To ensure your car's safety and optimal performance, it is important to keep an eye on the condition of your tires. Good tires not only deliver better performance and increase fuel economy, but also help you drive in difficult weather conditions with relative ease.
This is why it is essential to replace your tires when they begin showing signs of wear and tear. It is recommended to either check your tires yourself or seek professional assistance when you feel that your tires have reached the end of their lifetime. As tires are not a small investment, there are a number of factors that you should consider before replacing your current tires to ensure that you’ve made the right decision.
10 Get Your Car Checked Out
While it is a common practice to access the condition of the current set of tires, people sometimes skip the assessment of their car’s overall condition when purchasing new tires. It is important to get your car checked out, especially when your tires show signs of uneven wear. A detailed assessment can help rule out alignment and suspension issues both of which can shorten the life span of your tires.
For instance, even a few centimeters of misalignment means that your tires are not working seamlessly to propel your vehicle forward and this tussle causes more wear and tear.
9 Do I Need To Replace My Tires?
Before you decide to buy new tires, thoroughly examine your current tires to ensure that the tires need replacement.
In addition to the obvious wear and tear which is visible to the naked eye, you can always do the ‘penny test’ to gauge the condition of your tires. When you put a penny, with Lincoln’s head appearing upside down, into the tire treads and the head isn’t partially hidden, that means that your treads are too shallow and it’s time to replace your tires. To be 100% sure, you can get your mechanic to confirm the findings.
8 Check Manufacturer’s Specifications
When opting for new tires for your car, the first thing you need to ensure is that they are compatible with your vehicle. Manufacturers always provide recommendations about the size and type of tires which work best with your vehicle. This information is available in the owner’s manual. Additionally, you can also find the relevant information about a tire on its sidewall.
In addition to the list of desired options to choose from, the information provided also includes the ideal tire pressure for optimal operation of the car. Adhering to these specifications is important to prolong the life of your tires.
7 Understanding Tire Codes
Before buying tires, it’s crucial to check the tire code, printed on the sidewall of your tire. This code gives you critical information such as load and speed ratings, rim diameter, and aspect ratio. Understanding this code helps in making more informed decisions while opting for new tires.
The first three digits highlight the width (in millimeters) from sidewall to sidewall. This is followed by a two-digit number that shows the tire’s height to weight ratio. After these numbers, you would usually notice the letter ‘R’ which denotes radical construction and then there is a number for the diameter of the wheel. In addition to this information tire’s load index and speed ratings are also available.
6 Deciding On The Type Of Tires
Weather and driving conditions are different in different parts of the world. Most cars are equipped with all-season tires which, as the name suggests, are designed for all year round use. However, there are winter and summer tires available for regions in which all-season tires may not deliver the best traction and performance.
For instance, in places where winter is harsh and there is snow, slush or even black ice; winter tires are strongly recommended. This is because they have a different tread pattern which helps in maintaining control and delivers better handling.
5 The Spare Tire
When you’re replacing your current tires, it is also important to examine your spare tire to evaluate its condition and decide whether it needs replacement as well. Usually, as the spare tire isn’t being used on a daily basis, it may still be in good condition. Sometimes, if the wear and tear aren't significant your mechanic might even recommend using the tire with the least amount of wear as your spare.
However, in case all your tires need replacing, ensure that your spare tire is also the same make, model, and size to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
4 The Price Range
One of the most important considerations is the cost of the tires. Tires can broadly be classified as premium, mid-range, and budget when it comes to the pricing. Premium tires are more expensive because they are a product of months of research and development. Additionally, their quality, tread, materials, and performance is undeniably better.
Tires that have a mid-range price, can still deliver similar performance but the material quality isn't as good as that of premium tires. Lastly, budget tires may offer the best price but then you may have to compromise on the overall lifespan of the tires.
3 Tire Warranty
Usually, manufacturers provide two types of warranties; defect protection and tread warranty. Additionally, tire stores may also provide a road hazard warranty, something that may come in handy if you get a flat tire.
Though, one has to be careful with warranties, especially if they have to be purchased separately. Most of the times there are so many clauses and conditions that when the time comes to use the warranty, you may not get the reimbursement you expected. Plus, when applying for reimbursement or replacement, do expect thorough checks which are done to verify if the warranty can be claimed.
2 Fuel Economy
Another consideration is fuel economy. The type of tires you select can impact the fuel economy of your car. Generally, the original tires that come with the car are designed to deliver optimal fuel economy, so replacing them with another type of tire, can both negatively or positively affect the fuel economy of your vehicle.
For some people, performance or traction are more important and the fuel economy is not really the first priority. So depending on what your preferences are, you can decide on the new tires.
1 Where Should You Buy The Tires?
There are quite a few options when it comes to buying tires and all of them have their pros and cons. You can buy them from your local tire shop, warehouses, the dealership or even online. The most convenient option is your local tire shop because you may know the technicians and receive more personalized service and quicker assembly. Though, you may get a better price at the warehouse clubs like Costco, where there is also a greater selection of tires.
The most significant cost savings would probably be online and there you can even find the most uncommon tire sizes or types. However, with online the delivery time may be longer. So, at the end of the day, it depends on which option meets your requirements in the best possible way.