What Should I Look for When Buying Tires?

There are probably a thousand things you’d rather spend money on than tires. Tires are round, black and boring. But they’re extremely important for car safety. Think about it – your tires are the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road. They affect handling, braking and performance. So, when it comes time to crack the piggy bank open for a new set, it’s important to get the right ones. Here’s what to look for when buying a new set of rubber.


How to make the right tire purchase
You wouldn’t buy a new set of shoes without knowing the size. So why would you buy your vehicle a new set of tires without understanding the correct size? Knowing the proper tire size and rating for your vehicle is the key to selecting a new set of tires.


Know your tire size and rating

Knowing your vehicle’s tire size makes shopping easier. It also prevents you from selecting the wrong tire size. Tire size can be found on the sidewall of the tire. It can also usually be found on the tire placard and vehicle data decal. Both of these labels are located in the door jamb. The tire size will look something like this: 215/65R15. What does this cryptic label mean? Glad you asked!

· P: Type of tire. In most cases, you’ll see either P or LT. P is for passenger, LT is for light truck.

· 215: Width across the tire tread, measured in millimeters

· 65: Aspect ratio of the sidewall and width

· R: Construction type. R is for radial, found on most modern passenger vehicles.

· 15: Diameter of the rim, measured in inches.

On the sidewall of the tire, you’ll find the tire load and speed rating. The load rating is the two or three-digit number that follows the tire size. The last letter is the speed rating. An example is 80 H.

· 80: Load rating

· H: Speed rating

Size, load rating and speed rating are all important factors to take into consideration when buying new tires. Typically, you’ll want to match the specifications of your new tires to what originally came on your vehicle.


Consider tread wear

Some tires are made better – and are designed to last longer – than others. A tire’s mileage rating is an estimate of how long the tread will last. Of course, the tire must be properly maintained for the estimate to be valid.

The average mileage rating for an all-season tire is typically between 40,000 and 100,000 miles. This means you shouldn’t have to buy new tires very often (thank goodness!). Be aware though, that mileage ratings are estimate, derived by the manufacturer during product testing. Real world results may vary. Even so, the mileage rating it the most effective way to gauge tire longevity.


Take your lifestyle into account

A tire that works for you may not work for someone else. Your tire choice may depend largely on your lifestyle – and on your budget.

Different tire types are designed differently. For example, a performance tire has a different tread pattern and sidewall construction than an all-season tire. Take the type of driving you’ll be doing into consideration before committing to a tire.

And let’s not forget price. A top-of-the-line tire with a big mileage rating is going to cost more than an economy tire. It’s OK to go with a mid-grade tire instead of the best if you have an older vehicle, or a vehicle you don’t plan on keeping long.

The tire professionals at South Bay Lincoln can point you towards a tire designed to fit your driving needs.


Tire replacement at South Bay Lincoln

Shopping for tires can be confusing. Instead of trying to remember the information in this article, simply visit South Bay Lincoln. We have all the answers and can help you select the perfect tires. We’re the one stop shop for all your car maintenance needs.