De Facto Guide On How To Choose Tires

Wheels are the only part of the car that remains in constant contact with the road.

Learning how to choose tires is important because the right choice allows you to maximize your car’s performance and improve its safety standards.

Your tire’s sidewall can tell you everything you need to know about your tires. From their physical characteristics to the performance parameters, the tire letterings are your best information source.

The Ultimate Guide on How to Choose tires for your Cars

When it comes to car maintenance, people focus on things like the engine, suspension, chassis, etc. However, only a few people talk about tires, which are often the most important thing in regards to safety.

The condition of your wheel determines how well your car will perform and how safe it will be.

Tires regularly need replacement and you need to know how to choose tires in order to maintain optimal performance. The article will teach you how. So, let’s buckle up.

When Should I Start Thinking About Getting a Replacement?

Before we start talking about the things you should consider while choosing a new set of tires, it’s important to discuss when you should start looking for a replacement.

Generally, the performance of tires deteriorate with both, the mileage and the time.

In most cases, however, significant damage happens due to mileage and use, so people usually focus more on that aspect.

There are multiple ways to check if it’s time to replace your tire. Visible deformations, excessive wobbling, uneven treads, and bulges are some of the most common giveaways of a faulty tire.

If you experience one of the following symptoms, be sure to visit a tire expert asap or check the health of your tires yourself.

There are multiple cracks, bulges, and cuts on the tire

Visible deformations due to cuts and bulges on the tire are the easiest to spot for anyone. In some cases, you can intervene and restore your tire but some deformations can render them useless.

A general rule of thumb is to never go for repairs if the damage is on a tire’s sidewall as it is the weakest part of any tire.

You experience excessive wobbling and sounds while driving

Another dead giveaway of a tire beyond saving is excessive wobbling and sounds on smooth roads. Balancing and alignment issues cause some wobbling as well, but their intensity is comparatively low.

Your tire treads are either smooth or uneven

You must always inspect your treads on a regular basis to ensure that you are driving safely. Driving a car with your tire treads under a certain size is both dangerous and illegal.

You can inspect your tire treads with a cheap inspector or even use a quarter. Just stick the coin in the tread and check if you can see Washington’s head. If yes, then we are sorry. Your tires are no more.

How do I Know Which Tire to Buy?

When you decide to go out and buy new tires for your car, the first decision you’ll have to make will be about the type of tire you should buy.

Unless you are regularly dealing with excess snow and ice on the road, all-season tires are the best way forward. However, it’s better to know about all the other options.

There are multiple tire categorizations used in the industry today. However, all these categories stem from the following three.  

  • All-season tires: The most commonly used tire type in the market. As their name suggests, they perform adequately on both dry and wet roads under all conditions. These tires are also available in performance and ultra-high-performance variants, which have better speed ratings and deliver more grip.
  • All-terrain tires: These tires generally come in stock with high-performance ATV and jeeps. Designed to withstand heavy-duty use and perform under pressure, these tires work well in both on-and off-road applications.
  • Snow tires: Once again, the name gives away the main function of these tires. Snow tires come with additional treads that are specifically designed to bite in the snow and provide you with the required grip.

No matter what anyone says, the best tires to buy for you are the ones recommended by your manufacturer.

By law, all car manufacturers are required to add the optimum tire grade and size on the driver-side door. Simply open it up to know the kind of tires you should use.

The next step is to look at the tire’s sidewall. All tires come with their appropriate letterings that give you the following information.

  1. Tire type: Whether the tire is used for a passenger car, truck, or any other vehicle
  2. Width: The total width (mm) of the tire. This is the area that comes in direct contact with the road. Higher width means more grip but lower maneuverability.
  3. Diameter: The total diameter of the rim. Going higher or lower than the recommended number may affect the performance of your vehicle.
  4. Components: Tires are usually developed using a combination of different materials. For example, a combination of steel, rubber, and polymer is quite popular for passenger vehicles.
  5. Max load: The load index of the tire. This indicator shows the maximum weight a tire can sustain when going at the maximum speed.
  6. Speed rating: The maximum speed for this tire. It is usually north of 200 mph, which no one achieves with regular driving anyway.
  7. Time: The month and year of the tire production. Even if unused, tires usually lose their performance after 6 years.

Consider the following picture to learn more about the information you can get from a tire’s sidewall.

Courtesy: Cooper tires

What Size Do You Need? 

The Ideal tire size depends on your manufacturer’s specifications. We have already discussed that all car manufacturers are required by law to add tire details below the driver’s door.

We often see people fitting larger tires than recommended on their cars. Generally, bigger tires allow you to get better traction with the road.

As you increase the tire width, your area of contact will be greater. Resulting in better overall control.

Some beginners use wheel and tire size interchangeably, and that is wrong. Your wheel size refers to the diameter of the rim, and you use different tire sizes to fit those rims. 

Exceeding the diameter is not recommended in any case. Doing so can potentially damage the suspension and frame of your car.

Additionally, you will also damage your tires quicker than usual and will have to spend a lot of money on replacements. 

Others Places to Find Your Tire Size 

  • Your driver’s side door jamb
  • Inside your glove box door
  • Inside your glove box door
  • In your Vehicle’s Owner’s Manual

Is a Mileage Warranty Important?

We believe it definitely is important as it protects you in case of any manufacturing default in your tire and if the tire fails way before than expected.

However, most mileage warranties come with the stipulation that you must follow all the best practices to maintain the life of your tires.

For the claim to work, the tires must be evenly worn out and the treads must be down to the final 2/32, which is the legal limit in many states.

Getting the Most out of Your Tires

Careful drivers tend to spend a lot less on their tires because they take every measure to extend their tires’ operational lives and maintain them till the very end.

Here are some of the best practices that can help you do that as well.

  • Always make sure your tires are properly inflated
  • Never speed over potholes and other obstacles
  • Refrain from drifting and putting on a show with a burnout
  • Make sure your tires are balanced and aligned properly
  •  Regularly rotate your tires

How Much Should I Pay For A Tire? 

Unlike other components, the prices of tires vary so much that it’s hard to agree on a single number. Generally, standard all-season tires will cost anywhere around $200, so replacing all tires is a significant, but necessary investment.

The actual price of your tire depends on several factors. Some of them are size, quality, and brand. Usually, tires for sedans and hatchbacks do not cost as much as SUVs and other larger vehicles. 

However, that’s only for standard options. If you want to go for high-performance tires or something similar, the cost would be a little different. 

As a consumer, you must find the perfect balance between price and quality.

Cheaper and economical options would lose their performance sooner and will need to be replaced. Similarly, more expensive models will also disintegrate eventually.

Therefore, you must carefully weigh all the available options and decide according to your situation. 

Key Takeaways

To sum up, it’s crucial for you to know how to choose tires for your vehicle. While you may use some practices to extend the life of your tires, you’ll still have to purchase them eventually.

Generally, the tire recommended by your car’s manufacturer is the best choice because of the design parameters and other limitations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

Thanks for reading our article! We've written this article with a lot of thought and care. If you're interested in seeing more of our content, please check out our Tires section and find an answer to your questions!