GM Storm/Spectrum 1985-1993 Repair Guide

Tires and Wheels


See Figures 1 and 2

Inspect your tires often for signs of improper inflation and uneven wear, which may indicate a need for balancing, rotation, or wheel alignment. Check the tires frequently for cuts, stone bruises, abrasions, blisters and for objects that may have become embedded in the tread. More frequent inspections are recommended when rapid or extreme temperature changes occur or where road surfaces are rough or occasionally littered with debris. Check the condition of the wheels and replace any that are bent, cracked, severely dented or have excessive run-out.

The tires on your car have built-in wear indicators molded into the bottom of the tread grooves. The indicators will begin to appear as the tire approaches replacement tread depth. Once the indicators are visible across 2 or more adjacent grooves and at 3 or more locations, the tires should be replaced.

Wear that occurs only on certain portions of the tire may indicate a particular problem, which when corrected or avoided, may significantly extend tire life. Wear that occurs only in the center of the tire indicates either overinflation or heavy acceleration on a drive wheel. Wear occurring at the outer edges of the tire and not at the center may indicate underinflation, excessively hard cornering or a lack of rotation. If wear occurs at only the outer edge of the tire, there may be a problem with the wheel alignment or the tire, when constructed, contained a non-uniformity defect.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Diagnosing causes of uneven tire wire

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Fig. Fig. 2: Wear indicators are built into the tires to inform you when they are in need of replacement


See Figures 3 and 4

Your tires should be rotated at the intervals recommended in the Maintenance Interval chart at the end of this section. Rotate them according to either of the tire rotation diagrams. The spare should not be included in the rotation.

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Fig. Fig. 3: First acceptable pattern for tire rotation

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Fig. Fig. 4: If desired, this second rotation pattern may be substituted for the first


See Figure 5

Your Spectrum or Storm was originally equipped with metric-sized radial tires. Radial tires get their name from their construction, because the carcass plies on a radial tire run at an angle of 90° to the tire bead, as opposed to a conventional bias ply tire where the carcass plies run at an angle of 90° to each another. The radial tire's construction gives the tread a great deal of rigidity and the side wall a great deal of flexibility.

When replacing your tires, use only the size, load range and construction type (radial) originally installed on the car. This information can be found on the tire-loading information decal, which is located on the top right underside of the trunk lid and is also located on the tire sidewall. The use of any other size or type may affect ride, handling, speedometer/odometer calibration, vehicle ground clearance, and tire to body clearance.

Do not mix tires of different construction (radial, bias ply or bias belted) on the same vehicle unless it is an emergency. Mixing types may seriously affect handling and possibly cause a loss of vehicle control.

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Fig. Fig. 5: Interpreting metric tire size formats


At least once a month, check the inflation pressure on all tires, including the spare. Use an accurate tire pressure gauge. Do not trust the gauges on service station air pumps, as they are not always accurate. The inflation specifications are listed on the tire-loading information decal usually affixed to the driver's door jamb, immediately below the vehicle certification label. Check and adjust inflation pressures only when the tires are cold, as pressures can increase as much as 4 psi (28kpa) due to heat. Tires are considered warmed-up once they are driven for more than 1 mile.

Inflation pressures that are higher than recommended can cause a hard ride, tire bruising, carcass damage and rapid tread wear at the center of the tire. Inflation pressures that are lower than recommended can cause tire squeal, hard steering, rim dents, high temperatures and rapid wear on the outer edges of the tires. Unequal tire pressures can compromise handling and cause uneven braking.

As previously stated, radial tires have a highly flexible sidewall and this accounts for the characteristic sidewall bulge that makes the tire appear underinflated. This is normal for a radial tire, so you should not attempt to reduce this bulge by overinflating the tire.

The tire valve caps are installed on the tire valve to prevent the entrance of dirt and moisture. Be sure to always replace the cap after checking or adjusting the tire pressure.


If your car is equipped with aluminum wheels, they are normally coated to preserve their appearance. To clean the aluminum wheels, use a mild soap and water solution and rinse thoroughly with clean water. If you want to use one of the commercially available wheel cleaners, make sure the label indicates that the cleaner is safe for coated wheels. Never use steel wool or any cleaner that contains an abrasive, or use strong detergents that contain high alkaline or caustic agents, as this will damage your wheels.