The Five Best Ways to Choose a Tire

Written by a Guest Blogger

In spite of what you might believe, you can’t simply choose a tire based on outside appearances. A tire might be a dud when you can’t even tell, especially if you’re unfamiliar with tire selection in general. There are ways to determine which types of tires will fit your car, and how durable they are. Sometimes you may even want to consider purchasing tires based on the season, depending on how drastically the climate can change.

Here are some tips to help increase your shrewdness when tire shopping.

Maintain Your Tires

Never forget to rotate your tires. Some will tell you to rotate them every 3,000 to 7,000 miles, while others might recommend it every 5,000 to 10,000. Ideally, your owner’s manual will tell you when you should rotate your tires. You can also rotate them every time you go in for an oil change, if you want to be thorough. And of course you should always keep your tires sufficiently inflated.


Know When to Change Them

Few things can waste more money on a vehicle than replacing tires when they cause damage to your car in a blowout. Of course blowouts are dangerous enough for drivers and those around them, and have been responsible for some of the nastiest accidents. If you suspect your tires require replacements, examine them for even the most miniscule signs of wear and tear.

Some high tech tires contain colored bars on the tread that are exposed when it wears down. If that isn’t the case with your vehicle, another way to be sure your tires are okay is to administer the penny test: simply place a penny in your tire’s tread, Lincoln’s face sticking outward. If the head protrudes at all when the penny’s tucked in there, then it’s time for a tire change.

Check Out Your Tire Size

Before you go in for replacement tires, always know what your tire size is by looking at the top of your tires. Common measurements will read something like “P***/**R**” with the “*” replaced by numbers. Here is a basic mini-guide to help you decipher the numbers and letters appearing on the rubber:

  • The preceding “P” in a measurement means that it’s a passenger tire.
  • Numbers following the “P” indicate the tire’s width measured in millimeters.
  • The first double-digit number after the “/” is the tire’s height-to-width ratio.
  • “R” signifies a radial tire.
  • The last two digits is the wheel’s diameter measured in inches.
  • It’s mandatory that each tire’s style and measurement is the same when purchasing.
Take a Close Look at Tread Life and Speed Ratings

On the search for tires, always inspect tread life to determine the durability of the tire. Tire companies might come up with unique designs for their treads, but in reality their level of quality is relatively similar. Speed ratings indicate whether or not a tire is built to handle high speeds. If you often travel on highways during a daily commute or other occasions, you’ll want to consider a tire with a high speed rating. Some states may typically have higher speed limits than others, which is another reason to pay attention to the speed rating.

Understand Your Driving Routine

The longer your commute to work is, or the farther and more frequent those road trips are, the more often you need to check your tires. Always pay close attention to your travel distances, as this way you can best gauge how often you use your tires, and even on what terrain. Consistently bad conditions may warrant year-round tires meant to handle that weather. And depending on how often you travel, you may want to go for tires that remain in good condition through heavy use.

For more assistance when searching for the ideal tires, talk with the experts at your local tire store for more comprehensive assistance with matching tires to your vehicle.

Bio: Lauren Feely is a guest writer for Auto Tech Centers, an auto repair center and tire shop providing extensive services to customers all over Illinois.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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