in various detergents, road and sea salts. If the wheels have been exposed to these type of compounds, wash the wheels with water as soon as possible. After washing the vehicle, coat the wheels with body wax to prevent corrosion.

If steam is used to the clean the vehicle, do not direct the steam at the wheels.

When changing an aluminum rimmed tire, observe the following precautions:

Clean the surface of the hub first
After the tire is in place, finger tighten the lug nuts and then torque them to the proper value
DO NOT use an impact wrench to tighten the wheel nuts
DO NOT use oil on either the nut or stud threads