What You Should Know When Buying New Tires for Your Vehicle

Posted on: October 21, 2015

When it comes to buying tires for your vehicle, there are so many options for you to have to pick from. The choice is vast so if you are not familiar about what tires work best for your vehicle, you are certainly going to feel lost. Your choice, after all, must depend on a number of factors. If you really want the best tires, you need to know what you are looking for.

What to Keep in Mind While Buying Tires

There are different types of tires that your vehicle can use, thus factors like the amount you wish to spend, the vehicle you have, and so on play a role. But, when going for tires, the main factors to keep in mind are:

·       Tire Size: The tire size is usually mentioned in the owner’s manual or on the tire label located on the driver’s door jamb. Apart from the width of the tire, you also need to know the aspect ratio. This is the relationship between the tire height and width. The load index of your tire, which can range from 0 to 279 and indicates how much weight the tire is certified to carry at a certain inflation pressure, is also important.

·       When you buy a tire, make sure it does not have a lower load index than your vehicle’s original tire. Also, make sure you are aware of the speed rating of your original tire when going to buy a new one. The speed rating tells you the top speed at which the tire can operate. They range from Q, which is the lowest speed rating, to Z, with one exception, which is that H falls between U and V.

·       Tire Mixing: Mounting new tires on the rear axle can prevent unstable oversteer condition, particularly for front or rear wheel drive. Never mix radial and bias-ply tires on the same axle. If you must use radial and bias-ply tires on the same vehicle, the radial tires should be placed on the rear axle. You should also avoid mixing sizes. All tires must be of the same brand, having the same size. Mixing tread patterns like all-season tires with off-road tires is a no-no.

·       Tire Type: The type of vehicle you possess will help you make this choice. You should make sure your new tires are capable of meeting your needs. If you have a commercial vehicle, your tires will have to handle driving through dirt and mud, and regular wear and tear. If you drive a Sports Utility Vehicle, you will need durable tires that have good traction and which can support off road escapades. Similarly, a sports car would work best with tires that can be used at high speeds in wet or dry weather. So, the vehicle you have determines this factor.

These are the main things that you must keep in mind while getting yourself a new set of tires. However, apart from this basic distinction, types of tires can again be further classified depending on their purpose, or their style, so to say.

Different Styles of Tires

Ø  Highway / All Season Tires – These tires guarantee a smooth, quiet ride. They come with good rain traction and a long tread life. They take relatively long to wear. They make tires with this type of tread from 20,000 to 100,000. A moderate tread will wear better than a more aggressive tread with the same rubber compound, but it usually depends on individual tires.

Ø  Snow Tires – These tires have low treadwear and phenomenal traction on ice. Snow tires are not merely allowed for snow. They are just designed specifically and optimized to perform well on snow. Thus, they are often called seasonal snow tires, though they can be used all year round. A seasonal snow tire is much better in snow when compared to all-terrain and all-season tires. Their tread design and rubber compound are what give them such good traction.

Ø  All-Terrain Tires – These tires are capable of good wear, and a majority of them are quiet on the road. All-terrain tires have a more aggressive tread, and they are prone to cupping. Thus, it is good to keep these tires rotated, as the rotations keep this under control.

Ø  High Performance Tires – High performance tires, which are meant for high speeds, mostly have amazing stopping and cornering abilities. Even some family cars have begun to use high performance tires, but they differ based on their speed ratings and other factors.

These are some basics that you should know when it comes to finding the right tire for yourself. Without this basic tire knowledge, you will have a hard time trying to find the one most suited for your vehicle.