Your car’s tires will wear out over time and need to be replaced
periodically. Tire replacement depends upon how often a car is driven,
how it is driven, and even where it is driven (seasons and climate). Tires
can affect gas mileage as well as safe maneuvering capabilities such as
stopping and cornering.
Most consumers look for ways to save money when it’s time to purchase
new tires, but low prices might not always provide the best options. In
contrast, higher prices do not necessarily translate into safer, longer
lasting tires. Here, we’ll explain three important keys to starting
the tire buying process.
3 Tips to Follow When Shopping for New Tires
It is helpful to begin with online research. Many online tire retailers,
such as tirerack.com, offer independent ratings and reviews on every tire
sold. Search consumer reviews on a few different brand name tires.
1. Select tires right for your climate: Plan for the weather. Some tires are listed as summer tires or performance
radials. These tires may work if you reside in a warm climate where snow
and ice aren’t factors. For those who experience the best of all
four seasons, select an all-season or touring radial. Read the description
to be sure the tire is rating for stopping on snow or ice.
2. Know the correct size: Not every tire is available in every size. Each tire has its size stamped
on the sidewall. If reading the sidewall is difficult, look in your car’s
user manual or check the manufacturer’s white sticker just inside
the driver’s side door jam. Your car’s recommended tire size
will be shown here. Every tire size follows this format P***-**R-** or
P225-45R-18. When comparing tire prices, always use your car’s exact
tire size. Price on the same model can vary as much as $80-$100 per tire
based on size alone.
3. Consider the tire’s tread-wear rating: Along with its size, every tire has a tread-wear rating stamped on the
sidewall. Each model has its own rating, ranging from 100 to 500. For
normal commuting and maximum tire life, narrow down your selection to
tires with a tread-wear rating of 360 or higher. In the late 70s the NHTSA
standardized a 7,200 mile course on paved roadways in west Texas. Generally
speaking, a tire that shows wear of about 50% receives a tread-wear rating
of 100. A tire that receives a tread-ware rating of 200 is said to last
twice as long. The scale continues up to tires with ratings of 600. NOTE:
The rating is an estimate, not a guarantee. While higher tread-ware ratings
are not always better, a rating of 400 is likely to outlast more expensive
tires rated at 280.
These three factors will help get the search started with the basics in
place. The rest of the selection process should be based on consumer reviews,
pricing, and other important specs such as braking distances on wet and
dry pavement. A few internet searches using the terms discussed here will
help identify the right model for your vehicle.