Do you have red and yellow dots on the tires of your car? Do you know what they mean? In this short post we explain what all those dots and markings on your tires mean!

Imperfect Tires…

Your tires aren’t perfect, they have defects…

The fact of the matter is that no matter how much care is taken in making a new tire, it is impossible to make it perfectly radially symmetric, either in weight or in roundness. That is just a fact of life. 

And that is okay! Why? Because your wheel rims aren’t perfect either. 

How so?

For one thing, you have the valve stem sticking out (the port where you add air to the tire). When the wheel is spinning at high speed (for example, when you’re on the freeway), any imperfection is going to cause the wheel to wobble. This wobble can in turn cause your vehicle to shake and shimmy – not ideal.

This is why it is a good idea to have your wheels balanced. You know, where they add little let weights around the circumference of your wheel to balance it out? 

BUT you don’t want to be hauling around a bunch of extra weight on your tires if you don’t have to. That is where the dots come into play. 

So, here’s the deal, the various dots on your car tires tell the tire service technician how to best mount the tires onto your rims.

Red and Yellow Dots

The yellow dot indicates the point around the circumference where your tire weighs the least. This might be due to the consistency of the rubber, some extra raised writing on the side of the tire, or some imperfection. For whatever reason, that part of the tire is lighter than any other point around the tire outer rim of the rubber tire.

They test this at the tire factory and put a yellow dot on the tire at this point.

The red dot indicates the place on the tire that is the highest. By this I mean that the tire is not a perfect circle and if you could compare it to a perfect circle of the same diameter, you would find that one part of the tire sticks out a little bit, like a slight bulge outside of the perfect circle. This is the high point, and it is indicated by a red dot.

The yellow dot indicates how symmetric the tire is in terms of weight, while the red dot indicates how round the tire is.

Red and Yellow Dots on a Car Tire

I have a White Dot on My Rim?

Sometimes you may have a white dot or a dimple on the rim of your car, what does that mean? A white dot or dimple indicates the point on the rim that is the lowest. 

So, if the rim is compared to a perfect circle of the same diameter, the lowest point on the rim is given a white dot or dimple.

How Are These Dots Used?

Okay, so we’ve established what all the dots mean, so what? How is this information used when mounting tires?

The Red Dot Is More Important!

The first priority is lining up the low and high spots. So, for this reason, if the rim has a white dot or dimple, then the red dot on the tire should be aligned with the white dot on the rim.

If you have alloy wheels, then the red dot is aligned with the valve stem.

I Don’t Have a Red Dot

If there is no red dot, then the yellow dot is used. They yellow dot is aligned with the valve stem regardless of whether you have steel or alloy rims.