Car Tires

How to Choose New Tires for Your Vehicle

Selection of tires

If you own a vehicle, whether it is a truck, car, or van, you should know how to choose new tires that are suitable for your vehicle. This is one of the most important things that you need to know if you own a vehicle because tires carry the total weight of your vehicle. For your information, a regular car weighs around 1.6 tons. If you cannot imagine this weight, you can compare it to the combined weight of 30 people who are of average build.

Aside from supporting the weight of your vehicle, car tires, together with the suspension system, absorb road shocks. This means that your car tires and suspension system reduce the bumps that you feel when driving on rough terrain.

Car tires also help the car to stop when you step on the brakes. The rough surface of your tires provides traction on an even surface like city streets or open highways.

Choosing the right tires is important for your car to run smoothly. Below is a list of tips and ideas on how to choose new tires for your vehicle.

Tire sizes

For ordinary people, determining the size of their tire is a challenging task. More often than not, car owners rely on their mechanics to choose the right size for their tires. However, it is still important to know how to read tire sizes so that you can choose for yourself the right kind of tire for your vehicle.

Tire sizes come in a specific format that includes numbers, letters, and slashes. One example of a tire size is P185/60R16, where P stands for “passenger” and R for “radial.” Almost all tires that you will buy will have the letter P in the tire size format. The number 185 is the width of the tire measured in millimeters while 60 is the ratio of the tire’s height to its width. Radial corresponds to the tire’s inner diameter in inches. It is also the wheel’s diameter. In some cases, the letter R is omitted because all tires are radial. The number 16 is the diameter of the inner tire or the wheel in inches.

You have to understand that tire sizing is not very strict. For example, if the tire size has P225 as the width, it does not really matter if you choose P215. Just make sure that you choose something that does not have much difference from the recommended size.

Most auto shops have a database of car models and brands and their corresponding tire sizes among other details and information. You can also use an online wheel/tire calculator which will give you the recommended size based on a few details about your car that you need to provide.

Weather conditions

You should buy the right kind of tires based on the weather condition. Summer tires are tires that are ideal for, well, summer use. Driving in the rain or snow with summer tires is definitely not advisable. Summer tires are high-performance tires in terms of their grip levels. They are excellent on dry pavement and are ideal for high-speed use. However, they do not last for a long time and have low rating for treadwear.

If you drive your vehicle all year round, you should consider buying all-season tires. As the name suggests, all-season tires can be used both on dry and wet or icy roads. This means that you can use them in summer, during the rainy season, and in winter. Speed and treadwear ratings vary from tire to tire. They almost have the same grip level as summer tires. 

There are also all-season tires like light truck tires that are used for hauling or towing heavy and large loads. These are ideal for off-road use but can be used in summer and winter season up to a certain extent.

Snow tires are special types of tires that allow you to drive in snowy conditions. The tires are softer and have the right kind of traction that you need for driving on snow. These tires can be expensive and they come in limited sizes. These tires are perfect for vehicles used in snowy areas.

If you live in a place with zero snowfall, you do not need to buy snow tires because you will not have any use for them. On the other hand, if it lightly snows in your area in winter, you should consider buying all-season tires.

Speed rating

A tire’s speed rating gives you an idea how fast you can drive the car using that specific tire. For example, if you drive your car fast, you should use a tire that can handle the extra heat caused by friction. High-speed tires can also handle low-speed driving. The ratings are indicated by capital letters and are found on the side of every tire. The speed ratings start from letter A and end in letter (Y). Speed ratings W, Y, and (Y) are higher than speed rating Z. Speed rating A is the lowest.

This is how you read the rating. For instance, the speed rating L corresponds to a maximum of 75 mph or 120 km/h. This means that this is the maximum speed that the tire can safely handle. You cannot go any faster than 75 mph but you can, of course, go slower. The letter Z rating can handle 149+ mph or 240+ km/h. There is an additional speed rating (Y) which is means that the tire can handle a driving speed of 186+ mph or 300+ km/h.

You need to understand that this is not necessarily in alphabetical order, like in the case of speed ratings Z, W, and Y, where Z is the lowest rating and Y is the highest among the three. Speed rating H is also between U and V. Specific types of cars require specific speed ratings to maximize the car’s efficiency and features. You need to choose tires with the right speed rating partly for your own safety.

