How Do I Make Sure To Buy the Right Tires?

Tires are a very important part of any person’s vehicle. They connect the vehicle to the road. A good set of tires will ensure that the vehicle has adequate traction and control during corners or bad weather. A bad set of tires is just asking to cause an accident. Tires don’t last forever. No matter how good they are, tires will slowly wear down as a vehicle is driven.

This means that new tires are going to be required unless you’re replacing your vehicle constantly in a short timeline. Even then, it’s possible something goes wrong and the tires may need to be replaced. Tires are a fairly expensive investment. How can a person make sure that they are buying the right tires for their vehicle? 

Answer: Pay Attention to the Type and Size of Tires Required

Within every vehicle’s owner manual is instructions on the type of tires that are required for that make and model. The good news is this information is also replicated online. Retail locations selling tires aren’t foolish. They are trying to make sales, so they have that information as well. 

However, when people read about tires and their sizes, there’s an odd string of letters and numbers. An example is P215/60R16 86S. Looking at that grouping, it can be easy to see how it’s confusing. The first letter (P) stands for passenger. Different tires can be used for different things. You don’t want to buy tires meant for a different kind of vehicle! The 215 is the width of the tire from sidewall to sidewall. It’s measured in millimeters. The next number (60) is what’s known as the aspect ratio. This number is actually the height of a tire’s sidewall. The number is actually a percentage related to the width of the tire. The next letter (R) is the type of construction. Most are listed as radial tires, which have additional fabric layered within the treads.The next number (16) is the tire diameter. Big tires often look more impressive, but they need to fit properly. The final number and letter combination is for the load and the speed in which it’s safe to use tires. The number denotes load. Quite simply, it’s the maximum capacity that can be safely driven on. The letter is the speed rating. Different tires are rated for different maximum speeds. It’s not safe to exceed the maximum speed obviously. 

When buying new tires, the most important issues are going to be the measurements. If the tires are too big or too small, they can throw off the transmission and balance. More expensive tires may have higher speed ratings, but in most cases, it’s likely that even the lowest speed ratings will be more than sufficient for everyday driving by normal people. That being said, manufacturers specifications mean everything. Follow their instructions.

If you’re buying new tires, you may be choosing a pair based on the weather. Most tires are all season tires. These are designed to handle a variety of different road and weather conditions. They aren’t perfect in all conditions, but they do a good job all around. People in the North who deal with severe winter conditions may need to purchase snow tires. Snow tires can be fitted to a different set of rims for easy swapping, or they can be swapped onto the same rims. They are used in the weekend

Additional Sources

While that's a good place to start, there's plenty of information available on tires from some of the experts online. These articles are a great place to start learning more about tires and buying the correct tires. 

  1. TIre Rack - This website is designed to allow people to buy tires, wheels and other auto parts online. This article in particular is designed to help people choose the right tires, whether they are buying a single tire or a full set of tires. 
  2. Michelin - One of the biggest names in tires should obviously be able to provide information about them right? This article helps potential buyers determine exactly what they should be looking for to help get tires for their particular circumstances. 
  3. Car Talk - Car talk is a simple and handy reference for regular people to learn more about cars in both a smart and entertaining way. This article specifically talks about the best types of tires on the market. Their rankings apply for almost every form of vehicle.

Questions to Consider