Road noise

The wrong kind of tires contributes to the noise that your car produces on the road. If you do not want to get irritated stares from other drivers and pedestrians, you should choose the right tires that will reduce the road noise that your car produces. Generally speaking, tread and rubber composition affect the level of noise that the tires produce. The better the traction, the noisier the car will be.

To help you make an intelligent decision when it comes to choosing quiet tires, you should go to a tire dealer that offers different kinds of tires for different car models and brands. You can also visit a website where you can read reviews written by car owners and manufacturers to give you a better idea about a specific type of tire for your vehicle.

Reducing the noise that your tires produce will significantly reduce your stress level when driving. This will also make it easier for you to make quick decisions when driving or to have a conversation with someone.

Ride quality

There is one important factor that affects the ride quality of tires and that is the profile. According to studies, low-profile tires offer better ride quality. Low-profile tires are those that have a smaller aspect ratio which actually corresponds to the height of the sidewall. If you go back to the section of this article that discusses the size of tires, aspect ratio is that number in the middle, right after the slash. The lower the number, the shorter the height of the sidewall. The sidewall is that part of the tire that connects the tread and the bead. This is the part where you will find information about the tire, such as manufacturer’s name, size, and so on.

Low-profile tires offer better ride quality because they give you better handling and control from the steering wheel. Low-profile tires also improve your car’s ability to stop when you step on the brakes, which does not only improve your ride quality but also your safety.

For car enthusiasts, low-profile tires also look much sleeker. They are often used on sports cars and other vehicles with large wheels like Cadillacs. However, it is still important to understand your car’s needs and not just use tires that have a low aspect ratio.

Tire warranty

Bad tire

When it comes to buying new tires, it is important to consider the warranty offered by the dealer or manufacturer. Warranties protect you in case your tires get damaged even when properly installed and used or in case of premature wear.

Before buying tires, you need to ask the dealer if they come with a warranty service. You should also ask what type of damages the warranty covers.

All tire manufacturers offer the tread-life warranty to their buyers. Tires have an estimated mileage limit. If you find out that the tread is starting to look worn way before this mileage limit is reached, you may go to your dealer for a replacement. Road hazard warranties include damages caused by sharp objects on the road like nails or shards of glass. If you get a flat tire because of these road hazards within the duration of your warranty, you can contact the dealer or manufacturer and they will shoulder the repair expenses.

The manufacturer’s defect warranty covers damages caused by the manufacturer’s error like poor workmanship or use of low-quality materials. Reputable manufacturers offer this type of warranty for the tire’s whole lifespan.

There is also a promotional warranty where you get to try new tires for a 30-day promotional period. More often than not, this is a get-your-money-back guarantee that attracts customers into purchasing the tire.

Tire manufacturer

Aside from the specifications of the tire, it is also important to buy tires made by a reputable company. Some good brands of tires are Goodyear and Michelin. Buying from these manufacturers guarantees that you will get high quality performance from your tires provided that you choose the right kind of tires for your vehicle. Reputable tire manufacturers have been in the business for many years and they keep on making tires that are suitable for different car models and types.

You can read reviews written by car owners and car manufacturers. Car owners will give you an idea how a specific brand of tires performs. Car manufacturers will also partner with reputable tire companies. These car companies will recommend certain tire brands to their customers because they believe that these tires will perform greatly when used on their cars. Reputable tire manufacturers also collaborate with car manufacturers not only in terms of marketing and advertising their products but also in terms of their products’ engineering.

Aside from reading reviews by customers and car manufacturers, you should also choose a tire manufacturer that offers warranty for their products. Companies that offer great warranty coverage for their products only mean that they believe in their product’s quality and performance. Be wary of those tires that are not covered by warranty or have very short coverage periods.

Aside from the manufacturer, it is also important to buy tires from a reputable dealer. The dealer is the one that serves as the middle man between the manufacturer and buyer. You can purchase your tires from local tire dealers whether it is a nationwide chain or a small shop owned by a local resident. You can ask the owner or salesperson some questions about the tires that you are buying and which ones you should choose for your own car.

Aside from your local tire dealer, you can also go to discount tire sellers that sell wholesale tires at low prices. You can also buy tires per piece and the price is still much lower than when you buy them from a regular tire dealer. The only drawback is that these discount retailers usually do not have an offline shop and you have no other choice but to place your order online and wait for the tire to be delivered right to your doorstep.